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From the original cast of Hole, Dan Teachout performs at The Drilling Company Theatre in New York City.


A Ten-Minute Play

(Set in a Mining Cave-in in West Virginia
-- great for High Schools,
Colleges, and Universities)

By Stephen Bittrich

This play was published by Smith and Kraus.

5701 W Slaughter Lane
Suite A130-204
Austin, TX 78749


Copyright © 2010,
by Stephen Bittrich

(Please note that there is a licensing fee due if you want to perform this play before an audience.)

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                                   BY STEPHEN BITTRICH


                                   The dark.  The hole.  700 feet deep
                                   inside blessed terra firma.  The light
                                   becomes another character in this
                                   piece.  It is recommended that as much
                                   as possible lighting instruments
                                   discovered on stage by the characters
                                   illuminate the scene -- matches, a
                                   lantern, a cap light.

            AT RISE:

                                   We hear a man playing a little
                                   harmonica intro and then singing in the
                                   dark.  This is Murphy.  He sings the
                                   first two verses of "GOLD FOR FOOLS,"
                                   an Appalachian Love Ballad.  (Music and
                                   lyrics by Stephen Bittrich available

            Oh, Sally, sweet Sally loved a young miner boy
            When he took her a-courtin' she acted quite coy.
            He said, "Sally Sweet Sally, please give me a kiss.
            I'm going down in the hole, down to the abyss."
            She said, "When ya come home, I'll save ya a peck.
            Just bring me some gold ta put 'round ma neck."
            So down the deep shaft when the young miner boy
            Ta seek him some gold for his love and joy.
            But the hole it caved in, and the boy ne'er came home.
            And Sally Sweet Sally heard the news at the gloam.
            "Yer young boy is dead now, his body's been found.
            He's been bloodied and battered, his flesh took a pound." 
            "So we cleaned him up nice and gave him fresh duds
            Cleaned up his face, hands and his feet from the blood." 
            His fist was clasped tight with the strong grip of death.
            And inside a gold nugget held 'til his last breath.
                           (A match lights.  MURPHY, an
                           older grizzled miner is the
                           first to yell out--)

                                   MURPHY (cont'd)

            Air's good.  I checked the meter.

            You find some tobacco, girl?  That why you feedin' that fire
            some of our blessed air?
                          (BRODY, a compact and tough
                           female miner around 33ish
                           answers, match to her face)

            I think I just unearthed the supply kit with the extra
                          (MILLSAP, a young wide-eyed
                           miner in his mid-twenties
                           chimes in)

            Good girl!  Oh my dear Lord!  And food and water too? 
                          (SHE opens the supply case in
                           the dark and turns on the
                           lantern.  Light flashes up on
                           her face and then she takes it
                           downstage and shines it on the
                           other two.  MURPHY is center)

                                   MILLSAP (cont'd)
            And the Lord said, let there be light. 
                          (SHE finds food in the case)

            What do you want for supper, Millsap?

            Lord be praised.  How's about some fried chicken and potato

            Yeah, that'd be nice.  How's about some peanuts and some

            That'll do.

            Nice girlie.  Every condemned man should be afforded a last

            Stop yer bitchin', Murphy.  That leg ain't so bad.

            Yeah, Murphy.  Yer more of a woman than Brody is!
                          (Silence.  The TWO OF THEM
                           stare MILLSAP down for very
                           different reasons, then...)

                                   MILLSAP (cont'd)
            I didn't mean that, Brody.  
                          (THEY all voraciously devour
                           the newly found treasure of
                           food and drink)

                                   MILLSAP (cont'd)
            We should conserve the battery and only use it certain times.

            Won't make no difference.  Leave it on.  Them new batt'ries
            will last for a fortnight.  We'll be dead in 3 days.

            I don't accept that.  Now that we have light, I'm gonna find
            a way out.  You can believe that.

            Well, you should make peace with yer maker nonetheless.

