Esoterically Futile, a one act play by Sarah Kay Hair

13 Jun

Set in a retro style living room. Thai dye throws on sofa, and two chairs either side surrounding a brightly coloured rug and curtains, with beads up at the exit door. A low laying wooden table is in front of the sofa. An old fashioned record player is placed on a set of wooden draws. A TV is placed in the corner. Candles and lamps are placed on the furniture all around the room. John aged 21 and Sam aged 19 are chilling out smoking in Sam’s eccentric father’s house while he is away. Both sat comfortably on the sofa are just looking at the TV.


JOHN: Are you a pagan

SAM: I’m nothing. I don’t have a label

JOHN: I could give you a label?

SAM: Ok?

JOHN: I think you are a pagan witch… Defo! Do you have a broom?

SAM: (laughs) I have Henry. I don’t need a broom. You… are a wizard!

JOHN: Well you are right! Maybe we can cast spells!

SAM: You think because my dad has all these magical trinkets and psychedelic books and things that I’m a witch? If I’m a witch my spells don’t work.

JOHN: You’re not putting your heart into it. What do you wish for?

SAM: To accept what is (she laughs)

JOHN: As I said you are not putting your heart into it. Do you believe in fate?

SAM: Yes!!

JOHN: I didn’t until recently. It messes with your head.

SAM: What will be, will be?

JOHN: It can’t be though. We have to be in charge of our actions.

SAM: Yeah, and the decisions we make are already programmed into our brains. Some people just don’t have the ability to make changes, some do.

(John goes to speak but Sam cuts him off)

Some people are not in the position to make actions. They don’t have the brain capacity or the ability.

(John laughs)

JOHN: I was just asking that!

SAM: Not everyone can change their fate.

JOHN: It’s weird.

SAM: (laughs) for example, if you take action, it was your fate to do so. If you have two choices, that’s fate!

JOHN: Then you could argue everything is fate.

SAM: Yeah exactly!

JOHN: Me and Lisa went to see a fortune teller, and for me everything she has said has come true, for me. Well almost!

SAM: You said! I don’t believe in fortune tellers, no matter how right they are. They are just good at cold reading.

JOHN: I know what you mean but she said things I didn’t even know which is what cooks my cookie.

SAM: Did you never watch that episode with Derren Brown? He went to a spiritualist church in America posing as a medium. No one knew him there. To a hall full of people he picked random people out from the audience and basically cold read them. He guessed things about them that no one could have known, after Derren confessed to the cameras that he wasn’t at all communicating with the dead, but was in fact reading these peoples body language. The church leaders thought he was an amazing medium!

(John goes to speak, but Sam again interrupts)

And did you know… just from your postcode of the date you were born… the government can predict when and how you will die?!

JOHN: Predict yes! Knowing is very different! Mentioning people that you haven’t even met yet as my fortune teller did is mind boggling.

SAM: It’s a cold guess. The chance of you meeting this particular person was high. Did their name have a J in it? (Sarcastically laughs)

JOHN: I am not having it Sam. It was not his name. It was a name we both called each other (Harold) she was spot on. I will take you to see her one day.

SAM: Ok so what can a fortune teller do for you then? They can’t change anything can they?

JOHN: Nothing! You are right. But if she was right then logic must dictate that our future is already planned out for us!

SAM: Yeah… and how many endings can there be?

JOHN: If our future is set out for us then there can only be one ending! It is mad when you think deeply into it.

SAM: I was told by my mum at the age of 14 that I will never be anything more than a factory worker. She said there is a place for everyone in this world. We need factory workers, we need cleaners, it’s debatable that we need leaders bla bla bla, but I refused to believe that was my fate. I knew it wasn’t my fate. But it is for some people because they simply don’t realise it!

JOHN: Good Mum!

SAM: Yeah it’s mad! Thank the lord for my open minded dad or I may be packing cd’s!

