Letter From Hell

Wrote this a few years back as a dramatic monologue. I performed it at The Sierra Storytelling Festival where it was modestly received. It should be performed by a woman, obviously, and has been done that way a couple of times.
I like it still.
As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods.  They kill us for their sport.
                                                                                          King Lear, III. iv. 36.

I write in advance of the arrival of your shade here below in the underworld, the nether regions, Hades. I am told you are expected shortly. I wish so much that you should receive this epistle while the spirit of life still breathes in that body I briefly called husband to mine. Yes, Orpheus, it is Eurydice, your bride of a single afternoon. Your bride, snatched from your embrace by the serpent’s sting on the day of our wedding. Your bride, Euriyice, whom you followed into hell with your song and your . . . lyre. Eurydice, the dead.

With the dead, here I arrived, having awakened from the sleep of life. After a time, you followed, to free me, to walk me once again into the light of the sun, so that like you, I should feel Helios’ warmth caress my cheek. O Orpheus, your song echoes in the vast vaults of hell still, still the shades residing here forever speak in hushed tones of Orpheus, the Divine musician, Orpheus, who braved death to free his love from Hades’ icy grip, Orpheus, whose anguished song of sorrow moved even the indifferent gods to tears.

What did you think you were doing? I was and am dead, doomed to haunt these vaults in waking sleep and then there you are with your seven-stringed-toy and your sweet song of supplication that sways the boatman to sleep and caresses the teats of the triple-headed beast Cerberus. So you charm your way here, even here, the first undead to do so, and you bring all that hope, all that certainty, Euridyce will be free, unthinkable, to live again, into the warmth, all that hope, to live again, it must be destiny, the charmer, the gods have willed it, the charmer, his immortal lyre.

What did you think you were doing? There was one condition, one condition only, don’t look back. Up we climbed, the long long walk through eternity, you leading, singing, charming, parting the way, I following, clutching hope, approaching life, climbing, upward, there, standing, the shore, you are standing there, in the light, the warmth, the hope, you, there, turning, smiling, rapt, entranced with your song, smiling, singing, turning, No! Turning. No! Stop! No!

No one has died twice but me. Eurydice, the twice dead. Eurydice, beloved of Orpheus. Orpheus, fool of the gods.

I wrap myself close in the blanket of my hatred for you. It is the only thing that warms me against the cold. The heat of my hate is my last connection to the sun; I clutch it closer even as the warmth of it ebbs away into that cool forgetfulness we dead awaken into for the remainder of our days.

Orpheus, I have seen your end. When the Thracian women tear that ringleted head off those terrified shoulders your mouth will still shape the song of your lamenting, and as your bobbing head floats downstream toward Apollo’s temple your broken lips will bleat for mercy. I want you then to listen for my voice crying out that you deserve none.

Charmer, singer of false hope, I, Eurydice, want to say, want, want to. I, Eurydice, grow colder, cold. Cold. No more sun. The halls of Hades, searching, I, Eurydice, walk, twice dead, I, I, forget . . .

Back, It!

I wrote this in 2006 as an acting exercise. Samuel Beckett is my favorite playwright; this obvious parody (with apologies to his Act Without Words) was my somewhat awkward way of introducing the simple magic of his work to high school students. I produced two Beckett festivals while teaching there. I think this would make a great little film. That Beckett guy, he is on to something.

A Play.

The stage is a big dark blue box. Atmospheric music plays. Suddenly, a man appears. He is dressed in work clothing. He looks confused. He wanders around within the box. He touches the walls. Suddenly, a voice.



The man is startled. He looks around quickly. He appears frightened. The voice repeats.



The man jumps. He looks as though he wants to hide. He is desperate. He crouches in a corner. The voice returns.



The man looks out. The voice repeats. The man shrieks and jumps at each command.


Back! Back! Back! It! It!

The man moves with deliberate caution. He investigates the corners, the walls, the floor: he finds the fourth wall and explores this.   The voice speaks.


It! It! Back! Back! It! It!

The man tumbles. He looks frantically for a way to escape. He lies on the floor. He covers his head. He seems to want to sleep. He tosses and turns. He puts his hands near his groin. The voice speaks.


It! Back!