            Play another one, MURPHY.
                          (MURPHY plays about 6 bars of a
                           little ditty, then launches
                           into one of his familiar

            Ya know if it t'weren't for John Red Deer, a barrel-chested,
            full-blooded Comanche Indian and my partner working a hoist
            while we was dragline mining up at e Creek in '78, I mayn't
            be able to grace you with the dulcet tones of this here fine
            instrument.  No, sir.  
                          (HE moves his fingers in the
            Where you see 10 fine digits ... I mighta gone down ta seven
            that day.
            Don't take two men ta run a hoist, but I was  a dandy, as
            green as a new blade of grass, my first day on a mining job
            of any kind.  Why I was greener than Miss Ima Jean here.
                          (BRODY rolls her eyes at him)
            And John Red Deer drew short straw and got ta be my wet nurse
            while I learnt the trade.  They used to raz the dandies
            something awful back in them days, so when the hoist came
            asunder, split in two, I first figured mebbe I was the butt
            of some bad joke.  But two men were riding the bucket down
            the seven hundred foot shaft, and it tweren't no joke.  I
            yanked on the emergency brake, all for nought, cuz that burst
            apart too.  As the drum unfurled like a giant leviathan on
            the end of a harpoon line, those two men in the bucket were
            surely off to meet their maker.  Without a thought, John Red
            Deer pushed me outta the way like so much laundry, grabbed up
            some nearby guide timber, and levered it in between the frame
            and the drum, ripping off three-a his fingers in the process. 
            But devil be damned he still pulled that makeshift lever down
            with the might of a man possessed and halted the drum.  The
            men down the shaft were saved.  The men down in the hole were
            save from a run away bucket.  And because John Red Deer had
            pushed me outta the way, I didn't get any of my fingers tore
            off on my first day as a miner.

            Well, thank the Lord for John Red Deer.

                          (to MILLSAP)
            Back in them days, you'd never see a person of the female
            persuasion in the hole.  Bad luck.

            Oh can it, Old Timer.  We ain't on the high seas, and this
            ain't your ship, Captain Ahab.  So don't give me that bad
            luck shit.

            Yeah, Murphy.  Ease up.

            Fer as I can see it, she don't need you ta answer fer her,
            boy.  She's got a tongue sharp enough to cut diamonds.  
            Well...yer right Missy, it tweren't bad luck...just bad
            mining.  Retreat mining is a fool's game, but the man above,
            and I don't mean Jesus, I mean, Luther Bilkis, our beloved
            CEO of Bilkis Bourbon Mines, has been a mining this way for

            My Aunt Gemma says retreat mining is like living in house
            made out of pick up sticks and takin' another stick out every
            night before you lay down to sleep.  'Bout all I could do ta
            keep her from followin' me ta work every day ta give Luther
            Bilkis a piece-a her mind.

            Yeah.  That sounds like her.

            You know my aunt?

            We used ta go...dancin'?

            What??  She never told me that!

            Oh ho, you catch that, Girlie?  He didn't like that -
            thinkin' about me and his Auntie!  Don't worry, boy, a
            gentleman don't kiss and tell.

            I found a cap light.
                          (Brody turns on the other lamp,
                           and it shines up in her face)

                                   BRODY (cont'd)
            It works!

            Lord be praised.

            Tweren't the Lord.  I put that lamp and grub in there.  I
            check that kit every day.
                          (SHE fixes it on the hard hat
                           and fixes the hat on her head,
                           shining the light toward the

            I'm gonna go survey the cave-in a-fresh now that we got light
                          (MILLSAP rises to get the other
                           lantern to go with her)

            Don't let Millsap touch the lantern!

            That was an accident!  I said I was sorry! 
                          (MILLSAP and Brody are face to
                           face center stage.  The light
                           from her cap light shines in
                           his face and reflects back
                           onto her face)

            Don't worry about it, Millsap.  I'll be right back.  Stay
            with MURPHY.

            Be careful.

            I'm just gonna look.  Piece of cake.
                          (SHE exits toward the cave-in.
                           MILLSAP looks after her)

                          (after a moment)
            Yeah, she likes ya.

            Ya think?  
                          (MURPHY grins from ear to ear)


            Oh keep quiet!
                          (MURPHY plays around on
                           harmonica.  THEY sit for a
                           moment without speaking.  Just
                           music.  MILLSAP folds his
                           hands and starts to pray,
                           rocking back and forth ever so

            Ain't nobody comin'.

