Write a play set that is written to be staged somewhere you really love. And make the language and speech patterns long and expressive as possible.
Venue / Setting:
A five bed family home in a leafy neighbourhood in suburban Surrey.
Ticketing / Marketing:
Viewers responds to an ‘ad’ in a local paper or on moving websites, requiring them to request a viewing of the property at a mobile phone number. They leave a message for ‘Gloria’ as for a viewing, and are then contacted with a time, place and length of time for the viewing.
Outside the house is massive neon ‘for sale’ tubing sign. Viewers enter through the gate, which creak ominously as they open it. They walk up the path. As they pass bushes, the sound of laughter comes out of the foliage, so faintly it could easily be missed. Skulking to the side is Samrah, still in pyjamas and an over sized band t-shirt with last night’s make-up smeared down her face, smoking black cigarettes. If the viewers greet her or acknowledge her presence in anyway, she just glowers.
Once up the path, viewers knock on the door. Gloria, smartly dressed, opens the door. She has a name badge on and a clipboard.
Gloria: Hello. Come in, come in.
Gloria ushers the viewers into the Hallway.
Gloria: Hello, my name is Gloria – G L O R I A – like the hallelujah chorus and I will be your estate agent today for this viewing of this delightful early 20th century five bed family property in this highly desirable area of Surrey which as we all know really puts the home in home countries. And your names are?
Gloria encourages the viewers to give their names and shakes theirs hands over enthusiastically.
Gloria: This is your property pack-
Gloria gives each viewer a property pack.
Gloria: – which details all you need to know about the why and wherefores of this highly attractive period property for which you will find an ode, penned by my own fair hand, I’m a bit of an amateur poetess you know, and it just bubble out sometimes when I’m working on a property with really character like a sort of Wordsworthian realtor to borrow a bit of slang from our American cousins, though in my case more extended family really. Oh dang it why don’t I give you a small section of the masterwork that was inspired by this delightful abode.
Oh home to many and to the few
Be a great deliverer of the middle estates are due
To shedding warmth and comfort at societal heart
And hasten creation of the agent’s art
Into the wild blue yonder of the capitalist miasma
But where you vigour me is rife with plasma
As the thud of life courses through my womb
As I wander thoughtfully from room to room
Admiring your original period features
And the hallowed Britishness of Victoriana teaches
Us to value the family as the heart of the house
Or even to value the life of a humble mouse
Sired from the tender loins of a mummy rodent
Just to be clear here, I am not saying that there are any kind of infestation problems in this property, In fact quite the opposite, they really have done a sterling job on killing off any problem tenants as it were right from the get-go – zero tolerance here for any kind of pests, I just want to make that 100% clear. Now apologies profuse my good companions, where were we mummy rodents? Yes-
Sired from the tender loins of a mummy rodent
Into this garden of England green and verdant
Delivered from the mind of architectural greatness
Which reminds us all of our God’s success
In building an Eden, this Jerusalem,
Because He wanted us all to live in unison
Which is a reminder to us all
To put an offer in.
Gloria holds for applause, which may or may not come.
Gloria: An that is the verse stanza of my 42 verse epic poetic expression of the very spirit, which lives in the walls of this house speaking of which we should probably move into the first room on the tour of this house.
Gloria leads the viewers into the living room.
The Living Room:
Gloria: Through the darkened doorway of this dramatic Edwardian estate you will find a large and spacious living room complete with original fireplace otherwise known as the Shakespeare room due to the impressive 6ft bust of Shakespeare commissioned in the owners likeness-oh and a bear in an armchair, now that was not supposed to be there watching daytime TV and drinking larger seems to be a lot of bother.
Bear looks round at the viewers. Growls. Goes back to watching
I really must talk to the owners about this when they get back from that last minute long term holiday to Argentina. They left their daughter in charge to sell the house; a troubled youthful lass of six and three score who could be very well adored if it were not for multiple piercing and the hair, tattoos, dress sense and total lack of care of anything and indeed personality means that she is less than amenable to beneficent deeds. As you can see, the room is very light. Excuse the smell. Bear. Now if we go back into the hall, and move into the kitchen-
Gloria leads the way.
