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The Widow

    by Merlin Ward


"You have written a successful genre play – classic gothic / ghost story – which is a very difficult thing to pull off in a contemporary context."
Sebastian Born, Associate Director (Literary), National Theatre

     

Synopsis

Play Script: 'The Widow' by Merlin WardCatherine, a beautiful young model, is offered a photographic assignment in a remote Victorian mansion in Wales. The house is owned by an American, whose son has arrived from New York to spend his last few weeks of life in his ancestors' family seat.

Play Script: 'The Widow' by Merlin Ward

During the photo shoot, Catherine gets to know the son and is captivated by him, despite the young man looking pale and weak. Her feelings for him grow, unaware that the modelling job is a sham and that the reason why she was lured to the gothic house dates back to the 1830s when a young woman was coerced into marriage and was, subsequently, thrown from the rooftop to her death.

'The Widow' is a contemporary gothic thriller with a beautiful heroine, a twisted antagonist, an ancient scandal and a long-dead victim still haunting the halls of a stately home. It is a gripping tale of thwarted ambition, unswerving maternal love, and a doomed romance that warms the heart and draws us into a rich story that will resonate long after the final curtain.

"The Widow follows the template of how to tell a ghost story. Remote setting?: Check. Creepy servants?: Check. Family curse?: Check. Beautiful young Catherine is lured to a haunted mansion under false pretences and the other inhabitants have a high old time deceiving the poor girl. The sinister housekeeper would give Du Maurier’s Mrs Danvers the creeps. There are some real shocks and surprises within this old-fashioned spook story, told in a modern way." Martin Barron, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, 26 July 2014


Characters

Principals (1m, 4f)

  Catherine: a young photographic model who has a spiky character.
  Elizabeth: an American from New York in her late 40s or 50s.
  Joshua: Elizabeth’s young son, a year or two older than Catherine, also from New York.
  Mrs O’Brien: Irish, looks like a pleasant housekeeper, but she is a determined woman who is probably insane.
  Joanna: Early 30s, Jo is in charge of make-up and clothing on the photo shoot.

Support (2m, 2f)

  Margaret: Catherine’s mother, a loving lioness who would kill to protect her young.
  Mary Longden: a ghost, a haunting, waif-like presence, dressed in Victorian greys and blacks.
  Dewi: a Welsh taxi driver. (Doubles with Rev Shepherd).
  Rev Shepherd: A true believer, a man of the cloth, evil walks the earth and it scares him. (Doubles with Dewi).
  Jean-Claude: a photographer in his 20s, thinks he has seen and done it all. (Doubles with Policeman and Curate).
  Policeman: tries to do his job but he's no match for Elizabeth. (Doubles with Jean-Claude and Curate).
  Curate: the assistant to Reverend Shepherd. (Non-speaking role. Doubles with Jean-Claude and Policeman).
  Voices Off (on mobile phones): Sean (Catherine’s former boyfriend) and Sammy (Catherine’s modelling agent)

     
 

 

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