a play about a funeral service

preliminary: People look at funeral services as a vehicle for bitterness and mourning, and it’s true, they are. They can be. But I’ve seen, funerals become a vehicle for celebration, getting to know this person in your life and see what everyone else saw. I think this was meant to be a study of that, but I never got far with it.

This is a funeral for a teenage Boy, Nicholas Todd. Everyone tries their best to speak on him, but everyone has their own perceptions. This story is only in its exposition phase, so it may be a bit boring.


MR. TODD: Nicholas’s father, just about 53 years of age. He’s known to be very quiet and thoughtful, always something but tonight, he is falling short.

MRS. TODD (not appearing): Nicholas’s mother. Candid, sweet. A couple years younger than her husband, but still loves her kid all the same.

DEVIN (not appearing): Nicholas’s best friend. Last speaker of the day.


(at rise) An array of chairs sits in front a single podium as a casket lays diagonally to the audience. Everything is sort of drab as the decorations are simple and hastily put together. Everyone is dressed in black.

(lights up) A preacher steps up to the podium, says a few words, people wipe their eyes, and Nicholas’s father walks up to the podium.



I’m not good with words. I’m sure my son could’ve told you that. I’m pretty sure he did. But I’ll try my best today.

I’ve been trying to come up with a story to tell, because that last thing I’d want to do is embarrass my son at his own funeral—But whenever I tried to come up with a story to tell, my mind just came back to this one. And if here I am, telling you all now, obviously, that means I didn’t kept my word.

The crowd laughs.


When my son was a boy, about five or six, he was obsessed with the show on TV: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. It had just come out the year before—we bought it on DVD, and everytime we put it on, he was ecstatic. It was his favorite show. I never saw the promise in it, but what the hell did I know, I was a man almost in my forties with a five-year-old.

Over the summer, he kept watching and watching it, and eventually just had the—the whole thing down by memory. And around August of that year, we saved up to go to the Zoo, down in—down in Pittsburgh. We saw all sorts of animals, zebras, monkeys, gorillas—But what I’m never going to forget was the tiger exhibit. What he did was he stared for about five seconds and then he stormed off. So downhearted. May tells me to follow him, so I go up to him and ask, “Nicky what’s wrong?” He shakes his head and says, “Daddy, that’s not what a tiger looks like.”

MR. TODD laughs, covering his face
with his hands


That was my boy right there. Never grew out that love of animals. Told me when he was eleven he wanted to get a frog. Bless her heart, Mae nearly fainted.

MRS. TODD is audibly heard,
laughing in the crowd.

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