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“Confessions of a Mad Hatter” by Norris Vaughn III

Norris Vaughn III, Author

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 Cast:

The Hatter: A tall, slender man with ear length hair (optional). He should wear a white shirt, black vest and dress pants, styled in the days of the 1920s. He also wears black shoes and a black top hat. He is a complex character, as he switches from one emotion to another.

Props:

A brandy glass, brandy bottle, “pretend” brandy, a small table, a lounge chair, and a lamp (optional). A fancy red hat, two top hats, a bowler hat is also required along with three of any kind of hats that match the era (optional, any hat that meets the era is fine). A single off stage spotlight is also in required to follow the Hatter around the stage.

 

 

(The spotlight shines on a lounge chair in center stage. The Hatter enters from stage right, speed-walking onto the scene before grabbing the glass and pours himself a drink. He drinks it all in one big sip and refills the glass. The Hatter than plops into the chair, hidden his face with the top hat, and grins a crooked smile.)

Hatter:

“…Do you think me mad? Of course you would; everyone should!”

(Stands back up and begin to pace left and right.)

“If the world ever finds out, they would slap “Mad Hatter” on the front page of every newspaper across the nation!”

(Stops and looks at his glass, swirling it around.)

“Am I mad? Is it mad to seek justice if no one else would!? When the police are so crooked they don’t do their job!? They thought I was after revenge…and maybe I was, but what they call revenge I call justice!”

(Puts the glass down on the table and walks over to stage left. Returns to his chair and sits Indian style.)

“How long has it been? How long has it been? …twenty years? Has it really been twenty years? Oh, twenty years, it feels like a lifetime since then. I was just a boy then. Well, obviously you were a boy! Who said that!? Shut up!”

(Stands back up.)

“My father was the best hatter in all of New Orleans, and although we didn’t have much money he was a good man. However, (paces again) my father owed some rather shady characters a lot of money to repair the shop after a flood. But when he couldn’t pay…well, they burnt the shop down with my parents inside. My father, my mother, my home…gone just like that. I was spared because I was at school when all this happened. I begged the police to help, but they were so much in the pockets of those men they ruled the fire accidental! What accident would leave behind gas cans at the scene!? It was then I made a vow: I will bring justice to my family name even if it took me to Judgment Day!”

(Hatter then walks over to the hat rack and takes a fancy women’s hat off it. Smiles at it.)

“When I finally came of age, I spent every dime I managed to earn through years of hard work and sweat; I opened a shop of my own. By then, those men who murdered my parents had become very predominant figures within my city. Their leader even became the mayor. And his daughter was one of my first customers. I made this hat under a special request. A shame she never saw the poison tipped needle I left inside.”

(Puts the hat back on the rack, but doesn’t take his eye off it.)

“She was quite beautiful, but I suppose out of the mud a flower can bloom. Again, a shame she dropped dead in the middle of a grand party.”

(Grabs another top hat from the rack.)

“Ah, this one, I remember it well. For the funeral, the mayor requested a set of hats like this one for himself and his little cronies. One of them came to my shop for a fitting. The strange thing is that he never walked out alive, and someone apparently dumped him in the swamps.”

(Put the top hat back on the rack. Takes a bowler hat off the rack.)

“After the funeral, the remaining men became regular customers. They wanted a new hat for every occasion. The third individual to die met with another unfortunate accident…or so said the police. They never will have any idea I lured him to a rooftop of a hotel. But it wasn’t my fault he died; I just planted a suicide letter. If someone or something is to blame… blame gravity.”

(Put the hat back and grabs another.)

“We are reaching the end of my tale. Isn’t it strange that death seems to follow me around? No, you fool! You killed them! Who said that!? Shut up! You have no evidence! So what if I dispatch of the man who wore this hat and kept his and every other hat! Why should they keep such beautiful things on such disgusting heads!? So what if I put a drop of poison in his drink at a bar, so what!?”

(Angrily pushes the rack over and throw the hat to the floor. Pants and stands there for a moment wide-eyed before picking up the final hat.)

“At last, it was just me and the mayor. Now that I have made him suffer it was time to finish the job! He wanted a new hat, so I gave him a hat…but he dropped the hat…and fell to the floor. And so, justice was mine at last. My 20 year journey had come to an end. Now what do I do? Does my life have any more meaning?”

(The Hatter walks slowly as if in shock, drops the hat and then pours himself another drink. He returns to the chair.)

Justice has won, but there is no more for me. Do I have anything else to live for?

(Lowers his face.)

“Do you think me mad? If you do, then let me ask you just one question…does death come to the reaper?”

(Kill spotlight. End of Play.)

 

 

 

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The student news source of The University of Alabama in Huntsville
“Confessions of a Mad Hatter” by Norris Vaughn III