Saturday 15 April 2023

"New Home"

I wrote this screenplay several years ago during one of my over-winters in Spain. My good friend and professional storyteller, Lisa Lipkin, read and re-read it several times and kindly gave me notes and edits, for which I am truly grateful. Over the years I have tinkled with it, but no major changes.

I imagine that this could be fairly straightforwardly adapted for the stage using sets along the lines of the sculptural installations of the Koreän artist Do Ho Suh.

My health has been on a downwards trajectory for several years and it now seems unlikely that there will be any significant amelioration. So I am placing the screenplay within my blog. I do not anticipate that this post will garner many readers. However, along with my blog-posts & poëtry, it will demonstrate that I was once creätive, imaginative and willing to try new media.

For anyone who does read, whether enjoyed or hated, I should very much appreciate any constructive-criticism.

[Image description: one of the sculptor, Do Ho Suh’s installations, a transparent blue-grey hallway surrounding a pillar-box red staircase. Photo ©️ & courtesy BristolIcarus.]

“New Home”

Scenario: a film without much dialogue; all the action is filmed from outside the windows.

Scene 1

shot: modern-ish replacement bathroom window [bw] - closed, cane roller-blind so cannot see inside.

Pan left to right to briefly focus on,

shot: guest bedroom modern-ish replacement window [gbw] - white net curtain so cannot see inside.

Pan down to briefly focus on,

shot: small kitchen window in stable door [kdw] & small window [kw] to right - darkness behind both so cannot see inside.

Pan right to left to briefly focus on,

shot: original Victorian large sash sitting-room cum diner window [sdw] - a little muted natural daylight sufficient to see bare floorboards from half-closed curtains at front window. There is an open fire-place with a stove to the left.

Pull back to focus on,

shot: rear of small Victorian terraced property; poor-quality brickwork, poor [cement work]; peeling paint from window-frames and stable-doors; rusting drain-pipes; no plants in yards, other than a few weeds growing in nooks & crannies; wheelie-bins, dirty, no numbers; light muted.

shot: sun comes out, bright light.

shot: hear key turning & rattling in lock; front door opens; light streams in to living-room; Andy [6’, silver-streaked dark hair, strong-build, rugged, 45] carries Gina [shorter than Andy, long flowing dark hair, svelte, Italian bellisima, 40] across threshold; both laughing & smiling exuding fun & joy.

Andy puts down Gina.

Both enthusiastically rush out the front-door.

Andy re-enters with heavy boxes and puts down.

Gina follows with large fern and heads upstairs.

Pan up to bw,

shot: bw cane roller-blind shoots up; bath to right; wc to left - the fern has been placed on the seat; wash-hand-basin to rear; all sanitary-ware in outdated colour; walls papered, mottled with damp/discoloured patches and some peeling edges/corners.

Gina opens the window, looks out, & scans her new environment; a smile on her lips.

Pan down to sdw,

shot: several more boxes have appeared.
Andy is in the process of putting down another box.

Pan left to right,

shot: top stable door opens inwards to reveal Gina and gallery kitchen behind her; kitchen units have dated, pine, louvered cupboard-doors.

Gina turns to left and switches on kitchen light, bare bulb hanging down. She exits to sitting-room through empty doorway [no door].

shot: several more boxes have appeared; there is now a large baroque red velvet sofa in the centre of the sitting-room and a beech table near the sdw.

Andy & Gina smile at each other, move towards each other, embrace and kiss.

The passion level rises, they begin to remove clothing, move towards sofa, fall onto it and begin to make love.

Pan up to bw.

Scene 2

shot: bathroom completely transformed; white-painted, fresh, smooth plaster; substantial white bath with large shower screen; white wc; next to it a tall Arts & Crafts table painted white on which stands the fern brought in by Gina; white sink, above it over-sized round mirror.

Andy is showering, singing & humming to himself unselfconsciously and happily.

Pan left to right to gbw,

shot: guest bedroom has been transformed to dressing-room; net curtain has been removed; a single curtain is draped to right; a large rail laden with tasteful attire, but not over-laden, everything very ordered. A chic suit is draped from the rail.

Gina in white slip is holding two pairs of shoes and holding against the suit. She selects a pair and walks from the room with them.

Pan right to left to bw,

shot: Andy in shower.

Andy turns off water, strokes excess water out of hair, grabs towel and begins drying himself smiling at the waiting Gina.

Gina approaches with shoes showing them to Andy, quizzical look on her face.

Andy nods then suddenly grabs Gina, who drops the shoes to the bathroom floor.

