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The Unknown Woman
The Ironic Side Step
Go to page: 1 
In this psychological drama, a young woman is brought to a state hosptial by the police. The attending psychiatrist must figure out whether Grace is mentally ill or if she is truly talking with God.
Karen Mueller is an American playwright and actress living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Her short play The Doctor Will See You Now was produced by StageWorks in Tampa, Florida as a part of their "Briefs and LongJohns" series. Her short play God's Grace was produced at "An Evening of One-Acts" at Carrollwood Players in Tampa, Florida. Her one-act play When Fat Chicks Rule the World was a winner of the Scriptwriters of South Carolina Playwriting Contest and received a staged reading. The play was also a semi-finalist in the 13th Annual Henrico Theatre Company One-Act Playwriting Competition. Her full-length play But Does He Know Botticelli was produced at Cayuga Community College in Auburn, New York. The play also received a staged reading at the Footsteps Theatre in Chicago and received an Honorable Mention in the 1999 McLaren Memorial Playwriting Contest. Karen has been an active member of both the StageWorks and the Alberta Theatre Projects playwriting workshops.
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (1)
Miss Fortune (Plays) In this absurd comedy, a young women visits an aging gypsy fortune-teller in hopes of learning something about her future. [1,386 words]
A Short Play
By Karen Mueller
CAST OF CHARACTERS
DR. AUDREY WILLIAMS. 38. A psychiatrist.
GRACE HARPER. 26. A mental patient.
A State Psychiatric Hospital
SETTING: The Office of Dr. Audrey Williams, State Psychiatric Hospital.
AT RISE: DR. WILLIAMS is sitting at her desk. SHE is interviewing GRACE HARPER, a patient, who was brought into the hospital by the police.
GRACE is experiencing a psychotic episode.
I understand the police picked you up in the garden sanctuary of Our Lady of the Lake Church. They said you were sitting in the sacred fountain. What were you doing in the fountain, Grace ?
Cleansing . . . I need to be cleansed. God's fury has been bestowed upon me. I was burning . . . burning in Hell's fire. I had to put out the flames.
And where were you before you went to the garden ?
God banished me to Hell. He set me on fire. I was burning up. I had nowhere to run. I needed to be cleansed.
Do you know where you are right now, Grace ?
This is purgatory.
How do you know this is purgatory ?
(Touches her arms.)
I'm not on fire anymore - so this can't be Hell - but I don't see God anywhere, so it can't be Heaven.
Do you know how you got here ?
God gave me another chance. He said if I repent He will take me to Heaven.
Do you know who brought you here ?
God's Blue Angels brought me here. They told me it was safe to leave the sacred waters. They said you would protect me.
Do you know what day it is today ?
Every day is the same. Each day is like the rest. Time is eternal.
Can you tell me your full name ?
I am the Sinner - the Sinner banished to Hell. I need to be cleansed - to be clean again.
Can you tell me where you live ?
I was banished to Hell.
And where did you live before you were banished to Hell ?
I lived in a house - it was a house on the mountain - but it burned down. It burned in Hell fire because I was a sinner. I sinned and God banished me to Hell.
Do you remember if anyone else lived with you ?
The police report says that you had a two-year-old son. Do you remember your son ?
(Begins to scream and cry.)
No - not my baby - please don't take my baby -
Grace - look at me - you're in a hospital. You're perfectly safe here.
Hush, little baby, don't say a word. Mamma's gonna buy you a mocking bird…
Do you understand what I'm telling you, Grace ?
Can you tell me who took your baby ?
The Devil - the Devil stole my baby. I had a son but he was taken by the Devil - the Devil took him from me. He wanted me, too. He was going to take me to Hell. But God saved me. God said if I repent I can go to Heaven.
Do you know how your son died, Grace ?
My son is in Hell. The Devil took him that night - the night of the fire. I heard my baby screaming. I saw him - he was on fire - he was burning in the flames of Hell. But he did not sin. God did not banish my son to Hell. My son was taken by the Devil.
Your son was in the house when the fire started ?
He was in his room. He was in his room until he was taken - until the Devil took him away.
What did you do after your son was taken ?
I tried to go after him. I tried to get him back. That's when the Hell fire was bestowed upon me. I could hear God's voice - Repent, you sinner, Repent !
Then what happened ?
I - I was on fire. I was burning up. God was punishing me because I am a sinner. I ran - I ran looking for water. I needed to be cleansed. I looked for water to wash away my sins.
