The Monday W.I.P.

The Monday W.I.P.: The Mysterious Case of Lot 249

It’s that time of year again. The time for ghosts and ghouls, monsters and vampires, werewolves and zombies to all come out of their hiding places and haunt us. That’s right, it’s Halloween time! Happy Halloween.

It’s also the last Monday of the month and time for a check in on my 10-Minute Play Goal. Have I finished this month’s play? Why yes I have, thank you for asking. This month I decided to tackle a Halloween theme, since it is October. But I didn’t want to do anything too traditional. I was struggling with this, what do I do? Then I was watching the 1990 film Tales From The Darkside and was reminded of an old Arthur Conan Doyle story that formed the first segment in that movie. The story is entitled Lot No. 249 and was the genesis of the “modern mummy” story, the first story to explore the mummy as an agent of vengence. From Wikipedia:

 Written in the wake of the late-19th-century fascination with Egyptology, “Lot No. 249” was the first story to depict a reanimated mummy as a sinister, predatory figure and had a profound influence on the horror movie genre throughout the 20th century.

It’s a wonderfully creepy story that I felt was “Halloween” enough, but at the same time unique. With recent trends in horror focusing on zombies, werewolves, and vampires, the poor mummy has been kind of left to the wayside, forced to fend for himself. This is my humble attempt at breathing some life into the mummy.

What I have done is placed the story in one solitary room, a police interragation room, and we open on such an interragation taking place. One Detective Doyle is interviewing Dr. Bellingham. The entire play takes place in this room, with the tension and the clues slowly building. Bellingham is the detective’s only suspect, but is he guilty?

                                                                           

                         The Mysterious Case of Lot 249                    

                                       By                                  

                                 Everett Robert                            

                                    Based on:                              
                      "Lot 249" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle                  

          Emergency Room Productions    Emergency Room Productions         
          October 2012                  c/o Everett Robert                 
                                        2114 Walnut St                     
                                        Hays, KS 67601
Cast of Characters                           

          Detective Doyle:             late 30s-early 50s. Police          
                                       investigator. Beefy, large          
                                       man. Physically intimadating.       

          Dr. Bellingham:              late 20s-early 30s. An              
                                       academic, an Egyptologist,          
                                       associate at the university.        
                                       Pysically slight. Not               
                                       intimatding at all.                 

                                   Scene                                   

          A police interrogation room                                      

                                   Time                                    

          Present
ACT I                                   

                                   Scene 1

At rise we open on a small, typical, uneventfuland completely normal police interrogation room.Small table, two chairs, a mirror upstage. Two mensit facing each other. One, DR. Bellingham, is aman in his late 20s to early 30s. He is rumpledand nervous, twitchy almost and keeps checking hiswatch as if waiting for someone. The othergentleman, DETECTIVE DOYLE, is older, late 0s toearly 50s and much more put together. Suit, badgeclipped to his belt, but no gun, at least that wecan see. Bellingham checks his watch for the thirdtime since the curtain has risen, the silence isbroken.                                                

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
                         (Some slight amusement)                           
               Nervous Doc?                                                

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
                         (Snapping back)                                   
               Yes I’m nervous! Why would I be nervous? I’ve been          
               sitting here, alone, for the past 45 minutes and no one     
               will tell me why! In fact no one will tell me anything!     

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               Calm down Doc, no one is here to hurt you, we just want     
               to ask you some questions. Can I get you something to       
               drink? Coke, water, coffee?                                 

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               I want to get out of here is what I want.                   

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               And we’ll let you out of here, like I said, we just         
               want to ask you a few questions. Doughnut?                  

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               No!                                                         
                         (Beat, then much calmer)                          
               No, thank you. I’m sorry, I’m just under a lot of           
               stress and you’re not helping with the matter.              

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
                         (Leaning forward, interested)                     
               Stress? About what?                                         

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               Work.                                                       

                                                           (CONTINUED)
          CONTINUED:                                              2.       

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               At the university?                                          

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
                         (Another sigh)                                    
               Yes, at the university.                                     

                    Bellingham doesn’t offer any more then that, butDoyle does, leaning forward, anxious, interested,and curious. Bellingham realizes that he’s goingto have to answer.                                     

          DR. BELLINGHAM (cont’d)                                          
               I just received a new lot from...                           

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               Excuse me, a lot?                                           

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               Yes, a lot, a package, a crate. I purchased it at an        
               auction and had it shipped here. That was the auction       
               lot number, 249.                                            

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
                         (Jotting down a note)                             
               Oh yes, a lot. I got it, go on.                             

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
                         (Exasperated)                                     
               Thank you DETECTIVE. Anyways as I was saying, I             
               received the lot from our sister university in Egypt.       

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               From Egypt?                                                 

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               Yes, well I am considered one of the top Egyptologists      
               in the country, and I needed this lot.                      

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               Due to your recent problems at the university?              

                    This visibly shakes Bellingham who swallows hard,eyes wide.                                             

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               You...you know about that?                                  

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               Oh yes, your department chair, Professor Withington,        
               was more then happy to share with us about that. Though     
               I am curious to hear YOUR side, it does factor into our     
               investigation.                                              

                                                           (CONTINUED)
          CONTINUED:                                              3.       

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               What do you mean, it factors into your investigation?       
               What is this investigation about anyways?                   

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               You really don’t know do you? Your colleague, Mr.           
               Norton, was found murdered this morning.                    

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               WHAT!                                                       

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               Oh yes, his brain was pulled out through his nose.          
               Messy business all around.                                  

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               Through...his brain?                                        

                    Doyle nods slowly and Bellingham swallows hard.        

          DR. BELLINGHAM (cont’d)                                          
               Could...could I have a glass of water please?               

