Art by Tony Brandl, the Rabbit Hero himself
Having gotten my slot in the troupe with “Teenage Necromancer,” I was in just in time to write for a special Halloween performance. Having a better sense of the strengths of the actors, I whipped up the following mummy script, which relied much more on their performing abilities than on the strength of the dialogue. I’m happy to say they knocked it out of the park. The only tricky bit came at the very end. The first couple times the skit was performed, the audience give it a big round of applause when the characters get out of the tomb and we had trouble recovering to deliver the final stinger. By the third time it was staged, we realized that the Time Keeper needed to basically enter immediately on the heels of the others’ exits for it to work properly.
This also marked the beginning of my performance career with the troupe, which was pretty much confined to “guy yelling from the audience” rolls: the writer in this skit, the obnoxious theater-goer in the forth-coming “We Want Gorilla Theater!”, and a few other bits in other people’s skits. It was actually perfect since 1) I was usually the only one there who wasn’t really an actor, and therefore an easy plant in the audience, 2) it allowed us to break down some of that barrier between performance and audience, and 3) I’m a horribly loud man and shouty really is right in my wheelhouse.
Legalish Stuff: What follows is copyright Jon Etter, blah, blah, blah. If you want to reprint it or perform it anywhere, ask permission first and give me credit as author, and I’ll probably be cool with it. Do it without permission, and the curse of Aman-hotep will fall upon you.
The Mummy’s Curse/Curse of the Mummy
Professor Pettibone–an Egyptologist.
Professor Swope–his associate.
Abdullah–a native guide.
Neville–grandson of Professor Pettibone.
Mike Q. Hanlon–genial MC.
The Writer–writer of the skit.
Timekeeper–person crossing stage with time cards.
MIKE: And now, ladies and gentlemen, we have for you a tale of terror from the middle-East. A tale called THE MUMMY’S CURSE.
The Scene: An Egyptian tomb–table and chair needed for set.
(A cast member with toilet paper wrapped around them lies on a table representing a slab in a tomb. The mummy slowly rises, walks around the table towards where Pettibone and Abdullah exit, and stubs toe on chair.)
MUMMY: OW! MOTHER FU…
(Mike runs in and interrupts the swear word.)
MIKE: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Okay, that’s enough. I’m sorry about this poor excuse for a scene. The writer of it is fired from the troupe as of now.
WRITER: (from offstage or from audience) What?!? Oh, screw you Hanlon!
MIKE: Like I said, I’m sorry. We’re here to bring you quality theatre, not cheap gags and vulgar one-liners.
WRITER: Oh, that’s rich, coming from the guy who danced around smearing Wesson oil on his belly at the last performance.
MIKE: (Looking sheepish.) Heh, heh! Anyway, fortunately we have another mummy scene written by one of our better writers for you instead. Ladies and gentleman, THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY!
WRITER: You’re a dead man, Hanlon! A dead man!
(Mike is chased off-stage by Writer. The mummy is back on the slab. Enter Pettibone and Swope.)
SWOPE: I can’t believe it, Professor Pettibone! After decades of searching you’ve finally discovered the burial chamber of Aman-hotep, the greatest pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom!
PETTIBONE: I told you it was more than myth, and so it is. Look, Swope–that which has been lost to antiquity now gapes before us!
SWOPE: What is this inscription on the burial slab? I’m not familiar with these particular hieroglyphs.
PETTIBONE: (Gets down close to the table.) It says: “He who disturbs the eternal rest of the mighty Aman-hotep shall suffer his wrath from beyond the grave.”
SWOPE: A curse!
PETTIBONE: Oh, it’s nothing but a load of poppycock!
(Crashing sound. Swope rushes to where they entered.)
SWOPE: The passageway! It’s caved-in! Abdullah! Abdullah!
PETTIBONE: Good lord! It could take them hours, perhaps days to dig us out. I hope the air lasts that long…
(The mummy starts to rise.)
(Both men cry out in surprise.)
SWOPE: It’s Aman-hotep! Risen to exact his revenge!
PETTIBONE: The curse!
(The mummy stands and very slowly shuffles towards the two men, who gradually back up to the nearest wall, screaming in terror.)
SWOPE: We’re done for, sir! Done for!
PETTIBONE: I do believe you’re right! (Mummy shuffles closer. Pettibone squints shrewdly.) …Actually, I think I might have a way to get us out of this tight spot.
SWOPE: Then for god’s sake, do it, man!
