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Death: A Musical Comedy (Act I Scenes 1&2)

by fortis


Author's Note:

This work was not written to offend. However, if you take offence easily, especially when it comes to cancer, you might not want to read this play. Also, this is a musical, but I haven't really written it with any music particularly in mind, so apologies if the songs aren't all that great. I am writing this mostly as an expiriment, so bear with me. I've never written a stage-play before. Also, the formatting is not what it should be, but YWS is hard to format on.

Cast of Characters (thus far):

Morty Deadman – Middle-aged man, rather average in all respects. He works at a commercial worm farm as a reproduction quality inspector.

Thelma Deadman – Middle-aged woman married to Morty. She’s pretty snitty. Average looks. Obsessed with Zodiac things.

Doctor – Your average doctor who likes to make jokes to help his patients feel better. Sadly, his jokes are all blaringly inappropriate to the situation.

Harold – a 16 year old with squeaky voice.

ACT I

Scene 1

The Deadmans' house. L. is a dining area with table and chairs. There are two mugs of coffee on the table. There is a staircase U. L. , behind the table. C. is a couch and coffee table. U. of couch is a fireplace. R. of the fire place is the door to the kitchen. On the R. wall is the door leading outside. The room gives of an air of upper-middle class wealth.

AT RISE, Thelma is seated at the dining table R. , holding a newspaper and sipping from a mug. Morty is descending the stairs, dressed for work in a suit and is carrying a brief case.

THELMA

Morty, listen to this! "With Mercury going into retrograde, now is not the best time to be risky. Save your money and plan wisely for the future."

MORTY

Grabs one of the mugs on the table and drinks from it.

I wish you would stop reading those blasted horror-scope thingies.

THELMA

It's horoscope, you nincompoop. And why should I? They give me sound advice on how to live for the day. I do think I should be quite lost without them! (sniffs)

MORTY

The arbitrary locations of stars and planets has no effect on your life. How could one twelfth of all human beings all magically have the same kind of day based on movements that can be explained and predicted by actual scientists and not those astrologer quacks? Try not to subscribe to that herd mentality, Thelma.

THELMA

(Pouting) Oh you're no fun.

MORTY

Finishes his coffee, sets down the cup and heads toward the door on R.

It's all in the job description. Speaking of which, the mortgage isn't going to pay itself! I might be home a bit late tonight. We're expecting a new shipment of night crawlers up at the worm farm, and I've got to inspect each container because we've had a bit of bad blood with the Bluegate Farm location in the past.

THELMA

Mm-hmm.

MORTY

Opens the door

THELMA

Oh, Morty?

MORTY

Yes?

THELMA

I cancelled our life insurance.

MORTY

What?!

THELMA

I cancelled our life insurance.

MORTY

For Heaven's Sake WHY WOMAN?!

THELMA

It's in the stars! My horoscope told me to save money, so I figured we should cut back where we can!

MORTY

Life insurance is not an optional thing!

THELMA

Well I hope health insurance is, because I cancelled that too.

MORTY

WHAT?!

THELMA

Morty, I really think you should get your hearing checked.

MORTY

That'll be pretty hard without health insurance, don't you think?

Checks Watch

We'll talk about this when I get home, Thelma. I'm late enough already.

Exits R.

THELMA

Getting up and crossing to center, still reading newspaper.

Let's see what kind of day you're having, Mr. "science is better than all your silly star stuff, Thelma." Let's see... Gemini, Gemini... Oh, here it is!

Squints at the newspaper

Oh No.

Blackout.

Scene 2

In front of curtain as the scene changes. MORTY is lying in a wheeled hospital bed with various medical equipment hooked up to him, such as IVs and/or heart rate monitors. Doctor Thatcher is standing near him, holding a clip board. Music start.

Doctor

I'm afraid the diagnosis is looking grim.

MORTY

Just lay it on me doc.

DOCTOR

Your future prospects are rather dim.

