Dead Or Alive: A Play

A very old house, like the set of a not very good horror movie.

MARLEY: Jacob?

JACOB: Yes, Marley?

MARLEY: Are we dead?

JACOB: Of course not, we’re having this conversation.

MARLEY: It’s just, I have this sort of haunting sense of loss. All the time.

JACOB: That’s normal. As you get older you realise that every day is another closed door and it’s too late to achieve another one of your dreams.

MARLEY: Oh. I also quite strongly want to sort of be at peace and fade away and not exist anymore.

JACOB: That’s normal too. Age eats away at the strength of our emotions, our capacity to feel happy or really anything meaningful at all, and replaces them with disappointment and regret. After a certain point the ratio tips the wrong way, living is more bad than good, and it would be easier just to not exist. It’s a blessing really. Imagine having to die if life kept getting better.

MARLEY: Well, okay. But what about all the ghost hunting shows they film in our living room?

JACOB: That’s easy. Our living room is very atmospheric.

MARLEY: Because of all the dust and cobwebs.

JACOB: Exactly.

MARLEY: Why don’t we ever clean the dust and cobwebs?

JACOB: Because then the ghost hunters would have to find somewhere new to film.

MARLEY: It’s not just the ghost hunters though, is it? There’s also the tours.

JACOB: You mean the haunted house tours.

MARLEY: There are a lot of haunted house tours in our house.

JACOB: What are you saying? That our house is haunted? I’ve never seen a ghost.

MARLEY: When was the last time you looked in the mirror?

JACOB: You know I don’t like mirrors.

MARLEY: Because of what happened to your head.

JACOB: I cut myself shaving.

MARLEY: You’re holding it in your hands.

JACOB: It was a deep cut.

MARLEY: I just think at some point when you’re floating around with your head in your hands and nobody ever speaks to you or asks you to sign a release form, you have to ask yourself, am I dead?

JACOB: What’s this really about?

MARLEY: It’s not about anything. I just strongly suspect that we’re ghosts.

JACOB: Is this about Eileen?

MARLEY: Not everything is about Eileen.

JACOB: But this is.

MARLEY: She won’t even look at me.

JACOB: Don’t take it so personally. She’s at work. Good tour guides aren’t allowed to flirt in the middle of their tour.

MARLEY: I suppose that’s true.

JACOB: I bet she’d like to speak to you as much as you’d like to speak to her.

MARLEY: Really?

JACOB: Really. Now stop feeling sorry for yourself and rattle that chain while I levitate this old shoe.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the room.

MAN ON TOUR: Excuse me, miss?


MAN ON TOUR: Who are those blokes over there? They’re sort of ruining the tour.

EILEEN: Just ignore them. I do.


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