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One thing I am using 31P31D 2015 for is finishing Base Instruments, as I'm in the home stretch and I need something to make me push through. I was going gangbusters through the easy to write scenes for weeks, finishing at least a scene piece a day, but then I hit the handful of scenes I'd put off because I wasn't sure how to express them. And that slowed me down like whoa.

On that note, JESUS CHRIST, this scene piece was hard to write. It's super short, and yet it took me over a week of hammering. I knew what it had to do. It's a very early part, which is supposed to sort of reintroduce Mrs. Hawking and Mary to the audience, specifically what they do and what their relationship is, without being too redundant or expository. It's also supposed to subtly set up the personal struggle for them in this play without drawing too much explicit attention to it.

Without spoiling it too hard, Mrs. Hawking becomes preoccupied with worries that she doesn't want to actually talk about. So she tries to guide Mary into a position to be what she thinks she needs to assuage her fears. Mary notices something going on but not exactly what. Mrs. Hawking needs to express a confidence in her that makes her very happy, so happy in fact that she misses that it's not just confidence, but also desperation-- she believes in Mary partially because she's afraid of what would happen if she doesn't. So it's supposed to hint at what comes ahead, while cloaking it in a little bit of pleasant misdirection.

That's hard. I ROUGHLY, CLUMSILY achieved the bones of that. But this will need a lot of polishing to be what I want. But for at least draft one, I'm shooting primarily for COMPLETENESS and FUNCTIONALITY. Elegance, art, and cohesion will have to come later.


Day #2 - "Everything I Do"
for Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

VICTORIA HAWKING, lady's society avenger
MARY STONE, her housemaid and assistant
~~~

(MRS. HAWKING’s parlor. MRS. HAWKING sits cradling her wrenched arm, disturbed and in pain. MARY enters through the front door, and MRS. HAWKING quickly collects herself.)

MRS. HAWKING: All right then, Mary?

MARY: We’ve done it! You and I made our escape, Nathaniel should be delivering the papers as we speak, and the police collected our men, so we may call it a job well done.

MRS. HAWKING: I’ll hold off until it’s confirmed. I suppose that police officer of yours received an anonymous tip?

MARY: His name is Arthur Swann, and he’s been a great deal of help.

MRS. HAWKING: Someone is making quite a career out of our hard work.

MARY: We ought to be grateful! Without him, there’s precious little we can do to bring the law to bear. And he’s content not to pry into things.

MRS. HAWKING: How lucky for us.

MARY: Come now, things went well! I’m quite pleased with myself. My lock picking’s coming along, I’m quicker than I’ve ever been!

MRS. HAWKING: Indeed. Though we’ll have to work on the rest of your second story skills. If you’re not seen on the exit, perhaps then we won’t have to fight out way out.

MARY: I am sorry about that. But I rather held my own once things broke out!

MRS. HAWKING: That’s true. But it is imperative you learn how to maneuver unseen to be ready when tactics demand it.

(MRS. HAWKING winces in pain at her wrenched shoulder. She covers quickly but MARY notices.)

MARY: And how are you? For a moment there I thought you were quite hurt.

MRS. HAWKING: An occupational hazard. In this work one must be as capable of taking a beating as giving one. This is hardly the first.

(MARY goes to the side table.)

MARY: Is there anything I can get you? Tea, perhaps?

MRS. HAWKING: Brandy. If you please.

(MARY pauses in surprise a moment, then obeys.)

MARY: I should have been able to help you. I do have a great deal of work to do.

MRS. HAWKING: Next time you won’t be seen.

MARY: But what if I am?

MRS. HAWKING: Then you’ll practice until you are not. You are my protégé, Mary, and I mean to see that you learn the things you need to do my work. In my early days, even I had times when I was spotted or tripped up or came home black and blue. So I worked until I was equal to any challenge that might arise, and until I could do anything.

MARY: Anything? So you're the cleverest person there is, then?

MRS. HAWKING: Hardly. I was nursemaided by cleverer than myself. It's all in what use you make of it.

MARY: Do you really believe that I could do anything that you do?

MRS. HAWKING: I mean to see you do everything that I do.

(MARY glows. The doorbell rings. MRS. HAWKING gestures, then exits to change her clothes. MARY goes to answer the door.)

Posts from This Journal by “base instruments” Tag

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:



MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3


at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM

and

Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

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