MORTY

Give it to me straight, enough talk.

THELMA

Bursts in from behind curtain.

MORTY

Thelma!

THELMA

I came as quickly as I could!

MORTY

No you didn't!

THELMA

Yes I did!

MORTY

It's been days!

THELMA

...I was busy.

MORTY

You were lazy.

DOCTOR

As for your results...

MORTY

Yes? Yes!?

DOCTOR

I'm afraid to say, they're quite conclusive.

MORTY

And? And!?

DOCTOR

Well, to put it simply...

Musical Swell. Curtains open to a reveal quite a bit larger hospital room filled with patients in beds and nurses. Huge dance number to rival all dance numbers.

Cancer! You have terminal cancer!

MORTY

I have terminal cancer?

DOCTOR

Yes, and you're gonna die. You have six months to live.

MORTY

Only six? I'm feeling so lost

DOCTOR

I'm just kidding it's four.

MORTY

And the hospital cost?

DOCTOR

Six Million Dollars!

MORTY

What?!

DOCTOR

I'm just kidding it's more!

ALL

Cancer! You have terminal cancer! You have four months to live.

DOCTOR

Hands Morty the clipboard and wheels his bed around with the dance. A NURSE wheels the IV around after the Doctor.

Cancer! You have terminal cancer! This news, please forgive...

MORTY

Why is this hospital bill so high?

DOCTOR

Well, there was the lab routine,

Nurses and Patients

Forty Thousand!

DOCTOR

Therapy,

NURSES AND PATIENTS

Fifty Thousand!

DOCTOR

Cancer Screen,

NURSES AND PATIENTS

Sixty thousand!

DOCTOR

Pharmacy...

NURSES AND PATIENTS

Seventy Thousand!

DOCTOR

Of course, the Medicare, conditioned air, the easy chair, that gown you wear. The room you're in, your throw-up bin, your IV pins, your brand-new skin. Trips to latrines, the health machines, and Benzene, Chlorine, Caffeine, Glycine, Bromine, Hygiene, Vaccine, Florine, and don't forget our stellar, top-of-the line, hospital cuisine!

MORTY

All I had was pork and beans!

DOCTOR

And guess what was the fee! Thirteen!

MORTY

Thirteen Dollars?

DOCTOR

Just kidding! It was Nineteen!

Wheels Morty back in front of the curtain and steps behind it.

MORTY

groans

The music ends with a bang. CURTAIN FALL with Morty and Thelma Downstage.

THELMA

Well that was a little odd.

MORTY

What was?

THELMA

...Never mind.

MORTY

How in the world are we ever going to pay for this?

THELMA

I don't understand how this could have happened. Your Horoscope said that you would get Cholera, not Cancer!

MORTY

Thelma! We don't have eight million dollars!

THELMA

Our insurance will cover it.

MORTY

No it won't!

THELMA

Yes it will!

MORTY

You canceled it!

THELMA

No I... Oh. Right.

MORTY

Should we give them a call?

THELMA

Ghostbusters?

MORTY

Wha-? No! The Insurance company.

THELMA

Oh. Right. Yes.

Pulls out cellphone and dials. 

Spotlight on Harold as he appears L. He is sitting in a rolling chair in front of a desk with three corded telephones in front of him, one red, one blue, one green. He is talking on the blue phone.

Harold

Thanks for calling the Fry 'N Die where we have burgers worth killing for. My name is Harold, may I take your order?

THELMA

Oh, I thought this was Hopudi (She pronounces it Hope-You-Die) Insurance, pardon me.

HAROLD

Oh! Wait! It is! Sorry. The red phone is for Fry 'N Die. Sorry ma'm. I'm working three phone jobs. It gets confusing sometimes.

THELMA

And there's a restaurant called the Fry 'N Die?

HAROLD

It used to be called the Fry 'N Dine, but the N fell off and we couldn't afford another one. But if you ask me, if you eat one of the beef 'n bacon burgers, it's just as good as signing your life away to the demon of heart attacks.

