This is the loosely written script for the fourth episode of “Curtains,” a mockumentary sitcom (you can read the third episode here). In this episode the curtains crew takes “Sweetney Todd” into the city for opening night. I really like Charlotte in this one. There are more emotional-type moments that I’m hoping come off genuine and not too hallmarky or trite. But anyways yeah, hope it’s enjoyable.
Open on theatre crew gathered in costume and makeup room, Charlotte making announcements
Charlotte: Today’s the day people. Not only is it opening night for Sweetney (makes small woop! sound), it’s also our first show in the big city.
Charlotte: Roger? Have you thrown up yet?
Zoom on Roger
Roger: You know I think I’ll be okay
Charlotte: You sure? This is the city.
Roger: Cool as a cucumber. Wearing sunglasses, smoking a cig, that cucumber.
Roger in interview (wide eyed): I haven’t eaten in 26 hours. Pretty sure everything’s out of me.
Charlotte: Okay, Amelia? Elliot? How my stars doing?
Elliot: Twinkly as ever kid. Here’s looking at all of you. We’ll always have the makeup room (winks at camera).
Amelia: Oh you know, the best anyone could expect me to be
Charlotte nods and approaches Amelia, kneels down before her
Charlotte: Amelia, do you want me to slap you?
Charlotte: No, dumb question. You don’t ask someone if they want you to stab them.
Charlotte: Did I say stab? Oh–(forced laugh), well you know potato potahto
Amelia: It’s not
Charlotte: Point is, you’re fucking awesome. And you not believing it is driving me up the damn wall.
Charlotte: No, you’re not. Why would you be sorry for who you are? That’s like the president apologizing for…freedom
Shot of Kate smiling in the next row
Charlotte: And when you take a bow today, people are not gonna know when to stop clapping. We’re gonna need some damn handcuffs up in there just to get things quiet again.
Amelia gives small laugh and nods
Charlotte: And if you don’t stop doubting yourself I’m gonna slapstab you.
Charlotte in interview: Am I nervous? Yes. Am I scared? Of course. But do I doubt the quality of our production? ….A little bit.
Cut to crew walking through downtown towards theatre, Kate and Jason in back
Kate: I’m glad you came with us, I was nervous about tonight
Kate: I don’t know I mean, it’s my first official night as a stagehand you know? The big time.
Jason: You’ll do great.
Kate: I don’t even know why I’m worried. Pulling the curtain back is basically all I do.
Jason: It’s an important job
Kate: True, I make those actors look good.
Jason: You make them fundamentally visible!
Cut to Roger and Riley
Roger: You’re gonna kill it tonight
Riley: Those costumes are stunning!
Roger: You’re the backbone of this operation, Riley coyote
Roger in interview: Before a show Riles and I like to give each other a compliment barrage as an emotional warmup….sometimes it gets competitive.
Roger: Couldn’t ask for a better stagehand
Riley: Have you seen your costumes? They’re a damn vision.
Roger: You’re the best stagehand in the world.
Riley: What did we say about the ‘best in the world’ thing? It’s not fair, you can’t top it.
Roger: I know, I know…but you are. So I win.
Cut to theatre, where city theatre manager is waiting for them in entry area
Charlotte: Isabelle! So nice to see you again.
Isabelle: Charlotte! It is SO nice to see you again. Hear you’ve got quite a show for us tonight.
Charlotte: You know I don’t think I’m exaggerating one tiny bit by saying it’s going to be the best production your theatre has ever shown.
Isabelle: Well, I’m excited to see what makes you so confident.
Charlotte: Well, I’m excited to show you what makes me so confident.
Isabelle: Well, I echo that.
Charlotte: I shout it into a cave with infinite reverb.
Isabelle (nods awkwardly): Okay.
Zoom on Charlotte’s forced smile
Charlotte in interview: Isabelle and I have always had this sort of underlining rivalry, that just sort of underlines all our interactions…she’s always been just a little better. Better grades in college, better reviews of her plays, better marriage and kids in that she has those things at all…in ancient Greece I’m sure we would have fought to the death over something trivial….in a porno we would definitely have enemy sex
Cut to Riley approaching concession stand, where boy around her age (Evan) is sitting slouched behind counter reading comic book
Evan: Hey, what snacking fantasy can I make come true for you today?
