Ghost Story - Written by Noel Anderson
Adapted from Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw A play for two women CHARACTERS Miss – A 27-year-old unmarried teacher with a strong imagination, prone to flights of fancy. Mrs Grose – A 45-year-old servant (approximate age) innocent by nature with an anxious disposition. Note: Mrs Grose also plays the children, 8-year-old Flora and 10-year-old Miles. SYNOPSIS: England 1890’s - A handsome bachelor persuades a young teacher to take a position as governess to two children, Miles and Flora, in an isolated country house called Bly, after the previous governess died. On her first day at Bly, the new governess meets eight-year-old Flora and a servant named Mrs Grose, who has been acting as guardian to the two children. The governess is nervous about the new position but is relieved by little Flora’s beauty and charm. The next day she receives an unexpected letter from her employer in London, which contains a note from master Miles’s school, saying that the ten-year-old cannot return to school and that he has been expelled. Alarmed by the news, the governess questions Mrs Grose about the boy’s behaviour. Mrs Grose admits that Miles has on occasion been bad, but that he would never be an injury to other children, and that both children are little angels. The governess is reassured further when she finally meets Miles and is quite taken by his beauty and worldly manner. She decides the school has made a terrible mistake and dismisses the accusations. One summer evening, as the governess strolls around the grounds of Bly, she sees a handsome stranger watching her from a tower overlooking the gardens, she knows immediately that he is no gentleman and is fearful of a man being on the grounds as she strolls, alone. Later that night, he appears without warning and without a hat at her bedroom window, wanting to be let in. Terrified, she runs to Mrs Grose, who identifies the stranger as Peter Quint, a former valet who is now dead and whom Mrs Grose calls, free and depraved. Believing that the ghost of Quint wants to possess little Miles, the governess becomes strict in her supervision of the children, never letting them out of her sight. One day, when the governess is on a picnic at the lake with little Flora, she sees a strange woman, another horror, dressed in black as if in mourning, watching from across the lake…and senses the woman is in pain and is, in fact, Miss Jessel, her dead predecessor. Convinced the two children are in extreme danger, that Flora was indeed aware of Miss Jessel’s presence at the lake, but intentionally lied when questioned, the governess plots to trick the children into to telling the truth about the apparitions, in an effort to save Miles and Flora’s young souls. Things at Bly start to spiral out of control, when the governess with the aid of an anxious Mrs Grose, isolate the two children from each other, and the ghosts of Peter Quint and Miss Jessel edge closer to the house, seeking their two valuable possessions, the children, little Flora and little Miles.