There is a dead body on the floor. It looks like an estate agent.
Gloria: This is the kitchen, well appointed, unused since the house was constructed hence the proliferation of takeaway containers and the distinct smell of sweaty pizza, which is you look in any cupboard you will see is the main contents, along with fish oil supplements and all of the tea towels, why do they have so many tea towels?
During this Gloria goes and pulls the knife out the back of the body, and washes it in the sink. She then dries her hands on one of the tea towels and arranges it neatly on the side in the kitchen.
Samrah walks in to the kitchen. She is still smoking.
Gloria: This is my client who I have asked not to smoke in the house and to either be fully dressed and pleasant or undressed and not present as she wishes and also if she could do the dishes that would be lovely so I can show people around and sell her house so her parents can pay off “those people” and come back to the UK to resume their lives as perfectly upright citizens.
Samrah: Tell the estate agent that there’s another dead estate agent in the kitchen and it’s really not good enough. This is the third one this week. My advice to you, never try to work with multiple estate agents at the same time. They are all heels in killers.
Gloria: I think you mean my good girl killers in heels.
Samrah: I know what I said. And I am not your good girl. (To the viewers handing them a candlestick and a lead pipe) I would arm yourselves to the teeth and trust no one.
Samrah gets a mop and starts swabbing resentfully at the blood drenched floor around the body.
Gloria: Yes well let us depart from this place and into the breakfast room, a lovely addition to the utility of the house and the perfect location for a lazy Saturday morning breakfast but obviously only breakfast no lunches or dinners only joking we all need our little jokes don’t we.
Gloria leads the viewers into the breakfast room.
Gloria: Mind the step, because it minds you, ha ha ha. I’m on a roll why thank you Gloria you’re welcome Gloria; anyways this is the breakfast room, a white room with a delightful view of the garden and as you can see yes the garden is entirely full of birds all looking at the house but I’ve been told by ornithologists this is perfectly normal for this time of year and nothing to do with any curses or buried native American graveyards in the Croydon area. And this-
Gloria opens a door and ushers the viewers in-
Gloria: Is the formal dining room.
The Dining Room:
The Dining Room is set up for a full formal dinner, and four guests are seated at the table in formal evening dress. Candles are the only light in the room and the curtains are closed. The whole room is covered in cobwebs.
At this moment Gloria’s phone rings. She looks at the phone.
Gloria: So sorry. It’s an emergency. Hello. What do you mean they escaped?
Gloria slams the Dining Room door leaving the viewers in the room with the four dinner guests.
Cedric: Sit down. Sit down. Come join us in our revelry.
The viewers are encouraged to sit down. Once they are seated, there is a long pause.
Cedric: Forgive my companions and myself for it has been many years since we had visitors to our table of earthly delights. We used to make music you know. We travelled around, Cedric and the Dinner Guests, we were world famous for our devastating live performances which culminated after an evening of riveting musical revelry with a massive food fights. Would you like to see? Excellent. Dinner Guests. 1, 2, 1 2 3 4-
Cedric and the Dinner Guests perform one of the greatest hits. The performance ends with a food fight. Gloria comes back in hanging up the phone. Instantly Cedric and the Dinner Guests all sit back in their places motionless. Gloria appears not to have noticed the mess.
Gloria: Terribly apologetic about that my darlings but now I am back and we can resume the tour of the property. I take it you’ve had your fill of the dining room which we all know needs a bit of work and good clean up round the edges but it could be a real gem of a room. Especially if you opened the curtains. Let some light in. So let’s make our way upstairs.
Viewers follow Gloria into the hall and up the stairs. Gloria talks as she goes. As she walks pas the cupboard under the stairs:
Gloria: And there is the cupboard under the stairs with absolutely nothing in there to see at all but it could be really useful as an extra utility space.
Out of the cupboard can be heard a voice saying “please, please let me out” and scratching on the wooden door.
Gloria: This is the mezzanine level which has two rooms one of which is… well… we won’t talk about that-
Samrah’s room (complete with no entry signs and warning symbols all over the door) is on the left of the landing. The study is on the right.