Riley: Let’s see…could you mix peanuts and milk duds in a popcorn tub, fill the tub with caramel and stick little straws into the glaze like flags?
Evan: The PMD moon landing special? No prob.
Cut to Kate and Jason in empty auditorium, sitting in back row
Jason: Man just look at that curtain
Kate: Gonna be a tough job
Jason: I believe in you
Kate: You think you’re gonna like your new job?
Jason (pause): I don’t know, sometimes I think about all the possible versions of myself out there you know, who are like, doing cooler things…and I feel like maybe I just wandered into this in-between space, and now they’re all gone…and I’m not sure where I am. (exhales) You asked for an existential answer, so…
Kate: You know what I’m gonna say right?
Jason: Yeah but say it anyway
Kate: I like this version just fine
Rogers enters the room and sits next to K
Roger: They grow up so fast don’t they?
Kate: Hey Roger, this is Jason. We don’t have kids.
Jason: Hi Roger.
Roger: Riley’s in there…making it with a boy
Kate: Making it?
Roger: A very complex snack, yes.
Roger: But it might as well be intercourse, the way they’re looking at each other!
Kate: I think that’s a big leap Roger.
Roger: Is it?!
Jason: It’s like you’re jumping off a conversational trampoline.
Cut to Charlotte chatting with Isabelle in her office. There are plants all over the place. Isabelle is sitting at chair behind massive desk, Charlotte sits at dinky chair before it
Isabelle: God I hate this chair…always makes me seem so much more important than who I’m sitting across from…
Charlotte: Oh well there’s another chair in the hallway…I saw it right out there
Isabelle: So tonight I’m expecting a full house.
Isabelle: You all ready?
Charlotte: You know we get full houses too, Isabelle. We ain’t fillin those seats with naked dummies!
Isabelle: Why did the dummies have to be naked, in that example?
Charlotte: Well, I mean, you know how hard it is to find a clothed dummy nowadays. It’s like forget about it.
Isabelle: Well, if you’re calling that a full house, maybe we should label this…a full mansion? That might represent the difference better. (chortles in forced manner)
Charlotte laughs back in louder, forced manner
Cut to Riley and concession stand boy, eating and sitting with backs to the wall behind stand, talking.
Riley in interview: Usually kids my age aren’t super excited with my sealife obsession. But this one’s listened to my most boring lecture about urchins for five minutes…freakin urchins!
Cut to Kate and Jason backstage, Kate pointing at rope
Kate: This is what gets pulled when the curtains go up.
Jason: It’s just as I imagined.
Kate: You want to touch it?
Jason: Really? Is that allowed?
Kate: Just this once, I can look the other way.
Jason: Alright, if you’re gonna rope me into this.
Kate: That was weak.
Jason (holding rope): Not as weak as this rope texture. Low quality nylon city.
Kate: Man, talk about rope burn.
Jason mimes setting Kate up with a volleyball and she mimes spiking it
Cut to Roger in lobby, peering over concession-stand counter at Riley and Evan
Roger: Psst! Riley! Charlotte’s asking for you!
Riley: Oh what for?
Roger: I couldn’t say…some sort of stagehand emergency!?
Riley: Where’s Kate?
Roger: She was struck by an escalade I’m afraid! Extra-large one at that. Broke her face right off.
Riley: Sounds like she can handle it.
Riley: Roger! Go away!
Roger pauses, surprised, turns away
Roger in interview: No, no, I get it. It’s just a teenage thing. Dad! I love you so much I can’t even look at you! Go away before I hug you so hard you suffocate and die forever!
Cut to backstage, Charlotte speaking before crew.
Charlotte: Alright people, 3 things. 1. No matter how tonight goes I love you. 2. I expect you to pour your hearts out or you’re dead to me. 3. But I’ll still love you. 4. Even if you end up in the cemetery of my heart.
Ned: That’s four things.
Charlotte: Ned why are you even here?
Ned: To clean stuff.
