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I wrote two new scene pieces (three, actually) in the last two days for Base Instruments, but they are for very, very late in the story, and I don't want to post them because they're too spoilery for the mystery. So, for the sake of 31P31D, I'm posting two other scene pieces in place of them that give less away just to continue showing work.

Base Instruments marks the first mission we see where Mrs. Hawking treats Nathaniel like an official member of the team, with his own specific assigned part to play. Specifically, she is making use of his emerging ability to be the faceman and get information out of people through talking. I want his and Mary's skills to visibly improve and solidify as the stories go on, and this represents both a big step up in Nathaniel's ability as well as Mrs. Hawking's confidence in him. She's even willing to train him a little.

Day #12 - "I Have You Now"
for Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

VICTORIA HAWKING, lady's society avenger
NATHANIEL HAWKING, her nepehw and assistant

London, England, 1883

(Enter NATHANIEL from the hall, half-dressed in a tuxedo.)

MARY: Are you ready for your briefing?

NATHANIEL: Nearly so. I’ve been in meetings all day, or I should have had Chapman bring my tails by the office. He about burst a button when I told him I’d be dressing here.

MRS. HAWKING: I don’t know why, it isn’t as if I come to the door. Mary, you ought to be making ready as well. I’ll be ready to leave as soon as I’ve prepared Nathaniel.

(MARY nods and exits. NATHANIEL puts the finishing touches on his ensemble.)

NATHANIEL: So what exactly do you want me to get out of this Seacourse chap?

MRS. HAWKING: You’ve done your research?

NATHANIEL: I have. Nicholas Cavil, Lord Seacourse. Rather young barony, no lands but a fair bit of money. He’s best known for gadding about London, throwing parties and carrying on with girls. He does seem to be devoted to the ballet, however.

MRS. HAWKING: Your task, then, will be to cultivate the man’s trust enough to interrogate his connection to Miss Sergeyeva. Men like that are boastful lot. If he feels he won anything off of her, he’ll be ready to brag of it to the first likeminded fellow who’s keen to listen.

NATHANIEL: So, make friends with him enough to get him to gossip.

MRS. HAWKING: That means you must convince him that you’re of his stripe. If he has an opinion, you share it. If he has an insight, you’re impressed by it. Laugh at his jokes, marvel at his exploits, anything you have to in order to make him to confide his involvement.

NATHANIEL: Auntie, every day I talk gentlemen into trusting me with large sums of their money. That part you don’t have to teach me.

MRS. HAWKING: I suppose not. But in this instance, I think you’ll do better if you play the adoring fool. Keep the drinks coming, but the trick is to change out your glass for a fresh one before it’s empty. If you carry it off, he’ll think you’re drunker than you are and let his guard down.


MRS. HAWKING: But don’t overplay it, you’ll lose him. And don’t wait until he’s too far gone, or you won’t get anything useful out of him.

NATHANIEL: Have you ever done that?

MRS. HAWKING: Rarely. When absolutely necessary.

NATHANIEL: Forgive me, but I can hardly imagine you playing the vivacious partygoer.

MRS. HAWKING: Give me a third floor window or a locked door any day. But no matter. I have you for that now.

(Pause. Nathaniel quietly beams.)

NATHANIEL: Yes. You do.

MRS. HAWKING: Well. There you are. I suppose with how much you love to talk, you should manage well enough.

NATHANIEL: Faint praise, and yet it thunders in my ears. Well, I had best be off if I’m to arrive at the right time.

MRS. HAWKING: It’s still early yet.

NATHANIEL: I have to go collect Clara and Justin.

MRS. HAWKING: You are bringing your wife and your brother on an operation!?

NATHANIEL: I can’t attend a society ball without them. Justin’s only in town a few weeks!

MRS. HAWKING: This was a mistake.

NATHANIEL: Auntie, no!

MRS. HAWKING: They will be in your way the whole time.

NATHANIEL: I have to talk to important people at parties all the time, they know that.

MRS. HAWKING: For business, Nathaniel.

NATHANIEL: This will look like business.

MRS. HAWKING: Even to your brother? What if he inserts himself? He’s an entitled rake who never stops talking.

NATHANIEL: I thought that was what you thought of me.

MRS. HAWKING: You’re not a rake, I grant you.

NATHANIEL: Indeed? Oh, goodness, Auntie, I never knew you cared.

MRS. HAWKING: Nathaniel! What if they bollocks things up, or pull you away? What if they suspect?

NATHANIEL: Aunt Victoria, I know how important this is. I can’t promise I’ll get everything you need. But I can promise I’ll do better than you’d be without me.

(Pause. MRS. HAWKING considers and sighs.)

MRS. HAWKING: Do not disappoint me, Nathaniel.

NATHANIEL: I won’t, madam. After all, it’s as you said. If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s talk.

(NATHANIEL tips his hat and goes out 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


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

Latest Month

April 2017


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