It's a romantic comedy wherein Amanda, a young no-budget theatre creator running her own space out in Bushwick faces eviction and has one last show to save her theatre. The only problem is her final show will need the cooperation of her estranged partner/paramour, Neil.
Outside of the romance plot this will be a lot of me attempting to purge some of my theatre demons. Perhaps that's a post for another time (but certainly one of the many-paragraphed "significant' ones, so don't hold your breath).
I've got the outline completed, I'll probably be posting that later, but for the moment I wanted to post the first chunk of writing. This chunk will be a little different than the usual. You see, this screenplay will open with the final moments of the play previous to Amanda's big final grasp at solvency. I'd thought about skipping this and moving on to other scenes to return to this later, but it felt like I really had to get Amanda's artistic voice down before I could move forward.
So the first piece of writing for this screenplay isn't directly dealing with our characters, but is a musical written in the voice of the main character. I'd never done anything quite like this before, so it was all pretty new, but I actually had a blast. I definitely feel like I know Amanda more than I would have starting out with a normal writing exercise or handful of scenes.
My vision of Amanda is as a modern-day bohemian. Wildly political (liberal, of course), pansexual, passionate, poor, highly intelligent, but also slightly out of touch. She lives in the moment, has a hard time thinking ahead or working through a problem to a thorough, long-lasting solution, but she's got a strong point of view, a clever mind, and an iron will that has, so far, scene her through.
SO, to write something from her perspective I wanted it to be EXTREMELY current, the kind of current that's going to be passe almost as soon as it's written, because that's what art is to her. It's castles in the sand that reflect how you see the world in that instant and can then be obliterated. She'd also be a little out of the times culturally, so something with elements that were maybe en vogue a few years ago but might have worn out their welcome. And, of course, how could I not make it a bit of a giant HAMILTON wink as well? But again, these should be shows that, were people able to make their way out to Bushwick with an open mind, they'd actually get a big kick out of. Amanda's a big-time theatre-nerd weirdo, but she's not an idiot, and she should never be laughed AT, only WITH.
What I finally decided on was a musical about the current political moment, the Tubman/Jackson $20 bill controversy, polyamory, diversity, and zombies. In the play, entitled LOVE TRUMPS HATE, liberal/progressive/ethno-diversity icons Abraham Lincoln, MLK, Sitting Bull, and FDR, led by Harriet Tubman, come back from the dead as zombies to defeat Donald Trump. But, at the grand conclusion, Trump reveals his secret weapon...zombie Andrew Jackson!
And so I give you this, the grand finale of LOVE TRUMPS HATE/the exciting opening of THEATRE IS EVIL! And as has been the case all too frequently, there's bad language, wild sexuality, absurd and saucy revisionist takes on beloved historical figures, and rapping below. So if any of that offends you, best skip this. AWAY WE GO!
A horde of zombie version of America's liberal/progressive past, FDR, Lincoln, Sitting Bull, MLK, all led by Harriet Tubman, descend upon Donald Trump.
You think you've got me cornered? THINK AGAIN! You're all just a bunch of limp-wristed liberals! I've got a real fighter on my side, a man's man, the BEST president...ANDREW JACKSON!
Donald Trump opens a door. Dry ice pours out. And then, exiting the door...ZOMBIE ANDREW JACKSON!
My name is JACKSON!
And I bring the action!
Took a bullet for my wife because she was my passion!
No petticoat politics
didn't you get the bulletin?
I'm not hungry for brains
because, brother, I'm FULL OF THEM.
Ran this country for 8 whole years
But all they remember is my trail of tears
My greatest strength was I knew how to fight
But I wasn't the greatest at seeing what was right
They said I was strong as old hickory
but that obstinance made a dick of me.
I was blind to see
a beautiful new free-
dom that could surely be
from sea to shining sea
and the dumb thing
that stings me inside
is that I would sing
from such a place of pride
About the stirring efficacy
Of Jeffersonian Democracy
to swing wide the doors of liberty
to give the power elite
to the man on the street
but it was incomplete
Because...WHAT ABOUT THEM LADIEEES, Y'ALL???
or the Mexican, the black,
or how about the native
who I used to attack
but now I say wait, if
every man should be free
they can't all look just like me
you see, the the grave is cold and lonely
as you decay and mold your thoughts are only
of any connection, of someone to hold me
now that I've returned I don't want to be picky
I'll love everyone, anyone, who would take me
though my flesh is decaying
I'm hoping and praying
though my past misbehaving
and people enslaving
are red flag-waving
that this sinner's worth saving
I feel like I'm raving
my composure is caving
will this love that I'm craving
ever come my way???
JEFFERSON LOOKS AROUND DESPERATELY. THERE IS ONLY SILENCE. HIS SHOULDERS COLLAPSE IN DEFEAT, AND HE TURNS TO RE-ENTER THE GRAVE.
I've suffered for suffrage
I've freed the enslaved
I've taken up umbrage
I've fought and I've raved
The men that I fought,
they all looked like you
but if my side ever won
what should I do?
Should I banish the losers?
Mock them in defeat?
As a warning to others
hang their corpse in the street?
This thing you're unsure of
You've got us all wrong.
You're asking for love?
It was here all along
HARRIET TUBMAN AND ANDREW JACKSON KISS.
Who takes The Donald?
And is OUR Union past?
I've been owned before
sharing is best.
HARRIET TUBMAN PULLS LINCOLN TOWARDS HER AND SHE, LINCOLN, AND ANDREW JACKSON ALL MAKE OUT TOGETHER IN A BISEXUAL, INTERRACIAL, POLYAMOUROUS EXPLOSION WHILE THE REST OF THE ZOMBIES EAT DONALD TRUMP'S BRAIN.
Well, that wasn't much of a feast.
Maybe sometime soon you can show me your underground railroad.
That depends on what you're planning on doing with that hickory stick.
THEY KEEP MAKING OUT
THE REST OF THE CHORUS
It doesn't matter whose face is on a sawbuck
Instead of fighting, why don't we all--
Be careful now, or we'll be birthing a lot more than new freedom!
THE REST OF THE CHORUS
AN UNDEAD ORGY ENSUES.
There you have it! A sure sign that I've official lost my mind. But hey, it makes me laugh.
Until then...stay weird!