The Unfortunates

1f, or 5-8 actors


In this intimate ghost story, Mary Jane Kelly has a problem. She’s a pound forty behind in her rent, her window is broken, she has lost her key, and her boyfriend just moved out. And it’s 1888—not a good time to be poor and “unfortunate” on the streets of London. Somewhere out there in the foggy shadows, Jack the Ripper, one of the world’s most notorious criminals is at work. Mary only has two ways to secure her own front door. One of them is prostitution. The other is selling something she shouldn’t have in the first place, something she’ll have to betray her murdered best friend and herself to give up.

Casting & Production


This script includes two versions of the play. The first, as it was originally written, for one actor, and the second, adapted for a company of 5-8 actors. Character lists and other information are provided at the beginning of each version.

MARY JANE KELLY, a prostitute, late twenties. Plays ALL, or:

CHORUS taking the shape of various figures from Mary Jane’s memory as follows:


CATH EDDOWES: a prostitute and alcoholic, 50s. LUCY: a prostitute.

COUSIN: a prostitute, Welsh.

GOSSIP: a witness and attendee at the Inquest.

LIZ STRIDE: a prostitute and alcoholic, 40s, Swedish. Missing her teeth.

PROPRIETRESS: Madam of a West End brothel.


JOE: a fishporter, Mary’s on and off boyfriend.

CHARLIE: a policeman, Mary’s friend.

POLICEMAN: an East Ender policeman.

GENTLEMAN: a witness.

INQUISITOR: runs the Ripper inquest.

LANDLORD: a Whitechapel Slum-lord.

MR MARCH: a gentleman, client of a West End brothel.

CONSTABLE WATKINS: rookie beat policeman.

CONSTABLE HUTT: senior policeman and desk clerk. Irish.

DOCTOR BROWN: an experienced autopsy doctor.

VIGILANTE: a witness (can be played by a man or a woman).