So, I’ve been working on assignments as my friend David Bolus gives them to me. It helps encourage me to actually, y’know, finish my projects. The last finished product is the one act play “Tormenting Tantalus.” Which may have a name change to just “Tantalus.” Or perhaps even “T.” I dunno.
Anyway, I talked about the play at least once before, but I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it since its completion. Part of a planned mythology trilogy, “Tantalus” is the first play, one that delves into what could drive people to a level of madness that leads to infanticide and cannibalism.
…yeah, if you don’t know the story of the mythological figure Tantalus, this play will seem WAY out of left field.
I have finally figured out which figures will be covered in the trilogy, though, which is exciting. Tantalus, Prometheus and Orpheus. All rather tragic stories. Some tragedies far more violent and abhorrent than others, of course, but each has a story to tell. A story that was, perhaps, left to the listener to discern. That’s how it feels to me, at least. And these plays, when complete, will hopefully tell my version of that story.
I really like religion in all its forms. If you can’t tell. My first two completed works of theatre deal with Christianity and Greek mythology. And my next original work will hopefully be “God’s Playlist” before I head back to hit “Prometheus.” After that, then I take a break from the religious overtones and write my screenplay for “The Tribe.”
…that one has more of a cult feel than a religion feel.
…yeah, one day I’ll write about something else.
Anyway, currently, I’m adapting William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” (because there are so many others) into a 15-minute screenplay. Why? Because the short story format baffles me. My first short story was 36 pages long, and could have easily been much longer. The shortest thing I’ve ever even conceived is “God’s Playlist,” a 15-minute movie. Of course, filmmakers don’t see that as short at all. And after discovering it can take a week to film for a two-minute movie, I suppose I can see their point.
When I told David this, he gave me the assignment of writing a 15-minute screenplay. It could either be an original story about Emily from “Camp Gethsemane” or an adaptation of any other work. Then he said the word “Shakespeare.”
And, of course, being an idiot, I chose that one. The first act of “Macbeth” has been boiled down into three pages. The second act, the one where King Duncan gets murdered, is a single page.
I feel really weird doing this.
Still, I’m four and a half pages in now, nearly a third of the way through. With it due this Friday, I think I’m making good time. It should be an interesting final product.
But, back to ACTUAL final products… sort of. “Tantalus” is now in the peer review and edit phase. So far, only one peer has reviewed it, but others have it in their possession. And if the workshop/reading for “CG” goes well this weekend, there may be others interested in my work. Which is all pretty awesome.
…the point is, last time I wrote about “Tantalus,” I gave you the intro as it was written. There were some changes in description and such, but it remained largely untouched. Now, I give you the next scene. A scene of normalcy and happiness. …you just know that ain’t gonna last.
The BOOKKEEPER watches impartially. This is his duty. The story must be told. As he watches the events unfold before him, the DENIZENS of this story come onstage, carrying the items to set the scene. They seem wracked with constant fears and pains. They are the ones moaning for their eternities, trapped in the hellish punishments, designed specifically for them. Dressed in rags of grey, they are hunched over, twitching and moving unnaturally. They look to be falling apart. The MAN does not notice them, but does move out of the way, going to the far corner to put on his tie. The DENIZENS do not moan now. They simply do as the BOOKKEEPER has instructed. They know their duty in this story. They bring out a small, square table, a kitchen chair, some mail, a briefcase. They set the table cattycornered in the corner, putting the chair near it. The briefcase and papers go on the table. The DENIZENS head back offstage, shuffling silently, as the MAN finishes tying his tie and heads to the kitchen table. After the DENIZENS leave, the lights come up, normal, bright, cheery. The BOOKKEEPER remains at his post. The MAN sits down at the table, looking through the mail. The WOMAN comes in, carrying a plate of toast, bacon and eggs and a cup of coffee.
WOMAN: Morning, sweetie.
She sets the plate and cup on the table, avoiding the mail.
MAN: Good morning, love.
The two share a kiss. The MAN reaches for the coffee as he reads the letter he is currently holding. The WOMAN sits at the table next to him as he takes a drink.
WOMAN: Today’s the day they’re giving out that promotion, right? Are you worried?
The MAN sets down the letter, turning and smiling at the WOMAN.
MAN: Maria. Dear. There’s no reason to worry about these sorts of things. Either I’ll get it, or I won’t. Besides, you know it’ll either be me or Kenneth that gets it, and we both promised that, whoever gets the position, we’ll put in a good word for the other. So no worries.
The MAN kisses MARIA, then returns to his breakfast, piling his eggs and bacon onto his toast and eating. MARIA rolls her eyes and stands, standing behind the MAN and sliding her arms around him slowly. The MAN sets his breakfast toast pile back on the plate, caressing MARIA’s arms.
MARIA: You know, Jacob… it would hurt to get a little worried about things once in a while.
JACOB smirks, looking back at her.
JACOB: You want me to stress out and be more worried?
MARIA: Well, sure. It’s healthy sometimes. Shows that you care what happens. That you have some passion for what you do.
JACOB raises an eyebrow.
JACOB: I’ll show you passion, missy.
JACOB spins MARIA into his lap, growling in a playful, sexy manner, closing in for a slow, deep kiss as MARIA giggles and moans softly in pleasure. Such playful moments have an end to them, however. The BOY comes rushing in.
BOY: Daddy, daddy, daddy!
JACOB breaks the kiss with MARIA and smiles at her. She smiles back, leaving his lap and straightening her outfit out. She heads off to get PETER some juice. JACOB reaches down to pick up the BOY and put him in his lap.
JACOB: Heeeeey, Peter! Hungry for some breakfast?
PETER smiles and hugs his dad around the neck. JACOB smiles and kisses the top of PETER’s head before turning him around and lifting him again.
JACOB: Let’s get you sitting in the chair… there you go.
JACOB slides out from under PETER and lets PETER sit in his chair. PETER starts devouring the breakfast left over from JACOB’s brief affair with the meal. MARIA returns, holding a sippy cup with some juice inside. She puts the cup on the table near the plate, and PETER grabs at it eagerly, drinking from the cup as though he had been dying of thirst. JACOB takes the suit jacket off the back of the chair and slips it on. MARIA goes to his front to straighten his tie. Everything is perfect, happy, wonderful.
MARIA: I hope I’ll get to see that passion later, stud.
JACOB: You know you will.
They kiss. True love. Clearly, they care for one another. JACOB grabs his briefcase and quickly pecks MARIA again.
JACOB: Love you.
MARIA: Love you, too.
JACOB ruffles PETER’s head. PETER waves at his dad, still ravenously devouring the last bits of the breakfast left for him.
JACOB: See you later, kiddo.
PETER attempts to say goodbye, but his mouth is filled with buttery, crisp bread, fluffy egg and salty bacon, which proceeds to spray forth back onto the plate in small amounts. MARIA squats down and wipes at PETER’s mouth with a napkin.
MARIA: Swallow then speak, Peter. And have a good day at work, sweetie!
JACOB: See you tonight!