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Comedymask

The Mix-Up

Single Act Play

Written by D.C. King

©2020

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CAST OF CHARACTERS

(In Order of Speaking)

JACQUES............................................................................................................. The Cook, French

ALEX.............................................................................................................................. the Servant

MARY............................................................................................................... Lady, House Owner

911 OPERATOR...............................................................................................................him/herself

CAPT. HENRY............................................................................................. A Police Officer, Captain

OFFICER WILLIAM........................................................................................................ Police Officer

OFFICER CARNELL........................................................................................................ Police Officer

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Act 1   Scene 1:

The Set is in a large house. There is a kitchen, a living room with at least three antique chairs, a front door, MARY’s room, ALEX’s and JACQUES’s quarters, and a telephone. A staircase is behind the living room. JACQUES, the Cook, is finishing up a bowl of tomato soup, where ALEX is reading a book in a seat in the living room, along with MARY in a different seat. JACQUES finishes.

JACQUES: Alex! The soup is ready for Lady Mary! But warn her that it is still rather hot!

ALEX: (Doesn’t notices and continues reading)

JACQUES: (Louder) Alex!

ALEX: (He jumps) Oh- Yes, I’m coming! (He sets the book down on a table next to him and walks into the kitchen, going to JACQUES. JACQUES first hands over a potholder, and then hands the soup over to ALEX.)

JAQCUES: Did you hear what I said the first time, Alex?

ALEX: (Dishonestly) Yeah, yeah. (He takes the soup to MARY) Lady Mary?

MARY: (Looks up at him and sets her book down) Ah, Alex, thank you! I assume this is the tomato soup I asked for. From the cook? He makes the most excellent soups.

ALEX: Indeed, ma’am. Fresh from his kitchen. (He grabs a pillow and sets it on her lap, the bowl on top) Enjoy your warm soup, ma’am. If you wish for any seasonings – Salt, Pepper – saltine crackers, or a drink, please call for me.

MARY: I will, Alex, I will. You are dismissed.

ALEX: (He exits to the quarters, closing the door behind him.)

JACQUES: (He picks up a knife in the kitchen. It breaks. He groans in slight frustration) Great. Now I’ll have to buy another one. At least the market is just down the street. (He leaves the kitchen and into the living room, walking towards the front door) Enjoy your soup, Madam Mary.

MARY: Thank you, Jacques. Where, may I ask, are you departing to?

JACQUES: The market; the blasted knife finally broke; I wish I had gotten a new one sooner. That’s where I’m heading off to, to buy a new knife.

MARY: Oh. Well, while you’re down there, can you look for any sales or clearances? I’ll give you the money to buy the extra groceries.

JACQUES: That is quite aright, madam, I have money to spare on anything you may wish for. Anything in specific?

MARY: If it’s cheap and delicious, then please, fetch it for us.

JACQUES: Consider it done. I will keep an eye out.

MARY: Thank you, my dear friend. Adieu!

JACQUES: Adieu. (Exits through the front door)

MARY: (She dips the spoon into the bowl and puts it in her mouth. She suddenly gasps, jumping at the temperature of the soup – still hot – spilling it on herself. She shrieks overdramatically) Aah! It’s too hot, it’s too much! Oh, why didn’t anybody warn me? (Ad-Libbed Dialogue. She eventually passes out with an exaggerated, Shakespearian flare)

(ALEX emerges from his quarters, finding MARY laying on the ground. He shrieks in horror dramatically)

ALEX: (He kneels down to her level) Mary! Lady Mary! Are you alright?! (He notices the tomato soup on her. He shrieks again, backing away from the “body.”) Oh! How awful! How truly unspeakable! Lady Mary has been murdered! (He stands up, backing away from the body) What shall I do? Why could Mary have been murdered? I need help! Yes, I’ll call for help – The police station! That’s what I’ll do; I’ll call the police! (He walks hastily towards the telephone on the table in the living room, picking it up and dialing 911. He puts it to his ear)

911 OPERATOR: (Off-stage) 911, what’s your emergency?

ALEX: Oh, it’s horrendous! Horrendous, I tell you! Someone’s just been murdered!

911 OPERATOR: Okay. Is the murderer still in the area?

ALEX: (Stuttering) I- I don’t know- I would assume! It must’ve not been more then a few minutes since the incident! I was in my quarters when I heard my boss, Mary, shriek. There was some sort of commotion – I went to the scene of the incident – Oh, there was blood on her clothes! She lays here, dead!

911 OPERATOR: Okay; can you tell me your address so we can send a police squad?

ALEX: (Stuttering) It- It’s- 1203 Lakeview Drive.

