PLAYHOUSE OF THE DAMNED
"Sťance You Went Away"
by Richard Nathan
The spotlight is up on our host, GUS THE GHOUL, while the set for the next story is prepared. The stage represents the rec room of the Barton Family. Gus addresses the audience.
Do you wish you could talk to the dead? I
do. It must be better than talking to you!
Our next story is about a sťance. It's not
a factual story. It's sťance fiction. It takes
place in a room in the house of the Barton
family This is what they used to call a rec
room. And some lives are about to be
wrecked! The story is called "Sťance You
Gus exits. The lights comes up on WALTER, the youngest of two children in the Barton family, and Walter's friends BOBBY, MARC, WENDY and JAN. They are all teenagers.
Are we gonna do this soon? Cause my parents
expect me home by eleven.
They have to learn to face disappointment.
All parents need to grown up sometime.
Guys. Come on. Jan can't help who her parents are.
Okay, she's got rough material to work with, but
she has done a damn poor job training them.
It's okay. I think we can start now. My brother says
the later you start the better, but I think it's late enough
What do we do?
We light a candle, and sit around it in a circle, and
then I start the sťance.
I just want to tell everyone before we start, if we contact
my uncle Izzy, and he asks anyone to pull his finger, don't
There aren't going to be any fingers!
It's not really his finger you have to worry about.
We're just going to try to commune with the dead,
feel their presence.
Just so long as we don't smell their presence.
Bobby! Shut up!
Although the candle may help.
Have you ever done this before?
No, but I've heard my brother do it a dozen times.
It's very relaxing. Soothing.
I don't know.
Jan, if you don't like it, you can leave at any time.
Walter lights a candle and puts it on the floor. He goes to the wall and flicks a switch. All the lights go out except for the light of the candle. The kids sit in a circle around the candle.
All right. Relax. It's ten at night. The day is
winding down. People are ready to rest. Not
just us. All over the city, people are getting
ready to rest.
You don't know my sister.
Hey! Give him a chance.
Walter speaks slowly, calmly, reassuringly.
It's okay. She's right. Some people go out, have
fun. We need to be aware of that too. We need to
be aware of everything going on around us. Open up.
People outside, driving their cars. Some going out.
Some going home. Some even going to work. Some
at work now, the truck drivers, driving through the night.
Some people heading out of town, waiting for the traffic
to ease up. Out of town, where it's quieter. Darker. The
driving gets easier. Fewer people out. More of them are
at home, asleep, comfortable, warm in their beds,
forgetting about the day. And we can go farther. Out over
the Atlantic ocean, in the middle of the night. Nothing is
darker than the ocean at night. Even when the moon
shines on it, it just bounces off the darkness. Half the
world is dark, turned away from the sun. And in the dark
are millions of people resting, sleeping. You can share
their rest if you want to. It's easier to reach them as
they sleep. And as we reach to so many of them, we also
reach out, and away from the earth. Out into the night. Out,
past the moon. Among the stars. Out, and out, and far away.
So far we don't even know which dot of light is our sun. And
out here, time doesn't have any meaning anymore. And we
are any time, and we can feel the presence of anyone, everyone,
any time, every time. It's all the same. This is where we
know what the dead are feeling. The peace they feel.
And now it's time to come back. Back through space.
Back past the stars, the planets, back past the moon, back
over the ocean, back down the empty roads, back to this
house, back to this room. And we're done!
Walter stands up and turns on the lights.
Marc turns to Jan to ask her opinion.
What did you think?
I like your world.
Yeah, I didn't think Walter had such insight.
No, I mean your world, your planet. It will be a
good home for us.
I am no longer Jan. I am Koeurdal of the
If that were funny, shouldn't at least one of us
Jan, if you're trying to scare me, you are doing a
Do not be scared. We will not kill you. We need
your bodies to house our spirits.
Come on. You guys aren't taking this seriously.
You mean there isn't an alien race that wants my
Look, I don't believe this alien race stuff, either. But
something's the matter with her. Jan doesn't play
jokes like this. She must have had some sort of
mental incident. We better get her to a doctor.
Wait a minute. I did this. Maybe I can undo it.
Walter calls to his older brother David.
David! David! David, come down here!
What are you screaming about? What if Mom and Dad
We've got a problem. I was trying to do a sťance, like the
ones you do, and something went wrong.
You what???? I told you... you promised me you wouldn't
try... What have you done?
It's Jan. She's acting like something took over her body.
I am not Jan. I am Koeurdal of the Immortal Tajassi. We
will possess you all.
Is everyone else normal?
I think so.
Be sure! Was anyone else possessed when you did your
Walter looks into the eyes of his friends.
No. No one else.
You rushed back, didn't you? You didn't take your time
on the return part!
I might have...
You are such an idiot!!! Okay, I can fix this. This happens
if you don't take your time coming back. We need to
go out again. Everyone sit around the candle.
Everyone sits down except Jan.
You too, Jan.
You too, Koeurdal.
Are we going to find more worlds for my people?
David goes to the wall and turns off the lights. Now the only light comes from the candle. Davis sits down with the others and conducts the sťance, using the same technique Walter used.
All right, everyone's a little shaken up. But you've been
this way before, and it's easy to find your way back.
Remember how it felt to be a part of the night. We
can share that again. It's still out there. The day is
still winding down. More people are sleeping, getting
ready to throw off the day, to put it behind them. To
seek out rest. The calm corner of the night, where
we can curl up in the quiet. Remember how quiet
the night can be. Remember taking the roads out of the
city. Out in the country, past the empty, grey fields and
the silhouetted trees. Over the land, over the ocean,
letting go, and growing into space. Growing, growing.
Merging into all times and spaces, all people, all
consciousness. Here, in all consciousness, we can find
the consciousness we seek, the consciousness that is
right for us. Wait... wait... Only when we have found it,
only when we know we are right, and whole, then we
can slowly separate ourselves from all the others, slowly
cut the ties, and when we are ready, we can direct ourselves
back. Knowing we are coming home where we want to live.
Directing ourselves, back through space, back to
the world we want, seeing it grow as we cross the stars,
cross the planets, across the sea, down the roads, back to
this house, and into these bodies. Is Koeurdal gone?
Yes, Koeurdal's gone. I'm in charge.
I am so sorry!
Is everyone else all right? In control?
Koeurdal is an idiot.
We told him he wasn't ready yet. He
hadn't even studied the plan. Or the
What I don't understand is how he was able to
possess Jan and none of the rest of you was
able to grab a host!
Don't blame us. Your brother zipped back before
we had a chance.
It was my first sťance. I'll do better next time.
Okay, you all understand that it is okay to talk like
this among ourselves, but whenever any humans
are around, you adapt the persona of the body
you now inhabit.
Hey, we know the plan.
Koeurdal didn't know the plan.
I told you, Koeurdal is an idiot. He'll learn the plan
before he tries this again.
All right. You can go home now. Convince the parents
of the host bodies that you are still their children. Then
come back here tomorrow night, and I'll start teaching
you how to conduct your own sťances, and bring new host
bodies to the Tajassi. And for Groz's sake, remember
what you learned tonight. Don't come back before
Blackout! Everyone exits. A moment later the spotlight comes up on GUS THE GHOUL.
Some sťance! They didn't contact the dead -- just
the Immortal Tajassi. Well, I wouldn't worry
about them too much. They have never, ever
asked anyone to pull their fingers!
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© 2005 by Richard Nathan. All rights reserved
The author grants all internet uses to print these scripts for their own, personal, non-commercial use. No other use may be made without the author's permission. Without limiting the foregoing, the plays may not be staged without the author's express permission.
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