<![CDATA[ALANNA MANFREDINI'S DESIGN KITCHEN - Dramatic Writing]]>Wed, 26 Jun 2024 10:40:29 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Peaks of a Heart Monitor]]>Tue, 30 Jan 2024 02:55:15 GMThttp://manfredini.design/dramatic-writing/peaks-of-a-heart-monitorWriting:  You’ll work on a dialogue exercise, in which you fictionalize two relatives with distinctive speech patterns… and then put these characters in a situation that comes with built-in tension:  a wedding, a funeral, a birth, a graduation, a sporting event, etc.
Think about where the mid-point of this is (or would be, if you wrote more than 5-8 pages.)
 
 
ACT 1
 
Scene 1
 
SETTING:
A 1940s divorce court. The stage is level with the audience, as if they are actually in the court proceedings. In front of the audience is a meter high fence which extends down the sides of the stage. It is wooden with vertical supports. Above the fence is a second story with the same type of fence overlooking the stage. There are high wooden struts and columns supporting the balustrades. In the center is an oversized wooden desk flanked by doors and flags.  
 

AT RISE:
A judge is situated behind the desk. In front are the two couples spread evenly in a semicircle around the judge: BELLE-ANN, TEDDY, BEA and CARL. BELLE-ANN is dressed in a tiered yellow ball-gown. She is a famous actress and is treating the divorce like another promo-show. She speaks in light southern lilt. TEDDY is in long pants, suspenders, a button up shirt and a flat cap. He is the epitome of nonchalant. He speaks with a New York accent. BEA is plain and dowdy. She looks tired and speaks in a way that you can tell she is not well educated, but she is smarter than people give her credit for. CARL is portly and pasty. He is constantly sweating and seems a little bit out of the proceedings at all times. He is very dumb, but thinks he is much smarter than his wife, BEA. There are court room attendees planted throughout the audience and along the sides of the room behind the balustrades.

 
 
BELLE-ANN
(with a slow Louisianan drawl)
A Monday morning. Now let me think about it what do ah do on a Monday morning. Well, first things first ah have to be up and down at the motion picture studio to get my hair and make done all big. Y’all know about my latest release.
(She smiles a soft but winning smile at the crowd to subtle looks of idolisation, lust and admiration.)
 
BELLE-ANN (CONT’D)
Well, I’m getting ahead of my horses. I spend the rest of the day filming chase scenes where I get trussed up in the woods.
(winks at the audience seductively)
 
BELLE-ANN (CONT’D)
And, of course, Teddy saves me before it’s all too late. I go back to the makeup tent and then it’s time to go home.


JUDGE
And you, Mr Southbark, what is your Monday like?
 
 
TEDDY
(interrupting and also flirting with the audience in a cocky way. It is all a show.)
You know what it’s like. I have my scenes to do during the day. Riding, fighting, shooting, just another days work. Then I take myself to the tavern and have a couple of pints to get myself a little bit loose from carrying this production. You can’t be too worked up when you’re wrangling stallions all day.
 
BELLE-ANN
(Trying to hide her annoyance)
Carrying the production? I think you’re forgetting who your leading lady is, sweetheart.
 
TEDDY
Leading lady? Sure. Leading dish, maybe, but I’m the lead.
 
BELLE-ANN
(trying even harder to repress her anger)
Darling. I am sure all these wonderful people here come to my movies for much more than to just ogle. They don’t need to be hearing your silly little jokes right now.
 
JUDGE
(interrupting)
Yes, yes. Thank you, Mr and Mrs Southbark. We’ll come back to that.
(to BEA)
Mrs Smith? Your Monday?
 
BEA
(meekly)
Oh nothin too crazy sir. The same as every other day. I get up early to fix the supper for the day. Carl goes off to work and I do my regular chores around the house sir. After lunch I may go down to the town to get some more fabric or pick up some milk for the afternoon. Is that all sir?
(JUDGE nods)
Thank you, sir.
 
JUDGE
And finally, you. Mr Smith.
 
CARL
Well. Uh. I gotta go to work. Uh. Did you ask me about uh work? I’m at the office, you know.
(wipes sweat off his brow)
I do paper and stuff. Writing them. Like the numbers all down right. They need me to check that they’re done good. I come home and uh my old lady gets me a beer. And supper. Meat. Potatoes.
 
