Wake Not The Dead


Wake Not The Dead
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In this creepy horror adaptation based on a gothic vampire novel by Johann Ludwig Tieck, a man must reckon with the unholy arrangement he made that drove his wife from their home and into a nunnery. To cast out the woman (who may or may not be a vampire) that split up his family, he plots with an alchemist to destroy her and try to save his family’s soul.


In a dark and shadowy church lit by candlelight, there is what appears to be a series of burlap body bags strewn around the church on various pews. A coffin sits on a stand in the altar area. A series of crashes are heard and the main wooden door is broken open. A cloaked figure (Walter) enters and cautiously walks past the bags to the altar area. He awkwardly tries to say The Lord’s Prayer, then gets curious and starts to open the coffin. A nun (Swanhilda) suddenly enters dragging another heavy body bag in. Her face is covered with a scarf revealing only her eyes. The appearance of Swanhilda surprises Walter and he drops the coffin lid closed which in turn surprises Swanhilda. Walter asks for help and Swanhilda demands he leave say a prayer for any loved ones he lost due to “the blood plague.” As their argument escalates, Swanhilda pulls a dagger and Walter reveals his face in a desperate appeal to her humanity. Swanhilda recognizes him and drops her scarf, revealing her face. Walter recognizes her. They are an estranged married couple.

Swanhilda is angry with Walter for casting her out of their home the previous year and eloping with another woman. As an orphan with no place else to go, Swanhilda joined the church and became a nun. Shortly after taking her vows, a “blood plague” decimated the village, killing many people and leaving the church shorthanded for treating the sick and burying the dead. As a result, the church has taken to holding the dead in the sanctuary until they can be properly interred.

Walter apologizes for treating Swanhilda terribly and tells her that the other woman (Brunhilda) is actually a “creature of blood” who seduced and bewitched him into casting Swanhilda out. Swanhilda scoffs at Walter’s claims and tries to throw him out of the church. Walter points out that the “blood plague” started right after Brunhilda arrived and draws a line connecting the deaths from the plague to Bunhilda’s need to drink the blood from her victims. He tells Swanhilda that his estate is decimated as Brunhilda has killed virtually everyone on his property. As Swanhilda considers this claim, Walter shares that Brunhilda recently started feeding on Jacob, his and Swanhilda’s young son. Swanhilda is shocked that Walter would endanger their son to “satisfy his urges.” Walter then reveals why he has come. He consulted with an alchemist to treat Jacob. The Alchemist had instructed Walter to seek out a member of the church to help dispose of Brunhilda since she is an unholy creature. Walter promises Swanhilda that, once Brunhilda is destroyed, they could resume their life together with Jacob. Swanhilda reluctantly agrees, and the two depart for a nearby cemetery per The Alchemist’s instructions.

Swanhilda and Walter enter the cemetery and encounter The Alchemist, who tells Walter to share his marital indiscretion with Swanhilda. Walter says he has, and The Alchemist calls him a liar, demanding Walter to share his complicity. Swanhilda questions what this complicity means and begins to suspect The Alchemist is not who he seems. She demands to know who he really is—The Alchemist reveals himself as the devil. Swanhilda tries to pray, but The Alchemist mocks her for her previous marriage and attraction to Walter. He then demands Walter share the entire story with Swanhilda.

Walter recounts that Brunhilda is, in fact, his first wife. Swanhilda is confused, as Walter told her that he was a widower when they met. Walter shares that he lost his virginity with Brunhilda and that the two of them shared a very passionate sex life throughout courtship and marriage, until her death due to consumption (tuberculosis). But Walter never got over the loss and continued to pine for Brunhilda, visiting her grave in secret long after he met and married Swanhilda. One night The Alchemist approached Walter and offered to raise Brunhilda from the dead, if Walter agreed to bind her to him for the rest of his mortal life. Despite suspecting who The Alchemist was, Walter agreed to the terms and thus began the entire chain of events, from the exile of Swanhilda to the convent, to Brunhilda’s decimation of Walter’s estate and the village itself.

