Moellennial

Writer. Podcaster. Aspiring sack of potatoes ✊🏽

PLAYS


Excerpt from "Token" a short play

Act two

Scene one

 

(The stage is dimly lit. And light slowly illuminates the set. There is a door on stage right, closed. An empty room, what looks like an office is full of plaques and awards on the wall and shelves. As the light gets brighter, we hear loud voices coming from off stage. The door opens. Malcom and Professor Clark enter.)

 

MALCOM

But why be conventional Mr. Clark? I just don’t understand doing what’s already been done.

 

PROFESSOR CLARK

Because Malcom, for at least the third time today, you need to understand what came before you can do something new.

 

MALCOM

Bu—

 

PROFESSOR CLARK

Let me finish, Mr. Hamilton. What you need to understand is that you’ve got to learn where we’ve been before you can even conceive where to go.

 

MALCOM

But that’s how we get into the situation that we’re in now. The majority of the movies that come out each year, at least the ones people are actually going to see, are either reboots, sequels, or the same cookie cutter movie with a different cast. I’m sick of seeing middle aged male actors going through a mid-life crisis and signing onto eight action films to prove to the world that they’ve still got it. Why make us do assignments that reflect Hollywood when we’re the next generation. Aren’t we supposed to go above and beyond our predecessors, not just do the same things they did?

 

(PROFESSOR CLARK sighs.)

 

PROFESSOR CLARK

Malcom, you make a valid point. You’re preaching to the choir, here. I think everything you’re saying makes sense, but what I need you to understand is that that situation that you’re talking about is idealized.

 

MALCOM

No b—

 

PROFESSOR CLARK

Did no one ever teach you to let someone finish their sentence before budding in?

 

               (MALCOM stays silent, head tilted down.)

 

PROFESSOR CLARK (cont’d.)

Thank you. Now what I’m trying to say is that what you’re talking about, what you want, that isn’t realistic. Yes, you’re perfectly in line when you say that you are supposed to challenge the status quo. But Hollywood is as much politics as anything else. It doesn’t want to change.

 

MALCOM

So what am I supposed to do? Give in? Become like everyone else?

 

PROFESSOR CLARK

Well, if you were smart, you’d fall in line in the beginning, and soak up as much as you can. Good and bad. And then maybe once you’ve learned a bit, found your vision, then you can try and make a play for the paradigm shift. That’s why the curriculum is the way it is.

 

MALCOM

What do you mean?

 

PROFESSOR CLARK

I mean that we try and frame your assignments around what this industry is really like. We want you to know what you’re getting into. You aren’t always going to have full creative control over your work. And you need to be prepared for that.

 

MALCOM

But

 

               (MALCOM pauses.)

 

MALCOM

It shouldn’t be that way. People should care.

 

PROFESSOR CLARK

There’s that idealism again, kid. Things don’t work that way. Most of the time, people don’t care.

MALCOM

Then how do I make them care?

 

PROFESSOR CLARK

Well, you’ve got to make them care, I suppose. You’ve got to earn their trust. Maybe you work on a few conventional films. Make some connections, learn by doing. Then when you’ve got a feel for the way things work, you break off. Filmmaking is playing the long game, kid. Don’t wish for instant gratitude because you aren’t going to get it. Does that make sense?

 

MALCOM

No, but I guess I don’t really have a choice does it? Either I conform or I can’t follow my dreams.

 

PROFESSOR CLARK

It isn’t so black and white, Malcom. There’s gray in everything. What we like and what we don’t like are riddled with things that we can learn from. You just have to know what you’re looking for. I know you’re passionate about this stuff, and I’m confident that if you keep at it, you’re going to be successful. You’ve just got to be patient. You understand?

 

MALCOM

Yeah. Be patient, and if I can’t accomplish my goals, maybe I’ll just become a teacher.

Fade.


Excerpt from "Token" a short play

Act two

Scene five

 

(MALCOM lay in his bed, coming to from being knocked out. VIOLET sits at his desk across the room, looking through the footage on his camera.)

 

MALCOM

Ohhh! My head! Ow.

 

(MALCOM sits up, with his hands pressed against his head.)

 

VIOLET

You did that to yourself.

 

(MALCOM groans.)

 

MALCOM

 

No-no. He was wrong. He shouldn’t have—He shouldn’t have said that.

 

VIOLET

That may be true, Malcom. But just because he’s wrong doesn’t mean that makes you right.

 

MALCOM

Ohhhh, my head.

 

VIOLET

Maybe he shouldn’t have said and done what he did at the end, but he wasn’t wrong about the rest, Malcom. You can’t act the way you were acting.

 

MALCOM

What do you mean?

 

VIOLET

There is no double standard. Not for you. Not for anyone. What you did today—how you spoke to Andrew is the exact same way you say people speak to you. Because of the way you speak. That’s wrong. And don’t act like you don’t know that.

 

MALCOM

But he—he said the N word.

VIOLET

That was after the fact. I’m talking about before. You were about to say that he can’t talk the way he does because he’s white.

 

MALCOM

Well, he can’t. He shouldn’t.

 

VIOLET

And how is that any different than you? Is that not one of the main reasons you started this documentary?

 

MALCOM

Yeah, but I want…

 

VIOLET

You want what? What do you want?

 

MALCOM

I want to change.

 

VIOLET

Oh, Malcom. No. Don’t say that. You don’t need to change.

 

MALCOM

I thought you guys would want to help. It seemed like you were helping.

 

VIOLET

We wanted to help because it seemed like a good idea. Finding a part of yourself that you don’t know anything about. That’s exciting. That’s raw. That’s real. That’s informative. I thought you wanted to do this to help other going through the same thing? But you just wanted to change? And become what? Become who?

 

MALCOM

Become black.

 

(VIOLET sighs.)

 

VIOLET

Oh, Malcom.

 

MALCOM

Don’t get me wrong. All of that stuff you said was true too. But deep down I was hoping that—that maybe I would be accepted by others because of what I’d learned.

 

VIOLET

Well that may or may not happen. And who cares. You are who you are. That’s not going to change. No matter what you do. You’ve been going about this the wrong way. You’ve been doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. To be quite frank with you, you don’t know what being black is, none of us do. And that’s what was so exciting about this documentary. Not that you were going to be some completely different person afterwards, but that you’d learn something about yourself, and that we would too.

 

MALCOM

Ooooohhh god my head is killing me. Can we finish this discussion later? I don’t disagree with you, I just can’t think straight right now.

 

VIOLET

Sure, Malcom. But you owe everyone an apology when you get better.

 

(VIOLET exits. And MALCOM lays back down onto his bed, and begins to snore.)

 

Fade.


All contents Copyright 2019 by Morgan Hampton. All rights reserved. All characters featured and the distinctive likeness thereof are trademarks of Morgan Hampton. The stories, characters, and events herein are fictional. Any similarities to persons living or dead are entirely coincidental.