Paranormal Festivity by Matt Bessette

 

 

Synopsis
In an effort to escape their parents and have one last night of fun before returning to middle school at the end of summer vacation, a small group of friends plans and executes a secret overnight campout in the (allegedly haunted) woods. Unbeknownst to them, the school bully and his sidekick have the same idea— and come to the gleeful realization that they have been presented with every bully’s dream: a night of no adult supervision during which they are free to terrorize and prank as they see fit. The bullies exploit the other kids’ fear of the supernatural by pretending to be ghosts, and make sophomoric (albeit successful) attempts to “haunt” their campsite. Both groups, however, are tragically unaware of what really lurks in the shadows of the forest… ~40 minutes.


Cast of Characters

  • MAGGIE BARNES: The unofficial leader of her friend group whose idea it was to go camping in the woods, but whose plan is consistently hindered by her insufferable little brother who insists on tagging along

  • ROLAND BARNES: Maggie’s younger brother who does not quite like the idea of camping in a haunted forest but partakes anyway just to avoid being left out

  • LIZZIE CARPENTER: Maggie’s energetic friend who is excited to figure out if the rumors about the woods are true

  • ALECIA MARTIN: Maggie’s levelheaded friend who doesn’t believe in ghosts or haunted forests

  • RICK NELSON: Tough but simple-minded delinquent who delights in harassing, pranking, and generally bullying his classmates

  • ROGER MCCALL: Rick’s sycophantic sidekick and wannabe bully who obeys his every command

  • GHOST 1: A deceased girl bound to the forest who is content to mind her own business and celebrate the ten-year anniversary of her death in peace

  • GHOST 2: Ghost 1’s sister who died in the woods alongside her but yearns to escape and communicate with the living once again

  • GHOST 3: Another ghost who, despite her youthful appearance, has been dead for so long she has begun to lose her mind and develop odd habits and tendencies 

Setting

The last night of summer vacation (present day) in a small town’s supposedly haunted forest.

 

Production History
Much like Bessette’s Adamant Eve, this play is ideal for a low-budget theatre troupe; the set pieces are easy to find or construct and the props and costumes are common items that can likely be found about the house or purchased for a minimal cost.
 
Rick Nelson from Adamant Eve— the simple-minded school bully— is the same character as Rick Nelson in Paranormal Festivity.
 
Because the television show The X-Files is referenced several times in this script, its theme song was played during the curtain call at the end of the original production. Mark Snow’s eerie instrumental contrasted humorously with the play’s comedic tone, making it an interesting directorial choice.
 
Although this play deals with elements of science fiction, it is important to realize that the story is primarily character-driven.  As such, it is well to remember that the relationships between characters are the most important aspect of Paranormal Festivity, and they must not take a back sat to the flashy supernatural components.  It in fact adds to the humor and welcoming nature of the play to have mystical ghosts who look and behave quite similarly to the living children.

Also available from this Playwright


ISBN #1-60513-272-1; JAC #2016-0007

MEET MATT BESSETTE

$9.25/individual copy

Script Package (11): 20% Discount

$30/performance royalty

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To license this play, please call (781) 272-2066

 


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