EYES IN THE DARK
Script Type: Short Feature (can be expanded to a full-length feature.)
Genre: Character-Driven Satire
Length: 41 pages
John Hamlet, a 50-something year old, actor has always sought art for art sake, but is confronted by the harsh realities of the acting business and consumer culture he exists within. He is continually being type-cast but he is capable of doing complex characterizations, far being his personal self, but no one is listening – not his agent, not casting agents, not even those close to him.
Everyone attempts to manipulate him to take a leading role in ‘Sharkbait Crimeboss’ with the hottest new Action/Adventure/Italian-Mafia Star who has the talent of a demented frog but a nice set of biceps. He resists the pressure to “sell out” from his girlfriend (he wants to marry) and her two children (he wants to father), an agent who doesn’t care about him, a boss at his second job who is indifferent, and casting agent who is out of his mind with type-casting and bad acting, while John tries to hold onto his love of true art, and great acting roles, while being sucked into the world of commercialism to survive.
His agent is a dingbat who is more concerned about her lipstick and getting laid on her lunch hour with the man she is cheating on, than getting him any significant roles, the casting agent he is sent to for ‘Sharkbait Crimeboss’ , wants him to play his lines “dumber and more banal and crude” like “dinosaur dung”, and he is fired from the clothing store he works at where Mr. Capaldi , a burnt out 1-dimensional remnant of a human being, is fed up with him being late due to these auditions, and wants him to wear a tie, cut his hair, and present a fictitious image to his low-end store clients, like he had to do for 40 years. But John can’t wear ties, they’re like “upside-down nooses around his neck”, and the financial pressures mount.
He is cast in ‘Sharkbait Crimeboss’ which repulses him, for a large check, but the pressures are great. He meets with his new “agent” who brokered the job, who is abrupt, all business, and not at all concerned about John’s needs but wants the $50,000 check ‘Sharkbait Crimeboss’ will provide. John, trying to get through to her about what kinds of roles he wants, falls on deaf-ears, and loses control – he starts a monologue directed at her, using sections from every great play from Oedipus, to Shakespeare to Moliere to Contemporary’s, pulls out a stage knife and stabs himself with each line that relates to Money, and Selling Out. It looks so real the agent and a room full of wannabe actors watch, aghast, until the end, when he falls to his death. And wakes up smiling.
He is thrown out by security, and is on the street again, looking into a store window with mannequins staring back at him – he sees a bare, ghost-like reflection of himself – as he struggles to be an artist.
The piece can be expanded into a second act – the PDF has ideas for Act 2 at the end of the script, where the character goes through a different transition from Act 1 trying to sell out, taking the ‘Sharkbait Crimeboss’ job.
In this script I merge great play and literature excerpts, through the vehicle of a true and talented artist, juxtaposed against a superficial group of people who have bought into a convenient abuse and prostitution of the actors (all artists’) life, for a quick commissions while the actor struggles to maintain his artistry or even sense of art within himself.
This script was originally written for myself as an Audition Film, but I never had the money or the people surrounding me who would help, so it sat on my computer for 25 years. It’s a script that holds both real comedy, satire, drama, and seeming tragedy (although it is not a tragedy only what appears to be while he stabs himself.) And Act 2, would be a journey through the same theme, ending in a very different place perhaps. I won’t tell you what that is. You have to buy the script first 🙂
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