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Causes Unknown

by Sionarama

(Set: One room with worn carpet, old yellowed chairs, peeling wallpaper, boarded up windows, frames with no pictures, a ton of magazines and books and half finished projects, small old TV with antennae, bed with quilts stage left, kitchen stage right)

(Background: John and Hannah are two old people)

John: Wake up Hannah.

Lump (Hannah) moves a bit on bed.

Hannah [muffled from bed]: I’m sick John leave me alone.

John: You’ve been sick seventy years. Get up and make me my breakfast.

Hannah: Make it yourself you old man.

John: My favorite television show is on—“The Price is Right”. I need to see if Stacey gets the car. Besides, cooking is women’s work.

Hannah: I’m sick John and sick of you and your breakfast and your shows. You know that’s the only episode that plays on that damn TV. Stacey buys the car for three thousand dollars.

John plugs his fingers into his ears: La la la la I can’t hear you!

Hannah: Can’t we stop playing these games? I’m going to die soon and the last thing I want to hear is “make me breakfast you old witch!”

John: You’re not dying, you’re exaggerating to get me out of eating.

Hannah: You can eat very well without my help.

John: Get up! [moves to bed] Get up! I’m tired of this crap.

Hannah: I’m not getting up I’m sick and dying. [mutters] If only I hadn’t ran off with—

John [angry]: What did you say?!

Hannah: Nothing, nothing.

John raises his arm about to hit Hannah. She cries out ready for the impact of the hit and cringes. He falters and sits beside her on the bed.

John: Look, I’m sorry Hannah. I’m just tired of this game.

Hannah: I’m gunna get out of it. I’m dying.

John says nothing.

Hannah: I just want to see the sunlight again.

John: Everything I do just ain’t enough? I worked real hard to get those pictures for you and all you do is complain. Enough is enough!

Hannah: But I want to see the real thing. Smell fresh air. You don’t even remember what it smells like, do you?

John: If you want fresh air, we have Febreze right here. [motions toward bottle]

Hannah: You don’t understand, do you? I want real life. We’ve been holed up here for seventy years. I thought when we eloped that we would see the world together.

John: I am your world. You are mine. [holds her hand] The world isn’t a safe place for us now. This is the only place we can be safe so we stay in here.

Hannah: From what? Fresh air and the sun?

John: You’ve read them books. The world is filled with them aliens and robots now. We’d be killed as soon as we step out of this house.

Hannah: You crazy fool! Those are science fiction books! They aren’t real! I’ve wasted my life because you thought those damn books were real. I’m getting up.

Wide-eyed, John moves out of the way as she makes it to the door in the corner. Hannah starts to unlock it.

John: NO! I’m right. I’ll teach you a lesson.

He grabs Hannah as she is opening the door.

John: No! [He strikes her and she screams and crumples to the floor]

John [falls to his knees next to her. He holds her on the floor]: I didn’t mean it, it’s just dangerous, I just wanted to protect you. I should be your world and nothing else!

Hannah [looks up at the door she had opened]: Sunlight…

She sighs and closes her eyes and stops breathing.

John thows her off of him shakily and moves to the phone and dials aloud 9-1-1 slowly.

John: Hello I would like to call about the death of my wife. Causes? Unknown…

Is this a review?



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816 Reviews

Points: 44887
Reviews: 816

Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:14 pm
Shearwater wrote a review...

Okay, Sio!

I love scripts! I've read a few of them but honestly, I've never actually reviewed one! So you're going to be my first and this is your first script. Cool! Anyway, I'll be reviewing as I read so bare with me.

(Set: One room with worn carpet, old yellowed chairs, peeling wallpaper, boarded up windows, frames with no pictures, a ton of magazines and books and half finished projects, small old TV with antennae, bed with quilts stage left, kitchen stage right)

First thing that pops out to me in the setting area is the bed and kitchen stage. I'm wondering about this set-up because normally, Kitchens are near a family/living room or dining area but in here, a bedroom (If it is a bedroom because that wasn't stated clearly) is next to the kitchen. Unless, there is a bed in the living room! xD Also, I'm not sure if this is a type of studio set with just one room where there is a kitchen on one half of the room and an empty space that could be filled with something else on the other side of the room. Then again, studio's are usually in apartments. Anyway, setting is important and it's best to be as clear as you can be with few words. Such as ->"Studio style small cabin in blank forest. One room: half kitchen, half bedroom." Or something like that. Sorry for the paragraph on setting. :/

John: Wake up Hannah.

*Wake up, Hannah.
Make sure you use proper punctuation in scripts too. :3
If you're unsure on the right places to put commas ( I was at one point, too) you can always google it up and they have many articles that can help you. :3
John: If you want fresh air, we have Febreze right here. [motions toward bottle]

*Febreeze xD
Also, I love this line. Little things like this make me happy. <3

Wide-eyed, John moves out of the way as she makes it to the door in the corner. Hannah starts to unlock it.

