Characters: Lord Canterville, Mr Otis, Mrs Otis, Virginia, James, Lewis, Clark, (Lewis and Clark are twins), Mrs Umney and Sir Simon (the ghost).
(Outside Canterville Castle there is a sign for sale which Lord Canterville is taking down.)
Scene 1: Canterville Castle
Lord Canterville: Well, it looks like we have a deal, Mr Otis. The castle is yours.
Mr Otis: Thank you, Lord Canterville. I’m sure my family will be very happy here. (They shake hands.)
Lord Canterville: (Looks at him hesitantly.) Perhaps, I should mention that Canterville Castle is haunted by a ghost. (Ghost walks in behind them. They don’t see the ghost but the audience does.)
Mr. Otis: I don’t believe in ghosts, Lord Canterville, so I’m sure I have nothing to be frightened of. (They exit the stage.)
(Mr and Mrs Otis and their four children, Virginia, James, Lewis and Clark, enter. They are greeted by an old woman dressed in an apron.)
Mrs Umney: Welcome, I’m Mrs Umney the housekeeper. Please, come in. There is tea in the library. (There is a table and two chairs on the left side of the stage. Mr and Mrs Otis sit on them and Mrs Umney serves them tea.)
Virginia: It is so exciting.
James: I know, let’s explore. (The four children run around the stage. They mime opening and closing doors.)
Lewis: Look what’s that? (He picks a note up from the floor.)
Clark: It’s a note.
Virginia: Let me see.
James: If a child enters the secret room and stays until dead of night.
Lewis: Then at last Sir Simon can sleep in his tomb and at Canterville all will be alright.
Clark: What does that mean?
(Meanwhile in the library Mrs Otis is inspecting the ground carefully.)
Mrs Otis: I’m terribly sorry, Mrs Umney. I think I spilled something on your carpet.
Mrs Umney: That’s not tea, it is blood.
Mr Otis: We must get rid of it. (The children all come in and inspect the blood stain on the carpet.)
Mrs Umney: I’m afraid that is impossible. That is the blood of Lady Eleanor Canterville. She was murdered by her husband Sir Simon Canterville 500 years ago. Then, Sir Simon disappeared and his body has never been found. They say his spirit haunts the house.
Lewis: I’ll get rid of it. (He rubs it.)
Clark: Look it’s gone.
(Then there is thunder and lightning and Mrs Umney faints. Lights go out. When the lights come back on, the blood stain is back.)
Mr Otis: Maybe the house is haunted after all.
Scene 2: Night in the Castle
(Mr and Mrs Otis are asleep in bed. There is a strange ratting noise and it was getting louder and louder. Mr Otis gets up and puts on his slippers and dressing gown. He opens the door and there in front is the ghost in chains.)
Mr Otis: Oh, you must be Sir Simon.
Sir Simon: (Nods.) Yes I am. (He rattles his chains really loudly.)
Mr. Otis: Here, take this bottle of oil (he hands the bottle to the ghost) and oil your chains. They are making too much noise. I can’t sleep.
(Sir Simon throws the bottle on the ground and runs away and starts to make haunting noise.)
(The two twins come on stage rubbing their eyes.)
Lewis: What’s going on?
Clark: Who is making all that noise? (They stop and share at the ghost.)
Lewis: It’s the ghost.
Clark: Here, throw your pillow at him to scare him (They throw the pillows and run off stage.)
Sir Simon: Well, I never. I have been scaring people for nearly 500 years and I have never been treated like this. Don’t worry, I will get my revenge.
Scene 3: The Next Morning.
(Family are sitting at the table for breakfast.)
Mrs Otis: Children, you mustn’t be frightened of the ghost.
Mr. Otis: Well, he didn’t look very scary to me. (Sir Simon comes out from the other side of the stage and stares at the family.)
Sir Simon: I will exact my revenge on those pesky children.
(The following is all done through mime. The children dress up as ghosts and scare Sir Simon. They hold a piece of string and trip him up. They put oil on the floor and he slips. They run off laughing. This can be done with music in the background.)
Sir Simon: I’ll stop those children once and for all. I’ll appear as my most terrifying characters Reckless Rupert. Reckless Rupert always scares people. (He tiptoes into the children’s room and a bucket of water is thrown on him. The children laugh and he goes off dejected.)
Lewis: We haven’t seen the ghost for ages.
Clark: I think maybe we scared in off for good.
(They exit the stage.)
(Ghost comes in and sits on a chair. He is crying. Virginia walks in.)
Virginia: Why are you crying, Sir Simon? (She puts her arm around his shoulder to comfort him.)
Sir Simon: Because your brothers keep playing nasty tricks on me.
Virginia: They would stop if you behaved yourself.
Sir Simon: But I’m a ghost. I have to rattle my chains and moan and groan and walk around at night.
Virginia: You have been wicked. You murdered your wife. It’s wrong to kill people.
Sir Simon: I know but her brother captured me and starved me to death.
Virginia: You poor ghost.
Sir Simon: Please help me. I’m so unhappy and so very tired.
Virginia: Have you not slept?
Sir Simon: I haven’t slept for 500 years.
Virginia: I don’t know how I can help.
Sir Simon: You could. Do you remember the note you found?
Virginia: (Takes it out of her pocket and reads it.) But I don’t know what it means.
Sir Simon: It means that you must come with me to my chamber and pray for me.
Virginia: That sound easy enough.
Sir Simon: No person has ever entered the chamber and come out alive.
Virginia: I’ll come with you.
(Off they go and disappear.)
(Mrs Otis and the other children come on stage looking for Virginia.)
Mrs Otis: Where is she?
Mr Otis: I’m getting worried.
(Then they hear a crash and she comes out of the secret chamber.)
Mrs Otis: Where have you been?
Virginia: I’ve been with the ghost. He knows he has been wicked and he is very sorry for everything. He gave me this box of jewels. (They all look at the expensive jewels.)
Final scene: At the Graveyard
(There is a gravestone that’s says “Sir Simon Canterville RIP.” The whole family, Mrs. Umney and Lord Canterville all walk in and bow their heads in respect.)
Lord Canterville: Finally he is at peace.
Virginia: He is happy at last.
For more plays based on Oscar Wilde’s stories click on the link below.