The Hound of the Baskervilles by Dave Culling
Sir Charles is being chased through the Yew Alley
OFF, we hear the sounds of the Hound
Sir Charles falls dead
CAPTION: "Sir Charles Baskerville dies in mysterious circumstances"
A thunderclap !
Spotlight on Dr. Watson (1) who stands with his notebook in hand and pencil poised
A solo violin plays under this
. The 4 actors play a multitude of roles and this is denoted throughout the script by a
number in brackets after the characters' names.
WATSON : When I glance over the notes and records
of my friend Sherlock Holmes' cases in early 1889 I am faced with
many which present strange and interesting features - there was the
dreadful business of the Abernetty family which Holmes solved with one
of his extraordinary deductions..
Lights up on HOLMES (2) standing over a dead body (3)
HOLMES : I can tell, Watson, by the depth the parsley has sunk
into the butter on this very hot day that Fitzwilliam Abernetty was
dead long before his son claims to have heard the shots.
WATSON : Incredible Holmes!
HOLMES : Elementary, my dear Watson.
Lights down on HOLMES and the corpse.
WATSON : Then there was the terrifying case of the Bludgeoned
Lights up on HOLMES and a different corpse (4)
HOLMES : It is clear from an inspection of the victim's scalp and
the traces of sandstone dust on the hearth rug that this lady was hit
with a rock.
WATSON : What sort of rock, Holmes ?
HOLMES : Sedimentary, my dear Watson.
Lights down on HOLMES and the corpse.
WATSON : And the coup de grace that was the astonishing affair of the
Giant Rat of Sumatra..
Lights up on HOLMES and yet another corpse. (still 3)
HOLMES : It is clear that this young woman has been bitten all the way
down from her mouth to her large intestine. In fact, all of her canal..
WATSON : What canal, Holmes ?
HOLMES : Alimentary, my dear Watson.
WATSON : Incredible Holmes !
HOLMES : Rudimentary, my dear Watson, but I am nothing without my
WATSON : (hopeful) Complimentary, my dear Holmes ?
HOLMES : (brief pause) Accidentally, my dear Watson.
Lights down on HOLMES. Over WATSON's next speech a chair is wheeled
on and HOLMES sits in it, looking forlorn.
WATSON : But then, as we entered the month of October, the door
stopped knocking and Holmes fell into a torpor. These periods in my
friend's life were always dangerous as, without a case, there was
the fiendish lure of the cocaine bottle.I knew that, unless a client
walked through our door soon, all was lost and my friend would soon be
reaching for the needle. I had been out on my rounds all day in the
fierce Autumn weather and walked in to find Holmes sitting dejectedly
in his armchair
Lights up on a dejected HOLMES. WATSON walks to his side. Wind howls
as the door opens. Some Autumn leaves blow in with Watson (thrown on
HOLMES : How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable seem to me all the
uses of this world..
WATSON : Hamlet ?
HOLMES : Hamlet. In the Slough of Despond. But at least Hamlet had
revenge to contemplate.. Where I have nothing. My mind rebels at
stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse
cryptogram or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my proper atmosphere.
But I abhor the dull routine of existence Perhaps a seven percent solution
WATSON : No ! You must not Holmes ! Have you slept ?
HOLMES : I can not sleep.
WATSON : Well you must, Holmes.
HOLMES : I can not, I will not sleep !
WATSON : But your mind will..
HOLMES : My existence is a waking sleep, Watson ! (pause) What day
is it ?
WATSON : Wednesday.
HOLMES : The.. ?
WATSON : 4th.
HOLMES : Of ?
WATSON : October, Holmes.
HOLMES : Ah.. Then the dread day is fast approaching ?
WATSON : Which day, Holmes ?
HOLMES : The day when your adventures are behind you. When Miss Mary
Morstan finally has her selfish wish and makes you her husband
WATSON : Yes. Just under a month.
HOLMES : (pause) When you will leave me. Watson, I have told you my
feelings about Miss Morstan's character
WATSON : Holmes, we have discussed this already
HOLMES : She is a self-centred child, Watson. You have said so
yourself on several occasions.
WATSON : I won't listen to this, Holmes.
HOLMES : And so it will be a solitary sink into the mire for me. No
cases. No clients. (pause) No companion.
