Middle-aged couple Ruby and Earl are happy in their new marriage, but the rest of life is bleak and looking bleaker. Earl has lost his job, Ruby hates hers as night shift janitor at a hospital, and they have moved into a cheap, drab apartment. When Ruby suggests they ought to kill her parents for the inheritance, Earl plays along, believing she is joking. The joke becomes more sinister when Janelle, their cheerful, attractive neighbor, shows up to welcome them to the building. Fearing Earl is attracted to Janelle, Ruby suggests they should practice murder on her. Earl is now in a bind; since he seemed to go along with the idea of killing Ruby’s parents, his refusal to kill Janelle only inflames Ruby’s jealousy. Driven by an animal sense of desperation, Ruby brings the situation to a violent conclusion.
- Female: 2
- Male: 1
- Total roles: 3
- A large woman, not fat, but fleshy, voluptuous. She is uneducated, smart, earthy and primal. Despite her bold demeanor, her self-esteem is tattered, and much of her life has been, or felt like, a struggle for emotional survival. Being with Earl is the first time she can remember feeling truly loved and truly safe.
- Ruby’s husband. Balding, with a bit of a belly. He is a nice, genuine man, completely guileless, completely in love with Ruby, but unequipped for her darker side.
- Ruby and Earl’s neighbor. Slim, friendly, attractive, and sweet. However, she is not as fluffy as she might seem at first. She is a woman who has been wounded and has reconstituted herself as a caretaker, a rescuer. She has a spine when she needs it.
Setting & Set Requirements
A cheap, drab one-bedroom or studio apartment.
- 2020 – Finalist, Henley Rose Competition for Women
- 2022 – The Shattered Glass Project, Seattle, WA
- 2021 – Zoom reading, Clamour Theater Company, Florida (as “Familiar Kill”)
- 2021 – Zoom reading, The Shattered Glass Project, Seattle, WA (as “Familiar Kill”)
- 2020 – Zoom reading, The questors Theatre, London (as “Familiar Kill”)
- 2019 – Staged reading, Parley Productions, Seattle, WA (as “Familiar Kill”)
RUBY: We should kill my parents.
EARL: (laughing) No, yeah, of course. I was just thinkin’ that myself, no kiddin’, just this second.
RUBY: Why didn’t you say?
EARL: Well, a thing like that, it should be your idea. But if you think so, yeah, I’m all in agreement. Get that stinkin’ inheritance already.