Having Tea with Death – Shinnecock Nation / Southampton High School (2014)


Charles Cause and Liam Meaney in Lance Gumbs play “Having Tea with Death.” Photo by Star Black.

Having Tea with Death by Liam Gumbs

Click here to watch “Having Tea with Death” on Youtube.


Nathaniel: What I always wonder most in life when I get in a melancholic mood is simple: what will happen when I stop breathing? Death is something I’m not afraid of only due to thought process behind the idea that if you are afraid to die then you WILL in fact die, but I on the other hand like ask to what comes next. Have I lived a life that is acceptable by God enough to make my way to heaven or have I failed and are destined for hell. Or do I simply remain dormant and lifeless until Judgment day? Until then I wait.

Death: For thousands of years I have roamed the lands of both the other and the mortals. Indeed Thy task is fairly easy but the amount of time put in is not nearly well spent. Its been almost 2000 years since I’ve been tricked by the original Horror and soon my time will come to pass on but I must choose someone worthy enough who isn’t easily persuaded. I need someone with persistence and who is desperate. Time grows nigh for thy scythe to be passed on to someone else. Thy time is indeed …..Nigh

 (Scene change)

Death: I’m glad you called me here Nathaniel I’ve been meaning to talk to you

Nathaniel: Not a problem I just have a few question that need to be answered.

Death: ………..

Nathaniel: For the past few weeks I’ve been feeling unnatural chills and lately and for some reason I’ve been thinking of you a lot more.

Death: Oh? And what thoughts are these?

Nathaniel: I’ve been wondering when will I die, where will I go, HOW WILL I DIE?

(Looks at death)

Nathaniel: I’m sorry I’m getting ahead of myself aren’t I?

 Death: hahaha no no dont be sorry I’ve been asked these questions all the time by mortals everywhere

Nathaniel: You have?

Death: Humans tend to neglect the existence of others in this world and think only of themselves and think that the world revolves only around them but I’m here to tell you human that it does not. Now these questions you ask I absolutely cannot tell you. When your time comes you will know

Nathaniel: I don’t think you understand what’s happening to me. I feel your presence more and more every day. I grow weaker and weaker. All my stress has been piling up. Death I need something different whether it be death or a clean start ..just……SOMETHING!!?? Please pardon me for a moment.

(walks to bathroom)

(Death pours a cup of tea)

Nathaniel: (Looks at himself in the mirror)(whispers) I just want it all to end i can’t take this

Death: (Calls from the living room) If you truly mean that please sit down

Nathaniel: You have an answer to my problems?!

Death: If you wish to know these things which I cannot say drink the contents of this cup

Nathaniel: But its just tea….

Death : (says slower) If you wish to know these things which I cannot say drink the contents of this cup

(Nathaniel drinks the Tea)

Nathaniel: YOU TRICKED ME ack

 (coughs up blood and starts to choke)

Nathaniel: YOU LIED TO ME!!

Death: Oh did I? Don’t worry human we shall meet again shortly after you’ve passed…….

(Nathaniel dies then wakes up in surrounding darkness)

Nathaniel: Wh-Where am I?!

Death: You are in purgatory

Nathaniel: W-w-wait you don’t mean I’m

(death cuts off nathaniel)

Death: Dead? That’s right you are dead.

Nathaniel: Why aren’t i in heaven or hell?

Death: I’m here to offer you a deal. Nathaniel you well know who I am but you know not of how long it has been since I could rest.

Nathaniel: What are you trying to say??

Death: What I’m trying to say is that you would make the perfect death. Instead of going to slumber take my place as the reaper.

Nathaniel: Why should I? What could I possibly gain from taking your job?

Death: Why you could gain eternal  life with absolutely nothing to worry about. No family, no tedious work, no stress but of course the one rule is to collect souls.

Nathaniel: Indeed that does sound very tempting but when I said I wanted a fresh start this wasn’t what I meant

Death: Oh? and how so? I specifically remember you saying you wanted a fresh start or to die. I gave you one now how about the other. Im basically giving you exactly what you wanted.

Nathaniel: Well you are correct in that sense but when i said fresh start I meant ….well

Death: Typical humans always talking out of the side of there fleshy insignificant neck. Well Nathaniel I’m giving a literally life changing opportunity. What? would you rather spend your life living in dormancy waiting for your life to be judged risking the chance of eternal torment?! Well I see you’ve made your mind…..rest in piece Nathaniel

(Death starts to fade away)

Nathaniel: WAIT!!!

Death: hmm? what is this? The human may want to reconsider?