BEA
(with a forced smile)
Yes, sir, every day, meat and potatoes. The same thing every day.
 
CARL
We don’t need you talking right now, wife.
 
JUDGE
Thank you, Mr Smith.
(gesturing at TEDDY and BEA)
I’d like to go into that a bit more. Where did you two meet?
 
TEDDY
Down at the tavern.
 
CARL
What were you doin’ at the tavern?
 
BEA
It was down at the shops, sir, not down at the tavern. I’m not no floosy or nothin’. I just needed to get out.
 
BELLE-ANN
(with a slightly mean laugh)
Well then, darling. What exactly did you have to go out for?
 
BEA
You don’t understand, ma’am. I needed to get out of the house. I can’t do it anymore. Every single day. The same thing. I wake up, I clean, I cook, I clean, I fix supper, and then…
(embarrassed)
he takes me to the bedroom. Again, and again and again.
 
CARL
(Stupid and not understanding why he’s here)
Wait one damn second. What’s going on here? You go down to the tavern on your days off? No good woman goes down to the tavern by herself.
 
BELLE-ANN
(with slight glee realising she can be the one to break the news)
Oh yes, my sweet, Bea. Who did you find down at the tavern? Because I happen to recall my darling husband was there too.
 
BEA
No ma’am. Your husband is a movie star. I just meant to go help ‘im out with his hat. He dropped it you know. That’s all it was. He was just so nice. And handsome. Just a little bit of light in my day.
(the audience has slight murmurs of agreement with her comments of his handsomeness and gasps at her tryst)
 
BELLE-ANN
Is that right Teddy? She just helped you with your hat?
 
TEDDY
What’re you tryna do here B-A? Are you trying to ruin my reputation? Because you know who will go down first?
 
BEA
(overlapping)
Ma’am, seriously. I didn’t do nothin. Just some harmless flirting is all.
 
CARL
(getting sweaty and bothered)
Flirting?! You?! I’m not going to stand here and hear about you flirting with some other man!
 
BELLE-ANN
(to Teddy, overlapping)
This isn’t your show anymore, sweet. I’ve had just one girl too many.
 
CARL
(to TEDDY)
How do you do it? How do you find a wife who uh treats you right? I do it all. I treat her good. I have a job. She stays home and she can do whatever she wants. I don’t know sewing or cooking or uh something else she likes.
 
BEA
I don’t like those things!
 
CARL
(to BEA)
You don’t know how good you’ve got it. Haven’t you seen their photos in the print? They’re so happy and caring.
 
BELLE-ANN
In the print, maybe. All I want is someone who is kind to me. Who doesn’t try to undermine my every move. I walk on eggshells around Teddy, but then, when he’s nice, it’s so good. I can’t do it anymore. The ups and the downs. I’m constantly waiting for the good times to end.
 
BEA
You see. Ups and downs. Gimme an up. Anything.
 
TEDDY
Belle, baby. What are you saying? We are happy. It’s passion that makes us behave the way we do.
 
BELLE-ANN
Of course, sweet.
(to JUDGE)
Can we have a break please? This is getting to be a little much.
 
JUDGE
Everyone out.
(everyone leaves except the main four)
 
BELLE-ANN
(dropping her sweet demeanour)
This is it. I’m telling you Teddy. This is truly it. We’re only together for the camera, but it doesn’t work if you pick up every piece of trash along the street.
 
TEDDY
I can do what I please, B-A. I will always love you, but it’s always the same thing again and again. Getting mad at every pretty lass that catches my eye. I am young. I can’t be stuck with you all the time.
 
BELLE-ANN
Do you know how many people would kill to be me? Would kill to be you, just because you’re with me. 
(gestures at BEA and CARL)
She would. He would.
 
TEDDY
You’re right. They would kill to be me. You’ve never been anything without me there, no audience wants to see a dame who doesn’t get rescued.
 
BELLE-ANN
Looking at you, people would think you’re the one who needs to get rescued. Wearing your dirtied shoes and slacks and strutting about like a rooster who just crowed for the first time.
 
CARL
(In shock to see BA talking back)
Don’t you talk back to your husband, missy. I don’t care who you are.
 
BELLE-ANN
(her anger suddenly directed away from TEDDY. All three characters angle to face CARL, staring him down)
And who are you. A boring, nobody honky tonk who drives his wife into a stranger’s arms from the mere look of your face?
 