Gloria: The other if you will follow me is the study but it could also be another bedroom or a workroom or a junk room, or just well whatever you effervescent minds can come up with.
Gloria opens the door to the Study:
Death is standing in the study holding a scythe and looking at a large globe. He turns as the viewers and Gloria enter. He walks towards the viewers and inspects them. He moves to the Globe and opens it to reveal a silk bag containing a deck of tarot cards. Death sits behind study desk and beckons over the viewers. He proceeds to read their tarot. He doesn’t talk. Whatever else comes up in the tarot death and the condemned man is always laid. Gloria uses this opportunity to send a couple of texts.
Gloria: Thank you very much for that you must be a friend of Samrah or something would explain the fancy dress and the proclivity for unwieldy farm implements which she has clearly inherited from her strange family. Anyway if we go up the final flight of stairs-
Gloria ushers the viewers out and up the next flight of stairs to the landing where she leads the viewers in to the master bedroom. The dead body has been moved and is now on the bed. As they walk in, an arm starts to move.
Gloria: And this is the master bedroom. As you can see it’s massive and oh my dear god the bitch isn’t dead how the fucking hell and why won’t you die!
Gloria grabs the lead pipe or candlestick from the viewers and proceeds to stove in the head of the body. She is covered in blood. She Drops the pipe and proceeds to wipe her hair out of her face.
Gloria: So I think that this is enough of this room and oh there’s a shower and stuff which is nice really nice a shower oh well maybe later and on to bedroom 2 which is a bit smaller but this house is bloody massive so who really gives a monkeys anyway-
The viewers follow Gloria to Bedroom 2:
which she doesn’t open the door. Instead Gloria slides a small window in the door, which reveals a morbidly obese hairy biker, wearing loads of leather, writhing in a paddling pool of jelly. The room is lit neon pink.
Gloria: – because you are going to live here if it kills me to sell it to you. Anyway, enough of that, onto the last room-
Gloria closes the window and leads the way to the last room.
The third bedroom is large and a appears normal apart from a really old TV in the corner. on which can be seen Limey. She is within the television set.
Gloria: This is the last bedroom blah blah blah god I’m hot are you hot is it hot in here and I mean if you’re not already sold on the house them I’m not sure what else to say to you-
Limey: Hello? Hello? Can anyone hear me? Anyone at all? She’s trapped me in the TV. I’m trapped in the TV-
Gloria: Shut the hell up bitch.
Limey: Well that’s very rude-
Gloria: I am so tired of your constant noise, mummy.
Gloria switches off the TV.
Gloria: Ah the peace and quiet that descends on the house when mummy goes to sleep. Very quickly the bathroom.
The Bear is seated on the toilet, reading a newspaper. Gloria seems totally unfazed.
Gloria: So there is an additional facility next door, and this bathroom while desperate for an update, I mean look at those tiles, that grouting, has bag loads of charm and really has basically everything you need for the bathroom. Anyway, let’s go back downstairs to talk-
Gloria leads the party downstairs talking as she goes-
Gloria: So let’s talk money, so the buyers are looking for cash and they have given me full rights to hold a gun to your head until you’ve paid in full-
Samrah grabs the viewers as they pass the kitchen she pulls them in, and shuts the door. As she does so we hear shouting and gunshots in the house. Samrah drags the viewers and drags them through the kitchen, into the breakfast room and out the back door. They run past the birds and down the side of the house. Samrah signals the viewers to hide against the sidewall of the house and keep quite while she looks out the side gate. There is shouting and now growling in the house. A moment and Limey’s TV is thrown from the second floor.
Samrah: Go, go, go, go, go!
Samrah and the viewers run from the house and up the road. Samrah stops them and they all catch their breath. She takes any weapons or anything they have picked up round the house.
Samrah: I’m so, so, so, so sorry. I wanted to stop you but I couldn’t and just keep telling yourself it’s not really you’ve just seen a greedy woman trying to sell the house of a desperate family. You never saw this. You can never talk about this. If anyone asks you just went round and viewed a house. Are you ok? Yes? Ok. Now go.
The thing in the cupboard
Cedric and The Dinner Guests