The Quit Claimed Ghost of the
Old Viola Opera House
is published by
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Two Brief Excerpts
Brief Excerpt #1
Molly. (Molly is up stage of the chair which sits half way up stage right) Well, Jan, what do you think?
Janet. I think, Molly darling, that if you ever want to see your cat again, you better keep her out of here. At least until you have shoveled up the dust.
Bill. (A realtor. Bill is up stage center right, above both women) The dust comes with the building. There's no extra charge. (There is a pause as both women look at him in a way that suggests they see no humor in his last remark)
Janet. He gives new meaning to the phrase, "buyer beware."
Bill. That was supposed to be a joke. A little real estate sales humor. (Another pause as the women glare more intensely.)
Okay, make an offer, and I'll vacuum the joint myself!
Molly. (Molly crosses down stage right a couple steps looking for electrical outlets) How's the electrical wiring?
Bill. It was perfectly adequate in 1900.
Janet. In 1900 they used candles.
Bill. (Addressing Janet) Let's just say, the lights all work, but the wiring is old. (Addressing Molly) If I were buying the place, I think I would plan on having it rewired -- for safety sake. Then too, old buildings never have enough outlets.
Molly. Just how many outlets are there?
Bill. So far, I counted two.
Janet. You can’t count to three?
Bill. Math was never my best subject.
Bill. Let’s put it this way: I think you’re going to want more. And if I were you, I’d modernize the plumbing.
Janet. Why, is there something wrong with the out house?
Bill. Actually, there is indoor plumbing. The sink and the toilet work fine. It’s just that some people prefer hot water.
Brief Excerpt #2
Molly. You're telling me the asking price is $100,000, and it's been on the market for a number of years at that price. (Molly turns to address Bill) And that, to the best of your knowledge, no one has been willing to offer even 75?
Bill. I shouldn’t be telling you that, but I am.
Janet. (To Bill, grabbing his shoulder to get his undivided attention) Look at me. Was someone murdered here?
Bill. I can’t say for certain. I suppose that’s a possibility.
Molly. Is there a problem with this place you haven’t told us about?
Bill. (He escapes, by crossing a couple steps down left center) I wouldn’t really call it a problem.
Janet. (Janet sits on the chair stage right ) Is there a “non-problem” with this place you haven’t told us about?
Bill. (To Janet) Define “non-problem.”
Janet. Something that might inspire us to break your legs, if we later happen to find out about it ourselves.
Bill. Now I understand. I’m afraid so.
Molly. Out with it, Buster.
Bill. (To Molly) Three former tenants have told me it’s haunted.
Janet. Whatever made them do that?
Bill. (To Janet) I’m not really sure. Possibly, the presence of a ghost?
When Molly O'Hara and her friend, Janet Johnston, decide to open an Antique Store in the tiny town of Viola, Illinois, they are attracted to a building known as the old "Viola Opera House." They are not dissuaded from from buying the old vaudeville house even when Bill Cornelis, the seller's realtor, advises them the place may be haunted.
With the assistance of their intrepid realtor, Gloria DeGreve, the proprietor of the flower shop next door, and Susan Harper, the Director of the Mercer County Historical Society, Molly and Janet embark on a mission. Molly, not satisfied with answering the question of whether the place is haunted, wants to know why.
With recourse to the sharp memory of an elderly resident of the town, and the newspaper accounts of a shooting that occurred shortly after the turn of the twentieth century, Molly and Susan come face to face with their "Quit Claimed Ghost," the vaudevillian song and dance man, Jack Harris. Along the way they also encounter his partner, Kitty Sloan, and Tom Scanlan who encourages Kitty to leave her abusive relationship with Jack. As Kitty deals with her problem, Molly and Janet deal with theirs.
The play combines comedy, tragedy, ghosts and morality into funny play with a strong, but subtle, message for young women to remove themselves from abusive relationships.
Cast: 5 Women & 3 Men
Performance Time: 40-45 minutes
The Publisher: Drama Source
Cast of Characters
Molly O'Hara. A businesslike entrepreneur, with a dry sense of humor, intent on turning an old opera house into an antique shop.
Janet Johnston. Her business partner. Quick with the one liners.
Bill Cornelis. A realtor. Ethical, not overly bright. A bit nerdy.
Gloria DeGreve. Proprietor of the shop next door which sells candies, flowers and chocolates. A competent, nosy business woman.
Susan Harper. Director of Local Historical Society. Also a bit nosy.
Jack Harris. A vaudevillian. A man who believes women count for little or nothing. The "Quit Claimed Ghost of the Viola Opera House.
Kitty Sloan. A vaudevillian. A girl who has grown into a strong woman. A Ghost
Tom Scanlan. An Irish vaudevillian. A tough guy, who has come to prefer singing and dancing to fighting. Another Ghost.