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A Matter Of Life And Death

    by Michael Sullivan

WINNER: NDFA's Derek Jacobi Playwriting Award, 2019

Drama Play Script: 'A Matter Of Life And Death' by Michael Sullivan


Set entirely in one room, in real time, we open the play witnessing David, a depressed and lonely man, drinking his sorrows.

A visit from his brother in law, Otis, a drug dealer and all round not a great guy, sees David give the rest of his money away for one bottle of pills. Now alone, David decides to swallow the entire bottle, with the express intention of ending his life. Finally, he can be at peace. Until he meets Death.

Confusion arises from both characters, David confused as to who this stranger is, and Death at that they are entirely visible by David, someone who has not yet left this mortal coil. After the surprise and confusion has passed, they both have questions to ask each other, and answers to give, such as what happens after death, what purpose is life if there is no one to remember you, and everything in between.

Over the course of the next half hour or so, Death begins to not only understand what David is going through, and how he is feeling, but also is able to sympathise with him. But throughout it all, Death still wants David to find some happiness, some sort of peace within himself, and decides to show David some things from the “great beyond” to try and put his mind at ease. In doing so, David begins to question whether he has made the right decision.

But is this effort from Death all in vain, as we start to see the time figuratively and literally running out?


50 mins approx


(2m, 1f, 1m/f)

  • David - early 30s
  • Death - purposefully ageless and genderless, but the original script has been written with a male in mind, so feel free to change the gender
  • Otis - mid 20s
  • Eva - early 30s, must be comfortable singing the song for the final section

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