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The Scarlet Lady

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Author's Notes

"Just my attempt at a play. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I’ll leave it to the experts in future."
This is a single-act play. It takes place in a large kitchen of a detached house, deep in the English Countryside. As the curtain lifts, two people can be seen within a single spotlight. The rest of the kitchen is in darkness. It would be unclear to the audience at this time that the actors were in a kitchen. There are only three actors in the play.


Max: A tall man in his early forties. Slim and dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and black tie.

Verity: A taller than average, slim woman in her early forties. She is dressed in a pink nightgown, red robe and slippers.

Harry: An average height, average built man in his early to mid-fifties. Very smartly dressed, in a grey suit, white shirt and matching tie.


Max: So, go over it one more time.

Verity: I can’t, I’ve told you what happened a hundred times.

Max: Just once more, I need to get it straight in my head.

Verity: Okay, okay. I was in my bed. I was just about to fall asleep when I heard a window smashing downstairs.

Max: Why didn’t you call the police then?

Verity: I’ve told you already. We don’t have a phone in the bedroom. We only use mobiles, and mine was downstairs.

Max: Okay, so what happened next?

Verity: Like I said, my husband keeps a small gun in his bedside cabinet. I didn’t even know if it was loaded. I just thought that if the intruder saw me with it, he’d runoff.

Max: So you took the gun and went downstairs, right.

Verity: Yes, I’ve already told you. I went downstairs holding the gun. I don’t even like guns. I just wanted to scare him off so I could get to my mobile and call the police.

Max: When did you first see him?

Verity: As I walked past the kitchen, I could see his shadowy figure in the doorway. The light was off so I couldn’t see his face. I screamed at him, I’ve got a gun.

Max: And then?

Verity: It sort of just went off. I only wanted to scare him but it went off and he fell.

Max: You shot him three times in the chest at close range.

Verity: I’ve told you, it just kept going bang. I was scared; I didn’t know what I was doing. It just kept going bang.

Max: So, when did you first notice that the man you shot was your husband?

Verity: As soon as I put the light on, I could see it was him, my husband. Is he going to be all right?

Max: No Mrs Rambles. You shot him three times in the chest, he is very dead.

Verity: I didn’t know it was my husband. My lovely Harry, I didn’t know it was him. The gun just kept going bang. I didn’t know it was him.

Max: Why was your husband breaking in through the back door? He could have just come in the front.

Verity: I’ve told you, I’ve told you already. I wasn’t expecting Harry home tonight. He was away on business; he wasn’t due back until tomorrow. I had put the bolt on the front door. I always do that when he’s away. I always do that.

Max: Okay, so why didn’t he ring the doorbell?

Verity: It doesn’t work. He kept meaning to fix it.

Max: Doesn’t he have a key to the back?

Verity: Yes he does, he must have left it here. I wasn’t expecting him home tonight. I put the bolt on the front door. I didn’t mean to shoot him, the gun just kept going bang. I didn’t mean to shoot him.

At this point, the whole stage becomes lit to reveal the entire kitchen.

Max: That’s brilliant Verity, you did so well. Even I believed you. Just remember, when the police get here you have to cry a lot. Look like you’re really upset. After they’ve asked all the questions, tell them you won’t say another word until your lawyer gets here. Then call me, I’ll be right over. Remember, after that, say nothing. And also remember, they keep a record of all emergency calls. They will listen to that back over and over. You must sound frightened and convincing.

Verity: Are you sure that’s all they’ll ask me.

Max: Yes, I’ve been to dozens of these, it’s always the same. Just do as we rehearsed and everything will be okay.

Just then, a loud knocking was heard coming from the front door.

Verity: Quick, it’s Harry, he’s home early. Go into the larder, he never goes in there. Hurry, he’ll be at the back door soon. He mustn't find you here. Go in there, I’ll distract him and get him into the lounge so you can make your escape. We’ll talk later. Do you have our secret phone with you?

Max retrieves a small throw-away phone from his pocket and shows it to Verity, before returning it to the same pocket. He then hurries into the larder. Harry appears at the back door and enters the kitchen.

Harry: Hello darling. I didn’t expect you to be up.

Verity: Oh, hello darling. I felt a bit thirsty and just came down for a drink. You gave me quite a start. How was your day?

Harry: Sorry to startle you dear. My day was long and boring. I’ll just have a quick coffee and come to bed, I’m pooped. I’ll tell you all about it in the morning.

As harry was removing his jacket, Verity picked up a long knife from under the counter. Moving to Harry, she plunged the knife deep into his chest. Harry fell to the floor clutching the knife. Moments later, he was dead. She called to Max who exited the pantry.

Max: Oh my god Verity, what have you done?

Verity: I just panicked.

Max Raced over to Harry, kneeling down he felt the pulse in his neck.

Max: He’s dead, you’ve killed him. This was not the plan. What have you done?

Verity: I panicked, he came home early. I have a better plan now. Take the knife out and give it to me.

Max: Plan, what is your plan?

Verity: It’s okay, I’ve got this. Just pass me the knife and I will explain everything.

Max Slowly removed the knife, stood up and walked toward Verity with a look of horror and disbelief on his face.

Max: How can you make this work now? You’ve killed him.

Verity put her hand in the pocket of her robe and produced a small pistol.

Verity: No my darling, I didn’t kill anyone, you did, with that knife.

As Max looked down at the bloodied knife in his hand, Verity shoots him in the chest. Max just stood there, silent as blood started to pump from his chest. He put his hand over the wound but the blood kept pumping. He had a look of scared confusion on his face. Without saying a word, he falls to his knees in front of Verity. In an almost whispered voice, he spoke his dying word.

Max: Why?

Verity: Sorry my love, I have another script. I was in my bedroom, almost asleep. I could hear my husband downstairs. He was arguing with someone. I went to the bedroom door to see what was up. That’s when I heard my husband shout out, don’t be stupid, put the knife down. I was frightened so I went to my husband’s bedside draw. He keeps a small gun in there. Then I went downstairs to help my husband. I saw you, standing over him with a knife. I panicked and the gun went off. I had to you see, if you want to guarantee to keep a secret between two people, you have to kill one of them. And so my sweet, I chose you. It was the only way you know.

With that, max fell face down on the floor, dead. The bloodied knife was still in his hand. Verity went to his pocket and retrieved their secret phone, removed the SIM card, broke it, and put the pieces down the waste disposal. Calmly, Verity put the gun on the worktop before sitting down on a kitchen chair by the wall phone. Composing herself and taking a few deep breaths, she reached for the phone.

Verity: Frightened and convincing. Come on girl, almost there, you can do this.

Operator: Emergency, what service do you require?

With a well-rehearsed, panicked and worried voice, she screams at the operator.

Verity: Come quickly, come quickly. A man has just killed my husband. Oh my god, he’s dead, my husband is dead. You have to come quickly, I shot the man who killed him, I think he’s dead. He’s killed my husband, come quickly, for god's sake come quickly.

Verity hangs up the phone and stands up to face the audience. With an evil smile on her face, she says: I hope you can keep a secret?

Lights fade. Curtain falls.

Written by Verity
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