BEA
Won’t you have one original thought in your life. Belle-Ann is finally speaking. Rather than letting it all bottle up inside
 
TEDDY
(giving will smith :D)
Don’t speak to my wife like that. Get her name out of your fat mouth.
 
BELLE-ANN
At least he knows my value. He cares when he’s not being a right needle head.
 
]]>
<![CDATA[Don't Let Them See the True You]]>Wed, 24 Jan 2024 21:32:21 GMThttp://manfredini.design/dramatic-writing/january-24th-2024Picture
This task was to write a scene which ends halfway through the story at a moment of time described by a picture.

ACT 1
 
Scene 1
 
SETTING:
The stage is set with two scraggly trees on either side. There is a small mound of dirt and grass with some toys littered around in the center of downstage. The backdrop has a full scale child’s drawing of a house made on thin paper.
 

AT RISE:
A young girl, MARCIE, sits on stage cross legged with a red shirt on. She’s proudly playing with some sand toys. She thinks that since she is going to school now, she knows everything. MARCIE is not nasty, just precocious.

 
 
MARCIE
My mommy says I shouldn’t put my fingers in my mouth when I’m playing in the garden. She says a lot of things. I just tell her I really like the way the worms feel on my gums.
(MARCIE grins a big grin and it is obvious she has recently lost some teeth)
 
MARCIE (CONT’D)
She didn’t like that very much, I had to sit there for a whole hour while she went on and on about how she thought it was just dirt that I was eating and how she doesn’t understand why I don’t go and play with other kids instead of the creepy crawlies that live around the garden. What she doesn’t understand is that they aren’t all crawlies. Worms are the coolest; they slither and dig and can escape almost anywhere. Except my mouth.
 
Slaters are my second favourite. I recently learnt that word… slaters. They’re little bugs that are made up of a ton of little grey sections. When I come near them, they roll up into a little ball so they can’t be hurt.
 
(MARCIE gets up and walks towards the audience. She sticks her hands in her pockets and then gestures grandly to the world.)



MARCIE (CONT’D)
I can’t wait to be as tall as my mommy. She can reach all the really cool bugs. Like the ones that can go all the way up to the tippy top of the trees.
 
(She pauses abruptly)
 
You know, you can probably reach those bugs too.
 
(She turns around, out from behind one of the trees comes a tall thin man dressed in grimy, black clothes.
 
Grant smirks and looks disinterested. Suddenly a tired, middle aged woman in relatively cheap work clothes steps onto the other side of the stage.)
 
LOUISE
WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING HERE. I THOUGHT I TOLD YOU TO NEVER FUCKING COME BACK TO THIS GODDAMN HOUSE.
 
(MARCIE looks nonplussed, maybe slightly annoyed that she can’t get the bugs anymore. She sits back down in her starting position. The only difference between the start and now, is that the two adults are flanking her in the background. MARCIE starts humming a little tune. LOUISE is gesticulating aggressively at GRANT who motions back with obvious attitude. Eventually he leaves which prompts LOUISE to leave.  He comes back onstage and is greeted by LOUISE who is dressed in a different outfit. She gesticulates and then he leaves. This cycle happens twice more. Each time LOUISE looks a little bit more dishevelled and GRANT slumps a little less. MARCIE sits center stage, unbothered)
 
MARCIE
I think it all went wrong when my mommy started calling me ladybird. She said it was because I loved being around flowers, but it was only later that I found out ladybirds eat up to 5,000 bugs in their lifetimes. She also told me that it is really important to try to work harder than your competitors, so I’m going to try to beat them. Ladybugs are kind of boring though. I think they get way too much credit from everyone else. They’re not that pretty and mom said that the whores at her office only got their jobs because they’re pretty but not because they work hard, which I think is absolutely true about ladybugs too. The orange ones are alright. A little bit different, but pretty much the same as the red ones. In spring we used to have tulips that bloomed in the garden which the orange ones looked really pretty on. I like colour a lot. In spring we have the white and the pink and the yellow and the red. I used to try to draw them, but they’re all dead now. Can you get me some more flowers?
 
(MARCIE looks over at the tree and GRANT steps out from behind it.)
 
GRANT
Eh. Who’s going to take care of them? You’re not old enough to do much of anything yet and heaven knows your mother doesn’t give a shit.
 