WATSON : Holmes..
HOLMES : Unless, that is, I say the thing I have been waiting to say.
The only way I might be able to stop you from making a mistake..
Romantic music begins. HOLMES stands and walks towards WATSON.
You see, Watson, there is something I have been meaning to say for
quite some time. I have no idea how you will react. But I must, once
and for all, get this off my chest. You see Watson The thing is.. The thing is..
Suddenly MRS. HUDSON (3) bursts into the room, carrying a wooden
walking stick. Music stops immediately. She is VERY Scottish.
HUDSON : Ah, Dr Watson ! I didnae ken ye'd entered ma wee domicile.
Ye mustae used ya old key !
WATSON : I did, Mrs Hudson.
HOLMES : (curtly) What do you want Mrs Hudson ?
HUDSON : Oh, I'm eversa sorry ! Were ya in the middle of somethin' ?
WATSON : Well, Holmes was about to tell me something. What was it, Holmes ?
HOLMES : (swiftly) I forget. What do you want ?
HUDSON : Let's let some of God's light in sha we ?
She walks over and opens some curtains. More light enters the room.
HOLMES : (wincing) What do you want ?
HUDSON : A man came.
HOLMES : A client ?! Why didn't you tell me ?
HUDSON : You were asleep.
WATSON : (to HOLMES) But I thought you said..
HOLMES : What of this client ?
HUDSON : He left his stick behind, Mister Holmes.
HOLMES : And ? Describe !
HUDSON : Well, it's about this long. Made of wood.
HOLMES : Not the stick. What did he look like ?
HUDSON : I cannae remember.
HOLMES : Name ?
HUDSON : Mrs Hudson.
HOLMES : His name ?
HUDSON : I cannae remember.
HOLMES : Age ?
HUDSON : I couldnae say.
HOLMES : Height ?
HUDSON : I cannae remember.
HOLMES : Weight ?
HUDSON : What for ?
HOLMES : How much did he weigh ?
HUDSON : I cannae remember.
HOLMES : Eyes ?
HUDSON : Ah, now that I DO remember.
HOLMES : At last ! Well ?
HUDSON : Two.
HOLMES : Give me the stick Mrs Hudson and then get out.
She hands him the stick.
HUDSON : Och, it's braw ta see ya Doctor ! And how is the bonny Miss
Morstan ? All ready for ya weddin' day ?
HOLMES : Out !!
HOLMES bustles her out of the door. He pulls a magnifying glass from
his pocket and examines the stick. Having finished he throws it to WATSON
HOLMES : Well, what do you make of it, friend Watson ?
WATSON casts his eye over it.
WATSON : "To James Mortimer, MRCS, from his friends of the CCH.
1884". I should think that Dr. Mortimer is a successful elderly
medical man, well esteemed, a country practitioner who does a great
deal of visiting on foot.
HOLMES : Why so ?
WATSON : The iron ferrule at the bottom of the stick has been worn
HOLMES : Excellent Watson.
WATSON : And then there is the inscription - "from his friends of the CCH".
Must be a well-respected elderly gentleman. I should think CCH to be the local hunt.
HOLMES : (clapping) Really Watson, you excel yourself. You habitually
underrate your own abilities.
WATSON : Thank you Holmes.
HOLMES : You are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light.
WATSON : (less sure) Thank you, Holmes.
HOLMES: Some people, without possessing genius, have a remarkable
power of stimulating it.
WATSON : (even less sure) Thank you, Holmes.? Has anything escaped me ?
HOLMES : Almost everything of importance.
WATSON : (sarcastic) Thank you, Holmes..
HOLMES : Do not take offence, friend Watson. Your erroneous conclusions led me
to uncover the truth. Our client is a country practitioner.
WATSON : Then I was right ?
HOLMES : On that point, yes. I would say, however, that a presentation
to a doctor is more likely to come from a hospital than a hunt, and that when
the initials C.C. are placed before that hospital the words "Charing Cross"
very naturally suggest themselves.
WATSON : You might be right.
HOLMES : He could not have been on the staff of the hospital, since
only a man well established in a London practice could hold such a position.
He could only have been a house-surgeon or a house-physician. And he left
five years ago. So your elderly practitioner disappears into thin air and there
emerges a young fellow under thirty, amiable, unambitious, absent-minded,
and the possessor of a dog - larger than a terrier, smaller than a mastiff. The
teeth marks are on the stick.
