“Do you believe in ghosts?”
A haunting chill floats by you. A lonely lullaby drifts in the air. Something…or someone…lingers behind the wallpaper in an old Victorian manse. Four lighthearted friends don’t believe in ghosts, but they can’t resist a little spiritualism fun while lodging at a supposedly haunted mansion. But when the lights go out and the spirits start sending out some unsympathetic vibrations, they find they have tapped into a spooky tale of Victorian quackery, madness, and heartbreak. Can they help the ghost find peace? Tables aren’t the only things getting turned in our twenty-sixth show and the first ever Master Mystery Productions ghost story.
WOMAN IN THE WALLS
Friday, December 13 and Saturday, December 14, 2019
5 to 7 p.m. at Red Rock Books (206 W. Ridgecrest Blvd.)
Woman in the Walls will be our fourth partnership with Marta Becket’s legendary Amargosa Opera House in Death Valley Junction, CA. This exquisite venue featuring detailed, magical murals filled with colorful characters and imbued with an enchantment of its own has hosted three previous Master Mystery Productions: Exit Prima Donna (Spring 2018), Eat Cake (Spring 2019), and Lenore Nevermore (October 2019). A magical theater deserves a magical tale, and we’ve provided our most haunting one yet. Our script contains seven roles: four ladies and three gentlemen.
Actors need to be age 15 and older to audition. Those under 18 will need a parent/guardian signature on a permission slip AND a parent/guardian MUST attend any and all rehearsals their child attends. Actors will be paid for their work. Amargosa Opera House is located in Death Valley which requires lots of travel time. We will work to coordinate transportation for everyone. Actors under 18 require a parent/guardian to travel with us. The show performs March 21, March 28, April 4, and April 11, 2020 at 2 p.m. at Amargosa Opera House.
During auditions, everyone will fill out an audition form which will ask for basics such as name, email, experience, availability, etc. These are just basics to give us an understanding on who the performer is as well as contact information. Then we pair up performers for cold readings of selected scenes from the original script by Daniel Stallings. Those interested in the role of The Ghost of Claire Forsythe will also be asked to sing a lullaby of their choosing as part of their audition. Rehearsal schedule will be finalized after auditions based on actor availability. First rehearsal will not be until after the holidays. After auditions, casting emails will be sent out to actors.
If you are unable to attend the posted audition dates, but are still interested in trying out, message us on Facebook or email us at email@example.com to schedule an outside audition.
Do you believe in ghosts? In the winter of 1930, four friends—Lucy, Eliza, Graham, and Arthur—have rented a rambling Victorian mansion for the holidays. The house is in need of updates and repairs and the caretaker is a bit of an odd duck, but the price was too good to pass up. But perhaps they should have. For no sooner have they entered the dusty and shrouded drawing room do they hear the tragic story of invalid Claire Forsythe, the Woman in the Walls. Claire’s anguished spirit seems to haunt the empty halls of the old house, filling the barren passages and cobwebbed corners with the notes of half-remembered lullabies, so these intrepid friends, along with their host who claims psychic powers, try their hand at a little table-tipping spiritualism to speak with the dearly departed. The lights go out, a scream pierces the dark, and one of their own lies dead from shock. Or is it something more? As the snow threatens to seal them inside this haunted mansion, strange and dangerous secrets about Claire’s life emerge, and it may not be long before another of the marooned party is spirited away to the afterlife. But could something…or someone more lively be behind these creepy closed doors? Inspired by Gothic classics such as “The Yellow Wallpaper,” step into our circle for a séance full of spirits, surprises, madness, and mystery. So do you believe in ghosts?
CAST OF CHARACTERS
THE GHOST OF CLAIRE FORSYTHE— Known in the village of Hamilton Park as The Sullen Songbird and The Woman in the Walls, Claire was the wife of the house’s owner, physician John Forsythe, who was forced into a rest cure following the birth of her child in the 1890’s. Confined to the drawing room, Claire descended into a deep madness from her isolation and separation from her child. Claire’s life is told in flashbacks, but she is often heard singing sweet lullabies to her faraway baby deep in the walls of the haunted mansion.
DR. JOHN FORSYTHE — A Victorian physician who owned Hamilton House in the late 1800’s, having bought the property from the bankrupt gentry who built and owned it for generations. He diagnosed his wife’s post-partum depression, an unheard-of illness in Victorian England, as “general female hysteria” and had her isolated in the house’s drawing room. Outwardly very sweet and affectionate to his wife, his actions are nonetheless layered with an obstinacy that verges on tyrannical. He believes every choice he makes is the best for his family, regardless of the disaster that looms in the shadows.
LUCY — A bright, young thing who, thanks to smarter investments (and a few thousand pounds sealed in biscuit tins in the garden), managed to hold onto her fortune despite the worldwide financial crisis. She’s the one who rented the house for her friends to spend “a jolly, old-fashioned holiday away from the dank, depressing streets of London.” Bright, vibrant, and cheerful, Lucy always looks on the positive side, no matter how dire a situation becomes. But don’t mistake her optimism for foolishness. Lucy has a sharp mind and is very practical when it comes to a crisis.
ELIZA — Sweet with a touch of nervousness, Eliza is an orphan who works at a luxury hat shop as an assistant. Lucy met Eliza there and decided to make the girl her new best friend. Hamilton House makes her uncomfortable from the moment she enters, but she is hesitant to say why. She also possesses the Gift, which she keeps a closely guarded secret. While not as bubbly and friendly as Lucy, Eliza is a polite, mature young woman who discovers her own strength during her stay at the mansion.
GRAHAM — A charming man well-versed in literature, art, and science, Graham is excited by the prospect of staying at the house, claiming it to be “a wonder of architecture” he wishes to study. Prosaic in his imagination, he is skeptical about the notion of ghosts and is a vocal dissenter to the spiritualism shenanigans the group engages in. As the scholar of the group, he is most useful as the group’s scientist and criminologist when they find themselves snowed in with deadly forces surrounding them. He can be a bit of a blowhard at times when he is stressed or angry.
ARTHUR — Eliza’s longtime fiancé who is madly in love with her and trotted alongside her to his country house party despite fond wishes of “a quiet holiday at home.” Calm and supportive, Arthur provides a great deal of moral strength to the group when things turn dark, deadly, and dangerous. Despite working as a lorry driver, Arthur has grand dreams to give the love of his life everything she could ever want, even though she is happy just the way they are. Arthur is more willing to believe in ghosts, as he too felt the pervasive sadness in the very walls of this ghostly mansion.
NINA NIGHTINGALE — The odd caretaker of Hamilton House, who was once a maid under the Forsythe’s time at the mansion. Nina is a brash and stalwart woman, eager to tell stories, but she is also highly distrustful of strangers and tends to live like a hermit in the vast, abandoned house. Renting out the mansion was a last ditch attempt by the current owners to make some money to reinvigorate the crumbling property, and Nina is not in favor of the idea. Still, she enjoys toying with the foursome who rent the house, teasing them with stories of the manor’s darker past. She claims to be a kind of medium, although not “a charlatan off to make a quick pound of Mrs. Gullible and Mr. Brainless,” having inherited the Gift from her grandmother. She leads the séance to summon the unhappy ghost of Claire Forsythe.
Woman in the Walls is a ghost story both touching and terrifying, providing new emotional relationships we have have yet to explore at MMP. We welcome anyone who is interested to audition! No theatrical experience is necessary. We are happy to take and develop new talent all the time. If you have questions or concerns, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or message Master Mystery Productions of Facebook.
We’ll see you at auditions!
–Master Mystery Productions