( Introduce the play with this poem )
We never saw her but she left us clues
thin wisps of smoke
muggy evenings turned briefly ice
footsteps in the attic that paced all night
as if to tell us she was not unfriendly
just a little lost
as she walked those rooms
looking for the light
or some sign that she was home
I suppose we were in fact her guests
my son and I
and a pair of Burmese cats…
in this house where she lived
two hundred years ago
fifteen high ceilinged rooms
the kitchen with the red brick floor
perhaps she’d swept
that opened into the backyard where
two dead locust trees intertwined
and dense ivy covered everything
Lela…35 year old, pretty, sort of ditsey, comfortable with the concept of living with ghost, divorced, working mother, living in a very large old house which she sublet for the summer from a friend who is away in Europe… friend has told Lela that house is haunted but has lived there for 25 years with no problem.
Bren…Lela’s son who is a 13, very bright and independent who is staying in the house for. The summer with his mother…he is not so comfortable with ghosts and has had some concerns about the things that have gone on in the house over the past few weeks, like the footsteps in the attic, the piano that seems to plays by itself
Cathy…a funny, perky, 20 year old art student, practical but sensitive to environment and a who used to baby sit for Bren…she is not comfortable with the occult.
Calvin… an African American artist in his late 20’s who sometimes works in his fathers funeral parlor… friend and x-school mate of Cathy. He is familiar with ghosts.
Sheila…a ghost who was a maid in this house and does not know she is dead. She has continued to clean and take care of this house although she has been dead for two hundred years…she is a bit afraid men. In her previous incarnation she was very sylphlike and shy…she is still that way.
The four living characters are gathered around the dining room table in a high ceiling room… french doors opened to a small back herb garden… it is 9 o’clock at night and they have candles burning and a Ouija board sits in the middle of the table. Sheila stands in the corner shy but curious…the others cannot see her.
Calvin: So tell me, have you felt your sheets being pulled off in the middle of the night but no one is there?
Lela: I am not sure… it is possible… but last night Bren and I were sitting in the back kitchen, you know the one with the brick floor…because it was so hot a muggy and it was a little cooler in there …we had just finished dinner and suddenly the whole room grew cold and there were wisps of smoke and Bren asked me if I was smoking a cigarette and I thought he was…so we just looked at each other and sort of pretended the whole thing was not happening.
Bren: I’ve heard footsteps overhead in the attic, late at night and nobody else was in the house.
Lela: Are you sure that isn’t the workmen next door?
Bren: In the middle of the night…I don’t think so, mom
Cathy; I think this house is very spooky and what do you propose to do with the Ouija board. I am not sure about connecting with the world beyond. I mean the spirit, if there is one could be diabolical or something.
Calvin: We don’t have to use the Ouija board…and I don’t feel any malevolence here.
Cathy: No offense Calvin but you work in your father’s funeral home…probably more used to the dead…
Calvin: Thanks, Cath
Lela: I agree with Calvin…I think the ghost is kind of lost but not harmful.
Calvin: We have more to fear from the living than the dead…that has always been my
thought..not original but true.
Bren: So what do you think we should do?
Sheila: (not heard by the others) Who are these four? About whom or what do they speak…they do not see me…I feel so strange…confused…( she moves a little closer to the group and eyes them with suspicion….(the group feels a slight breeze and a chill)
Cathy: What was that? Did you feel that air current …it was cold…I might go home.
Lela: Before you go let me tell you the story I heard about this ghost maid.
Cathy: Ask her to clean my house will you…just kidding
Sheila: ( unheard ) I do not think this one is funny…maybe I should pull her hair…she does not know the pain I have been through…or care…no one cared what happened to me…those awful men…fighting over me…I never gave them any reason…
Lela: The story goes that two male servants who lived in this house were both in love with the maid and quarreled over her affection.The one man murdered the other and was subsequently hanged .The poor maid felt so guilty and depressed about the whole thing that she grew ill and died a short time later.
Bren: That’s tragic, mom but why would her ghost still be haunting this house.
Calvin: They say sometimes a spirit remains in a familiar place if it is traumatized…it is sort of stuck between the worlds
Sheila: Are they talking about me…died of grief…or shame…I have been so alone… only my work to keep my mind off things…but dead…it doesn’t make sense…yet, they can’t hear or see me.( she begins to cry softly and the room gets dimmer)
Cathy: Talking about death and murder is giving me the creeps…can’t we put some more lights on it’s awfully dark in here.
Calvin: (turns on a lamp in the corner of the room and Sheila moves toward the fireplace
creating another stir of cold air)
Lela: I’ve heard that sometimes you can do a little ritual to kind of send a spirit on their way.
Bren: We’re not ghostbusters, you know. Suppose she doesn’t want to cooperate.
Calvin: I don’t think it could hurt to send out some positive thoughts…I mean kind of
Lela: Ok…lets join hands
athy: If this is a seance, I am not doing it
Lela: No…we are just going to send out a little compassion and peace and the message for her to go towards the light.
Sheila: (moves closer to the four and is within the circle)
Bren: You can go or stay but may your spirit be free
Calvin: We bless you and send love.
Cathy: May you have peace and rest.
Lela: Sweet ghost, go toward the light, it has always welcomed you.
(There is a feeling of lightness in the air and the scent of rosemary as Shelia slowly wisps away )
Sheila: Thank you,my friends… remember me… my name is Sheila.