Charlotte: Your presence is dirt, Ned. You’re a muddy, soggy, dirt-man.
Camera zooms on Ned, blank-faced
Charlotte: Isabelle expects us to fail tonight so what are we gonna do?
Elliot: Try not to?
Charlotte: That’s right Elliot, we’re gonna try not to. Hands in!
Crew: One-two-three-TRY NOT TOOOO
Cut to backstage, Kate about to pull up curtain. She looks over to find Charlotte miming rope-pull motion badly (looks like male masturbation)
Cut to view of stage, Elliot enters from the side with kids trailing him, trying to lick knee as he waves them off (murmers from crowd)
Camera zooms on Isabelle
Isabelle in interview: No, Charlotte did not mention children attempting to lick the grown-man protagonist.
Cut back to stage
Elliot: Oh! Will I never be able to take my pants off without ripping them from this dreadfully sticky cartilage?
He encounters pole on which there is a poster of his face, takes it off and reads it, slaps it and looks at audience
Elliot: Will I forever be mistaken as a Victorian-era sex predator?
Isabelle back in interview, looking wide-eyed, blank-faced at camera
Cut to makeup room backstage, Roger putting makeup on another actor
Roger: And then, the airplane took off just as I was throwing back my water. So you know it wasn’t a bad stain, but I showed up for the interview looking like I’d dipped my tie in a pond! Gone pond-dipping, if you will!
Actor looks at camera deadpan
Roger in interview: I’ve been told I have a difficult time discerning which of my stories are actually interesting to hear. So while I’m applying makeup to people and they’re trapped like rats in a cage I just get out all the ones I’m not sure about.
Cut back to makeup room
Roger: I did try popsicles once….there’s the source of my biting paranoia. People say Roger why are you sucking on that piece of bread? You know what I tell them?
Roger in interview, wide-eyed: Popsicles.
Cut back to auditorium where Elliot and Amelia are in scene together
Elliot: Oh how I longed for this! My cartilage unkissed, the shame of having no sensation in my liiipppss!
Amelia: But that is over now, I want your knee and not your lips, I don’t even care that you were into little kids!
Elliot: (singing stops) Oh, I was–never into kids
Amelia: (putting hands on hips and looking at audience) Even better!
Camera zooms on Charlotte as she laughs disproportionately to other audience members, looks around discouraged, then Jason, noticing, breaks out laughing from other end of the theatre, camera pans over to him. He elbows old woman next to him, who leans away and gives him death glare.
Cut to backstage, where Kate and Riley are taking a break together
Kate: So I heard you were hitting it off with the concession boy?
Riley: He’s amazing! I talked about marine biology and when I stopped he was still there!
Kate: Sounds like it’s going swimmingly.
Riley: Know your audience Kate. I’m not your boyfriend.
Kate: Oh–he’s not–sorry.
Cut back to stage, where Elliot is being taken away from Amelia by doctors
Doctors: (singing) We can fix it! We can fix the knee! Make it sugarless just like God intended!
Elliot: (singing) No don’t do it! Do not change me just as I have been accepted!
Amelia looks after in fear as light fades. Darren walks onstage and announces intermission as the curtain falls
Cut to lobby of theatre, where everyone is gathered for intermission, lots of talk. Kate and Jason are standing against the wall.
Kate: How do you like it so far?
Jason: I love it! There’s more pedophile humor than I expected, but I love it.
Kate: You know I love it too. It’s like…original…in it’s own disturbing way.
Jason: I’d take it over Sweeney Todd any day, that’s for sure.
Kate: Oh, easy.
Kate: Hey, um…(smiles at him like she’s saying something uncertain, important)
From offscreen, someone calls “Jason!” and he looks over
Jason: Oh,–hang on
Sara approaches them and joins
Jason: Hey you made it! Kate this is Sara, my colleague slash boss I was telling you about.
Kate: Oh–hi! Nice to meet you.
Sara: Hey! Yeah I wasn’t sure if I could come, but, once Jason explained that Sweetney Todd wasn’t a typo, I knew I couldn’t miss it.
