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This is very clearly inspired by Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit. One thing I found to be a slight missed opportunity in that piece is that only Charles Condomine is able to see the ghost Elvira, I think there would have been lots of funny things to do with a slightly different scenario. I also wrote it imaging two of the very talented gentlemen I worked with in Sherlock Holmes, Chris who played Sherlock and John who played my husband Larabee, as Chadwick and Shrewsbury. It made things much funnier for me.

Another inspiration was one of the one-acts Jared and I saw at the festival of them thrown by the Hovey Players. The piece on its own was fairly whatever-- it was about a man who went into the hospital for an appendectomy and came out with a sex change and was trying to very politely bring it up with his doctor. The jokes were pretty obvious and not that remarkable on their own, but they made it work by giving the characters English accents, and making the joke out of how completely polite and stiff-upper-lippy they were. I thought I'd borrow that for my own piece here.

Also, for some perverse reason I really like writing dialogue for characters who hate Catholics. I love using the term "papists."

Day #10 - "The Late Mrs. Chadwick"

(Two very stiffly-dressed English gentlemen, ARTHUR CHADWICK and EDWIN SHREWSBURY sit in a tastefully decorated parlor drinking tea and talking about cricket.)

SHREWSBURY: That is a bold statement, friend. That is a four-time championship team you’re talking about.

CHADWICK: I say the team is ageing out of their skills. Their lineup has not changed in far too long.

(There is the ghostly wail of a woman from offstage.)

SHREWSBURY: I say, Chadwick, did you hear something?

CHADWICK: Beg your pardon?

SHREWSBURY: Apologies, nothing, old boy. You were saying?

CHADWICK: Yes, well, they’ve got to get some new blood in there. Thirty-six isn’t absurd, but they’re no spring chickens when it comes to test cricket.

(Suddenly a woman ghost, MATILDA CHADWICK, her skin painted a pale gray wearing a diaphanous gray gown, sweeps through the parlor, wailing as she goes. After a moment she exits. CHADWICK appears not to notice, but SHREWSBURY is vaguely perturbed.)

CHADWICK: Shrewsbury, are you quite all right?

SHREWSBURY: Forgive me, old friend, but what was that?

CHADWICK: What was what?

(MATILDA reenters and sweeps through again, waving her arms and wailing, then exits.)

SHREWSBURY: Are you aware that there seems to be some sort of… spectral lady… thing… of some kind… floating around your parlor?

CHADWICK: Oh, yes, good of you to notice. That is my late wife.

SHREWSBURY: Your… late wife?

CHADWICK: Yes, Matilda. She’s recently taken up residence in the house again.

SHREWSBURY: I see. But, if I might ask, how can that be so, given that Matilda is… what’s the polite word… dead?

CHADWICK: Yes, in a freak croquet accident on the front lawn. Very tragic.


CHADWICK: But it seems that somehow in the Great Beyond word reached Matilda about my recent remarriage, and as far as anyone can deduce, she is so distraught over the news that she’s crossed back over to the material plane in order to seek eternal vengeance from beyond the grave.

(A piece of crockery flies onstage and explodes on the ground. MATILDA enters after it and swans around dramatically, making rhythmic keening sounds.)

CHADWICK: But please, don’t let it trouble you.

SHREWSBURY: Oh, I hardly notice.

(MATILDA knocks the teacup out of SHREWSBURY’s hand. He is just slightly nonplussed.)

CHADWICK: More tea, old friend?


(SHREWSBURY picks up another cup from the tea set, which CHADWICK fills from the pot. MATILDA knocks that cup away too.)

SHREWSBURY: On second thought, that’s enough for me.

CHADWICK: Quite right.

SHREWSBURY: And what does the, shall we say, living Mrs. Chadwick think?

CHADWICK: Between you and me, old boy, I will confess that she is not entirely pleased with the whole arrangement.

SHREWSBURY: Oh, the poor dear.

CHADWICK: Apparently Matilda sees fit to take out the whole sad business on her by vowing to haunt and torment her through this world and beyond until the fires of Judgment Day.

