Snake In The Grass: Synopsis

Cast: 3 female (+ 1 male pre-recorded voice)
Running time (approximate): 2 hours - not including the interval.
Availability: Snake In The Grass is available for both professional and amateur production.
Acting edition: Published by Samuel French.

Characters

Annabel Chester
Miriam Chester (Her sister)
Alice Moody (Their father's former nurse)
Annabel returns to her family home following the death of her father to meet her sister, Miriam. Walking through the unkempt grounds - complete with dilapidated tennis-court and summer-house - she meets Alice, her father’s former nurse. She confronts Annabel, claiming Miriam sacked her in order to kill their father and has a letter to prove it. She demands £100,000 compensation, aware that Annabel is the beneficiary of the family fortune. Alice leaves and Annabel hears something emanating from the tennis court, before Miriam turns up and admits she was responsible for the death of her father.

The next day, the sisters argue about the money and Annabel reveals she has no capital, has had a heart-attack and has been abused by her ex-husband. Both recall how their father tormented their childhood and how Annabel was brutally bullied in her tennis training. Alice turns up and accepts Miriam’s offer of a glass of wine. She dismisses an offer of £5,000 before collapsing from the wine, which Miriam has poisoned. Her body is dumped down a well and Miriam says they will have to recover the blackmail letter. Alone, Annabel screams as a ball slams into the tennis court netting. In the empty garden, scratching can be heard from the covered well. Annabel shows increasing signs of physical stress on her heart.

It is midnight and the lights in the house have failed and the sisters are using storm lanterns in the garden. The letter - a forgery - has been recovered and Miriam confirms Alice is dead. Miriam points out the rocking chair by the summer-house, where her father once caught her returning from a party in a silver dress and - it is implied - sexually abused her. Annabel enters the tennis court to confront her fears, but is frightened off by a bird and returns to find Alice’s sodden scarf. Annabel reveals the true story behind her failed marriage, the lanterns go out and Miriam disappears. Annabel hears her father’s voice and a volley of balls erupt from the court. The well opens, a bloodied Alice crawls out and Annabel has a fatal heart-attack.

Miriam and Alice are lovers and have arranged a macabre plan to acquire Annabel’s inherited fortune. Miriam sends Alice to turn the lights on; they come on and fade. Miriam smiles and says “whoops” knowing Alice has been electrocuted. Wearing the silver dress from her youth she retrieves a cassette recorder with Miriam’s father voice whispering Annabel’s name. Having killed her sister and lover, Miriam is terrified when the summer-house’s lantern flickers on, her father’s chair starts to rock and a voice calls her name….

Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.