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.

Cast of Characters

  • MINNIE: 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.

  • MR. ROCHESTER: 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 POLICEMAN: A by-the-book tough guy. Or is he? At least he wears the uniform.

A park bench in Central Park, New York City

Production Considerations
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

Death By Helium by Robert Joseph Ahola

ISBN #1-60513-239-X; JAC #2013-0014


$25/performance royalty

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