He stoops and scoops her up and takes her into the tub. Gina pretends to resist.

Andy places her under the shower and turns on the water.

Gina gives a mock shriek.

Andy kisses her.

They embrace and begin to make love standing up.

Pan down to sdw.

Scene 3

shot: sitting-room cum diner is transformed into a minimalist uncluttered zone; subtle evening lighting; the sofa is still in the same position.

Andy unlocks front door and enters wearing a smart suit and carrying a laptop bag.

He puts the bag on the dining-table.

He goes into the kitchen and returns with a glass of red wine.

Andy heads upstairs.

Pan up to bw,

shot: brightly lit bathroom; Gina in tub; half drunk glass of red wine by her side.

Andy enters bathroom, smiles at Gina who returns smile; takes a slug of wine then puts it down; and undoes tie.

Andy leaves bathroom.

He re-enters without tie, suit jacket & trousers. He bends over Gina and gives her a long kiss which is returned.

Gina rises from bath, takes towel and wraps it around herself.

Andy places clothes as he removes them into a white-painted laundry basket.

Gina is out of tub and towelling her hair.

Andy steps into tub and settles down.

Andy points to his wine.

Gina carries it over and begins to pass it to Andy.

Andy grabs her, the wine splashes out all over her white towel.

Gina looks down in mock horror but with laughter in her eyes.

Andy pulls her into the tub.

Gina puts down the glass.

They kiss passionately and begin to make love.

Pan down diagonally to kdw.

Scene 4

shot: stable doors both open, but upper half open more; la-la-ing from Gina in kitchen; we cannot see what she is doing.

Gina appears in a loose white shift-dress with a window-box planted with spring flowers and comes outside into yard, cleansed of weeds.

She walks to sdw, past clean wheelie-bins now with printed numbers, and places window-box on window-sill.

Gina, with closed eyes looks up towards the sun and enjoys the heat on her face.

Then opening her eyes looks down at her belly and strokes it.

Andy appears in black jeans and a white T-shirt.

They stand facing each other.

Andy’s hands move to Gina’s belly as well.

They kiss long and lovingly.

Andy puts his arm around Gina. They turn to face stable-doors, head towards them gently and enter without closing the door.

Pan right to left to sdw.

Scene 5

shot: sdw, night-time, lamp-light; window is open; Gina is, now obviously larger, reclining on sofa reading a book. A fan is blowing cooling air at her. A few moments of silence concentrating on her reading.

Gina suddenly winces in pain and grabs her belly. She screams in pain and writhes in  agony.

She grasps for her mobile and presses (for Andy on) speed-dial.

Gina drops the ‘phone to the floor crying in pain.

Andy’s voice through the ‘phone: “Gina! Gina!…”

Camera pulls back,

There is thick, dark blood on the floor by the sofa, seeping through Gina’s clothing and on her hands/fingers.

The front-door bursts open and in dashes Andy.

He runs to Gina, sees the blood and embraces her.

Gina convulses with sobbing.

Blue flashing lights can be seen through front window and front-door pane(s).

Paramedics enter, exit, return with stretcher and take Gina away (to hospital).

Scene 6

shot: kdw, daylight; the top stable door is slightly ajar; music plays quietly in the background.

Pan right to left to sdw,

shot: the furniture has been moved around, especially the sofa; there are dirty, part-empty pots on the table; part-read papers; a pile of unopened post; the front curtains are drawn to.

Andy sits at table, a cup held in mid-air, staring out of the window at nothing in particular.

There’s a rap at the front door. Andy is startled back to consciousness.

Andy slowly rises, walks to front door and opens it.

We can see hints of a woman there and we hear the sound of muted conversation, but no actual words.

Andy opens the door fully and Fi [shorter than Andy, bobbed red hair, athletic (not as svelte as Gina), pale skinned & lentiginous, max. 30] enters with a shopping bag in one hand and a paper-wrapped French stick in the other.

Fi walks straight through to the kitchen.

Andy moves back into the room looking after her.

Fi reappears and goes straight to the sdw and opens it; we hear the music a tad louder.

Fi then begins stacking pots & cutlery and scraping food, before going back & to to the kitchen with them.

Fi comes back, folds the newspapers, puts then under her arm, gathers the post and makes a tidy pile and moves to the fireplace. She tosses the papers into a basket near the fireplace and then places the post on the mantelpiece propped up by a clock.

Once the table is cleared she returns with a spray & cloth and wipes down the table.

Fi’s actions mean that the only free place to sit is the sofa.
Unthinking and almost falling back into it, Andy sits on the edge of the sofa observing Fi.