WATSON : (curtly) Well done, Holmes
HOLMES : Is something amiss ?
WATSON : Not at all.
HOLMES : I have upset you Watson.
WATSON : You ask for my conclusions and then show me my defects.
HOLMES : My dear fellow. I am terribly sorry. The last thing I want to
do is upset you. In fact
Romantic music comes in again.
Now that Mrs Hudson has gone I can tell you what I wanted to tell
you..The thing is, Watson John The thing is
Romantic music cuts out abruptly as MRS. HUDSON (3) enters with Dr.
MORTIMER (4). MORTIMER shakes Autumn leaves off his shoulders as he
HUDSON : Och, I'm awful sorry to interrupt ya Mr Holmes ! Here's
the wee young sassanack who called earlier and left his stick behind !
HOLMES : (collecting himself) Doctor Mortimer I presume ?
They shake hands.
HUDSON : And he's brought his wee doggie wi' 'im !
A barking (invisible) dog enters the room. We follow its progress
around the room as it yaps.
HOLMES: Mrs Hudson, make some tea for our guests please.
MORTIMER : Jasper ! Quiet !
WATSON : It's quite alright, Doctor.
WATSON bends down to make a fuss of the dog. Lots of happy panting is
MORTIMER : Ah, you have my stick ! I was not sure whether I had left
it here or the shipping office. I would not lose it for the world !
HOLMES: A presentation, I see ?
MORTIMER : Yes, sir.
HOLMES : From Charing Cross Hospital ?
MORTIMER : Yes ! Goodness me, Mr Holmes. Quite remarkable !
HOLMES : It was nothing. Take a seat, Dr Mortimer.
MORTIMER : You interest me very much Mr Holmes. I had hardly expected
so dolichocephalic a skull or such well marked supra-orbital development. Would
you have any objection to my running my finger along your parietal fissure ?
HOLMES : Doctor !
MORTIMER : A cast of your skull then sir, until the original becomes available ?
HOLMES : Doctor Mortimer ! Sit down and state your case !
MORTIMER : Well, Mr Holmes
He is interrupted by the sound of his excited dog. WATSON is standing
and looking worriedly at his leg, shaking it slightly.
MORTIMER : Jasper ! Do not do that !
It briefly stops.
MORTIMER : Well, Mr Holmes
The dog noises continue. WATSON shakes his leg a little more vigorously.
WATSON : Perhaps I should take Jasper out of the room ?
HOLMES : A capital idea Watson.
WATSON exits with Jasper. Over the next few lines various aggressive
dog noises are heard, getting louder and louder.
MORTIMER : I have in my pocket a manuscript.
HOLMES : I observed it. Early 18th Century ?
MORTIMER : The exact date is 1742. It was the property of Sir Charles
Baskerville, whose sudden death some months ago created much excitement
in the press.
HOLMES : I remember.
MORTIMER : Sir Charles' skull was an extraordinary one with a pronounced
nasal bone and accentuated mandibles.
HOLMES : The paper Doctor Mortimer.
MORTIMER: (handing over the paper) Sorry, yes. This paper is a
statement of a certain legend that runs in the Baskerville family (as the noises
off reach fever pitch) Perhaps I should attend to Dr Watson while you read ?
HOLMES grunts. MORTIMER exits. HOLMES sits reading. A melodrama,
accompanied by music, begins as HOLMES speaks. Acting style is turned
up to 11.
HOLMES : Of the origin of the Hound of the Baskervilles there have
been many statements, yet I have set it down with all belief that it
occurred as is here set forth. In the time of the Great Rebellion this
Manor of Baskerville was held by Hugo of that name.
HUGO (4) enters sporting a fetching beard and in period costume.
He was a most wild, profane and godless man.
HUGO reacts appropriately to this description.
One dark November night Hugo had carried off a young maiden from a
nearby farm that his lustful eye had taken a shine to.
GIRL (3) comes on in period garb. HUGO grabs her.
HUGO : Stay in here, my pretty one. You soon shall know my purpose in
bringing you here. Maniacal laugh. Maniacal laugh.
HUGO crosses to the other side of the stage leaving the GIRL alone.
