My continuing review series of the plays collected in Geek Theater: 15 Plays by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers is back after a very long delay! Each post will focus on one or two of the plays collected in the volume.
Delightful in its simplicity, Brett F. Cox’s monologue Consider the Services of the Departed proposes a practical new spin on the zombie genre. Because of The Walking Dead everybody thinks of zombie fiction must be a hyper serious sociopolitical thought experiment where every once and a while someone’s face is eaten off. Delivered by a non-gender specific speaker in formal attire, Cox’s script is instead brisk and bracingly funny, correlating the shuffling deceased with the plight of the migrant worker – why not let them rise from their graves and do the jobs that nobody wants to do?
The great success of this script hinges in large part on the severe formality of the speaker’s request. It reads like a cover letter composed by a dainty English butler, calling to mind Remains of the Day or Downton Abbey more than George A. Romero. Though I have greatly enjoyed the other plays in this collection thus far, I would say that this has been hands down my favorite. Instead of me prattling on about it, I would much rather you just head over to Amazon right now and buy the Geek Theater eBook and read this play – it will take less ten minutes.
To whet your appetite, here is a short snippet, where the speaker is questioning why someone might hesitate to accept help from a workforce of decomposing zombies:
Is it the creep factor? Are you worried by the prospect of some Gothic carnival? Are you unnerved by the image of the skeletal janitor, appalled by the babe tipped back, blood gushing merrily through its plump new body, to receive the bottle from caring, competent hands of gristle and bone? Would you prefer not to hear the squeak outside your office window and look up to see the wraith from your most tormented dreams, urgently rubbing clean that one stubborn spot?
The juxtaposition of “the wraith from your most tormented dreams” and “urgently rubbing clean that one stubborn spot” is wildly entertaining. The absolute best part comes later, when the speaker wonders aloud what might happen if the living refuse the aid of this proposed zombie workforce:
Then we will have to think of something else. And next time, we will not ask.
I am sort of dying for the topic of immigration to come up at a dinner party so I can whip this out and do a dramatic reading. Seriously, just go read it.
For more information or to purchase a copy of Geek Theater visit: http://underwordspress.com/underwords_book/geek-theater/