free one act play short script stage

Death Takes the Train


by D. M. Larson

Copyright (c) 2012 by Freedrama.net



This play is published in the book "Secrets of my Soul" (ISBN-13: 978-1493533589) available at Amazon.com:

*The play is free to use in the classroom or workshop. To perform the play, request permission from doug@freedrama.net (please include the title in your request).


"Death Takes the Train"

A train car is empty.  Groups of people shuffle in and settle in to seats to the right.  People are talking about their trips and their destinations and how tired or hungry they are.  Then after a pause, the Grim Reaper walks on to the train and sits alone at the left side of the train car.

MEL

Is that who I think it is?

MITCH

I think so.

MEL

What's he doing on this train?

TINA

How do you know it's a he?

MEL

Death is always a guy.

TINA

Always?

MEL

I think so.

TINA

But he's wearing a dress.

MITCH

Or is more of a moo-moo.

MEL

Robe... it's a robe.  Guys can wear robes.

TINA

After a shower. 

MITCH

Or if they are some kind of judge.

TINA

Death is a like a judge.

MEL

True... I see what you mean.

TINA

A justice of the peace?

MITCH

A justice of rest in peace.

TINA

Nice one.

MITCH

Thanks.

TINA

You're welcome.

MITCH

So what's he doing here?

TINA

He's got a client I guess.

MEL

One of us?

TINA

No, he's probably on his way somewhere.

MITCH

Why is death taking the train?

MEL

His winged horse o' death didn't have the guts to go there... get it... because it's a skeleton horse... no guts...

TINA

Please don't explain the joke.  It's not funny if you have to explain it.

MEL

Geez... I'll just let Mitch make all the jokes then.

TINA

Thank you.

MITCH

You're welcome.

TINA

Death taking the train doesn't make any sense.  Doesn't that take too long?  Wouldn't death be in more of a hurry? 

MITCH

Maybe not... modern medicine is keeping people alive longer.  Maybe he's not in a hurry anymore.

MEL

Maybe he's on a tight budget like the rest of us.  The bad economy is even affecting life and death.

TINA

I like Mitch's theory better.

MEL

Of course you do.

TINA

Mitch has a point.  People aren't dying as quick as they used to or as often.  Modern medicine can keep people alive for years beyond what normally would kill them.

MEL

So Death saves money and takes the train.

MITCH

And he's being very environmentally aware too.  Trains burn much less energy than planes and cars.  Death is doing his part to help the Earth.

MEL

Wouldn't Death like pollution? 

TINA

Not necessarily.  Maybe he likes the natural order of things.  Maybe he's doing what he can to help restore the balance that people offset through technological advancements.

MITCH

Well said.

TINA

Thank you.

MITCH

I wonder where Death takes people?

MEL

To the H-E-double hockey sticks place down below.

TINA

What if they're good?

MEL

Heaven.

MITCH

Wouldn't that be an angel then?

TINA

We're all assuming there is a heaven...

MITCH

I'd like to think there is.

MEL

It's nicer that way... thinking there is someplace good we go if we lived a good life.  And that bad people are punished for being bad.

TINA

But who decides what is good and what is bad?

MEL

God.

TINA

What if you don't believe in God?

MEL

That's okay.  God still believes in you.

TINA

I'd feel a whole lot better facing death if I knew for sure.

MITCH

Just the fact that we see Death sitting over there gives me hope that there is something more beyond life.

TINA

Wow, who would have thought seeing Death would make you feel hopeful?  That's some serious optimism you got there, Mitch.

MITCH

I wonder if he would talk to us.  I'd love to ask him about all this.  Life after death... good vs. evil...

MEL

He doesn't look like much of a talker.   And what if he speaks Latin or Ewok or something like that?

TINA

Ewok?

MEL

I'm just making a point that he might be from somewhere else.

TINA

I'd go with Latin over Ewok.

MITCH

Or maybe he has a universal translator that helps him understand all languages.

TINA

That would make sense.

MEL

No it doesn't... none of this does.  Doesn't it strike you as weird that we've never seen death before?

TINA

True.  I've never seen him before.

MITCH

You don't think that means...

MEL

What happened to Mr. Optimism?

MITCH

He jumped the train. 

TINA

Do you think he could be here for us?

MITCH

All of us?

They pause.  They look at Death and then each other nervously.  They're all quiet a moment thinking.  Tina chews some gum... blows a bubble and the other three jump when it pops.

MEL

Do you think the train could be crashing or something?

MITCH

That's the only way I can see all of us dying.

TINA

Should we warn the conductor?

MEL

We could get off at the next station.

MITCH

Or maybe we should face Death head on without fear.

Mitch stands and the others huddle in fear.  Mitch takes a few steps toward Death but then slows as he gets closer.  He starts to choke and stumble.  The others rush to him and help him back to their side of the car.

MEL

What happened?

TINA

It's like he couldn't breathe.

Mitch nods.

TINA (CONT.)

Like the air around him is deadly.

MEL

So much for talking to Death.

TINA

Are you okay Mitch?

Mitch nods again.

MEL

What's the matter?  Did he talk you to death?  Death got your tongue?

TINA

Not funny, Mel.

MEL

Come on... my jokes that bad?

TINA

Let's just say they bore me to death.

MEL

(Sarcastic)

Funny.

TINA

Jealous?

MEL

No.

MITCH

Remind me not to do that again. 

TINA

What did he do you?

MITCH

Nothing directly I don't think.  It's like the air around him is deadly.

MEL

Maybe Death farted or something.

TINA

Care to go see?

MEL

No, that's okay... so what are we going to do?

TINA

How far is the next station?  We could get off.

MEL

Wait... what if we're already dead and Death is the conductor?

TINA

We could test that theory at the next station.  Let's get ready to get off.

MITCH

You all can get off... I'm staying.  I have somewhere to be and I can't be late.

TINA

What if Death is here for you though?  Then you won't make it anyway.

MITCH

If he's not here for us then we waste a lot of time by getting off. 

TINA

I think I'd rather gamble with being late than dead.

MEL

Here's the next station... I'm going.

Mel gets up and the train stops so he stumbles to the ground.

TINA

Wait until the train stops, idiot.

MEL

I'm not dead am I?

TINA

Afraid not.

TINA helps Mel up and Mel heads off the train. 

TINA (CONT.)

Come on, Mitch.  Please.

MITCH

I can't miss my kid's birthday.  I promised her.  She's counting on me.

TINA

Okay, Mitch.  Take care of yourself.

MITCH

I will.

Tina exits and then it is only Mitch and Death.

MITCH (CONT.)

So Death... what's it going to be?

After a pause, Death gets up and follows the others.  Mitch stands and is scared.  He rushes to the window and faces the audience and looks out in fear for his friends.

END OF PLAY


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