(John and Sam sit there in silence contemplating fate)

Just because I know my fate, doesn’t mean I made it happen.

JOHN: You gottta be in it to win it. But just because you’re in it don’t mean you’re gonna win it!

SAM: What? You’re mad! (She laughs) When’s your birthday?

JOHN: Are you trying to cast a spell on me? 12th November.

SAM: What would I be doing a spell for?

JOHN: I dunno you’re the witch!

SAM: (laughs) but as a guess, why would I cast a spell on you? a love spell? to turn you into a frog?

JOHN: I’m hoping a prince!

SAM: I’ll have to dig out my dad’s spell book. Do you think if you cast a bad spell you get bad karma?

JOHN: Deffo, I think all spells are bad. You shouldn’t mess with destiny.

SAM: (laughs) so you believe they actually work?

JOHN: Yeah

SAM: Well I just don’t.

JOHN: Well you should, you are a witch!

SAM: Why do you believe in spells? anything to back up your belief?

JOHN: Maybe I put one on you!

SAM: (Looks around) Nothing’s changed!

JOHN: (Unsurprised) I’m not a wizard though.

SAM: Oh so you have to be a wizard to cast a spell?

JOHN: I think you have to have some sort of wizardry background!

SAM: I read a book in Australia about real wizards in India. It wasn’t about spells, it was about seeing the world in others eyes. Their existence was through others eyes. If an eagle flew past him and looked at him, he would have then caught a glimpse of himself. Wizards are about wisdom.

JOHN: Well I am not very wise.

SAM: Well! You believe in spells right? So let’s cast one?

JOHN: Oh I dunno SAM!


SAM: Just start with a simple one? Like …

JOHN: (Overlaps) No, no no lets go all out if you don’t really believe then what difference does it make. I want something done. I have for a while wanted someone to pay for what they did to me.

SAM: John you’re missing the point, you can’t do bad spells. We have to do something nice, to make things better; spells are to heal, to evoke love and luck, not to hurt anyone (Silence as she watches Johns face scour)… John! 

JOHN: Ah Sam that’s boring, I can’t be bothered. If you don’t believe it all then why are you so concerned?

SAM: Ok I don’t necessary disbelieve, I’m just a little sceptical. I’d believe it if I saw it.

JOHN: So wouldn’t it be amazing if something actually happened? You would have faith then Sam. Pure 100% faith, it’s got to be worth it right?

SAM: Yes of course, so let’s do a love spell or a healing spell, or a money spell (She grins greedily)

JOHN: (Overlaps) Nooo no no I want to see instant progress. I want an instant impact, now!

(John is now putting some psychedelic music on, he starts to slowly dance, almost like swaying)

I want to see a rat turn into a pig, I want to see a tree talk, I want to conjure up thunder and rain, I want (silence while he thinks) I want, I want to put a curse on someone (Excited) I know just what to do.

SAM: John you’re scaring me! You’re getting too excited, I’m starting to question your intentions, and I thought you were such a nice boy (She laughs)

JOHN: (Laughs) Chill Winston… I’m just playing! I’m just sooo bored! Bored!! Have you ever done the Ouija board?

(John is being nosey looking around the music player at books and in pots on the shelves)

SAM: Yes, me and my friend made one, it looked really good. Do you know you can actually buy one in Toys are us in America? Crazy that! We did everything what we were supposed to and nothing happened. We sat with it for over an hour, then another hour later on. Nothing happened. It’s a load of bullocks! I slept on the sofa with the board still set up on the table in front of me. Years ago that would have scared me but I wasn’t even scared. I wasn’t pissed or anything.

JOHN: Ah see that’s what the problem was, you didn’t believe, you need to believe for these things to happen.

(Something in a pot grabs John’s attention; he sneakily puts it in his pocket making sure Sam does not see.)

SAM: Nonsense! Apparently (Sarcastically) things have happened when people have ‘least’ expected it! I did kinder believe then anyway. At the time I did.

