7 characters; 3F, 1M, 3 Either; 5 pages in length. Approximately 5 minutes running time. A sweet adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s short story written by Andy Pavey.

A Haunted House is a theatrical adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s ghost story and narrated by the author, herself. A mother and her two children are living happily in their home as two ghosts harmlessly busy themselves conducting a search. The mother, fully aware of the ghosts, wonders what it is they are looking for as objects appear to move by themselves. As the story and the search progresses, we learn more about the ghostly couple and eventually, that this tale is much more a love story than a ghost story. A heartwarming Halloween play for children and teens!

Andy Pavey is a commissioned playwright, who writes short plays for Drama Notebook. He is a student who attends UWC-USA. He previously spent nine years with Davenport Junior Theatre, the second-oldest children’s theatre in the United States, where he acted in productions, managed the props building, and wrote plays for young actors to perform. In addition to writing, Andy is an avid backpacker!

Excerpt from the play:

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Virginia Woolf
Ghost Man
Ghost Woman
Mom
Child 1
Child 2
Voice

This play is adapted from a 700-word short story by Virginia Woolf of the same name. All of VIRGINIA WOOLF’s lines are adapted directly from the original text.

The lights come up on the inside of the house.

VIRGINIA WOOLF (enters from one side, acting as the narrator)
Whatever hour you woke there was a door shutting. From room to room they went, hand in hand, lifting there, opening there, making sure—a ghostly couple.

The GHOSTS enter, dressed in all white (no sheets, just plain white clothing). They are looking around the house, lovingly.

GHOST WOMAN
Here we left it.

GHOST MAN
Oh, but here too!

GHOST WOMAN
It’s upstairs.

GHOST MAN
And in the garden.

GHOST WOMAN
Quietly, or we shall wake them.

GHOST MAN
I hear them coming now.

The GHOSTS step aside to watch, and wander unseen through the following scene. They eventually “fade” out of the scene by leaving, one at a time, just as the scene reaches its peak. The MOM and the
CHILDREN enter. The MOM is getting the CHILDREN ready for school.

MOM
All right, all right, get ready to go! Chop chop!

CHILD 1 (whining)
I’m hungry!

MOM
You just ate seven waffles. Get your coat on.

CHILD 1
But Mom, you don’t understand! (a beat)  I’m really, really, really hungry!

The MOM sighs and puts CHILD 1’s coat on them. CHILD 2 begins tugging incessantly at the MOM’s arm.

CHILD 2
Mom! Mom! Mom. Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom. Mom. Mom.

MOM
What?! What is it?

CHILD 2
Um, so what I was trying to say, when I was saying your name over and over and over, is that I wanted to tell you something.

MOM
What did you want to tell me?

CHILD 2
So basically, I wanted to just tell you that I need you to bake cupcakes for my class.

MOM (walking around the stage, doing errands)
Okay, we’ll get to it tonight, then.

CHILD 2
Mom?

MOM
Yes, honey?

CHILD 2
Could you maybe bake them in the next five to ten minutes? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure that I was supposed to bring them in today. And they have to be gluten free, peanut free, yellow dye #5 free, and vegan. And they have to be delicious.

MOM
Now that is impossible. I’ll see what I can do. Have a good day at school!

The MOM hugs both CHILDREN and they scurry off-stage. One of them drops a book on their way out, leaving it far downstage, and they exit. A curtain on a window, or a cup on the table, moves on its own. The MOM glances over at it, a little scared.

MOM (softly)

They’re back. (shaking head and speaking to the empty room) What are you looking for?here is no buried treasure here, you know. Just an old house. And laundry… loads and loads of laundry.

The MOM exits and the GHOSTS enter from different directions.

VIRGINIA WOOLF

The book had slipped into the grass. But they found it later in the parlor.

The GHOSTS pick up the book and slip it onto the table in the house.

GHOST MAN
What did I come in here for? What did I want to find?

The GHOSTS gently search through the house as VIRGINIA WOOLF narrates.

VIRGINIA WOOLF
Not that one could ever see them. The window panes reflected apples, reflected roses; all the leaves were green in the glass.

A deep, soft, echoing VOICE rises from off-stage.

VOICE
Safe, safe, safe…

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