Nathaniel: Please tell me more of what you do.

Death: Well its quite simple actually. Roam two different dimensions for as long as you want. Eternal life. And the ultimate power of the life-taking touch.

Nathaniel: That doesn’t sound like much so why would you want to give up your position?

Death: Many moons ago the true horror came to me and took my life. The difference between me and you is the fact that I wasn’t ready to die and I felt I had so much more to live for.

Nathaniel: Wow I’m honestly really sorry for you…..

Death: Yes it was very……sad. I left behind a family of 4 including myself. my wife and my two daughters. We lived in the times of which you humans would call the anglo-saxon period. There wasn’t really any civilization like there is now. Times were different. People were actually desperate.


Death: Please take your time making your decision for it is a big one and besides…..we do have all of eternity.

Nathaniel: I just don’t know if it’s the right choice for me.

Death: How so? If you were to await judgment day and be judged, you run the risk of hell.

Nathaniel: Yes, but I also might go to God’s kingdom.

Death: Nathaniel, Nathaniel, Nathaniel. Do you really think you have lived the holy life? All the arguments with your family, your priority of work over god. Why the biggest one of them all is speaking to me.

Nathaniel: You are absolutely correct…

Death: Then please explain to me why you wish to take the chance of judgement?

Nathaniel: I’m only considering judgment because I’m very unstable mentally. If I do become the reaper and I see my family it will kill me over and over again only becauseI can’t communicate or touch them.

Death: Indeed your choice is great but a little logic wouldn’t be too bad at this point

Nathaniel: Where will you go? Where will I go when its my time to come? Can I have some first tips?

Death: Tips? Did you just say tips? Why I had to figure everything out on my own when I was cursed. And when we pass on we reside in our own shadows. You know. The valley of the shadow of death……….

Nathaniel: Wow………….Thats incredible..But still I need help. There’s no way I could possibly know what to do without some guidelines and rules.

Death: The one key rule or guideline to your job is this: When they call for another soul be ready to take a life. Dont feel bad about it for it will be the time god has set for that persons life to end and obviously its your job to end it. Everyones life will come to an end Nathaniel even your own families. You actually won’t have to worry about being strong when taking there soul because if you agree to take my place your soul will be snatched

Nathaniel: So basically all my emotions troubles worries will just vanish correct?

Death: You are correct.

(Nathaniel talks to himself)

Nathaniel: Everything that I actually asked for is being handed to me on a silver platter. Dont be stupid Nathaniel. Dont let your emotions get in the way of making the right choice. Heaven is eternal but hell is eternal as well. I don’t want to risk it, besides its not a hard job. How hard could it actually be?……………..

Death: It is a fairly easy job……

(Death does erie grin)

Nathaniel: Okay I’ve come to resolution with myself

Death: Have you made up your mind?

Nathaniel: I’ll relieve you of your burden. Oh horror give me your job.

(Death does an erie grin)

Death: You’ve made a wise choice nathaniel now shake my my hand.

(They shake and Nathaniel starts screaming)


Death: You have undertaken the task of the eternal reaper. Your soul must be removed. Oh and I forgot to mention, The only way to end this burden is to get the other person to agree. It may not be forcefully done or severe consequences will be forced. Anything you touch shall become lifeless in an instant so i do strongly suggest be careful where and what you touch

Nathaniel: I don’t understand is there anything actually enjoyable I can do? You didn’t tell me about any of this!!

Death: You are no longer human. What was just done cannot be undone. Farewell…Horror.

Nathaniel: I believed I asked you this before but where will you go?

Death: To sleep…

(stage goes dark)

Nathaniel: This wasn’t what I wanted. What have I done?

Death: Well it’s to late to turn back now

Nathaniel: Wait I thought you passed on?

Death: Each reaper has direct spiritual contact with one another. I can contact anytime I please and vice-versa.

Nathaniel: Thats actually really cool but wait…..Does that mean the original god-created angel of death can talk to us to?

Death: He can only speak in Latin but understands all languages.

Original Death: Equidem in valle Nathanael umbra

Death: He says : Indeed I am present in the valley of our shadow Nathaniel

Nathaniel: That’s actually rather scary but I guess its my time to ascend upon the world.

Death: Indeed it is young  Death. We shall meet again in physical form soon. Until then farewell.

(Nathaniel talks to himself)

Nathaniel: And to think this all started with a cup of tea.


The cast and playwright of “Having Tea with Death.” From L to R: Liam Meaney, Lance Gumbs, and Charles Cause. Photo by Star Black.

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