But she was sick and dying! How did she manage to get up?

As for the ending, I find it really, really odd. If the world was plagued by aliens, would 911 still be working? This makes me question his motives and find it really odd. Next, I also wonder why he would wait all these years for her to die if that was the case. Anyway, the ending just left me with lots of questions and I guess that's a good thing. xD

Now, I'm not exactly sure if this script is for a play, based on Horibliss's review or actually a script for a movie or show. So that would change my thoughts on the setting based on what type of stage it was. :/

One piece of advice I can give you is that while in scripts, you don't exactly have the convenience of character thoughts so the dialogue means double and you have to choose your words a bit more carefully. Also, don't be afraid to put in more action cuts in between like you did there while using more description and 'telling' us what they're feeling. Such as, confused, scared, happy and whatnot. In fiction writing, you're told to 'show' more but when it comes to scripts, the showing is done by the actor and the script 'tells' the actor what to show. Therefore, try to concentrate a little more on the telling part but that doesn't mean you can't 'show' emotions when it's too complicated for words. I hope this makes some amount of sense.

Overall, it was a very interesting script with an ending that left me in question. The things you'll have to work on though would be making sure you have the right punctuation and grammar to match. Alrighty, so let me know if you have any questions or comments and keep writing!

All the best,

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60 Reviews

Points: 5400
Reviews: 60

Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:46 pm
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HorriBliss wrote a review...

First off, I loved this script, it painted a perfect picture of the scene, which is always the best way to start a play!
I quite enjoyed the use of exposition to give the audience some backstory between John and Hannah, like the science fiction books and how he is only trying to protect her. My opinion of Hannah is that she's a 'free soul' that's being bound to her house [or coffin would be more appropraite here] against her will, and that John LOVES her dearly but fears so much of the world outside, and how HE sees it, that he can't bear to lose her, hence his violence to 'protect' her from the world outside: it's a very complex, and edearing, relationship - to tell you the truth, the sentimentality of the situation reminds me of the "Seeing Red" episode of Buffy: The vampire slayer (if you're a fan, you'll know exactly the episode).
All in all, it was a great scene (and script) and I'd love to see how it develops, although if the whole play was set in one house it'd need some excellent character development to go on!
Here's my points for improvements, but don't worry, they're only grammatical errors so they can be ammended quite easily:
- antennae, should be spelt "antenna". "Antennae" refers to bugs with those sticky-out antennae; the TV antenna are spelt different.
- also, I've only ever read a few plays in my time, but for those, the stage directions were always in square brackets so: "Lump (Hannah) moves a bit on bed." should be "[Lump (Hannah) moves a bit on bed.]" and "John plugs his fingers into his ears" should be "[John plugs fingers into his ears]". There are other examples, but I'm sure you'll correct them in your own time.
There is also the misuse of the 'dash' in the phrase: "My favorite television show is on—“The Price is Right”. Here, you should use a semi-colon (;) (or colon (:)) but NOT a dash. The correct sentence would be: "My favorite show is on; "The Price is Right". However, some writers have a mutiny against colons and semi-colons, and as I don't know your stance you could be avoiding them for entirely personal reasons, I don't know :') If you want additional info. on the correct use, here's a useful article that'll explain it: http://grammar.about.com/od/punctuation ... ondash.htm
The final piece of advice I can offer you is that there should be a comma in this sentence, or two exclamation marks at least. So; "La la la la I can’t hear you!" should read as: "La la la la! I can't hear you!" OR "La la la la, I can't hear you!" The reason for the exclamation mark, or comma, is because the phrase "La la la la" can stand on its own, without the "I can't hear you!" after it, and so, should have a comma, or exclamation mark to indicate this.
There, all done, and skimming over this review, the "negatives" seem to outweigh the "positives" but rest assured they DON'T. What you have written here is excellent, and the mistakes I listen are trivial and easily fixed, so don't kick yourself about over them. I hope to see more of your works in the future, and hope you keep improving - well done! :)

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22 Reviews

Points: 1928
Reviews: 22

Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:27 pm
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PotterGeek101 wrote a review...

i quite like this script, it painted such a good picture of how the scene my play!
Just one little alteration i think that you should put how they should say the lines for example when 'John' is calling the police you could have put [voice - shaky] as it would show that 'John' has some emotion about what has just happened to his wife. Also i get the feeling that 'John' has gone a bit crazy by reading Science fiction books? i like that twist! Would love to know what happened to them when they were younger, what made 'John' think those books were real and how did 'Hannah' cope with it for so long?
Absolutely loved the script though, think it would be good in a good as we could then get the insight to what the characters are feel. But still enjoyed it!
Keep it up!!

"I wish we could all get along like we used to in middle school... I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy..."
— Unnamed Girl from "Mean Girls"