First Church of Cthulhu Bake Sale and Bingo Night
Whenever two or more are gathered together in his name, whether the “his” in question is God, Allah, Cthulhu or Barry, the Night Watchman, there’s always going to be a bureaucracy. And in that bureaucracy, in the red tape and the messy mix of people and their problems, you just may find something to believe in.
HIGH PRIEST (m, middle-aged): A middle-manager who’s more or less lost his faith in undying evil, Walter now deals with the evils of committees and little old ladies who mean well.
BRITTANY (f, seventeen): goth, laconic and rebellious, Brittany has forsaken Cthulhu for Shathak and her love for Curtis.
ED (m, middle-aged). A stereotypical accountant, Ed just wants to do a good job and be praised for it. Perhaps he shouldn’t have chosen Cthulhu worship then.
WOMAN IN BACK/CURTIS/TONY/CHUCK (any age/any gender): Voices in the audience. Can be played by four actors or just one, doing four voices.
ACOLYTES AND AUDIENCE MEMBERS (any age/any gender): as many as you want, all in hoods and ready to go.
The setting should be church-like, with a podium and microphone and some sort of representation of Cthulhu on the back wall. The music playing at open and at the end should be dark and ominous. Not Vader’s Theme from Star Wars, but something similar.
As the play opens, a spotlight focuses on a podium in front of some sort of artist representation of Cthulhu. The HIGH PRIEST, wrapped in a voluminous black hooded robe, with his face covered ascends to the podium as ominous music plays.
(do the best you can with pronunciation)
Ph’nglui mglw’nath Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.
(he translates what he’s said)
In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming. Good evening, everyone.
(he chokes out a snarled
tangle of words)
Ishni’kof’ huah n’gack!
Sorry folks, that wasn’t Elder speech, I just got something in my throat. Anyway, as I said, good evening and welcome to the First Church of Cthulhu. I am the Dread High Priest of our Great Lord, long may he sleep until, upon awakening, he destroys the sanity of any who sees him and brings forth the horror and damnation and the ruin of all mankind-
(he removes hood)
-But you can call me Walter. I’d like to welcome all of you here this evening, whether you’re a long-time member or a first-timer. If this is your first time visiting the abode of the Dread Cthulhu, we ask you to please fill out a visitor’s card, which you can find in the hymnal rack on the back of the pew in front of you, and place it in the collection plate when we pass it by later. Just put it right there on top of the snakes and the lizards and we’ll pick it up and if nothing eats it, we’ll get it right on to the Membership and Outreach Committee, not to be confused with our Visitation Committee, which is a totally different thing, trust me. You get one surprise visitation from the Eldritch Horrors one night and you’ll be getting an extra visitation in your shorts, let me tell you!
(he forces a laugh)
It’s the gift that keeps on giving, ha ha. Speaking of visitations, however, I should point out that tonight is Armageddon Night, the night foretold in prophecy, according to our best interpretations of the signs and portents laid out by Immortal Lovecraft, that our Dread Lord Cthulhu will return to us once again and destroy the world in fire.
Of course, the Signs and Portents Committee has been having some trouble with the overall cosmology of the prophecy and have basically been predicting Cthulhu’s return every Thursday for the past fifty years, so maybe you shouldn’t go changing any plans you have for tomorrow just yet.
WOMAN IN THE BACK (O.S.)
No, no, not yet, Mrs. McCluskey. Bingo is later. That does remind me, however, that tonight is our bi-monthly Bake Sale and Bingo Night. Before you leave this evening, be sure to drop by the Bake Sale and try some of Mrs. Shropshire’s Cthulhu Cookies or Mrs. Latham’s Lovecraft Loaf, which this year comes Armageddon-sized for the whole family and the Chocolate Fountains of Madness, guaranteed to make anyone’s sweet tooth go crazy, no matter what plane of existence you’re from.
(he checks his notes)
Oh, and for those of you hoping to chow down on Mr. Spangler’s Sacrificial Animal Crackers tonight, I’m afraid we won’t have any.
(everyone says “aw”)
It seems the last batch didn’t come out too well and crackers featuring our Dead Lord looked more like Sigmund the Sea-Monster than the Apocalyptic Devourer of All Existence, so they had to be thrown away. Sorry, but as the Bake Sale Committee always says, “That’s the way the Cthulhu crumbles.”