Voice

Harold!

HAROLD

Sorry! Anyway, what were you saying?

THELMA

Wait, why in the world are you working three jobs?

HAROLD

I was walking near a university and tripped. I landed on the college campus and when I stood up, I was thousands of dollars in debt with student loans.

THELMA

This is Hopudi (Hope-You-Die) Insurance, isn't it?

HAROLD

It's pronounced Hop-ooh-dee, but yes. What can I help you with?

THELMA

Well, I called a while ago to cancel mine and my husband's life and health insurance. I was wondering if I could cancel the cancellation.

HAROLD

What's your name, Ma'm?

THELMA

Thelma Deadman. May husband is Mortimer Deadman.

HAROLD

Pulls out a spiral-bound notebook and flips some pages.

Ah, yes, I think I see it here...

Red phone rings

Please hold, Mrs. Deadman. I have an incoming call on the other line.

Picks up red phone

Thanks for calling the Fry 'N Die. Our shakes are to die for. My name is Harold, may I take your order? ...mmhm... mmhm... would you like the meat murdered or slayed? Oh, executed? Okay but that'll cost extra. And for your sides? ...would you like slaughter sauce with that?

Begins to fade out both in volume and in lights. When spot is completely out, Harold exits. During this, Thelma shakes her head, paces, and finally disappears behind the curtain.

MORTY

Looks around, and, seeing no one, sighs and pulls out his own cellphone. He dials.

Yes, hi Mom. I'm in the hospital. (cringes) ...Yes, I know. Yes. Okay. See you then.

Fade out.


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User avatar
1705 Reviews


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Sun May 29, 2016 10:33 pm
BlueAfrica wrote a review...



Omg, I loved this. I'm sure some people might find it offensive (as you said), but I think some people who have experience with cancer would get some dark chuckles out of it, specifically at the song when the doctor and nurses and patients are singing about how stupidly expensive life is about to get for Morty. How many people with terminal patients in their families haven't felt gouged by hospitals or cheated by insurance agencies? A lot of people could relate to this. And if they can't exactly feel better about their circumstances, it might help just a little to see it ridiculed this way and know other people are dealing with the same thing.

Also, a small point, but I liked when Thelma said that Morty was supposed to have cholera, not cancer. Because, of course, knowing that this was going to be about cancer, I assumed his horoscope said that. It was just a nice way to undermine readers' expectations, although I guess without the author's note people wouldn't know the musical was about cancer ahead of time.




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Sun May 29, 2016 6:41 pm
chhlovebooks wrote a review...



Greetings Fortis! Nice piece you have here. Overall, I can't find too many errors, so congrats! However, I'm not too familiar with musicals and their scripts, so my review probably won't be the best. I shall most certainly try though!

There is a staircase U. L. , behind the table.
Okay, first off, what are the random letters scattered throughout the intro of the scenery? Are these directions like right and left?

Voice

Harold!
Here, is "Voice" a separate character shouting Harold's name, or is it part of the dialogue? If it is a separate character, please fully capitalize it like all of the other character titles.

Nurses and Patients

Forty Thousand!
"Nurses and Patients" needs to be in all capitals here, for the sake of consistency.


Other than this, however, I can't find anything. Now on to the compliments! I really like your ideas here, and the song is excellent! You did an amazing job rhyming all of the medicines and other hospital-related stuff. I also like your use of humor to make a dark thing seem just a tad lighter. All in all, this is a hilarious piece, and I can't wait for more.




fortis says...


Those letters are standard short-hand for stage directions in script writing. I wrote this work on celtx, an online script writing website, so a lot of the really important script formatting wasn't kept including italics, spacing, and the capital things you mentioned. The first time a character is mentioned, it seems, it doesn't keep the all-caps. I was a bit too lazy to go through and find those places and change them.
Thanks for your compliments.



chhlovebooks says...


You are most welcome! ^v^




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