911 OPERATOR: The police are on their way.

ALEX: Thank you! You send them right here! You send them right away! (He hangs up) The police are on their way – thank goodness. But wait. Who could’ve committed the murder? It couldn’t have been a stranger; I didn’t hear the door open. That means it must’ve been someone in this very house! But It wasn’t me, and it couldn’t have been Mary herself…Jacques! It must’ve been him! But what did he use? Where is he now? And was it really him? Only if he still has the murder weapon – Yes, then it surely must’ve been him! (He glances over to the kitchen door) But is he still here? I should better make sure… (He walks over quietly to the kitchen door, peeking inside. He sees the knife missing) Yes! It was him! Jacques must have killed Mary! (He gasps) He must still be in this house! And I have no way to protect myself! … My bat! In my quarters! Yes, I’ll retrieve my bat! Yes! (He goes into his quarters, closing the door behind him)

MARY: (She wakes up. She stands, looking at the mess from the soup. She sighs and goes upstairs to clean herself off)

JACQUES: (He comes in through the front door silently, closing it behind him. He has a bag of groceries. Thinking everything is alright, he walks into the kitchen, closing the door behind him. He takes a large piece of meat out of the bag and begins cutting it with his new knife)

ALEX: (He comes out of his quarters with a bat in one hand. He finds the body missing. He gasps, shocked.) The body—Mary—She’s gone! How could she be gone? She was just dead! … Jacques must have hidden the body, or taken it somewhere—What would he be doing to the body? (He looks at the closed kitchen door.) That wasn’t closed before…He must be in there… (He creeps over to the door, putting his ear to it and listening right as JACQUES begins cutting the meat loudly. ALEX gasps) He’s cutting her up…Oh sweet lord, he’s cutting her up! But…He’s in the kitchen. He’s cornered! That means that…I could lock him in there until the police show up, yes! (He does so, locking the door. JACQUES looks up, goes over to the door, and tries to open it. He can’t)

JACQUES: Hello? Alex?

ALEX: Don’t try to escape! I know you killed Lady Mary; I have a bat, and I know how to use it!

JACQUES: Qu'est-ce que…? What do you mean? I didn’t and wouldn’t kill her? Why would I?

ALEX: (Stuttering) I- uh- erm- I don’t know! I’m just going off of what I do know: While I was in my quarters, you stabbed Lady Mary with your knife – I know because I saw the knife missing in the kitchen –and now, you’re chopping her up!

JACQUES: …What? No, I cooked the soup, but I also broke the old knife, so I left to buy a new one, along with the groceries. I came back from the market with both, and I’m cutting up some meat for tonight right now!

ALEX: Oh, sure you are. You definitely didn’t just make that up, I absolutely believe you. I hope you can persuade the police better then you did me. (He steps back)

JACQUES: No, I’m not lying! I swear it, I’m telling you the truth! Alex? Alex, listen to me! (He sighs and gives up.) I’m stuck in a house with a madman. (He sits down in a chair in the kitchen, obviously thinking)

            (There is a knock at the door, behind it is a group of police: CAPT. HENRY, OFFICER WILLIAM, and OFFICER CARNELL.)

ALEX: (He hears it) Well, that must be them – that must be the police. (He walks over to the front door, opening it to the group of officers, CAPT. HENRY in the front)

 CAPT. HENRY: Evening, sir.

ALEX: Evening, Officer…

CAPT. HENRY: Henry. Captain Henry. These two are my partners.

OFFICER WILLIAM: Officer William, here.

OFFICER CARNELL: Officer Carnell, on duty.

CAPT. HENRY: We were told about a murder in this household – The murder of Lady Mary?

ALEX: Indeed, I- Oh, it’s awful! I locked the murderer in the kitchen, I heard him cutting the body apart with his knife. He claims not to the crime, but the evidence points all too clearly to him!

OFFICER WILLIAM: You mean he is still in there?

OFFICER CARNELL: Is he armed? Is he dangerous?

ALEX: Yes, indeed. The murderer, Jacques, he’s dangerous, rabid you could say! He’s gone mad, claiming he did not, where I saw the body for myself before he mutilated it. I didn’t see the body mutilated, but I can imagine it, oh, but I don’t want to imagine such horrors!

CAPT. HENRY: May we come in? We may be able to arrest him and take him away, so that you may be safe.

ALEX: Oh, please do! (He moves out of the way, and CAPT. HENRY, OFFICER WILLIAM and OFFICER CARNELL enter)

OFFICER CARNELL: Where did you say you had him trapped?

ALEX: (pointing down at the kitchen) Down there, in the kitchen! He was in there, I heard him through the door, so I locked him in from the outside.

