(images from the original workshop by Fresh Produc’d, NY)

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A supernatural thriller in one act.
6m, 2f, additional voices

SYNOPSIS:

Danielle Upton’s oldest and dearest friend, Edward Derby, has just gotten married to the enigmatic Asenath Waite—the youngest in a long line of occult practitioners. Over time, Danielle notices a change coming over her dear friend. He’s seemingly terrified of his new bride. Sometimes he acts like he’s an entirely different person. Is poor Edward going insane, or does Asenath hold some mystical sway over him? The answers are revealed in a final, gruesome confrontation that no one escapes unscathed.

Set in 1930s in the legend haunted town of Arkham, Massachusetts, and based on the short story by horror legend H.P. Lovecraft, “The Thing on the Doorstep” is a dark trip into the world or the supernatural. Contains adult language; recommended for mature audiences.

CHARACTERS:

Danielle Upton – (20s-30s) A strong willed New England woman who is concerned for the wellbeing of her lifelong friend, Edward Derby.

Edward Derby – (20s-30s) An eccentric young author with a fascination for the occult and a somewhat childish disposition. Driven to the brink of madness by his wife Asenath. 

Asenath Waite – (20s-30s) A cold, mysterious woman from a long line of occultists. She has unnatural powers which she uses for toward evil ends that involve her naïve new husband. 

Winslow – (20s-30s) Danielle’s loving husband; a good-natured man who becomes increasingly concerned that Edward’s behavior may have an adverse effect on his wife.

A Doctor

Two Orderlies


EXCERPT FROM THE SCRIPT

   The room is dark.  The heavy spatter of RAIN carried on a roaring WIND can be heard outside.  The room suddenly illuminates as a bright FLASH pours in through the windows, and thunder EXPLODES outside.  An empty crib is visible near the fireplace.

   There’s an urgent POUNDING at the front door.  After several moments, DANIELLE enters, dressed in a nightgown, and goes to the front door.

DANIELLE
Who is it?

EDWARD
   (Off stage)
It’s Edward!
   (DANIELLE opens the door and EDWARD ducks inside, dripping wet.  He paces nervously about the room and an amazed DANIELLE shuts the door.)
I’m sorry, Danny.  I know it’s late.  I didn’t know where else to go.

DANIELLE
What’s wrong?

EDWARD
   (Not hearing her)
She’s gone out.  On her own, for once.  And I just had to get away.
   (Peeking out the window, then pacing again)
I think one of the servants saw me.  They’ll tell Asenath, of course.  But I just had to get away.  I didn’t know where I was going, but I ended up here.

   DANIELLE goes to EDWARD and takes hold of his arms, forcing him to stand still.

DANIELLE
Edward.  What’s wrong?  Did you and Asenath have a fight?

EDWARD
A fight?  No, not a fight.
   (Giggles, nervously)
We’re closer than ever, actually.

DANIELLE
Edward, you’re frightening me.
   (There’s a CRASH of thunder, and EDWARD jumps)
Won’t you tell me what’s the matter?

EDWARD
Where’s Winslow?

DANIELLE
He’s working late.

EDWARD
Oh.
   (Looking around him, nervously)
So, we’re alone.

DANIELLE
The baby’s asleep upstairs.  Edward...

   Another THUNDER CRASH.  EDWARD goes to the window again and looks out.

EDWARD
This is some storm we’re having, isn’t it?  You know, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky this afternoon.  Not as far as the eye could see.  And now this storm.  Just appeared out of nowhere.  As if by magic.
   (Pacing again, more nervous than ever, wringing his hands and rubbing his head)
And I know...I know you and Winslow don’t believe in any of that, but if you could see the things I’ve seen--if you knew what she’s done, what she’s doing...

   DANIELLE takes EDWARD firmly by the hands.

DANIELLE
Edward.  Speak to me.  What’s wrong?

   EDWARD looks long at DANIELLE.

EDWARD
   (Voice cracking)
I’m afraid, Danny.  I’m afraid of her, but I’m more afraid of what you’ll think of me.  You’ll think I’m insane.

DANIELLE
No, I won’t.

EDWARD
   (Getting more upset)
You will.  I know you will.

DANIELLE
   (Reaching out to him)
Edward, whatever you have to tell me, I’ll believe you.

EDWARD
   (Stepping back)
No!!

DANIELLE
   (Changing tactics)
Alright.  Well, let’s get you dried off, then.  You’re soaking wet.  Here, let me take your coat...
   (DANIELLE gently removes EDWARD’s dripping coat and sets it on the rack)
I’ll go put on a pot of tea and get you a towel.  And then, when you’re warmed up, we’ll talk.  Alright?

   EDWARD nods.  DANIELLE exits.  LIGHTNING FLASHES, and EDWARD jolts slightly.  He tries to wipe his wet hands off on his dripping clothes, then gives up.  Suddenly, he becomes dizzy.  His hand goes to his head as he winces in pain.  His body shakes with mild spasms as LIGHTNING continues to blaze outside.  After a few moments, the strange fit subsides.

   DANIELLE re-enters with a pair of towels, EDWARD’s back to her.

DANIELLE (CONT’D)
Alright, here you are.
   (EDWARD turns and regards DANIELLE curiously as she hands him the towel.  He takes it and begins to dry his head.  Meanwhile, DANIELLE goes to the fireplace and grabs a box of matches.)
Come over here and sit by the fire before you catch your death.  Once you’re dried off, things won’t seem so bleak.
   (EDWARD moves slowly toward DANIELLE, watching as she lights the fire.  Once the wood is ablaze, DANIELLE rises and goes to EDWARD.  She throws the second towel over his chest and shoulders and begins to rub his arms dry.)
Here, now.  That’s better.  You’ll sleep here tonight, and tomorrow we’ll sort everything out.

   Beat.

EDWARD
Thank you.  You’re very kind.

DANIELLE
   (Smiles)
Of course.  You’re my friend.

EDWARD
Yes...yes, you’ve always been kind to me.

DANIELLE
You’re a good person.  You deserve some kindness.
   (Moves him toward fireplace)
Come, stand by the fire.

   DANIELLE takes the second towel away and begins to roll it up.

EDWARD
Have I ever told you what a beautiful woman you are?

   DANIELLE freezes.  She looks at EDWARD, and does not speak for a long time.

DANIELLE
No.

EDWARD
   (Takes a step toward her)
You are.  Very, very beautiful.


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