Fi does her chores without once looking at Andy.

Fi is back in the kitchen; we hear a washing-machine door open; we hear the stable door being unlocked and opened.

We keep the shot on Andy’s reactions. He moves his line of sight to where he expects to see her.

Fi appears in the yard, hanging washing on the line - socks, undies.

Fi returns to the kitchen and we hear water running; the sound of cupboard doors being opened and closed; the sound of crockery; the sound of a drawer being opened and cutlery being removed.

Fi reappears in the sdw with a bread-board, a bread knife and the loaf; then a plate of cold cuts; a bowl of olives; a plate of tomatoes, mozzarella & basil; and a bottle of white (not red) wine. She lays a place for one.

Andy suddenly and enthusiastically jumps up and dashes to the kitchen and comes back with another place setting and glass and lays a second place.

He pulls out the chair and looks to Fi.

Fi smiles demurely, slightly blushing and takes the proffered seat, which Andy tucks under for her.

Andy takes up the wine and pours them both a glass.

He then sits down at his place.

The two look at each other, smile laughingly and clink glasses.

Scene 7

shot: sdw, night-time, several lit candles; lit stove.
Andy & Fi are making love on the carpet in front of the fireplace.

Camera pulls back and rises to roof if such included in set, otherwise drops to yard.

Scene 8

shot: Fi is sunbathing topless in backyard.

Andy in baggy shorts and a co-ordinating T-shirt appears behind her at the window. He smiles leeringly, turns and heads to kitchen.

Camera pans left to right to kdw,

shot: both stable-doors are open, the upper more so than the lower. We hear a ‘fridge open and then the cracking of ice from a tray.

Andy exits the kdw and moves to Fi. Camera follows.

shot: staying out of Fi’s sun, Andy drops an ice-cube onto Fi’s belly.

Fi screams in shock as she sits upright.

Andy laughs.

Fi utters: “Ouff!” and stands up.

She mock-beats his chest with her fists.

Andy grabs them and pulls Fi into a passionate embrace.

As the embrace becomes more heated, they edge back to the kdw.

Andy & Fi enter the kitchen and begin to make love against the door-jamb between the kitchen and living-room cum diner. The camera does not follow them in but remains outside the kdw.

Andy & Fi are caught only by the light coming in from outside; the inside of the kitchen is fairly dark.

Camera pans right to left.

Scene 9

shot: sdw, keys can be heard in the front-door. The door is opened by Andy, carrying a large carry-all, and he ushers in Gina (back from the hospital).

Gina pauses and scans the room, taking note that the furniture has been moved. She stares at the spot where she had bled.

Meanwhile Andy places the carry-all at the foot of the stairs.

He then walks up to Gina’s rear, takes her gently by the shoulders and kisses her nape.

Gina half-smiles.

Andy goes into the kitchen and returns with a large bouquet of white roses which he gives to Gina.

Gina raises a bigger smile, places them gently on the table, then hugs Andy who reciprocates.

Scene 10

shot: between bw & gbw Jeff [slightly shorter than Andy, medium build, mousy hair, heavy-rimmed spectacles, about same age as Fi] up ladders, is doing final checks on a satellite-dish he has just installed.

Camera pans down from his head to his buttocks - pants need to show off.

At the same time, camera follows Jeff’s descent.

Pull back to see Gina holding a mug with a hot beverage admiring his assets.

Gina proffers mug and Jeff takes with a playful smile, before turning to admire his workmanship.

shot: pull back to see all of rear façade.

Both Gina & Jeff look up to satellite-dish.

Jeff nods, pleased with himself.

Jeff swigs back the last of his drink.

Gina & Jeff turn to go inside and enter.

shot: camera zooms in on sdw,

Jeff moves from kitchen to far left of shot and bends down. Assume TV set is in this corner: as sets have become rather large nowadays, it may be possible to see an edge/corner of it.

Noises of Jeff at work for a few moments.

Gina sidles into shot very discreetly.

Gina again admires Jeff’s assets.

Jeff stands up and suddenly realises that Gina has been observing him.

Jeff takes out his mobile-telephone, opens his contacts page and passes ‘phone to Gina.

Gina pauses momentarily, but then decisively takes ‘phone and enters her number.

Scene 11

shot: via sdw, a new piece of furniture has appeared further behind the dining-table, in a slightly darkened area, a dated faded & worn bergère, upon which Gina sits.

Gina is reading intently.

There is a musical rap on the front-door.

Gina looks up surprised.

Gina rises and moves to open door.