The man covers his face with his hands. He weeps. The Voice laughs. The man looks up. A bright light shines from above, very bright. The man slowly stands, raises his arms, stands on his toes, and waits. There is a long pause. Nothing happens. The man jumps up and down with increasing violence. He stomps about the stage. He hugs himself. He collapses. The voice laughs again. The bright light is extinguished. From a seated posture, the man gazes upward. The blue light slowly fades, and the play is over.

Little Red Redux

Some years ago I taught a high school film class. Wrote this screenplay fragment as an exercise.
Sometimes I think I’m funny.



Vivacious and pretty thirteen year old RED skips into scene holding basket and whistling a happy tune. She stops at the edge of the dark wood.


My, that is sure one big dark wood! I wish

Grandma would lease that condo near the

amusement park instead of livin’ all the way

out here in the boonies!

Red wraps her crimson cloak around her as she penetrates into the shadows. She whistles Darryl Hannah’s tune from Kill Bill and laughs to herself as THE WOLF, unseen by her, sneaks a quick look at her from behind a large tree.


The Wolf leans against the tree, breathing heavily, licks his lips.


Oh my, this could turn out to be such an

interesting day!


Red and The Wolf moving through the forest, each growing in excitement, but for very different reasons. Music swells.


THE TROLL chews on an unidentifiable animal part and grumbles to himself. He looks up and sees Red approaching in the distance, hastily hides the animal part and steps out from under his mossy stone bridge.


Red my darling! Haven’t seen ya in ages!


On my way to the old lady’s, thought I’d

swing by for some gossip and a chew.


(scratching his buttocks)

Girlfriend, you better get eyes in the back

of your well-featured head. There’s been

some feral activity of late. I know you like

wild things, but I don’t want you end up in

some predator’s mealbag.


(shows teeth – angrily)

Cut the you’re-my-dad crap and throw down,

I’m famished.


All right Miss Independence Day, but why not

cut through The Mulberry Meadow on the way

to Grandma’s house?


The Troll and Red’s dialogue continues under VOICE OVER of The Wolf.


Thank you thank you thank you!! Mulberry

Meadow, I’m on my way, madness mayhem

and messy business quickly to ensue.



You are sure gettin’ bossy in your old age.

Watch out somebody doesn’t take you down

a peg!

We see in the background The Wolf slinking away licking his lips in anticipation.


Hey stink bug; you know I can handle myself.

(a beat)

What are you lookin’ at?


Nothin’, just thought I smelled something

vaguely dangerous. Must have been you.

Red smacks The Troll with her basket.


#1       LONG SHOT. EXT. Meadow at the edge of the forest – day. RED Enters scene from left, approaches woods.

#2       CU Red:   “My that is . . .”

#3       FULL SHOT from back, Red wraps cloak, enters woods.

#4       TRACKING FULL SHOT Red, whistling, change focus to THE WOLF in distance.

#5-6-7            VARIOUS ANGLES, CU Red in woods.

#8-9-10 VARIOUS ANGLES, CU Wolf following.

#11     LONG SHOT REAR VIEW Wolf and Red in frame, moving.

#12     MID SHOT Wolf at tree: “ Oh my. . .”

#13     CU THE TROLL eating, looking up, startled.

#14     LONG SHOT Troll scrambles out from under his stone bridge.

#15     The Troll’s POV: Red approaching.

#16     OVER TROLL’S SHOULDER, Red arriving, Troll: “Red, my darling . . . “

#17     TWO SHOT COVER Red and Troll, dialogue.

#18     LONG SHOT – WOLF’S POV, Troll and Red, dialogue.

#19     CU Red, dialogue.

#20     CU Troll, dialogue.

#21     ECU – POV Troll: Red, “Cut the . . .”

#22     HIGH ANGLE TWO SHOT, Troll: “All right . . .” through “. . . take you down a peg.”

#23     OVER TROLL’S SHOULDER, Red: “Hey stink bug . . .”, Wolf in distance.

#24     OVER RED’S SHOULDER, REACTION SHOT TROLL. Red: “What are you lookin’ at?”

#25     TWO SHOT. Troll: “Nothin’, I thought I smelled . . .” Red smacks Troll.