Just what the World Needs
By Tony Moore
Publisher: New Theatre Publications (www.plays4theatre.com)
ISBN 1 84094 318
Genre: Neo-Gothic Horror
Cast:4f 5m (plus 2 silent female roles that can be cut.)
Approximate Length: 2 hours including interval
Synopsis: A young woman dies of apparent anaemia in a Surrey Sanatorium. When her best friend begins to exhibit the same symptoms her Doctor sends for an expert from Holland called Van Helsing. He advises that he believes that a vampire is involved. The others scoff but eventually suspicion begins to point to a new neighbour, Count Dracula. The action mounts to an eventual climax in the cellars of Carfax, Count Dracula’s home. What more can be said, it’s based on the original book with influences from a 1920’s stage script and a 1950’s film script.
History: The script was commissioned to be performed at The Stag Theatre Sevenoaks Kent to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the original book in 1997.
Applications for performance rights and for scripts must be made to New Theatre Publications at their website: www.plays4theatre.com
Act 1 Scene 2
(The lights stay dim and we hear a Voice over in MINA’S voice)
MINA: (Voiceover) Today we have buried my beloved friend Lucy Harker. Were it not for my father and my dear fiancé Jonathon I do not think I could have borne the pain. Not just for my loss but for Jonathon’s for while I have lost my friend he has lost a sister and the last member of his family. As I write this I have before me Lucy’s crucifix. I do not think I will wear it despite my promise to her. Our new neighbour at Carfax, Count Dracula, tells me that it is an antique and very valuable. I am afraid I may lose or damage it and it has great sentimental value to me as a memory of my dearest friend. I will keep it with my mother’s jewellery and perhaps will wear it at my wedding. Count Dracula has been very kind in this our time of bereavement. Considering he is a stranger he has been most solicitous and has spent many hours with us. I am glad of his kindness because Jonathon has been recalled to London, how I wish he were still by my side...........
(Fade out over last sentence.)
DR SEWARD'S voice.
It is only three weeks since we buried poor Lucy and now my Mina is ill with what seems to be the same disease. The only symptoms are weakness, apparent anaemia and a tendency to sleep during the day and be wakeful at night. We have given her transfusions and she seems to rally and then a few nights later is ill again exactly as in Lucy’s case. I have telegraphed to Van Helsing in Amsterdam, as I know of no one else who can help...
(Fade out over last sentence.)
JONATHON HARKER'S voice.
I must hurry and complete this entry as I have a train to catch. Dr Seward has summoned me to attend Mina again and while he says there is no change he has asked me to come at once. I cannot bear the thought of losing my Mina so soon after Lucy’s death...
(Fade out over last sentence.
There is the ring of an old-fashioned doorbell
The lights come up on the stage as the doors open to reveal the maid ushering in JONATHON HARKER.)
HARKER: You’re sure that Miss Mina is no worse?
MAID: Just the same sir.
SEWARD: (Entering) Oh good John, I am pleased you were so prompt. You may leave, Alice.
HARKER: I caught the first train, as soon as I got your telegraph. Why have you sent for me Sir, what has happened? Is Mina worse?
SEWARD: As I said in my telegram there is no change.
HARKER: But you said to come at once something must be worrying you. Surely there must be something more we can do for Mina. Doctor I’d give my life if it could save hers.
SEWARD: I’m sure you would my boy. You love her deeply but never forget I love my daughter too. She’s all I have. You must see that nothing Medical science can suggest has been left undone.
HARKER: Medical Science couldn’t do much for Lucy. Poor Lucy.
SEWARD: Yes poor Lucy.
(A wild maniacal laugh is heard off Stage.)
HARKER: Good God, what was that?
SEWARD: A patient of mine. Miss Renfield.
HARKER: But I thought you never kept badly disturbed patients here in the sanatorium. Surely it is very bad for Mina to be exposed to that sort of disturbance.
SEWARD: I quite agree, and I’m going to have her sent away. Until recently she was always quiet. I shall be very sorry to lose her. She is a very unusual case. Zoophagous.
HARKER: I beg your pardon?
SEWARD: A life eater. She thinks that by absorbing lives she can prolong her own. She has always eaten flies, now she apparently has taken to catching spiders and feeding flies to them to fatten them up. Then she eats the spiders.
HARKER: Good God, how disgusting.
SEWARD: Yes indeed.
HARKER: But Doctor why did you call me up from London so urgently.
SEWARD: Yesterday I telegraphed to Holland for my old friend Van Helsing. He’ll be here soon. I have sent the carriage to the station for him now. I am going to hand Mina’s case over to him.
HARKER: Another specialist on anaemia?
SEWARD: No my boy, whatever this may be it is not anaemia, I despair of ever finding a cure myself but this man, my old Professor knows more about mysterious diseases than any man alive.
(A dog howls at a distance. The chorus is picked up by other dogs far and near.)
HARKER: Those dogs again. They almost seem howls of terror.
SEWARD: I have heard them every night at twilight since Lucy first fell ill.
HARKER: When I was in Transylvania, the natives said that dogs howling at night like that meant wolves were prowling about.
SEWARD: I hardly think you would find Wolves prowling around Purfleet only twenty miles from London.
HARKER: Yet your house might as well be in a wilderness. Nothing in sight except for Carfax.
SEWARD: Your friend, Count Dracula, came in again last evening.HARKER: He’s not a friend. I hardly know the man