GIRL : Whimper. Whimper
HOLMES : He locked the girl in an upper chamber whilst he and his
friend caroused below.
His FRIEND (1) enters to HUGO with two goblets.
HUGO : Carouse !
FRIEND : Carouse !
BOTH : Carouse !
HOLMES : The girl, in the stress of her fear, did that which might
have daunted the bravest of men for, by the aid of the ivy which
covered the south wall, she climbed down to safety and made her way
across the desolate moor.
Through this the GIRL exits SR.
HOLMES : Hugo and his companion went to the room with the idea of
deflowering the innocent girl only to find the cage empty and the bird
HUGO : No ! That wench shall not escape me ! I will to my horse and
the Devil may have my soul if he let me overtake her !
He runs off SR.
FRIEND: (pacing) Confusion. Confusion. (he stops pacing) Decision !
He runs off SR. At that moment the GIRL reappears at the ground level
on foot, running in slow-mo across the front of stage. When she is
halfway across, HUGO appears with coconuts on a piece of string round
his neck for a horse.
HUGO : The Devil take me ! You shall not escape me !
HUGO catches up with her. He pulls out a dagger. He stabs the GIRL.
HUGO : Stab ! Stab !
GIRL : Die Die
She dies and falls offstage L. Just then we hear some demonic growls.
HUGO turns to see a 'hound' coming for him.
HUGO : Ye Gods ! A hound ! A Hound from Hell come to kill me for what
I have done !
He too falls offstage L. FRIEND appears floor R.
HOLMES : The moon was shining bright upon the clearing as Hugo's
companion caught up with his friend. It was not the body of the unhappy maid,
nor yet was it that of the body of Hugo Baskerville lying near her, which scared
the wits out of the daredevil roisterer, but it was the great, black beast - a hound
of Hell - standing over the body of Hugo. Even as he looked on the thing tore
the throat out of Hugo, then turned its blazing eyes and dripping jaws upon him.
He ran for his life and was a broken man for the rest of his days.
FRIEND runs back the way he came.
Such is the tale of the coming of the Hound which is said to have
plagued the family ever since. Many of the family from this day have
been unhappy in their deaths which have been sudden, bloody and
mysterious. I counsel you by way of caution to forbear from crossing
the moor in those dark hours when the powers of Evil are exalted and
the Hound is said to roam baying for more Baskerville blood.
MORTIMER re-enters. Lights up as they were before he left.
MORTIMER : Well ? Did you find it interesting ?
HOLMES : To a collector of fairy-tales.
MORTIMER : But to Sir Charles Baskerville it was much more than that.
Within the last few months it became increasingly plain that his
nervous system was stretched to breaking point. He had taken the
legend of the hound exceedingly to heart - so much so that, although
he would walk in his own grounds, nothing would induce him to go out
upon the moor at night. He claimed to have heard a hound baying on the
moor. Even claimed to have seen one, glowing green in the distance
WATSON re-enters, looking as if he has been savaged. He slams the door
behind him and we hear a dog growling. He adjusts his clothing over the following.
HOLMES : Ah, friend Watson. Is all well ?
WATSON : Yes. I'm going to leave Jasper in the next room if it's
quite alright with you, Doctor ?
MORTIMER : Perfectly alright. So, Mr Holmes, as I was saying
HOLMES : Sir Charles, in a state of nervous exhaustion, had a heart
attack and died. Where is the mystery ?
Ominous music begins and builds through this scene.
MORTIMER : He was found in his grounds at the bottom of the Yew
Alley, his arms out, his fingers dug into the ground, and his features
convulsed in terror. He seemed to have waited at the moor-gate for
HOLMES : How could you tell that ?
MORTIMER : The ash had dropped from his cigar several times. He then
walked on tiptoe to the bottom of the Yew Alley where he met his
grisly end. The marks of his toes were clear in the snow.
HOLMES : Were there any other marks ?
MORTIMER : (gravely) There were.
HOLMES : Footprints ?
HOLMES and WATSON lean in, intrigued.
MORTIMER : Footprints.
HOLMES : A man's or a woman's ?
MORTIMER: (dramatically) Mr Holmes, they were the footprints of a
gigantic hound !
MRS HUDSON suddenly enters
Everyone jumps out of their skin in terror[end of extract]