Produced by the Catholic University Drama Department, 2008

Winner: 2009 Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting

Miranda has spent her entire life taking care of Helen, her agoraphobic mother—a woman who, to Miranda’s knowledge, never strayed farther from her Washington, D.C. home her entire life. So following Helen’s death, when Miranda finds out that her mother’s last wish is for her ashes—contained in an old hatbox her mother used to store postcards—be scattered off a pier in San Francisco, she’s understandably confused. When she finds out that Helen’s ghost will be accompanying her, she’s horrified.

Mother and daughter’s road-trip takes them into the heart of a very strange America. Along the way, Miranda discovers the story of her missing father, Randall, whose own journey and subsequent death 30 years previous, left Helen a terrified shut-in.  Traveling from the American heartland to an underworld populated by a ghostly circus where death is a prerequisite, Miranda learns that not even the grave can keep family from being family, and is given one last chance at reconciliation. (2 acts, approximately 100 min)

The play can be performed with a minimum of 8 actors (4 male, 4 female).

Character Breakdown:

HELEN (dead mother, 48, looks 18)

MIRANDA (a devoted daughter of 30)

RANDALL (mostly dead father, looks 18)

AUNT JANUS (drag queen on the down-slope of middle age, fabulous)

MR. COPOMPADAPOLIS (a lawyer, middle-aged, specializing in last rites)

MORTICIAN (MR. C’s good right hand)

COATCHECK GIRL (answers to Bernice, thinks she can play piano)

HOST (host of a D.C. drag show)

CY (roadhouse regular, top dog of the bar)

BARTENDER (goes by the name Sharon, likes dancing)

BILL (another roadhouse regular)

RINGMASTER (a master of ceremonies, dead)

FIREEATER (ringmaster’s right hand woman, dead)

SWORD SWALLOWER (silent, dead)

CLOWN (funny, sad, dead)

RUBBER WOMAN (former housewife, dead, bendy)

LION TAMER (former claims adjuster, dead)



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