Kate: Yeah, well–I think I better get back. You guys have good, a fun good time of a night–(leaves)
Jason: Oh okay–see you after.
Sara: So what’d I miss?
Jason: Oh, so much.
Cut to Isabelle approaching group of theatre regulars
Isabelle: I am so sorry ladies…the director is an old friend, down on her luck, and I just thought I’d give her a hand, you know? Just give her a little nibble from the palm.
Regular #1: What do you mean? It’s wonderful!
Regular #2: Hilarious, for one.
Regular #3: Unabashedly outrageous.
Regular #4: And it’s not like any knee is ever just a knee.
Others look at her
Regular #1: Stop trying to be deep, Vivienne.
Cut to Charlotte approaching Isabelle
Charlotte: So…how bout the buzz in here? Like a damn bee-hive cocaine party.
Isabelle: There’s still a second act.
Charlotte: (leaning in and whispering) And honey it is gonna leave you weak in the sweet-knees.
Isabelle: m’kay (walks away)
Charlotte turns and surveys lobby with a smile
Cut to Riley approaching concession stand, sidles up to Evan
Riley: You like the play?
Evan: I could only hear it, but, it sounds interesting.
Riley: You’re interesting.
Riley leans in and kisses him. He looks at her in surprise and her eyes widen in embarrassment before she runs away.
Cut to Kate sitting alone backstage, Roger approaches
Roger: Have you seen Riley Kate?
Kate: No, she should be here soon though.
Roger: You okay?
Kate: Oh–yeah, just, feeling a little bummed.
Roger: Ah. When I get the saddies I just think about people who are trapped between walls of spikes that are slowly closing in on them. That helps a bit.
Kate: Yeah, makes sense.
Riley appears and rushes past them into backstage bathroom, ignoring their calls. They follow and stand outside door.
Roger: Riley! What’s the matter?
Riley: I’m fine! Please go away.
Roger: It’s okay if you’re not you know.
Kate: He’s right Riley.
Charlotte shows up, checking if they’re ready.
Charlotte: Riley! We needja out there girlfriend.
Riley: Please! I basically just mouth-raped somebody and I need to be alone. I need to be alone with my mouth-rape.
Charlotte takes Kate and Roger aside
Charlotte: Alright, I’m gonna need you two to start things up. Roger you fill in for your nutty little offspring until she comes out. Which will be soon because guys, my flame is as bright as platinum toothpaste tonight, and I got this.
Kate and Roger nod in agreement, Roger lingers behind for a moment
Roger: Just make sure she knows I’m here if she needs right?
Charlotte: She’ll know.
Roger leaves and Charlotte pauses
Charlotte: Riley listen I know you’re embarrassed, but…the fact that you’re feeling that way? That means you’re doing it right! Because the only way to go through life without being embarrassed is to not live it at all…and that is worse than any embarrassment you can imagine.
Riley: I’m just so vulnerable all the time and I’m sick of it. Why can’t I just play it cool like everyone else?
Charlotte: Riley you’re gonna ask yourself lots of weird questions about yourself…why did I kiss the concession boy? Or like…can people see the stain on my crotch? How am I sweating so much? Why did I sleep with that obese man who was pretending to be a bear that night I went camping? Is it possible I had sex with some sort of man-bear hybrid? Seriously how is it possible for my body to sweat this much it’s like a damn sweat tsunami.
Riley: Okay I got it.
Charlotte: Point is…the answer to all these questions is that you’re human. (Head shifts to ground as camera zooms in on her) And that’s simultaneously the most embarrassing and wonderful thing you can be.
Charlotte looks back at door, waiting.
Cut to backstage, where Kate and Roger are messing with the smoke machine
Kate: Okay so we need to turn it on right after Elliot says, we have escaped!
Roger: When’s that happen?
Kate: Not for a while, we have time.
Elliot (from stage): We have escaped!
Kate: Damn, okay! We can figure this out, umm…this one says fog and this one says steam and then there’s mist, smoke, and…this last one just says sexy time.
Roger: Which one are we supposed to turn on?
Kate: I don’t know! (panicking) Umm…I don’t know!
