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The Uninvited

The Uninvited
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Dorothy Macardle
Adapted by: Tim Kelly
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 65
Pub. Date: 1979
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: 0822211963
ISBN-13: 9780822211969
Cast Size: 6 female, 4 male

About the Play:

The Uninvited is a full-length suspense thriller adapted for the stage by Tim Kelly, from the classic ghost story by Dorothy Macardle. A charming English seaside cottage may be haunted in this thriller. The new owners are not aware of the cottage's dark past and terror arises from the discovery of a possible murder on the grounds. Locals tell dark tales of the former occupants and the evil spirits that may dwell within. Especially recommended for school and contest use.

The Uninvited is a thrilling tale of ghosts and dark secrets. Seeking to escape the demands of life in London, Pam Fitzgerald and her brother, Roddy, an aspiring playwright, discover a charming house in the west of England, overlooking the Irish Sea. The house, Cliff End, has long been empty, and they are able to purchase it at a suspiciously low price from crusty Commander Brooke, the village curmudgeon. The reason is soon apparent: The house has an unsavoury reputation. Fifteen years earlier a murder may or may not have occurred by the gnarled tree that can be viewed from the parlour window. Slowly the Fitzgeralds begin to sense the evil spirit that still inhabits the house, announcing its presence with a sudden, bone-chilling icy cold. Their housekeeper's cat will not enter the nursery, where the sound of a weeping woman adds to the tense atmosphere, and the scent of a flowery, exotic perfume called mimosa comes and goes. The village doctor, the local gossip, and a former governess visit, with strange stories of the beautiful Mary Meredith, who once lived in the house and of the striking, unstable Carmel, who posed for a painting that led to her destruction. With the help of Mary's daughter, Stella, a beautiful young girl whose mysterious birth holds the key to the puzzle, and a seance arranged by an actress who sidelights as a nearly-bonkers psychic, the eerie Cliff End mansion is forced, at last, to reveal its dark secrets. The action then builds steadily to a truly terrifying climax, in which the ghost is discovered to be not only real but dangerous.

Originally published in London as Uneasy Freehold, this classic ghost story was first famous on both sides of the Atlantic as a popular novel by Dorothy Macardle. Made into a movie in 1944, The Uninvited is still viewed as one of the best suspense films of all time. This tightly constructed stage version by Tim Kelly appeared in 1979. It remains a popular choice for school and community theatre productions because the action takes place on a single set, much of the backstory is revealed through simple dialogue, and the relatively large cast has a chance to stir up some supernatural mischief and garner quite a few laughs.

Cast: 6 female, 4 male

What people say:

"In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, a charming house by the sea holds a dark secret. The new owners come face-to-face with the dangerous resident spirit and the house’s disturbing past. Famous first as a novel and then as a classic motion picture, this is a tale of ghosts and dark secrets." — The Abington Journal

"Based on the novel by Dorothy Macardle, the play has all you want for a mystery: a remote neglected house, a tragic death in the past, ghosts and, of course, mystified newcomers eager to put the past to rest. The 1944 movie starring Ray Milland is a classic for scary twists and turns, and the play sustains all the suspense." — The Times Herald-Record

"Tim Kelly's adaptation offers opportunities: There are several creak-filled scenes and comically arch characters to goof around with." — Los Angeles Times

"The Uninvited succeeds as a thriller, a ghost story and a showcase for student actors." — Sacramento News & Review

About the Playwright:

Dorothy Macardle (1889-1958) was an Irish novelist, playwright, journalist and historian. Born to a wealthy brewing family, she was educated at Alexandra College and University College, Dublin. She was imprisoned for her activities during the Irish Civil War, and later worked as a journalist with the Irish Press. Her plays were produced at the Abbey and Gate theatres, and among her works of fiction is Uneasy Freehold / The Uninvited.

Tim Kelly (1931-1998) is often regarded as the most-published playwright in America, with over 300 titles to his credit under both his real name and at least four pseudonyms (Vera Morris, J. Moriarty, Robert Swift, Keith Jackson). Many of his plays, like Les Miserables, M*A*S*H and The Uninvited, are adaptations of novels, films. or television series, although he also wrote a host of parodies a well as original scripts and musical libretti. While his plays have been performed off-Broadway and by such companies as the Royal Court Rep, the Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) and Seattle Rep, he is best known for writing for university, community and school theatre.

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