A comic one-act drama zeroes in on both psychiatry and demonic powers, The Devil’s Due examines man’s choices in an uncertain world. Eric Talmadge is an artist whose thinks his talent is being undermined by his medication for depression. Desperate to be able to paint again, he almost jokingly draws a pentagram on his sketchpad and intones a chant he has found on the Internet. Soon after, his wife enters, a ballet dancer enters, followed shortly thereafter by a man who identifies himself as M. Boudreaux. He speaks with a French accent and claims to be a somewhat unorthodox psychiatrist who has his office in their apartment building.
Eric suspects something fishy about this stranger, but his promise of relief from the depression that is sapping his life. The price that M. Boudreaux would exact, however, throws Eric for a loop. And, no, the price is not his soul.
Check out this sometimes comic, sometimes poetic one-act play with twist on the Deal with the Devil motif.
This dramatic one-act by Jean H. Klein has received a staged reading and a full production as part of the Dog Days Festival at they Generic Theater in Norfolk, VA
Time: The present
Place: An apartment in New York City near Riverside Drive, probablyWest End Avenue.
Great for community theaters and student competitions. Downloadable, printable PDF available.
From the Play
Eric Talmadge: A painter in his middle forties
Alysha Talmadge: His wife, early forties
Dr. Boudreaux:: (Pronounce “Bood-row”) A somewhat
mysterious figure of a man of indeterminate age
A room in an apartment in New York City, near Riverside Drive, which has been converted into an artist’s studio. On one wall, there is a partially opened window. The back wall is dominated by a half-finished canvas standing on an easel. The colors of the works are generally dark. A few suggest torment–a clenched fist, jagged lines, or sketches that resemble tombstone rubbings. Framed on the wall, however, are others that suggest visions of glory–an abstract figure praying or a glowing citadel in the distance.
(Boudreaux enters. He is a distinguished looking man who could be in his thirties or fifties. He has a cigar, something like Freud’s, in his mouth. Chewing on it, he looks around.)
Boudreaux: You were, perhaps, expecting me?
Eric: Well, yes and no. You don’t look exactly the way I’d pictured you.
Boudreaux: I try my best to be nondescript. In my business, it is often better than way, to appear as many different people. To one, I look like an insurance agent. To another, a lawyer. (He smiles.) Some personas are better than others. What do I look like to you?
Eric: I don’t know.
Boudreaux: That is probably best if we are to accomplish the task before us.
Eric: You have a rather odd accent. Are you from New York?
Boudreaux: Many people believe so. I tend to be comfortable here. But then I’ve had homes in many places. So, my way of speech tends to be somewhat unorthodox. So do my methods of treatment. I hope that won’t bother you, Mr. Talmadge.
Eric: You know my name?
Boudreaux: I know quite a bit about you. Your work. Your heartbreak. Your wife’s distress. I know many things. You needed help and I came. You do want help, don’t you?
Eric: Yes, but…I didn’t really think…
Boudreaux: No matter. I have some theories that might help you. As I said, they are most unorthodox. My name is Dr. Boudreaux. Some people simply call me Monsieur Boudreaux. Or just Boudreaux. You may call me that, if you wish.
Eric: Boudreaux will be fine. Uh, is this the way you usually arrive?
Boudreaux: Arrive? Oh! You mean through the door? I have my own methods. Did you expect me to come down the chimney like Santa Claus, perhaps?
Eric: Not really. But I was expecting something different. A little more dramatic, if you know what I mean. It’s hard to have faith in someone who needs a door to enter a room.