(With the mummy’s outstretched hands inches from his throat, Pettibone casually walks to the side, pulling Swope with him. The mummy then makes a slow swipe where the two men had just been standing.)
SWOPE: I say! That was bloody easy.
PETTIBONE: Yes. It would appear that we just have to keep moving a bit until we’re dug out.
SWOPE: Quite right, old chap.
TIMEKEEPER: (Reads sign) Two hours later!
(Pettibone is huddled in corner screaming with mummy almost on top of him. Swope takes a picture. Pettibone gets up and walks around mummy.)
SWOPE: All right, now you take a picture of me cowering in terror.
TIMEKEEPER: Two hours later!
(Swope is napping on floor. Mummy shambles near him. Pettibone nudges him with foot. He wakes up, yawns, stretches, and gets up and both move to other side of stage.)
PETTIBONE: (Lies down on ground.) My turn. Wake me when he gets near.
TIMEKEEPER: Yet another two hours later!
(Swope and Pettibone are playing cards at a collapsible card table.)
PETTIBONE: Have you got any nines?
(Swope takes cards out of his hand and passes them to Pettibone. The mummy gets near, they move the card table and and chairs to another corner of the stage, and resume playing.)
SWOPE: Have you got any sevens?
PETTIBONE: Go fish!
TIMEKEEPER: Again with the two hours!
(Pettibone and swope are wearing women’s hats, as is the mummy. One of them drapes a feather boa around the mummy’s neck.)
SWOPE: (in womanly voice) I say, Dame Judith, it’s lovely of the two of you to come to my hat party.
PETTIBONE: (in womanly voice) Why thank you, Lady Windemere. Forgive me for being presumptuous, but I do believe my hat to be the grandest of all!
SWOPE: I don’t know about that. What say you, Lady Touchington?
TIMEKEEPER: Blah, blah, blah! You can read it yourself.
PETTIBONE: At this point, I think we’re belaboring the joke!
SWOPE: Quite right, old chap. Flogging the proverbial dead horse, as it were.
MUMMY: Rrrrr….(nods in agreement)
TIMEKEEPER: (still carrying “2 Hours Later” sign) I friggin’ hate this theater troupe!
(Swope is sitting in one corner reading a book. Pettibone is walking about talking on a cell phone with the mummy slowly pursuing him.)
PETTIBONE: …yes, dear. Yes, dear. No, I’m not sure when I’ll make it back. I’m trapped in a bit of a tomb at the moment. Hmm? Oh, no, nothing to worry about yet. Should have enough air for another day or so. How long? Umm… (looks offstage at Timekeeper quizzically)
TIMEKEEPER: About twelve hours!
PETTIBONE: About twelve hours. (mouths “Thank you!” to Timekeeper.) Yes, dear. Yes, dear. Yes, dear.
(Abdullah bursts in.)
PETTIBONE: Sorry, must dash. Looks like we’ve been saved. Cheerio.
ABDULLAH: Effendis! I’m so glad you’re alive. We’ve been…(sees mummy) The dead walk! Effendis, you have awoken…
SWOPE: (cuts him off.) Yes, yes. We’ve awoken the mighty Aman-hotep and brought his curse down upon our heads. Blahbedy, blah, blah, blah…
PETTIBONE: Quite tiresome, really. Be a good man and send the crew in to clear out the tomb after the mummy has shuffled out after us. We’ll be at the Holiday Inn.
(All exit, with the mummy trailing behind. Timekeeper, made to look old, limps across stage with a sign reading “50 years later.”)
TIMEKEEPER: 50..(has coughing fit) 50…(coughing fit) Years…(clutches chest and collapses. Two other troupe members run up and drag timekeeper off. Pettibone lies on table, which is now his deathbed. Neville stands near him in tears, clutching his hand.)
NEVILLE: You can’t die now, Grandfather. You can’t.
PETTIBONE: There, there, Neville. I’ve lived a long and happy life. It’s time for me to go.
(Heavy, crashing footfalls come from off-stage.)
NEVILLE: What’s that?
PETTIBONE: Oh, I expect that’s just the mummy that’s pursued me for the past fifty years. Dreadful nuissance…
(Pettibone sighs and quietly dies. The mummy shambles in.)
NEVILLE: (still holding Pettibone’s hand, he turns in the direction of the mummy.) I’m afraid you’re too late. My grandfather is dead.
MUMMY: MOTHER FU…(Blackout.)