            No, they're coming, Murphy.  I know they are.  The Good Lord
            wouldn't let us die down here.  I got things ta do.

            Like lose yer cherry?

            No, I done checked that offa my ass.

            Boy, just because Miss Brody talks ta me like that, don't
            think that you can.  Watch yer mouth.

            Sorry.  How's your leg?
                          (MURPHY ignores the question)

            As sure as you have faith in the good Lord and the good will
            of mankind, so I have faith in the devilish and wicked nature
            of a man.  And Luther Bilkis surely has a place set at
            Satan's great table in hell when his time comes.  You know as
            well as I this mine was cited with 467 safety violations last
            year, 156 of which was deemed ta be serious in nature.  That
            ain't too much different than the year a'fore and the year
            a'fore that.  What runs this mine and most every mine is
            greed, plain and simple.  And if we get outta here, it won't
            be due to the good graces of Mr. Bilkis.
            They'll call off the search in 4 ta 5 days if they don't
            break through.  Cuz they'll figure we run out of water, run
            out of oxygen, or run outta life.
                          (Brody has returned for part of

            Well, it's a good thing I don't have ta believe in God nor
            the questionable nature of man.  Just myself.  I think I
            found a hole I can fit through.

            No!  Really?

            You may be able ta "butter yer bread yet," Millsap.

            I told you I ain't no virgin-- !  Oh forget about it. 
            Anyways, I should be the one ta go.
                          (Brody prepares to leave,
                           clipping the light to a miners
                           hard hat, finding some rope)

            You can't fit.

            And you can?


            The hole ain't stable.  And it may come to point.  Like
            venturin' into a funnel.  If there was a hole straight
            through, they'da found it already.

            You got better options?  Besides waitin'?

            No ma'am, Miss Brody.

            Well, ain't that nice?  Suddenly I'm not "girlie" or "missy." 
            I'm Miss Brody.

            You get through that hole, I'll call ya the Queen-a England.

            I don't want you to go.

            I'll be right back.  I promise.  
                          (THEY look into each other's
                           eyes, her light shining on

                                   BRODY (cont'd)
            I'll bring fried chicken and potato salad.

            Crap, I meant to ask you out.

                          (SHE touches his cheek
            I wouldn't have gone out with ya.  Stay with Murphy.
                          (SHE turns to go, then turns
                           back around and gives him a
                           brief, tender kiss.  SHE
                           exits.  MILLSAP is a little
                           beside himself.  Paces a
                           little trying to figure out
                           what to do)

            I ever tell you, boy, about the Mole Man of Miner's Delight,


            He was a small beady-eyed Mescun man from Chihuahua
   the dog.  And he was never in the sunlight
            without his sunglasses, cuz the light was too intense for him
            to just walk around, just regular like in the daytime.  But
            down in the hole, the Mole Man was like a damn superhero.  He
            didn't need no torch.  He could make his way around in near
            pitch black with only them beady eyes ta guide him. 
            Eventually, he didn't come up at all.  He just lived down in
            the hole.  Some say he dug his own tunnels through the mine,
            his own drifts.  One time, there was a cave in, and all was
            thought to be lost.  Except that the trapped men had Mole Man
            with 'em -- who knew that mine like a man knows his own dick. 
            And don't you know, Mole Man found a way through the cave and
            to the other side ... got 'em all rescued.  That's a true
            Go give yer girl another kiss.  I can wait in the dark.  I
            got my own mole eyes.
                          (MILLSAP takes the lamp, shines
                           it one last time on MURPHY and
                           goes after BRODY.  MURPHY in
                           the pitch dark sings the 3rd
                           and last verse of "GOLD FOR

                                   MURPHY (cont'd)
            Sally, Sweet Sally took the news awful hard.
            Like her heart was a-punctured through and through with a
            She bid her mother and father good night
            And went up to her bedroom, donned a dress that was white
            She knelt by her bed, and she sent up her prayer
            Then she braided a rope made from her flowing hair.
            Her mother dear mother found her dead that next morn.
            A noose round her neck and her head freshly shorn.

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Script created with Final Draft by Final Draft, Inc.

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