JOHN: So would you suggest then that it’s just a harmless game?

SAM: Oui!

JOHN: Haha! So you would be up for doing the Ouija board again then, now, with me?

SAM: I suppose!

(John sneakily puts the thing in his pocket (acid) in a drink and hands it to Sam)

Thanks. Do you know anyone in spirit John?

JOHN: Yeah but no one who I was close to, no one I need to contact, you?

SAM: I tried communicating with my nan last time, could try again.

JOHN: Great! (Sarcastically) Right, we need the bits then…?

SAM: A glass, a board, a pen obviously! Candles would be good.

JOHN: (Overlaps while lighting the candles) got them! Ye ye anything else? (Impatiently)

SAM: (Thinks) No… that’s all.

(Johns scurrying on and off stage finding the pieces comes back with the things and uses a mirror as the board, hands it to Sam and she starts writing out the alphabet. John is impatiently waiting (fidgeting) John changes the music to something more eerie, and turns the light off)

John, can you draw a sun there and a moon that side, just there? I need the toilet.

(She gets up and hands him the pen, but just as she’s leaving the room John stops her to tell her something)

JOHN: Do you know, the guy who first marketed the Ouija board committed suicide? Ah what was his name…? Lenard… no Kennard, Charles Kennard! He committed suicide, jumped off a building!

SAM: He didn’t jump, he fell! And it was the guy who took over the Ouija business! William Fuld. Everyone knows that!

(She leaves to go to the toilet, John thinks of another story he could tell Sam that might spook her, he gets another idea and then continues to draw the sun and the moon. Sam re-enters looking a bit nervous)

SAM: John can you hear that?

JOHN: What?

SAM: Shush! Listen…

(Silence, they both look around. Sam with an intense need to know where this sound is coming from, she listens to certain objects until she gets to the candle)

It’s the candle John, can you hear that?

JOHN: No Sam, it’s silent. It’s probably a ghost! Ooohhh!!

SAM: John it’s… it’s singing! Beautifully… like an angel.

(She turns the music off)

Listen John… it’s all of them John, they are singing! John it’s amazing!

JOHN: Sam ok, I can’t hear it though, put the music back on… will you!

(Sam puts the music back on and goes and sits opposite John, she’s looking in amazement as if she can still hear the candles singing, both either side of the board)

JOHN: You ready?

SAM: Yeah.

JOHN: (John speaks in an eerie tone.) My mum did this here in Kent once. She comes from Wales; she came here when she was about 11 years old. The Ouija board spelt out the exact name of a boy who she went to primary school with. He got run over by a bus. My mum wouldn’t lie, so I believe this.

SAM: Really! Oh gosh that is pretty spooky! (She shudders) That just sent goose bumps all down my spine. Look! (She shows him her bare arm) The hairs standing on end! (Sam then becomes fixated on the hair on her arm; she’s intrigued, moving her head from side to side)

John my hairs are dancing! Look John! They are actually dancing!

JOHN: Calm down, c’mon, let’s get on with this. The spirits will be waiting (Spoken in a spooky tone)

SAM: Ok… Right, it’s important we don’t ask stupid questions. And we don’t mock the spirits ok?

(John nods)

First we need to open the door to the spirit world… that’s until they answer basically… put your fingers very lightly on the glass.

(They both place their fingers on the glass)

Ouija, are you there?


Ouija, are you there?


Ouija, are you there?


Ouija, are you there?


JOHN: Maybe someone is there but their scared? I think there’s someone there, I feel it.

SAM: Ok, Ouija are you afraid?


SAM: Ouija we won’t hurt you. We want to speak with you, that’s all. If you are there can you please communicate with us? Ouija are you there?

(Silence, John is looking anxious, Sam starts to sweat)

SAM: John I’m really hot.

JOHN: I’ll open a window.