Elliot (from stage): I said we have escaped!
Kate: Oh my god
Roger: OH MY GOD!
Kate: Let’s just do mist-no-fog. You know what they say when you’re in doubt go with fog.
Roger: (whispering) I don’t think that’s a saying.
Riley appears beside them.
Riley: What are you guys doing? It’s steam, not fog.
Roger: Steam! Of course. Isn’t it always.
Kate smiles at Riley
Cut to Jason and Sara in seats
Sara: I can’t believe I almost went to an air-sex contest instead of this.
Jason: Didn’t you say you had plans with your mom tonight?
Sara: (nonchalantly) Yeah. God I hope she doesn’t win, she’ll be so pissed at me.
Jason looks at the camera wide-eyed
Cut to stage, where Elliot and Amelia stand together amidst the steam
Elliot: I feel like maybe I overreacted, with all the kneecappings and whatnot.
Amelia: It’s okay. It brought us together.
Elliot: You’re right. I’d wade through a sea of kneecaps if they brought me to you.
Amelia: (sentimentally) That’s disgusting.
They kiss and the curtain falls, followed by audience applause
Cut to Charlotte alone backstage, eyes closed, listening.
Cut back to auditorium, where audience rises to its feet as actors come out on stage and bow
Cut to Isabelle, who reluctantly stands and joins the clapping before exiting the auditorium
Cut to Charlotte walking on stage with Kate, Riley and Roger. The four of them join hands and take bows. Charlotte thanks the audience and leaves the stage.
Cut to Charlotte entering Isabelle’s office, finding Isabelle at her desk, on her computer.
Charlotte: Hey Izzie
Isabelle: Charlotte I think we’ve got a few steps to go on the intimacy ladder before you calling me Izzie.
Charlotte sits down and shrugs
Charlotte: Why not take a leap? I mean I guess in that example you would just fall off and die, but…I’m thinking of it more like an escalator…no wait that doesn’t work either.
Isabelle: I get it.
Charlotte: I’m just saying I appreciate the chance you took on me tonight, and I think it’d be cool if we were friends.
Isabelle: ….I’m sorry can you get out of that terrible chair? I feel like I’m disciplining my five-year old. (Shrieking) Stop putting mommy’s hair-bands in the toilet Brian! You don’t want mommy to bring out her mad voice!
Charlotte: Is that…not the mad voice?
Isabelle: Oh not even close.
Charlotte: (smiling) Well that’s terrifying.
They both stand
Isabelle: Just be glad you guys did well! And you did do well.
Isabelle: I’d like it if you came back with your next production.
Charlotte: Will do.
Isabelle: (under breath) Because there’s no way you can do this twice.
Charlotte: What was that?
Isabelle: Nothing. (panicky) There are dead people in these walls. Who can talk because they’re ghosts. Who never learned to move through walls.
Cut to credit sequence outside the theatre, Kate talking with Jason and Sara
Kate: Thanks again for coming you guys.
Sara: Oh I am so thankful I did.
Jason: Seriously. That play was the bee’s sweet-knees.
Kate: How long have you been waiting to say that?
Jason: My whole life, is what it feels like.
Jason: Hey we were gonna go get a drink if you want to come?
Kate: Oh–um. That’s okay. I think I’m just gonna head home. Thanks though.
Jason: Okay, um, well hey congrats on the show (leans in and hugs Kate for a relatively long time) Um–I’ll see you later.
Kate: Bye guys
Sara: Bye Kate!
Jason and Sara walk away and Kate continues to her car alone. She’s stopped by Amelia and Elliot.
Elliot: Kaitlyn, wherever are you off to now?
Amelia: What? You can’t go home already!
Elliot: Quite true, that’s unacceptable. Have you ever gone out drinking with actors before young Kaitlyn?
Kate: Can’t say I have.
Amelia: It’s a romp. We get all giggly and warm with each other, and after a few we even move kind of wobbly!
Kate: Sounds great! I mean it just sounds like drinking. But yeah!
Elliot: Off we go! Tallyho! I’m acting drunk right now but I will soon become the part.
Camera zooms on Kate smiling as the three of them make their way