Synopsis[edit | edit source]
After a landlady tells her tenant to move out, bad things start happening all over the apartment she and her husband live in.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Adolph Caesar as Mars Gillis
- Rosetta LeNoire as Mrs. Gillis
- Donna Bullock as Linda
- John Calonius as Doug
- Tiffani Caesar as Annette
- Paul Sparer as Narrator
Plot[edit | edit source]
Act I[edit | edit source]
Linda is spackling the wall in the house she is remodeling when her fiance Doug walks in and surprises her. He remarks that she enjoys remodeling so much that she did not even hear him tell her how much she enjoys it. Linda makes a foreshadowing comment that she likes sealing cracks since cracks are meant to be sealed.
After they kiss, his demeanor changes from happy to serious. He informs Linda that he has returned from the housing bureau and they cannot evict a tenant named Mars Gillis due to rent control laws in their area. They can only raise his rent a few dollars every year. To her continued frustration, the housing bureau told him that they would have to prove they need the space. This would be difficult as it would only be the two of them and the building has four floors. Linda is frustrated and returns to her spackling.
Other than simply having Mars continue living in their house, Linda is also irritated because Mars has the best room in the house: the parlour floor front. Doug mentions that he has had that room for forty years and ponders whether Mars was a janitor for the building before either he or Linda were even born.
Linda complains about Mars's residency due to the fact that she has many dreams for the house. She complains about the amount of work she and Doug have put into the house and Mars is allowed to stay "practically for free." While Linda complains, she stomps on the floor.
Mars Gillis is in the room under the floor. Mrs. Gillis asks him what he thinks is upsetting his landlord. Mars remarks that it might be her way of telling him the rent is due. He mentions that when it comes to landlords, "some pound on door, others on the floor." Mrs. Gillis tells Mars that he should not let Doug and Linda intimidate him. Mars says that he would leave if he had a place to go to and want to avoid conflict. Mrs. Gillis tells him that he is "too good for your own good." Mars seems amused at this, pats Mrs. Gillis on the arm and leaves to pay the rent.
Act II[edit | edit source]
Linda is telling Doug her dreams for restoring the house and indicates that the parlour floor front is essential to that dream.
Mars knocks on the door and enters the room. Doug informs him that although they cannot evict him legally, they had no intention of renting a room to anyone when they bought the house. Linda rudely interrupts and asks Mars why he doesn't just leave when everyone else did. Mars says he was unable to find a place and questions Linda as to where the other tenants may have gone. Linda tells Mars that he is getting away with murder by only paying ninety-five dollars a month for rent.
When Mars offers his assistance to Doug and Linda, Doug asks him if he can help clean out the cellar. Mars had not anticipated that this is the kind of help he was offering, but is willing to work for them. Doug offers Mars minimum wage.
Act III[edit | edit source]
Doug interrupts Linda and has her come down the stairs to Mars's room and they peek in on him. He is sitting, dressing in African tribal garb, while a standing woman is spinning in a circle. Mars tells her to stop spinning and gives her an apple to take a bite of. He then gives her a second apple half and tells her to put it under her boyfriend's window, and her boyfriend will return to her. The woman asks Mars if they can put an evil curse on the woman who cursed her, but Mars rejects this request. He tells her that she is protected from evil. The woman offers Mars payment, but he does not accept money. Instead, she gives Mars a necklace and tells him he has never failed her.
Later Linda and Doug are lying in bed and watching television. Linda is still obsessed with their situation and is trying to find a way to get Mars evicted. She wonders if they can turn him in for not declaring the gold he accepts as payment. She thinks the housing bureau may let them evict Mars since he is running a business out of his room. Doug is beginning to get annoyed and suggests to Linda that she try to do something positive, like do an anthropology project on witchcraft. Linda rejects this, commenting that the only thing significant about witchcraft is that it can only hurt you if you believe in it.
Later Mars is carrying a vase and trips over an empty paint can. Mars drops the vase and it shatters all over the floor. Linda chastises him for being clumsy. Mars offers to fix the vase and Linda asks him if he thinks he can fix the vase with voodoo. When Doug comes in, he chastises Mars for not being careful enough. Linda says Mars just threw the vase on the floor. Mars attempts to defend himself, but Linda insists it was his clumsiness and orders Doug to take the price of the vase out of Mars's pay. Doug tells Linda he cannot garnish Mars's pay and this further angers Linda. She claims, as Mars leaves, that there are many men who would love to do the work he is doing.
When Mars leaves, Linda and Doug continue to argue about it. Doug is angry at Linda for insulting Mars and claiming that there are not many men willing to do his work for such a small wage. Linda counters that Mars's accident actually cost them a lot since they will never be able to replace the vase. She demands that Doug force Mars to pay for the vase.
Later, Doug is paying Mars for his work. Doug chooses to withhold half the price of the vase and tells a visibly upset Mars that he will take care of the other half. Mars seems okay and Doug assures him that he knows Mars did not break the vase on purpose. Mars closes the door and crumples the money up in his hands.
Doug finds Linda and tells her that he docked Mars half of his pay. Linda is angry at Doug for not charging the whole price. Doug begins to seem frustrated with Linda and tells her to have a heart. Linda sighs and asks Doug where she can get a heart for cheap.
As soon as Linda turns around, she and Doug hear Mars chanting. When they go to see what is going on, they see Mars at the bottom of the stairs, casting a curse. Mars chants this spell:
If i am responsible for this thing, Let me be cursed. If another is responsible for this thing, Let them be cursed.