(Checks notes again)
Oh, here’s a special treat for you folks. In honor of this year’s annual HP Lovecraft Children’s Poetry Contest-for those of you who aren’t aware, Mr. Lovecraft began writing poetry when he was only seven and often wrote his critical essays in verse-we will be attempting once again our Lovecraft Lockdown for the young people. This week after our Samhain services, all our children will be gathered together in our Hall of Hastur for one big Sleep-over of R’yleh, filled with games and fun. Remember, actual locks and chains are optional and are not required. Except for you, Charlie Bascomb; after last year, you should be chained up at all times. And now, here to read one of the entries in this year’s poetry contest is seventeen-year-old Brittany Gamble. Brittany?
BRITTANY GAMBLE comes to the stage. She is goth. Very goth. With dark eye make-up, ripped black clothing and lots of chains. The High Priest makes room for her at the podium.
(leaning into microphone til it feeds back)
Hullo. I reject the slave name Brittany, shackled onto me by my parents, Harv and Leslie, including all variations including Britney, Brittny, Brytni and Bri-Bri. Refer to me instead as Sheoth, Sister of Suffering. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat , @Sheoth1993, @SufferingSister619 and @boobookittyfrak260, with the hashtag, #AllMy WallsAreBleeding.
(she pulls a piece of blood-red stationery out of her pocket and begins to read)
There once was a writer named Howard, whose racism made him a coward-
The High Priest runs up and pushes her out of the way and grabs the microphone as two hooded acolytes run up and restrain Brittany.
And that’s enough of that!
Brittany begins shouting as the acolytes drag her off-stage.
Cthulhu is a pussy! All hail Shathak,
Mistress of the Abyssal Slime, Death Reborn, Empress of Entropy!
I love you, Curtis!
I love you too, baby!
OK, sorry about that, folks. I guess we’ll have to send that back to the Poetry Committee for further consideration. And Harv and Leslie, you’ll be able to pick Bri-uh, Sheoth up right after the service tonight, after she’s spent some time with the Re-conditioning and
(a hooded Acolyte runs up and whispers in his ear.)
Yes, I know we used to call it the Torture Committee, but that was a little too “on the nose,” don’t you think?
WOMAN IN THE BACK (O.S.)
Yes, Mrs. McCluskey, I believe you’re right. And by the way, while we’re on the subject of Bingo, let me remind everyone that while Letter 617 is very significant to this church and its followers, it is not now nor has it ever been a choice on a Bingo card.
WOMAN IN THE BACK (O.S.)
Screw you, Walter!
Not on a bet, Gladys. And now, with a report from our Fund Raising Committee, here’s the Dark Lord of the Checkbook, Ed Flagle. Ed?
ED FLAGLE takes the podium. He is nerdy and overweight and looks like an accountant, which he is. He wears a hooded robe similar to the High Priest’s.
Thanks, Walter. Good evening everyone. Happy Armageddon Night, or as we like to call it around my house, Thursday. Wow, it’s been a pretty exciting evening so far, huh?
(no one responds)
So, tonight reminds me of a story. Did you hear the one where Lovecraft goes into a restaurant and orders the calamari? When the waiter brings it over, Lovecraft says, “Excuse me waiter, but there’s a dead squid in my soup!” To which the waiter replies, “No sir, he’s not dead, he just waits dreaming.”
(he starts to laugh, but no one joins in)
Anyway, those of us in the Fund Raising Committee have been hard at work, coming up with money-making ideas to help support the church and our mission of a better world through pain and suffering.
(he shuffles his papers nervously)
Some of these are going to take a little work. Let’s see, one of the ideas we came up with was a themed food truck with cold cuts and meat trays called The Sandwich Horror. Uh, let’s see, Bill Purvis had the idea to start a pest control service called The Rats in the Walls and, uh, we have no idea how to build it, but we had an idea to make a combination flashlight and GPS tracker called The Whisperer in the Darkness.
(moving up to join Ed at podium)
Ed, I told you they didn’t have to be ideas based on Lovecraft’s stories. Why can’t we just have a car wash or a raffle?
Fine! You don’t like my ideas, Walter? Come up with your own, then! Do you know how hard it is, coming up with ideas that go along with these stupid stories? Do you know what Tony Spano came up with? He wanted to make a Call of Cthulhu! You know, so you could call the Dark God whenever you wanted! You know what it looked like? It looked like a forkful of spaghetti and meatballs with a duck call shoved up its ass! And what if it had worked?
