Just what the World Needs
The Old Rickety House
By Paula Carter
Genre: Children’s Theatre
Cast: 4f, 1 young f, 1m plus SM operates hand and appears as Skeleton
Settings: One set
Approximate Length: 1 hour 30 mins
Synopsis: This is a rollicking 90 minutes of old fashioned kid’s theatre with a few modern influences thrown in. Underneath the fun and games is a no nonsense morality play designed to teach 5 – 10 year olds that if you’re nice to others, they’ll be nice to you. Aunt Agatha introduces us to the old rickety house, it’s owner Winnie Whisperwill, two ghosts haunting it and the local bully Tom. So bad is Tom that Winnie and the ghosts set out to teach him the error of his ways with the help of some of the weird inhabitants of the old rickety house.
History: First performed in July 2006 at the Studio, Holden Street Theatres, by Carnevale Productions.
Performance Rights and copies of the script can be obtained from this website.
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The Old Rickety House
Act 1: A Ghost Story
The setting is an old house with an invisible wall with a door one side (SR) with a bench nearby and a window (SL). Inside the house is a large spider on a cobweb, an armchair, and a table and two chairs.
The play opens with the interior of the house lit with blue light (UV) and the ghosts (Christabelle and Lulu) dance through holding the ghost puppets to a minor key waltz. As they disappear the lights front stage light up and Aunt Agatha enters with a book under her arm
AGATHA: Hello. How are you today. I’m Aunt Agatha and I am going to read to you. Are you sitting comfortably? (She sits on a bench and pats a very dusty cushion) Then I’ll begin. Once upon a time there was an old rickety house. The house stood in a pretty little town, with a park, some shops and a library where children could listen to stories. (She looks up.) That sounds just like where I live, in fact I read books to the children at our library, just like I’m reading to you. Children come to the library to borrow books as well. (She goes back to the book.) Unfortunately the usually happy atmosphere in the town was being spoilt by a very unsavoury character ... Tom the bully (she stands) Do you know this is really strange because we have the same trouble right here. And guess what our bully’s name is? That’s right, Tom! He is greedy, rude and worst of all, he is cruel. He bullies the children at school and if they are bigger than him, he sends them nasty text messages. In fact he is totally out of control and nobody........
Sounds of cat miaowing from off stage.
TOM: (OFF) Get out of my way you stupid cat
AGATHA: Oh dear, that’s him. I’d better hide until he’s gone.
Tom enters waving a stick and sees the audience
TOM: I’m the boss around here, nobody crosses me so you’d better watch out. (he struts and does sparring moves with his stick and trips and recovers very quickly) That wasn’t funny, so watch it.
I’m bad, I’m mad,
I’m someone you won’t want to meet
On a quiet and lonely street.
I’m a bully, I’m a thief
I’m a vandal through and through
I’m like Conan the destroyer and Schwartzenegger too
I can taunt, I can tease, I can text whoever I please
On a night when you’re all alone
I’m tough, I’m rough, I can pick on you and you
I don’t care what you want, I only care what I want
Because I’m a bully, I’m a thief, I’m me
TOM: (He thumps his chest and hurts himself) That’s not funny. (HE LOOKS AROUND) See that dump, they call it The Old Rickety House. They say it’s haunted. Are you frightened of ghosts? I’m not. (There is a strange wailing sound and Lulu and Christabel waft across.) What was that? (The audience will say “ghosts” he reacts frightened and then struts again.) I wasn’t really frightened, I was pretending. (He produces a spraycan.) Hey. Look what I stealed from my dad’s shed. I’m going to leave my mark on that wall. It’s fun messing up people’s nice clean walls. (He goes to spray and Christabel runs through, takes it and exits) hey! (Double take) Where’s it gone? (The audience will answer) Who? Well they’re not there now. Who cares anyway, because I’ve got another one (He produces it and shouts) So there! Whoever you are! Llulu runs on and takes it) Where’s it gone?