by Richard Nathan

The play takes place in a theatre called "The Playhouse Of The Damned," and it resembles a bad dream.  The play itself is a series of short horror stories.  They take place in a variety of locations, mostly interiors.  The locations should be suggested as simply as possible, with a minimum of props.  Many of the stories require a door, so there should be a door somewhere on the stage.

 As the play begins, we meet our host, GUS THE GHOUL.  Gus will narrate each of the stories.

A note about playing Gus:  Gus in another in a long line of pun-loving hosts of horror stories.  The line goes back a long way, at least as far back as the 1940's, when the radio horror anthology "Inner Sanctum" had a host named Raymond who told gruesome puns when introducing the frightening tales.  Traditionally, these hosts are portrayed as sly, playful fiends who emphasize the puns.  I think it works better to portray Gus as absolutely serious, unable to crack a smile (though a sneer will work), maybe a little angry.  Think of Alan Rickman, and you're on the right path.

                                    Welcome to The Playhouse of the Damned. 
                                 This is the Playhouse.  Guess what part 
                                    you play.  Here's a hint.  In just a few minutes,
                                    you'll find yourself agreeing with hundreds of
                                    theater-goers who have attended our Playhouse
                                    and said, "I'll be damned if I'm going to sit
                                    through any more of this!"  I am your host,
                                    Gus the Ghoul.  A ghoul is a fiend who robs
                                    graves and eats the flesh of the dead.  I don't
                                    particularly like eating the flesh of the dead, 
                                    but the living scream so loudly when you
                                    bite into them.  You know, the rest of the cast
                                    asked me if I'd like to join them for a bite after
                                    the show, and I said, "Of corpse I would!" 
                                    You're welcome to come along.  Just meet us
                                    down at the graveyard!  But now it's time to
                                    begin our ominous omnibus of horror...

Gus proceeds to introduce the first story.  


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2000 by Richard Nathan.  All rights reserved

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