So you went to the church and sat in the fountain ?
I ran until I saw a garden and in the garden was the Fountain of Youth. I knew I would be safe there - in the Fountain of Youth. The Fountain of Youth would make me young. It would wash away my sins and I would be cleansed . . . in youth there is no sin. That's when the Blue Angels came. The Blue Angels brought me to you.
And do you know who I am ?
Do you know who I am, Grace ?
You are the Inquisitor.
And what does an inquisitor do ?
The Inquisitor decides if we are good or evil - if we should go to Heaven or to Hell.
I am a doctor, Grace. A psychiatrist. My name is Dr. Williams. This is a psychiatric hospital. I am here to help you. You're in the hospital because you are not well. You've been through a major trauma. You need some time to rest. You'll probably need to stay for a few weeks. Is that okay ?
But God is coming for me. He said if I repent, He will take me to Heaven.
It's okay, Grace. God can find you here.
But I don't see Him. He should be here. Why isn't He here ?
Maybe God isn't ready for you yet.
I have repented. Why don't you come ? You said you would take me to Heaven. Please, God, take me to Heaven.
Grace - I have something I think might help you.
(Takes a key from her pocket and unlocks the medicine cabinet behind her desk. Removes a bottle of pills from the cabinet and locks the cabinet door, returning the keys to her pocket.)
I want you to take two of these tablets. They will calm you down and help you to think more clearly.
(Hands the pills to Grace and pours her a small glass of water.)
GRACE takes the pills and appears to swallow them with the water.
That's wonderful, Grace. Now I'm going to go out to the front desk and see if they have a room ready for you. I'd like for you to wait right here while I'm gone. I'll only be a few minutes. Will you be all right ?
I'l wait right here. I'll sit right here while you're gone.
Good. I'l just be a minute.
GRACE spits out the pills that she has hidden under her tongue.
These pills are of the Devil. This Inquisitor is an agent of the Devil. She is trying to take God away from me with these pills. God will not find me if I take these pills.
(Hides the pills in her bra.)
Now He will come for me - He will find me.
(Falls to her knees pleading to God.)
I am here, God. Can you hear me ? Please answer my prayers. Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven ....
A bright light shines down on Grace.
God - is that you ?
GRACE reacts as if God is speaking to her.
I knew you would come for me. I knew you would answer my prayers.
Where ? . . . in the medicine cabinet . . .
(Goes to the medicine cabinet.)
But it's locked . . .You've opened it for me . . .
GRACE opens the medicine cabinet and removes a blue pill bottle. SHE walks back to her chair with the pill bottle in her hands and sits down.
All of them ?
(Swallows all of the pills in the bottle.)
Now I'm coming . . . I'm coming to Heaven . . .
GRACE closes her eyes as the lights dim.
|READER'S REVIEWS (7)
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"I would like to read it." -- Ashley Hinson, Georgia, United States.
"Awesome! Well-crafted, great ending. Probably one of the best stories I've ever read!" -- Ashley Burdett, West Chester, Pa, USA.
"Great Play! Well written. Has a great ending, I think in her own sick mind she sees God, so does that make him real?" -- Lori Kenny, White House Station, New Jersey, USA.
"This is a well-crafted but disturbing play as it's intended to be. The only aspect of this play that gave me pause was the medicine cabinet. Grace finds it locked then it becomes "unlocked" and Grace thanks God as she finds a bottle of pills and presumably takes her life. Would God directly assist Grace in committing suicide? Is there another way for Grace to take her life that requires her to do so without God's intervention?" -- doug, New York, NY, usa.
"I think Grace is either seriously mential ill or sometime in Trady they need something to blame like Devil, or Wish thinking we see think we hear God voice. Either way she not in touch with reality" -- Jeanette H.
"With a little rewriting of the obvious (like the first words the psychiatrist utters) you have a fine short play here. No question you have the gift. Well done again!" -- Edmund Jonah.
"Great play, its true, people who do believe in God, other poeple do think that these people are mad. The only bit l did not like about your play was beinging defeated by the devil when she took the pills and taken her own life. God does not intend one to take their own life. The ending should have been "testing the faith" eg when she got hold of the pills, she should have throw them away and said, "Why should l take these". Than her love for God would have been real. Still it was a good play anyway." -- Amy, Hayes, UK.
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© 1998 Karen Mueller
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