OFFICER WILLIAM: Clever.

JACQUES: (Having heard the commotion outside) Help! I’m in here! I’ve been locked in here by a madman! He claims I killed Mary; I did no such thing!

ALEX: You see? Rabid, you could say. He lies, trying to persuade us falsely!

CAPT. HENRY: Yes, I understand. William, get the left side, I’ll get the right. Carnell, you unlock the door and join us in the middle. Point your guns at the door in case he tries to attack. (Louder; talking to JACQUES) Sir, we are going to unlock this door. You are to open it when I could to three. (Back to the officers, quieter) I’ll count you down as well, Carnell. Okay?

OFFICER CARNELL: Roger that. (He walks up to the door, standing behind it, on the side where the hinges are. His hand hovers in front of the lock)

OFFICER WILLIAM: Yessir (He kneels down to the left of the door, gun in hand, pointed at the kitchen door)

CAPT. HENRY: You, (He points at ALEX) Stand back and aside; we don’t know if he is aggressive.

ALEX: Okay. (He takes a few strides back, watching)

CAPT. HENRY: Okay, Carnell, ready?

OFFICER CARNELL: (Takes a breath in) Yessir.

            (As CAPT. HENRY begins counting down, MARY begins stepping down the stairs, confused and dazed)

CAPT. HENRY: One… Two…

MARY: Who are—

(Scared and surprised by the suddenness of MARY’S dialogue, CAPT. HENRY, OFFICER WILLIAM and OFFICER CARNELL accidently fire their guns. Everyone jumps or yelps; acts surprised. They all turn their heads to MARY)

ALEX: (Confused and stuttring) …Mar- But- How are you- You’re dead!

MARY: I most certainly am not! What on earth are these officers doing in my house?

JACQUES: (Still locked inside) Help me! They’ve all gone mad!

CAPT. HENRY: We came here because we were told you, erm, were murdered.

MARY: Great heavens; Why would you think that? Who made the call? Alex?

ALEX: (Nods) Yes, I made the call to 911-

MARY: Why in the bloody hell would you call the police when I was very clearly still alive?

ALEX: You were on the ground! Your clothes, they were red with your blood! You were lifeless!

MARY: Good gracious, I passed out! The soup was so bloody hot, I passed out! That wasn’t blood, idiot, that was tomato soup on my clothes!

ALEX: But… No, Jacques killed you! I saw the knife missing, he must have stabbed you!

JACQUES: I told you, it’s because it broke!

MARY: Yes, exactly. It broke, and so, he left to the market to buy another one, along with our meal for tonight.

ALEX: …So, you really weren’t murdered?

MARY: Of course, I wasn’t! Would I be standing here if I was?

ALEX: (Stuttering) No, I…I suppose you wouldn’t be…

CAPT. HENRY: So, what’s the deal now?

MARY: Let poor Jacques out of there now!

OFFICER CARNELL: Yes, ma’am! (He unlocks the door, opening it. JACQUES stands there, dazed)

CAPT. HENRY: Are you okay, sir?

JACQUES: I… I need to lie down… (He staggers out of the room and into the quarters, closing the door behind him)

OFFICER WILLIAM: So, everything is sorted out now?

MARY: Yes, it is. You can get out of my house, now.

CAPT. HENRY: Yes ma’am, we’re leaving. William, Carnell, I’ll meet you in the car. (OFFICER WILLIAM and OFFICER CARNELL exit) I give you my sincerest apologies to you, Lady Mary.

MARY: Don’t be sorry, it wasn’t your fault; you were just doing your duty.

ALEX: Well, then I am sorry for this mix-up.

MARY: You, on the other hand, should be sorry.

CAPT. HENRY: Should I leave you now?

MARY: Yes, please. Thank you.

CAPT. HENRY: You’re welcome. (He tips his hat to each of them) Lady Mary, Alex. (He exits.)

MARY: (Sighs) All of this… because of spilt soup.

ALEX: Am I fired?

MARY: No, you’re not fired. You didn’t know. Although it was almost childish of you to assume that tomato soup was blood, they look nothing alike. (She begins walking towards the kitchen) Do something like this again, and I might. (She walks into the kitchen and begins making herself some soup)

ALEX: Yes, ma’am. (He sighs) Perhaps I’ve had too much coffee this morning. (He goes to his quarters)

MARY: (Comes out with a bowl of soup, sitting down in her chair) What a day… I ask for soup, and I get a squad of police about to shoot my cook. (She sighs and looks at the bowl of soup) I never really was that hungry… (She sets the bowl on the table and goes up the stairs. Exit MARY)



End of Play

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