As Mars recites the last line, he looks up at Linda.
Act IV[edit | edit source]
Linda is nailing a mirror on the wall and accidentally hits her thumb. As she is nursing the thumb, Doug comes in and says a 2X4 fell on his arm and broke. Comically, Doug suggests that the curse is working. To his surprise, Linda ponders whether or not it could be. She finally tells Doug that Mars did not fall and break the vase, he tripped over a paint can that she left on the floor. Doug is upset because she blamed it all on Mars, but he doesn't believe in the curse.
Doug is later walking up the stairs with his arm in a cast. He hears Linda exclaim and he runs up the stairs to find her laying on the floor. She tells him she was pulled off the ladder by something and attributes it to the curse.
Later Linda is doing work and as she lifts a tarp up, her orange tabby cat is dead. Doug comes in and suggests that the cat may have eaten poison, but Linda immediately dismisses this. She claims it is the curse and urges Doug to pay Mars the money that he withheld for the vase. Doug is upset that Linda flip-flopped so easily between wanting Doug to make Mars pay for the vase and then returning the money. She explains to Doug that she is worried because she is pregnant and she never told him because she thought he would not let her work on the house. However, she doesn't want to risk the pregnancy and that is why she wants the curse lifted.
Still later, Linda is lying in bed crying. Doug has his hand on her belly. Linda is upset because her doctor told her the ladder fall killed the baby. Doug consoles her by telling her they will try again. Linda is convinced that the curse will continue to ruin their lives. She wants Doug to tell Mars that the fall killed her baby and she gets angry that the death of their unborn child is not enough to get Doug to talk to Mars about the curse. Linda gets out of bed, claiming to take a walk.
Rather than going for a walk, Linda goes and knocks on Mars's door. She tells him of their injuries and of the death of the cat. Mars is upset because he feels that the cat is a good cat. She tells Mars that she was pulled off a ladder and was hurt. Mars tries to confirm that Linda actually felt a hand. When she tells him she lost her child due to the fall, Mars gets extremely upset, crying that this was not something he meant to happen. He only wanted a little mischief, but he tells Linda the power is too strong and he begs forgiveness. Linda refuses forgiveness and offers Mars the money they owe him to remove the curse. She immediately realizes her mistake, since Mars will only accept gold. She takes her ring off, claiming it is the only gold she has and that it better be enough. She throws it at Mars and storms out. Mars picks the ring up off the floor and looks devastated by what has happened.
Linda returns from her "walk" and tells Doug she feels better.
Act V[edit | edit source]
Mars hangs himself in despair over what he has done. Mrs. Gillis is sitting in a chair in Mars's room, crying. Doug walks in and see what has happened. Mrs. Gillis yells at Doug, blaming him for driving Mars towards suicide.
Linda is talking to Doug. Her only concern about Mars's death is that she does not like the idea of Mars's body lying in the house. Doug said they had to do it since Mrs. Gillis could not afford a funeral parlor.
Later, Doug goes to the parlour floor front and asks Mrs. Gillis if she thinks any more visitors will be coming. Rather than that, Mrs. Gillis again blames them for what has happened, since Doug and Linda bought the house and interfered with their lives. Doug insists that he liked Mars. He refers to Mars as a hard worker and a nice guy.
As Doug is looking at Mars's body, he asks about a box of gold Mars has sitting on his chest. Mrs. Gillis tells Doug that Mars accepts the gold and it contains all of the evil he has removed from the world and must be buried with him. Doug sees Linda's ring and tells Mrs. Gillis it must be mistake and tries to take it back. Mrs. Gillis yells at him, forcing him to return it to the casket. She tells him it is contaminated with evil.
Act VI[edit | edit source]
Linda is surprised to hear that her ring is going to be buried with Mars. Doug tells her that they cannot take it back because Mrs. Gillis will never believe that Mars found the ring lying around the house. Linda confesses to Doug that she gave Mars the ring to remove the curse.
Doug is shocked that not only would Linda give Mars the ring, but shocked that she actually believed in the curse. She tells him she never believed in the curse. She said she just wanted to use the idea of the curse to get rid of Mars without a fight. She tells him she did not mean for Mars to die. Doug then assumes that Linda set the whole thing up, but she denies banging her thumb on purpose and claims she had nothing to do with Doug's broken wrist.
Doug puts all the pieces together and realizes the depths to which Linda stooped to get rid of Mars. Linda poisoned the cat, fell off the ladder on purpose, and lied about being pregnant. When Linda ignores his revelations and tells Doug that she does not want her ring buried with Mars, Doug sees her for what she really is: a person with no heart who does not care that her charade killed a man.
When all Linda does is plead with Doug to get the ring back, he shoves her off. Doug tells Linda the only thing he wants is to get away from her. Linda starts pleading for Doug to not leave as he packs his things. He walks out the door and tells Linda that it would be funny if Mars really was a witch.
Later, Linda goes down and sneaks into the parlour floor front. She tiptoes past Mrs. Gillis, who wakes up but does not allow Linda to notice. Linda takes her ring and leaves.
When Linda is sleeping, Mars leaves his coffin to sort through his gold. He asks where his ring is and repeats over and over that he needs the ring. He walks up the stairs and into Linda's room. She wakes up and hears Mars demanding that she return the ring. Linda screams in horror as Mars comes into the room to claim his ring. The crack in the wall that Linda was fixing earlier tears open and we later see her lying dead with no ring on her finger.