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The Undertaker's
Assistant Hath Come

THE UNDERTAKER’S ASSISTANT HATH COME

Created by Echo Cain

 

       This scene was written as an exercise for a playwriting class. I wrote two versions of the same scene, showing how one situation can be written differently based on what tone the writer wants to bring out. The first version is rather self-serious and more naturalistic while the second version exaggerates the absurd and surreal parts of the premise. Check out both scenes and spot the differences!

ULVA- A local elderly woman, wife of Crulvax.

CRULVAX- The Captain of the Guard, husband of ULVA.

SVENDRIK- The Undertaker’s Assistant

 

 

VERSION ONE 

ULVA is sitting in a rocking chair, swaying back and forth.

She sits silent for a time.

CRULVAX walks in dressed in black, he is holding his captain’s hat.

 

CRULVAX

                    Speaking to himself.

Aye, without a doubt, we really pulled the wool over their eyes Ulva.

A long pause.

I guess it was worth it… In the end…

 

ULVA

We didn’t have any choice, Crulvax.

Better that we took the blood money and buried it with “my” body.

 

A loud ring of a doorbell sounds across the stage.

CRULVAX slowly walks over to the door.

 

SVENDRIK

Open up Crul!

We need to talk...now!

 

CRULVAX

                    Readying himself.

My personage shall greet you in a single minute!

                    To ULVA.

Do you think he knows?! The body! The body is NOT there Ulva! We can’t just---

 

ULVA

Shh! Do you want to give us away?

I’ll hide in the closet until he’s gone, you have nothing to hide so long as I am not in sight!

 

CRULVAX

Al-alright…

                    Opens door.

                    In a much more depressed tone.

Oh. Svendrik, what dost thou want?

Hath the church not tithe enough to pay thou for thy work?

 

SVENDRIK

                    Pushing his way in.

 

Nay old friend, the place of eternal rest hath been desecrated!

Graves turned over!

The local madman is screaming bloody murder about skeletons walking upright from the tombs of our ancestors.

I...I must inform you of most horrific news closer to thy sordid heart.

You’re--

 

CRULVAX

Ulva.

 

SVENDRIK

Well. Yes.

                    A long pause.

The dirt was...disturbed after last night.

A sheep’s carcass was found mangled next to the headstone.

The village is saying that thy late wife hath turned.

Turned to become some vicious creature that can’t help but stalk sheep and other livestock.

I’m assuming that thy mind can deduce that her body was--

 

CRULVAX

Nowhere to be found.

 

SVENDRIK

                    Another pause.

Listen, I don’t mean to force you from your grieving, but the people need you...more now than ever.

You could surely sort out the hysteria with a few terse remarks to the villagers.

  

CRULVAX

Well, I already have my hat.

I’ll meet ye in the graveyard to deal with this mess.

Give me a few minutes to collect myself beforehand.

 

SVENDRIK

Of course sir.

                    Leaving swiftly.

 

CRULVAX

He’s gone Ulva!

 

ULVA

                    Exiting the closet.

Yes, I was well aware of that when the door closed.

Look, he hasn’t a clue about our charade!

We should make off with the money now, leaving this muddy village to rot in its own filth.

 

CRULVAX

As enticing as that might be, you know I can’t just leave the villagers to be killed by whatever fell beast hath come to the hamlet!

 

ULVA

Crulvax… You know it isn’t actually a monster… Right?

 

CRULVAX

Yeah! I...I knew that because...

                    He trails off.

 

ULVA

...because you know that I am not walking around as a skeleton because I am right here in front of you. Whatever dug up the coffin with the sheep is surely of human origin, not monstrous.

 

CRULVAX

Right right right!

                    A pause as he throws on his coat.

Well, no point in waiting, I’ll go take a look at the crime scene before anything gets disturbed by the deputy. They'll chase us down if we just leave now. We'll get out of this horrific town tomorrow.

Until tonight, goodbye my sweet!

 

ULVA

See you tonight!

 

END SCENE

 

Version Two

ULVA sits motionless in a rocking chair. Her face is decrepit and unsightly. CRULVAX enters, he is noticeably similar in physique to a lumberjack.

 

CRULVAX

Hi Ulva!

ULVA says/does nothing.

Yeah! I was going to talk to you about that…

I think that we should organize a party!...

Yes! A party in the house!

                    A knock rings loud on the door.

WHO IS IT?!

 

SVENDRIK

‘Tis I! The good undertaker’s assistant at the local funeral home! Yes!

have come bringing frightening tidings of crimes at the local graveyard!

Truly unsightly times we have on our hands!

 

CRULVAX

AHHHHH! AHHHHH! AHAHAHAHA!

YES! I’ve been waiting for this knock, a knock bringing adventure, thrill, and suspense to my life!

WOW!

 

SVENDRIK

So.

Are.

You.

Going to let me in?

 

CRULVAX

YeeeS! Old chaperoo! What good tidings you bring to me!

                         Opening the door.

Please, make yourself right at home!

 

                         SVENDRIK moves to sit in the seat where

ULVA currently sits.

Not THERE! MY GOD!

To think that you would so debase this household upon your first steps within it!

 

SVENDRIK

But, there’s nobody--

 

CRULVAX

JUST SIT HERE!

                         Attempting and failing to appear cordial.

Nooow, what seems to be the problem laddie?

 

SVENDRIK

Well… Well… Ummm… Yeah! The graves, unturned! The, most recent grave of the town 

was unearthed…

Eyeing CRULVAX.

A sheep’s carcass lying parallel to it.

The locals are all telling stories about skeletons, zombies, werewolves, monsters of all sorts! We need an investigator to deal with it.

I know that with your...you know...loss--

 

CRULVAX

--I’LL take the job! Why, if my name isn’t Crulvax Venus Sperrigorf I never turn down a job. Nay! Forsooth, methinks I shall don my coat, hat, boots, moderate alcoholism, and badge and make my way to the cemetery and partake in some smooth detection, deduction...maybe even seduction! 

 

Winks at the audience in an uncomfortable, frightening manner.

Madness is in his eyes!

 

SVENDRIK

Yeah…

I’ll, uh, get a headstart towards the cemetery.

                         Darting to leave.

 

CRULVAX

THANK YOU my dearest boy!

                         SVENDRIK exits.

Hmmm, a monster, a mystery, and perhaps even a maiden to save?

I feel back in my youth! This is the truth! Looking for hard proof!

My responsibilities go poof...into my lap!

HAAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHHAAH!

                         The laughing carries on for far too long as he gathers his hat, coat, badge, and a bottle of brandy.

OH! Ulva...would you mind cooking up a stew while I’m off at work? Shan’t be much trouble at all...no...you know I was kidding about the maiden stuff...yes...yes...alright.

LOVE YOU! SEE YOU LATER!

                         CRULVAX exits.

 

END SCENE

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