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               Of course.                                                  

                    Doyle offers a smile and quickly leaves.               
                    Bellingham sits, quietly holding his head in his       
                    hands and then looking over at the mirror, then        
                    back down. He stands and paces a little, then          
                    reaches into his pocket and fishes out a piece of      
                    paper, carefully folded. He unfolds it and runs a      
                    finger over it and starts reading.                     

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
                         (Speaking silently, simply mouthing the           
                         words, at first but getting louder and            
                         louder)                                           

               Nos-feratos-allo-memnon-kanda...Nos-feratos-allo-memnon-kand
a...Nos-feratos-allo-memnon-kanda!...Nos-feratos-allo-memnon...            
                    Unseen by Bellingham, Doyle re-enters and watches,     
                    hands deep in his pocket.                              

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               What are you reading?

Now I hope you enjoyed that brief sample of The Mysterious Case of Lot 249. If you want to read the entire thing, well I have good news for you, for the next 3 days I’ll be offering The Mysterious Case of Lot 249 for free on my Smashwords page. Just click HERE and get your e-version for free. After that, well who knows what might happen.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

The Monday W.I.P.: A Reunion

Last week, I talked about procrastination and how it was affecting my work. This week, I actually have work to report on, a new ten minute play called A REUNION.

Writing more ten-minute plays is one of my goals this year. I stated back in early September, that I wanted to write one new ten-minute play a month. At the end of the “year” I would have twelve original works that could be performed in one night (120 minutes approximately). Imagine something like ALMOST MAINE, which is a full length play that incorporates a series of vignettes all focused around one town.

I don’t have a “theme” for my year of ten minute plays nor am I looking for one. I like to see how a theme develops over the course of writing instead of forcing my writing into a theme that it may or may not fit into.

So what does this have to do with anything? Well Today is the first of October and I am happy to report that i have written, not my first ever, but my first play in this twelve month experiment.

Entitled A REUNION, it is an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s A RUINED MAID.A RUINED MAID is a poem that Hardy wrote almost entirely in dialogue. Due to this feature, the poem lends itself very well to drama in my opinion, but has never really been dramatized (to my knowledge) outside of Seymour Barab’s 1981 opera skit of the same name. I’m not suggesting I’m breaking new ground here, far from it, just a wonder why it has never been done.

My version is updated, with characters named Melia (from the original poem) and Martha, who meet by chance at a small bistro in a large, unnamed city. Melia isn’t a prostitute or a gentleman’s mistress as it is suggested in Hardy’s original work, but rather a woman whom society views as “ruined” in another way.

Here is just a peek at Reunion.

                                                                           

                                   ACT I                                   

                                   Scene 1                                 

                    At rise we see the outdoor seating area of a small     
                    bistro or cafe in a large city. A wrought iron         
                    fence surrounds the dining area along with a bench     
                    on the far SL side. Several tables are all on the      
                    patio, but all are vacant save one. MELIA sits         
                    alone at this table, sipping a coffee. Melia is a      
                    young woman, in her mid 20s, with very short hair.     
                    She has piercings (maybe her lip or eyebrow or         
                    "snake bites"), is very "rock and roll or maybe a      
                    "hipster". She is seated in front of a small           
                    computer (a Mac obviously), hard at work.              

                    MARTHA enters from SR. She is a contrast to Melia,     
                    although the same age. Where as Melia is clad very     
                    much in urban hip fashion, Martha’s dress is quite     
                    the opposite. Cheap cloths, made from cheap            
                    fabrics. She has long hair compared to Melia’s         
                    short. Where one is blonde, the other is brunette.     
                    Where one is short, the other is tall. Martha is       
                    clutching some plastic shopping bags, clearly          
                    labeled MACY’S, along with her purse with all she      
                    has. She is clearly afraid of something. Is it the     
                    big city? Is it being alone? Or is she simply lost     
                    and overwhelmed? She pauses and looks around           
                    again, then lets out a big sigh. She tucks her         
                    bags and purse under her arm and struggles with        
                    unfolding a map, but a wind gust comes up and          
                    blows the map free from her hands. She starts to       
                    chase it, but one of her Macy’s bags begins to         
                    slip free from her arm and she stops to grab it        
                    and watches as her map flies away.                     

          MARTHA                                                           
               oh Fu...dge!                                                

                    She sighs and sits down, dejected. The bags she        
                    had been so fiercely protecting, she places at her     
                    feet, no longer even caring about them.                

                    Melia has been watching this, with a bemused           
                    expression, but as soon as Martha speaks, Melia’s      
                    expression changes. A confused look. Almost asking     
                    herself silently "do I know this girl?" Melia          
                    leans forward.                                         

          MELIA                                                            
               Martha? Martha Kunstler?                                    

                    Martha looks up, confused and looks to the strange     
                    woman seated behind her. Her eyes wide.                

                                                           (CONTINUED)
          CONTINUED:                                              2.       

          MARTHA                                                           
               Melia Hardy!                                                

                    Melia forgets her coffee and her work, Martha          
                    forgets her fears and her bags and they embrace,       
                    reaching over the railing to each other and            
                    embracing.                                             

          MARTHA                                                           
               How long has it been? 5 years?                              

                    Melia smiles, her eyes flashing a little as she        
                    does the mental math.                                  

          MELIA                                                            
               Almost, graduation was the last time I saw anyone back      
               home.                                                       

          MARTHA                                                           
               You haven’t been home in 5 years?                           

          MELIA                                                            
               why would I go home, there was never anything for me        
               there?                                                      

          MARTHA                                                           
               Didn’t you miss your friends or your family? You know I     
               see your mom every Sunday...                                

                    But before Martha can continue, Melia cuts her         
                    off.                                                   

          MELIA                                                            
               They kicked me out Marti