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The Deadly Factor


Black Comedy Play: 'The Deadly Factor' by Jan Moran Neil

Hymen Fowell, writer and producer has instructed seven actors to breathe their parts whilst ‘getting into their characters’ shoes’ in the dressing room. With the stage manager she appears only as a voice over. The audience will decide which sin is the greatest. In fact, Fowell has told each actor privately they are the greatest and given them a monologue beginning with the song: ‘Rose, rose, rose, rose …’

As each actor enters the dressing room in ‘civvie’ clothes they are the antithesis of the sin they are to play: charity collectors, weight watchers, man of the cloth (all goodness) but gradually slip into evil each making their case for the Greatest Sin Recording Contract. The understudy helps to make up some of the actors during the course of the play.

Pride - ‘Nose, nose, nose …’ the number one sin. All sins stem from Pride: the ego. Wrath kills Pride by cutting off his nose.
Covetousness - ‘Blackberry Rose …’ survives by stealing everyone’s roses and possessions. Wrath cuts her throat.
Gluttony - ‘Toes, toes, toes …’ is the biggest and the best. Wrath destroys her by suffocating her with her own popcorn.
Sloth - ‘Doze, doze, doze …’ uninterested in being the greatest (but then ‘being nothing’ is) injects himself fatefully with his heroine: the white princess.
Lechery - ‘Foes, Foes, Foes …’ has his hands cut off by Wrath and bleeds to death.
Finally Wrath, bent on self-destruction, is strangled by Envy and the last rose.

Each sin can take an ending as the greatest sin. Their case is in their monologues eg Gluttony: “It’s not over until the fat lady sings”. Some fun can be had by only one actor being informed of their elevated status on the night and being given one sentence of explanation when taking the spotlight.

The best ending is as written. Hymen Fowell instructs The Understudy to kill Envy and Envy is shot. Therefore, Hymen Fowell, the producer, is God… or the Devil. Or the audience can take a vote…


50 mins approx


  • Hymen Fowell - the writer and producer, A la Sharon Osborne (voice over) (f)  
  • Stage Manager - whatever he wants to be (voice over) (m)  
  • The Understudy - a gofer, pebble glasses, nervous type, thin, attached to the script, wears a white tee-shirt with ‘The Understudy’ on front (f)
  • Wrath - an effeminate actorish type who transcends into a serial killing football fan, attached to his flick knife, wears red & white clothing (m)  
  • Envy - daddy’s little girl with a defective ‘r’ who gets greener and more down market as ‘the play’ progresses, attached also to the script and sour green grapes, wears all green clothing (f)
  • Pride - very butch and Northern, gets more beautiful as ‘the play’ progresses, attached to his nose, wears all pink clothing (m)
  • Covetousness - charitable lady who becomes blondly-wigged, manipulative and ‘designer label’ acquiring as ‘the play’ progresses, attached to her Blackberry, wears all black clothing (f)
  • Gluttony - slim, becoming fatter and American, attached to her MacDonald’s, wears a fat suit (f)  
  • Lechery - just been to an audition as a vicar, ageing actor, does what it says on the packet, attached to his digital camera (m)
  • Sloth - diligently prepares his part en route to the theatre and so totally degenerate on arrival, Australian accent, attached to his intravenous needle (m)  

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