MARCIE
Nono I’m all big and strong now! I have my own watering can and everything.
 
(MARCIE holds up a watering can. It is faded and the handle is broken. It’s obviously old.)
 
MARCIE (CONT’D)
Can you show me how to fill it with water?
 
GRANT
Heh. Yeah. If you want.
 
(Extended pause)
 
GRANT (CONT’D)
So. What’ve you been up to you. Do you have a boyfriend yet?
 
MARCIE
EW. Dad I am wayyy too young to have a boyfriend. All the boys are icky and pick their noses.
 
GRANT
Well shit. I don’t know. What do you like?
 
MARCIE
I really like bugs.
 
GRANT
Huh. Yeah I guess I should have known that. Ladybugs you said? No. You don’t like ladybugs. It’s caterpillars or something squirmy.
 
MARCIE
WORMS!
 
(They walk towards the pile of toys, which GRANT starts picking up and fiddling with. He picks up a magnifying glass.)
 
MARCIE (CONT’D)
Worms are so cool. You know, they get paralysed in the sunlight. They go out onto the pavement and become all stunned. Then, after the rain has dried up, they become crispy. Kinda like bacon.
 
(GRANT actually looks mildly interested for the first time)
 
GRANT
I never thought I would say this, but your mom is right. Don’t eat the worms. Ya know. This kid I knew when I was little was dared to eat a slug. He ate it, but after a few days his body started to shut down and became paralysed. He died later that year.
 
(pause, chuckle)
 
I’m starting to sound like you now with all this bug shit.
 
MARCIE
Well everyone knows that slugs have bacteria so that was really dumb of the boy. Slugs have bacteria, toilets have bacteria and food that has been sitting out and gone all green and fuzzy has bacteria.
(said manner of factly and naively as if nothing else in the world has bacteria.)
 
GRANT
You know what I really loved as a kid. I loved going over jumps. That little car you have. Let’s see what we can do.
 
(GRANT pulls over a plank of wood and sets it up on the mound of dirt in the middle of the stage. He picks up MARCIE and swings her into the car. He runs around the stage pushing her while she giggles and waves her arms.
 
GRANT
Try standing up!
 
MARCIE
This is so fun! Mommy never plays with me like this.
 
(She tries standing up and messing around.)
 
GRANT
Okay! Now for the big one. Hold on tight.
(GRANT runs towards the jump. When he gets to mid-air the car starts to tip and MARCIE starts to roll out the side. As it starts to get precarious LOUISE steps out on stage and her face is transformed into shock, fear and horror.)
]]>
<![CDATA[College Admissions - 15 Minute Writing Task]]>Thu, 18 Jan 2024 18:21:23 GMThttp://manfredini.design/dramatic-writing/college-admissions-15-minute-writing-taskA, carrying a box of track shoes, approaches B.

B (of the box):  What's that?

A: It's my past - I want you to keep it.

B: Your past? Why can't it be your future?

A: I'm just not as fit anymore. I can't train with the good athletes, but I'm too good for the bad athletes. I have a masochistic love for the drills and pain from early morning workouts, but no longer have a drive to achieve. Plus, I've already gotten into college.

B: You got into college? So thats all it was for? What about the pages of words on how you love the feeling of pushing yourself and achieving things you never thought was possible.

A: Cliches, all of them

B: hm

A: Yeah. And now what's left. I have run in a circle for years to only realised I don't care enough. I don't care to be the best I can be when that means sacrificing the good times that I see so many others having. I could just grow up and have an easy job, make some money and go home. When all of your life has been about achieving a single goal, when you get there it just isn't quite as sweet. For me, the next step I would have to take would be to be the best. I would have to spend hours every week isolated and in pain, for what? The chance that I might be good enough to do it for even more hours. And yet, at least then I would have a goal. At least then I would feel something apart from insignificance. 

B: Blissful ignorance, huh.

A: The curse of the successful. Brittney and her shaved head. Hah. Funny that. Even as I was saying the words I wanted to follow up with "well at least she has fame". Nah. The grass is always greener, but how do you reconcile that when your grass is already brown. 

B: Blissful ignorance

A: Yeah, or blissful deniability. Suppressing the feelings no matter how. Psht. I'm not a drug addict but excuses and potential sure are fun.]]>