(John opens the window)

SAM: I’m burning up, feel that.

(Sam puts Johns hand on her head)

JOHN: It’s a little hot; I’ll get you some water.

(He leaves to get water; Sam is now stood by the window)

SAM: Owe!

(Sam looks at her arm, and starts to freak out)

SAM: John! Ahh!

(Sam pulls up her top and reacts as if she has been badly scratched on her stomach and calls John)


(Sam sits on the sofa and puts the throw over her head and cries like she is really scared, John comes running in)

JOHN: Sam you’ll be ok, you’re just panicking, calm down will you?

(John changes the music to something more cheerful)

Hey, think about nice things Sam… what’s your favourite thing in the world Sam?

SAM: John I’m being bit by something, it’s hurting me, it’s scratching me.

(John takes the throw from Sam, she holds out her arms)

Look John, look what it’s doing to me.

JOHN: There’s nothing there Sam, you’re ok.

(She lifts her top up and shows her stomach.)

SAM: LOOK, It’s scratching me to pieces John, IT HURTS, HELP ME!!

JOHN: Drink some more water.


JOHN: You’re ok… Sam you will be ok.


(She holds her stomach like she’s just been punched)


(She looks at her hands)

My hands John look.

JOHN: Sam please calm down.

(John grabs the mirror off the wall, and shows Sam she’s ok)

SAM: What the fucks that for? I can’t see my reflection, John I’m being possessed! It’s the devil! John, help me!

JOHN: I’ll help you, I’ll help you Sam.

(John grabs the laptop)

C’mon c’mon hurry up.

SAM: Turn the music off John, there’s voices. I don’t know what it’s saying, It’s the devil. Turn it off!

(John does just that, back at the laptop John starts searching for what to do on a bad trip)

SAM: What are you looking for?

JOHN: I’m looking for a priest… a priest can help us!

SAM: I can’t move!

JOHN: Ok Sam I need to explain something to you…

(John puts the laptop down, and kneels over by Sam, she’s laid flat like a board on the sofa convinced she can’t move)

I’m sorry Sam, I need to tell you the truth, this is all my fault. You have not been possessed.

SAM: What are you talking about, I can fucking feel it!

JOHN: Sam you need to listen to me, I’m telling the truth, you haven’t been possessed at all by anything. I was only playing; it was supposed to be a laugh!

SAM: Spit it out!

JOHN: I put LSD in your drink earlier Sam.

SAM: What the fuck!

JOHN: I’m really sorry, it was in your dads pot(Pointing to the shelf) I thought it would be funny, but you will be ok, if you can think of nice things you will stop feeling like this. How’s your horse, Oliver?

SAM: He’s dead. HE’S DEAD JOHN! Died years ago!

(John turns on the lights and starts looking through the DVD collection)

JOHN: Lets watch a film, what’s ya favourite movie?


(She clutches her stomach again)

I’ve been possessed!

(John stares Sam in the eyes)

JOHN: Sam It is the drug that’s making you feel this way trust me! You think you have been possessed because of the drug! I gave it to you because I wanted you to believe, It’s just in your head ok. What is your favourite movie?

SAM: You sure?

JOHN: Of course I am!

(He shows her some LSD from the pot on the shelf)

See, it won’t last much longer… I’m going to stay with you till it’s over. But you will feel good in a minute, I promise you. You like popcorn yeah? (He smiles reassuringly) What film Sam? ‘Ted’ that’s supposed to be really funny isn’t it?

SAM: Yeah ok let’s watch ‘Ted.’(Unsure)

(John puts the DVD on, clears the board away, and grabs some popcorn from the kitchen; Sam is nervously looking at the TV)

JOHN: Here, have some popcorn.

(John sits next to Sam and smiles at her reassuringly)

I am really sorry Sam.

(Sam looks at him, shakes her head and hugs a cushion for dear life while staring at the TV, John is looking really guilty while trying to reassure Sam)



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