SHREWSBURY: How unfortunate. You have my sympathies, Arthur.

CHADWICK: Thanks very much. These things are sent to try us.

(MATILDA begins picking up household items and hurling them to smash upon the ground.)

SHREWSBURY: Where is your wife at the moment?

CHADWICK: Well, Hermione’s found it a bit vexing to remain in the house for long periods, what with the flying crockery and Matilda’s propensity for setting fire to her hair.

SHREWSBURY: Quite understandable.

CHADWICK: I rather thought so. So my dear girl’s dedicated herself to having Matilda exorcised.

(MATILDA wails.)

SHREWSBURY: I say, exorcised?

CHADWICK: I believe that’s the term. You know, banished. Returned to the Great Beyond.

SHREWSBURY: For my edification, what is the process for such a banishment?

(MATILDA breaks something.)

SHREWSBURY: In case any of my departed relations also elect to make a return visit.

CHADWICK: I’m afraid we’re still in the process of figuring that out. Lord knows we’ve tried a few things.

SHREWSBURY: With no success, I take it?

(MATILDA pours a ewer of water over CHADWICK’s head.)

CHADWICK: Not as such, no. First we rung up one of those, what do you call them, mediums, who commune with the spirit world.

SHREWSBURY: Oh, yes, they’re very entertaining at parties.

CHADWICK: To be sure, but this one seemed to have difficult effectively communicating with Matilda.


CHADWICK: I suppose I can’t criticize. It was a feat I had yet to achieve myself in five years of marriage to her!

(They laugh politely. MATILDA knocks over a table and wails.)

SHREWSBURY: Perhaps you could find a more diplomatic one.

CHADWICK: Perhaps, but the whole affair left Matilda quite cross, and I’m not inclined to weather that again. With all the blood weeping down walls.

SHREWSBURY: Most troublesome.

(MATILDA hurls a pillow at SHREWSBURY. He dodges without skipping a beat.)

CHADWICK: And then there was the woods witch who made a terrible mess of the drawing room with all those goats she sacrificed.

(MATILDA hurls another pillow at CHADWICK, who dodges equally casually.)

SHREWSBURY: Oh, I can imagine.

(MATILDA screams with rage and storms out.)

CHADWICK: It’s all driven Hermione to become quite desperate. At the moment she’s gone down to St. Swithin’s to ask assistance from the pastor.

SHREWSBURY: St. Swithin’s? Your Hermione set foot among the papists?

CHADWICK: Unbelievable, I know, but the poor thing’s quite determined. I understand they’ve some protocols in matters of peasant superstition.

SHREWSBURY: One does hear all those terrible stories about priests with their heads all spun about on their necks, though.

CHADWICK: Indeed. Bad enough that the neighbors see them coming in the house without having to remove their bodies as well. Still, I’m afraid we’re rather out of options.

(There is screaming and crashing offstage, then the crackling of flames. Smoke drifts out into the sitting room.)

SHREWSBURY: I say, Chadwick. That sounds rather terrible.

CHADWICK: I’ve come to know that sound quite well, I believe it’s the screaming of the servants. Excuse me a moment.

(CHADWICK rises and goes to look offstage where the smoke is coming from.)

CHADWICK: Yes, indeed. She’s set the kitchen on fire.

(There is the terrified screaming of horses.)

CHADWICK: And released the horses from the stables. Oh, I do hope she hasn’t barricaded the door this time. Forgive me, friend, but I’ll have to run off for a tick and handle this.

SHREWSBURY: Can I be of any assistance?

CHADWICK: Oh, don’t trouble yourself. Please, stay at your ease.

SHREWSBURY: If you insist, sir.

CHADWICK: Won’t be a moment!

(CHADWICK exits. SHREWSBURY pours himself a new cup of tea and begins sipping. He occasionally tosses a vaguely curious glance in the direction of the commotion.)

(MATILDA reenters. She storms up to SHREWSBURY and stares him down in the chair. After a long moment, she slaps the cup out of his hand again and runs off.)

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:

MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3

at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM


Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

Latest Month

April 2017


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