“Dare to Remember” is a chilling ghost story you won’t soon forget! It’s moving day and the family is packing up when Alison and Henry find an old diary belonging to their mother. They read about a dare that a group of boys make to get the girls to sneak out to the graveyard at midnight. When they’re caught reading the diary, Mum is furious. The memories of that night still haunt her. When the kids get the chance to finish reading the rest of her story, the ending is a shock to them both.
Barbara Henderson is a German-born novelist and playwright and has lived in Scotland since 1991. She acquired an MA in English Language and Literature, a husband, three children and a shaggy dog along the way. She now teaches drama, although if you dig deep in her past you will find that she has earned her crust as a puppeteer, relief librarian and receptionist among others. Barbara is the author of Fir for Luck and Crystal-Kite, shortlisted Punch, both historical novels for children, and children’s eco-thriller Wilderness Wars, all published by Cranachan. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and has won several national and international short story competitions. She lives in Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland.
Excerpt from the play:
CAST OF CHARACTERS
ALISON: teen; female
MUM: mother of Alison and Henry
HENRY: young; male
REMOVAL MAN 1: male or female
REMOVAL MAN 2: male or female
MISS DORKING: adult female
LARA: teen; female
ELLIE: teen; female
GIRL 1: teen; female
GIRL 2: teen; female
GIRL 3: teen; female
GIRL 4: teen; female
RAY: teen; male
BOY 1: teen; male
BOY 2: teen; male
BOY 3: teen; male
BOY 4: teen; male
MR. MONTGOMERY: adult male
GRAVEDIGGER: elderly; adult male
Scene 1: The House on Moving Day
(There are moving boxes and household items on floor.)
Mum, do you want to take all these books?
We’ll have to get rid of some. You know as well as I do the new house has much less room. That’s what you get for moving into town. Henry! You’re supposed to be packing your Lego, not playing with it!
(Puts a couple of blocks into box but starts playing again as soon as Mum looks away.) Fine. Yes, Mum.z
So…what do you want me to do? About the books.
Oh, for goodness sake! You’re thirteen years old. Use your brain! Throw some out and keep some. I’m busy! (carries on packing, but bell rings (SFX) and she runs out)
(Lifts books up. Puts silly books in keep box and serious/educational ones in the bin.) Hey… what’s this? (Dusts off book.) Wow, looks a bit like Mum’s writing. Hey, Henry, come look at this. Mum’s name, right here. Eleanor Smith – remember? That was her maiden name before she married Dad.
And look. There it is again. Secret diary of Ellie Smith, age thirteen.
(Both read together.)
“I can’t wait until the school trip. Only one more night and we’re off to Denmark, and Lara and I are going to sit beside each other on the bus! I hope the weather is dark and spooky – it’s how I’ve always imagined Denmark.”
Lego was invented in Denmark!
Shut up about Lego! Check out the next entry:
“The boys’ dorm is right next door, but the view makes up for it. There is an old church and a graveyard right next to the woods. I wonder if there are any elk. All of us are sleeping on the floor, but it was always going to be basic, wasn’t it? It’s a hiking trip after all.”
(Mum walks in during this.)
(agitated) What are you doing? Give me that! GIVE ME THAT!
(Two moving men arrive.)
REMOVAL MAN 1
Are these boxes ready to go?
(to Alison) How dare you read a private diary!
You were thirteen, mum. It’s not a big deal, is…
Mind your own business, Henry. You don’t know what you’re talking about! Some memories…
REMOVAL MAN 2
Ahem. Miss, are these boxes ready to go now?
(distracted) Yes, yes, take them. Kids, give them a hand. Go.
(All exit, leaving Mum standing alone, looking into distance over the audience.)
Some memories are too painful to relive. But they haunt us anyway. (Drops diary at front of stage.)
Scene 2: Flashback. Girls’ Dorm
(Six girls arrive in the dorm; roll out sleeping bags, etc. Throw bags down and check out the view.)
Right girls. This is your dorm. The first big hike is tomorrow, so make sure you get some rest, or Mr. Montgomery won’t be pleased
Ellie! Put your sleeping bag next to mine. That way we can chat even when the rest of them are sleeping! Guys, no-one touches my teddy, right? I brought him for luck, ok? And (childish voice)
I need him to sleep. (all laugh)
I don’t think we’ll sleep much. We’ll be all excited, and there’s a graveyard right next door.
(All girls crowd around window.)