On the threshold stands Jeff.

Jeff, unsolicited but without pushing past Gina, walks straight towards the TV set, scanning for the remote-control and collecting it en route.

Jeff makes out he is checking all is okay with satellite set-up.

Gina meanwhile has closed the door, followed Jeff to TV zone, stands behind Jeff, and smiles gently with a raised brow.

Jeff turns to see Gina.

Jeff looks at his derrière then back at Gina.

Both laugh.

Scene 12

shot: Gina in bathing-costume (not bikini) sunbathing on lounger in backyard. No movement. Asleep?

Jeff, in loud leisure-shirt and unco-ordinated shorts, enters backyard via ginnel gate. He holds behind his back a bottle of prosecco {{opportunity for product-placement}}.

Jeff stealthily approaches Gina.

Whilst standing over Gina, careful not to block her sun, Jeff holds bottle over her and lets condensation drip onto her bronzing flesh.

Gina lets out a yelp.

Jeff quickly steals a quick kiss. Gina does not resist.

Jeff places bottle on ground next to lounger.

Jeff returns for a more passionate, longer kiss.

Hold camera on their kiss for a few moments.

Gina, whilst holding the kiss, unbuttons Jeff’s shirt.

Still kissing, Gina pushes down Jeff’s shorts over his buttocks.

Meanwhile Jeff pulls down straps of Gina’s bathing-costume and slides down below her breasts.

Jeff kisses Gina’s breasts.

They begin to make love.

Scene 13

shot: via sdw we see Gina and Andy preparing the room.

They move the sofa to the centre of the room - the first time since the miscarriage. The bergère is moved next to the sofa by Andy and then he heads upstairs to bring down a chair from the guest bedroom. Camera follows.

Meanwhile Gina sets up a foldable card-table.

Gina goes to the kitchen and brings out contemporary crystal flutes, an Alessi (or similar) ice-bucket filled with ice and a bottle of Prosecco (remember she’s Italian by extraction).

Andy lights candles and sets mood-lighting.

Gina carries through bowls of snacks.

Gina brings out the Twister box.

Andy brings out the playing-cards for poker.

They both survey the room.

They look at each other, approach each other kiss and embrace - not passionately but with feeling.

They sit down on the sofa, holding hands and lean their heads into one another.

Hold on the calm for a few moments.

The peace is disturbed by a ring on the doorbell.

Both Gina & Andy head to the front-door.

They open it.

Fi and Jeff both stand on the threshold, both with bottles of alcohol in their arms/hands.

Gina & Andy beckon Fi & Jeff enter.

Bottles are handed over.

Coats/jackets are removed and hung on pegs by the door, by their respective owners; thus indicating that they have probably been here on multiple occasions, as guests do not normally hang up their own outerwear.

The company move towards the seats.

Gina & Andy take the sofa.

Jeff takes the seat next to Gina/Fi takes the seat next to Andy almost simultaneously.

Andy cracks open the first bottle of Prosecco.

All cheer and laugh together.

Scene 14

shot: the company are playing Twister together; whoever is nearest the selector spins it next; whatever is called, they all collapse on to one another, laughing uproariously.

Scene 15

shot: the company are playing strip-poker; in various states of undress… Camera observes them till all are down to their undies. Andy is the first to lose all his clothes.

Andy does a lap of honour around the sitting-room cum diner, whooping as he dashes with an occasional mock hurdle. He should have a perfectly clipped hairy chest, and manicured pubes. All other body-hair should be depilated &/or shaved.

The company laughs unconstrainedly. In contrast, Jeff should be hirsute blond/light brown/pale ginger, lentiginous, have curly hair across his chest and natural pubes.

Andy collects the cards and the company splits the pack.

Gina gets Jeff or v.v.

Andy gets Fi or v.v.

The company shed their remaining clothing.

Jeff goes to Gina on the sofa.

Andy goes to Fi.

They all start making out.

Fade out.

Scene 16

Several chronological shots of Jeff standing leaning on the backyard gate making calls with his mobile. Different weather conditions - but not wet. Jeff’s clothing becomes more stylish; he has a fresh coiffure and eventually loses the spectacles for contact-lenses. These are work-calls, not amorous ones; so Jeff should act professionally to ensure they cannot be misconstrued.

Scene 17

shot: focus on bw; Jeff is sitting upon the wc.

Sound of keys in front-door and its opening.

Pan down to sdw,

shot: Gina enters in smart co-ordinating work-suit (something like a Prada), a lap-top bag and a re-usable supermarket shopping-bag (Waitrose or M&S or Booths) filled with comestibles.