Once Walter confesses his foolhardy bargain, he demands that The Alchemist share the means of returning Brunhilda to her grave. The Alchemist agrees to share the method of doing so for the price of a human soul. Both Walter and Swanhilda are shocked by The Alchimist’s terms as they hear the sounds of a large flying creature approach. The Alchemist identifies the flying creature as Brunhilda and demands that Walter agree. Brunhilda lands before them and immediately transfixes Walter. He claims that she is beautiful and radiant and appears to have just fed. The Alchemist reveals that she had indeed just been feeding on Jacob. Swanhilda is shocked to see her young toddler unconscious in the cemetery and, after realizing that Jacob is still alive, picks him up and goes to leave. She is fully prepared to abandon Walter to his doom with Brunhilda and The Alchemist.

Walter is incensed that Brunhilda was feeding on Jacob. Brunhilda tells him that being risen from the dead was not her choice and that, as a vampire, she must keep feeding to satisfy Walter’s insatiable sexual appetite. She only began to feed on Jacob once she had finished off Walter’s house staff and started running out of townspeople, being careful not to kill the child since she knows he is special to Walter.

Swanhilda goes to leave with Jacob, when Brunhilda transfixes her and begins to feed on Swanhilda to satisfy her hunger. Swanhilda drops Jacob in the process. Walter once again demands that The Alchemist share the details of destroying Brunhilda. The Alchemist reiterates the terms—the means of destroying Brunhilda for a human soul. Walter agrees and The Alchemist instructs Walter to kiss Brunhilda while at the same time driving a dagger into her heart. He then shares that he plans to take Swanhilda’s soul as payment. Walter, who thought it was his own soul he was sacrificing, is appalled and tries to argue with The Alchemist. The Alchemist responds by telling Walter that he had better decide soon since Brunhilda was steadily feeding on Swanhilda and was going to kill her momentarily.

Walter approaches Brunhilda and interrupts her feeding. Brunhilda, flushed with Swanhilda’s blood, thinks Walter is going to demand a sexual favor. She reaches out and kisses Walter. Walter apologizes to Swanhilda and then drives the dagger into his own heart, realizing that his mortal life was keeping Brunhilda alive per his original agreement with The Alchemist. Brunhilda screams and vanishes in a cloud of smoke as Walter dies telling The Alchemist that “you have your soul.”

Swanhilda regains consciousness and sees Walter’s body lying on the ground. She also sees Jacob who is also on the ground where she had dropped him before. She picks him up and begins to rock him. Then she sees The Alchemist and full memory returns. Defiantly she begins to recite The Lord’s Prayer as The Alchemist slowly retreats out of the cemetery alone.


Creepy theatre under the night sky. You want atmosphere? This is atmosphere!

–NBC4 Los Angeles


Walter (Male, 30s-40s): Self-centered and deceitful— always looks after himself— exceedingly charming.

Swanhilda (Female, 20s-30s): Strong and yet compassionate woman— the mother of a young child and currently a nun— just wants to be loved.

Brunhilda (Female, 20s-30s): Gorgeous, dangerous, and immortal.

The Alchemist (Age & gender open): A master manipulator— always gets what he/she wants from people.

Setting: Rural 17th Century Germany.

Performance Royalties for AMATEUR and EDUCATIONAL Groups begin at $40.00 performance for theaters under 150 seats, and rise depending on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote.

Performance Royalties for PROFESSIONAL Theaters will be quoted as a box office percentage, with a minimum guarantee based on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote.

An Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement (see Materials).

Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement.

“Creepy theatre under the night sky. You want atmosphere? This is atmosphere!” –NBC4 Los Angeles

Materials: your materials will be sent to you two months prior to your opening date and will include everything necessary for your production and can be ordered in Printed or Digital format. Printed Materials are provided on unbound three-hole punched loose-leaf paper while digital Materials are provided via email as downloadable PDF files for you to print in-house. All materials are yours to keep! No deposits, no returns.

The required materials for WAKE NOT THE DEAD include:

Production Script provided via email as downloadable PDF files for you to print in-house.

Official Logo Pack Now Included! To help you promote your show, Stage Rights now includes a logo pack with your license. The logo pack includes high resolution versions (both color and black and white) of our show logo. The logo is the portion of the artwork with the title of the show. The surrounding artwork is also available for an additional fee.

Optional Materials:

Stage Manager’s Script – Printed on standard 8.5” x 11” 3-hole-punched paper, with the same page numbers and text as the Printed Production Scripts, but with more space on the page for notes and cues.