It woulda’ worked!
Shut up, Tony!
Just settle down, Ed.
I don’t wanna-
(he gets an idea)
Hey, wait a second,
I have an better idea. We can still call it the Call of Cthulhu,
but instead of some stupid duck call-
-It’s a phone company! Just imagine, Walter, it’s the first long distance company in history that really does cost an arm and a leg!
The High Priest begins pushing Ed into the arms of waiting acolytes to carry him off.
That’s great, Ed. Thanks.
(as he’s dragged offstage)
Tonight is the night the Dead Lord returns! All will suffer
in his presence-
(waves him off, half-heartedly)
That’s nice. Ed, why don’t you go lay down in the back for a bit and then you can come back and tell us all about it, OK? Thanks.
(Acolytes exit with Ed and High Priest checks notes)
Let’s see, what’s next? The Social Committee reports that our Senior’s Night covered- dish potluck for folks sixty-five and over called “An Evening with the Old Ones,” will be next Wednesday. Also, the Rules of Order Committee has once again put forth a list of approved pronunciations of our Dread Lord’s name. We have “Khlûl′-hloo,” “Katulu” and the more basic “Tulu.” There has also been a vigorous write-in campaign for calling the Great Old One “Bob,” but not while I’m High Priest. Do you hear me, Chuck? It’s.
OK, just one or two more and then we can get started. Um, the Legal and Litigation Committee has again put forth the motion that we sue the Necronomi-Con, a “science fiction convention,” for encroaching on a name that is sacred to our church, but as we have said many times, not only do we not have the rights to the name Necronomicon- those belong to the Lovecraft Estate-in order to sue we’d have to hire a lawyer and I’m sorry, but I already worship a dark Hellgod of the Abyss who wants to destroy the Universe. Dealing with a lawyer is simply a step too far. Also, while we’re on the subject of the Necronomicon, the Outreach Committee would like to establish an exploratory committee to look into the possibility of putting a copy of the Dread Gospel in every hotel room in America. You pay for the books, guys and then we’ll talk about passing them out.
(he flips through his notes one last time)
Very funny. Finally, the Committee to fill all the Committees Committee has asked me to remind members that if you aren’t currently serving on a committee already, you need to sign up for one today. After all, how can we prepare for a life of everlasting darkness if we don’t experience a little hell on Earth in the here-and-now?
(he puts away his clipboard)
And now, as we move into the Bingo portion of our program, please remember that tonight is Armageddon Night Bingo and anyone who gets Bingo at the same moment Cthulhu actually returns, gets double points. Let me thank you all for coming out once again. May Azathoth torment you and may Nyarlahotep condemn you.
(with High Priest leading)
Yog-Sothoth knows the gate//Yog-Sothoth is the gate//Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate//Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth//He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old//and where They shall break through again.
Thanks, everyone. And now please join me in singing from page 666 in our hymnal
Ominous music begins as everyone sings.
(singing to the tune of some old hymn)
That is not dead which can eternally lie. And with stranger aeons even death may die
As the music continues, the lights turn red and smoke begins to fill the stage. The High Priest looks up into the air in shock.
(as the music continues and the red light begins to pulse)
Oh my god! Tonight really is the night! Cthulhu and the Old Ones from the Outer Dark are returning! Hail Cthulhu! Hail Abholos! Hail Amon-Gorloth! Hail the Blackness from the Stars-
(he falls to the ground in front of the podium, his hands up in the air as the music gets louder and reaches a crescendo)
The music stops abruptly and the stage goes completely dark. After a count of five, the lights return and while there is still some smoke to be seen, The High Priest and all the Acolytes are gone. After an establishing beat, Ed enters from backstage, yawning and stretching.
(with a big yawn)
Hey Walter, you were right. I feel so much better after a nap.
(he looks around)
Walter? Hey, where is everybody? What did I miss?
He continues to call out as the lights fade to black. Once the lights go out, we hear one last voice in the darkness.
WOMAN IN THE BACK (O.S.)
Don Goodrum was born in Tennessee and raised in Mississippi. He began writing in earnest in college and saw several of his plays produced while a student. Don retired from teaching high school theatre in 2020. He has seen productions of many of his plays throughout the US and hopes to see many more. He lives in Florida where he dotes over three grown daughters, three granddaughters and a grandson.