Voice-off, Jeff, calling from upstairs.

shot: Gina half-laughs and smiles and heads for the kitchen with baggage.

Pan up to bw,

shot: we see Jeff using toilet-paper and then take a couple of wipes to cleanse himself.

Pan to sdw,

shot: the lap-top bag is on the dining-table.

Gina walks through with a couple of glasses of white (not red) wine.
We hear the sound of the toilet-seat being dropped noisily, the flushing lavatory and then the washing of hands.

Pan up to bw,

shot: Jeff sits atop the wc seat.

Pan right to gbw,

shot: Gina sets the glasses of wine on the window-sill then turns to the clothes-rail.

She removes jacket and drapes over a hanger.

She unzips/unbuttons skirt, slides it down and steps out, all done very gracefully.

Now in her white underslip, Gina turns back to and picks up the glasses of wine.

She turns to leave and heads towards bathroom.

Pan left to bw,

shot: Jeff, still on wc, gently caresses his now erect member - obviously this will have to be hinted at or simulated.

At the sound of Gina approaching, Jeff halts the masturbatory action and puts his arms behind his head.

Gina walks in and acts mock-shocked before laughing.

She turns to put down the glasses.

Gina sidles seductively over to Jeff, who is slowly touching himself.

Gina does a mock/real? lap-dance, in the process hitching up her underslip. She does this to music in her head.

She alluring slides down on to Jeff.

They begin making love.

Through the open bw we can hear their low pleasure noises. It is important that they both engage in this to cf. with Andy who is too controlled to even gasp with orgasm.

Scene 18

shot: through gbw we observe that the room is now empty; the curtain has been taken down.

Pan left to bw,

shot: Gina enters bathroom, goes to plant stand and picks up the fern (she originally entered with in Scene 1).

Camera zooms in on her facial expression as she is doing this. Pause for a few moments.

We see Gina’s expression alter from nostalgic melancholy to a smile of happy contentment.

Camera zooms out and we see that Jeff is standing right behind.

From behind he wraps his arms around her the best he can - given she’s holding that large fern.

She snuggles into him.


The moment is broken at Gina’s behest.

Gina walks to the bathroom-door, stops and turns to look at Jeff.

Jeff walks to and easily picks up the white Arts & Crafts plant-stand.

He moves over to Gina.

He kisses her through the fern fronds.

Gina giggles as she is tickled.

They both laugh out loud.

They turn for a brief look at the now empty bathroom, then simultaneously and wordlessly turn and exit.

Pan down to sdw,

shot: Fi is brushing the floor of the almost empty room, just a few boxes which need to be totally removed by end of scene.

Andy enters via front-door and goes to a packing-box before exiting with it.

From the stairs appear Gina followed by Jeff.

They head straight through the front-door.

Fi continues her sweep of the room.

Andy, Jeff and Gina re-enter via the front-door.

Andy and Jeff head straight to the packing-boxes and then exit via the front-door.

Gina picks up a dust-pan from the floor, goes over to Fi and bends down.

Fi brushes detritus into the aperture.

Gina stands up, goes over to a black dustbin-bag and tips the kibble into it.

Fi comes over and takes the dust-pan off Gina and heads to the front-door.

Gina knots ‘bin-bag and heads through to the kitchen.

Camera pulls back.

shot: Gina exits through kitchen-door.

She goes over to the dustbin and deposits the bag into the bin before pushing to cram in this last bag.

She looks up and notes the window-box is still on the external window-sill.

Gina goes over to it and smells the blooms.

Camera zooms in.

After straightening up she goes to pick up the window-box, but changes her mind with a smile.

Gina turns and heads back into the house.

shot: camera moves from window-box to looking back through sdw,

Andy, Fi, Gina & Jeff are standing in the now completely empty room.
They are standing around the spot where Gina miscarried.
Jeff has an arm around Gina’s shoulder.

A silent pause.

Fi slips her hand into Andy’s unostentatiously.

Another pause.

Then spontaneous laughter from all four.

They turn in unison and head for the front-door.

We are left in doubt whether they are moving in all together or whether they have just partner-swapped.

Andy pulls the front-door to behind the others and turns keys in the lock.

We here the sound of car/van-doors opening/closing, engines starting and vehicles driving away.

Then silence.

As in Scene 1 sunlight shines through the front window onto the bare floor.

shot: camera pans to left and zooms in on mantelpiece.

There is a “WELCOME TO YOUR NEW HOME” card propped behind two wine-glasses and a bottle of red (not white, rosé or bubbly) wine.


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