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Another scene for Base Instruments that I've been struggling to finish! This scene piece is the client bringing the case to Mrs. Hawking, which gets us set on the path of our mystery.

I found it challenging to draft, though I'm not exactly sure why. Clients laying out the case tend to be pretty expository, so it makes it tough to keep it interesting and inject the proper amount of character. Also, this is the third Mrs. Hawking piece, and I find that client meetings are prone to falling into patterns-- the client's bearing and state of mind, the reactions Mrs. Hawking has, stuff like that, want to all go the same way. I want to keep these fresh and interesting, so I need to make sure each one goes a little differently. Turned out to be harder than I thought! Also I'm totally going to have to go through all of these scenes, written on different days, and make sure they stay internally consistent. I'm pretty sure in these rough pushes for completion, stuff got forgotten or muddled in my rush.


Day #3 - “Of the Mariinsky”
for Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

VICTORIA HAWKING, lady’s champion of London
MARY STONE, her housemaid and assistant
ELENA ZAKHAROVA, a Russian ballerina
~~~

MRS. HAWKING: Forgive that display, but now it is safe to speak. I am indeed Mrs. Hawking, and this is my assistant Mary.

MISS ZAKHAROVA: I was sent to you by a chambermaid at the Colonnade. I require very serious help, and she suggested I turn to you.

MRS. HAWKING: Begin at the beginning. Who are you?

MISS ZAKHAROVA: I am called Elena Zakharova.

MRS. HAWKING: Of the Mariinsky?

MISS ZAKHAROVA: You know me?

MRS. HAWKING: A Russian lady who moves as you do can be nothing but a member of the St. Petersburg Ballet.

MISS ZAKHAROVA: Yes. It concerns the ballet that I come you now. And the murder of Raisa Sergeyeva.

MRS. HAWKING: The prima ballerina? She is dead?

MISS ZAKHAROVA: Have you not heard? It was in all the papers.

MRS. HAWKING: We’ve been otherwise engaged these last few days. Mary?

(MARY retrieves the newspaper. She opens it to read.)

MARY: “Tragedy struck during the performance of La Bayadere, the Temple Dancer, by the Imperial Russian ballet, when a fire broke out in the theater, claiming the life of their leading lady, Miss Raisa Sergeyeva.” According to this, her death was an accident.

MISS ZAKHAROVA: And I come here to tell you it was not.

(Pause.)

MRS. HAWKING: And how do you know?

MISS ZAKHAROVA: I know.

(Pause.)

MRS. HAWKING: And how often do you require the laudanum, Miss Zakharova?

(MISS ZAKHAROVA stares at MRS. HAWKING in shock.)

MRS. HAWKING: The whites of your eyes betray you. As does the slight tremor in your hands.

MISS ZAKHAROVA: The work... it is very demanding. Even when I am injured, I must perform.

MRS. HAWKING: And if it has not clouded your reason, you must make me understand if I am to help you.

MISS ZAKHAROVA: I am not clouded! I am sure!

MRS. HAWKING: Then tell me how.

MISS ZAKHAROVA: There was a man creeping about her. Raisa draws many admirers, but since we arrived in England there was one in particular who demanded her attention. His name is Nicholas Cavil, Lord Seacourse, and in giving much money to the company wormed his way toward Raisa. They have written about it in the society pages for weeks.

(MRS. HAWKING digs through the newspaper.)

MRS. HAWKING: And what were his intentions?

MISS ZAKHAROVA: What are any such man’s? He wanted her to leave the ballet, and that she would never have done.

MARY: Did she care for him, then?

MISS ZAKHAROVA: She did not!

MRS. HAWKING: You’re certain? They report it as a grand romance.

MISS ZAKHAROVA: I know Raisa! We lived together, we trained together. I dance Hamsatti to her Nikiya. We are… I knew her like no one else.

MRS. HAWKING: Why him?

MISS ZAKHAROVA: Because when he followed her into our dressing room, she never again came out. At the first intermission he came back, making a great show of carrying roses and striding past the hands. Men like Lord Seacourse believe they may take anything they want. If she told him she would not go, he would punish her for denying him.

MARY: By setting fire to the theater?

MISS ZAKHAROVA: I do not know. That is why I have need of you. The company departs for the continent in seven days. If the killer is not found, then Raisa’s death will go unanswered forever. Please, Mrs. Hawking. Will you take up the cause?

MRS. HAWKING: A good old-fashioned murder mystery. It’s been some time since I’m taken on that. And it would make an excellent exercise for you, Miss Stone.

(Pause.)

MRS. HAWKING: Miss Zakharova, we are at your service.

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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