Death By Helium
by Robert Joseph Ahola
A hopelessly depressed young
female stockbroker has decided to commit
suicide by ingesting large quantities of helium. For
better or worse, she has
chosen to do so by a massive intake of party balloons.
While sitting on a park bench and trying to inhale a large stock of them one
at a time, she is encountered by a homeless (black) man with a large resume
and an exceptionally spiritual outlook on life.
An attractive, young 30-something stockbroker and victim of sexual
exploitation who has lost her money on a Ponzi scheme. Requires an
actress with a great sense of whimsy and ditzy vulnerability.
A 40- something homeless man who is remarkably literate, kind, focused,
spiritual. He is also a person of color and should be played by one.
A by-the-book tough guy. Or is he? At least he wears the uniform.
A park bench in Central Park, New York City
How to Fill and Use the Balloons - Although party balloons
are not dangerous and use a mixture of helium and oxygen and contain just
enough buoyancy to make it lighter than air, the actors should only intake
it three or four times during the play just to change the timbre of the
voice. The voice usually returns to normal after three to four breaths (a
couple of sentences). Most of the time, the actors will be at normal sound,
volume and emotional vibrancy. It is important to have at least one “balloon
rehearsal” before an actual performance of the play. And the best way to
load and use them is to have at least eight balloons filled: five filled and
tied normally to give buoyancy to the cluster, and three tied with “baby”
bull clips—two for the actress and one for the actor. This makes them easy
to open and use.
Also available from this Playwright