Monday, January 16, 2012

WIP Update

A slightly different WIP update this Monday: I'm posting part of a play.

In the last writing update I gave two weeks ago, I mentioned a play. Well, here is the first scene for you to peruse and comment on.


Offstage, men and women are shouting. 'Get them' 'over here' etc as they chase one woman and two teenage girls they've accused of murder.

Enter stage right, Margaret and her two daughters Elena and Elizabeth, who are the subject of this chase

Margaret: Over here girls. Now

They hide at the back of the stage and cover themselves with a large, dark cloth that Margaret is carrying. On comes a man, out of breath, talking to someone offstage.

Man: I'm sure they came this way.

Offstage: Can you see them?

Man: Not yet, but they've got to be here somewhere. (He continues searching while he and 'offstage' talk)

Offstage: Well if you can't see them, they can't have gone that way. There's no way they could've crossed that field that quickly.

Man: Listen, I saw...

Offstage: Look, we need to get to them. They killed Partridge and they couldn't have gone that way. We'd have seen them.

Man: (Sees the cloth at the back of the stage) What's this?

Offstage: A distant shout of 'Found them' followed by 'Come on Adam, someone's got them.'

Man: (Rushes off) Great. I haven't seen a hanging in years.

Offstage: We've got to have a trial first.

Man: (now offstage) That won't take long.

Long pause

Margaret: (slowly looks out from under the cloth) They're gone.

(All three stand up)

Elena: Why do they think we killed father?

Margaret: Because we're foreign.

Elizabeth: We're not foreign, we come from Cambridge.

Margaret: To these villagers, that makes us foreign. They don't like non-villagers. I warned your father but he wouldn't listen and look what's happened.

Elena: What do we do now?

Margaret: I don't know. But we have to get away from here.

Elena: Where to?

Margaret: (Thinks for a moment) To your grandfather's village. We'll be safe there.

Elena: But that's miles away.

Elizabeth: Then the sooner we start the better.

Elena: My feet hurt.

Elizabeth: If those men and women...

Elena: And children. I saw Samuel Parker in the mob.

Margaret: If anyone catches us, they'll kill us. They'll hang us. Sore feet or not, we have to go. Now.

exit stage left


Any comments you'd like to make about this opening are VERY welcome, whether it be critical or praisworthy.

See you on Wednesday.


E. Arroyo said...

I've never read a screenplay before. Interesting...

Nick Wilford said...

Good start. I would like to know what happens next. Is it historical?

Anonymous said...

Hey Martin.

I studied drama for degree level so love doing this stuff again - it's an intriguing opening. I'm guessing that it's set in the past?

The only line that didn't read naturally was because it seemed to be for the audience:

"Look, we need to get to them. They killed Partridge and they couldn't have gone that way. We'd have seen them."

You already explain later on with a more natural comment "Why do they think we killed daddy?" so it might not be needed. Maybe have a line like: "Partridge deserves justice" or something along those lines.

The voices are good - I managed to tell between them all without really taking note of the names down the side.

Good luck with the rest of it.

Martin Willoughby said...

EA: The easy way to think of a screenplay is as a novel with the description taken out.

Nick: Yep, it's set in 18th century England.

Freya: Thanks for pointing me to the unnatural part. It's also good to know that everyone sounds different.

Patti said...

I've always been interested in screen writing, mostly because I hate writing description. This looks like a great start.

Milo James Fowler said...

"Sore feet or not, we have to go" -- nice. Perfect timing; my students are writing one-acts in our creative writing class. I'll have to give them a peek.

Martin Willoughby said...

Patti: That's one of the reasons I wanted to do this.

Milo: Feel free to print it out and use it in your classes if it'll help.