The English Teacher (2013) Script

[SCHOOL BELL RINGING]

Uh! Hi.


Narrator: Linda Sinclair had reached her 45th year, an unwed high school English teacher, with no prospect of marriage.

[BEEPS]

Hers appeared to be a rather ordinary life, [MAN SPEAKING OVER PA]

One of discipline...

I have these.

Frugality...

Small indignities...

[CAR HORN HONKS] whoa! Whoa! Oh.

Modest hopes...

Oh, I'm all right.

Daddy! Over here!

And disappointments. Oh, dear.

She lived alone in Kingston, Pennsylvania, not far from where she was born.

She enjoyed no great luxuries.

Preferring instead the simple pleasures.

And though her life may sound cold and dull, let me assure you that Ms. Linda Sinclair was neither.

She was a passionate woman.

A romantic.

That was why she was alone, for she had always been alone.

As a sensitive child, Linda found her sanctuary in literature.

The great works stirred in her an excitement, an irrepressible thrill that made the mundane world seem all the more bleak.

Coach: all right, come on. Hustle! Hustle! [WHISTLE BLOWS]

She saw no reason to take part in childish pursuits.

[COACH SHOUTING INDISTINCTLY] [WHISTLE BLOWS]

And her little interest in the banal activities of youth, her high-minded sensibility guided Linda to her life's purpose.

Man: [WHISPERS] I thought you said she was going to the library.

Woman: [WHISPERING] no. No, she sucks...

She would devote herself to igniting the flames...

Hi, joanna.

Of literary passion in young minds.

She nurtured their ideals...

How do communities approach change when promoted by the individual?

Valued their opinions.

Melissa. [MELISSA SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY]

They adored her.

But her uncompromising spirit, so beloved in the classroom doomed her to a spinster's life.

Linda?

Hi. Hello.

I'm don. It's so nice to meet you. [CLATTERING]

You too. Sorry.

Oh, it's okay.

Oh, I... well, you ordered without me...

Oh, I'm... I'm sorry.

No, I wasn't really offended. I was just making a joke.

Narrator: for how could she be a model to her students, if she settled forjust any man?

Now I'm unemployed.

And that's actually... It's kinda great.

I have a lot of time, I stopped drinking ice.

I grew a mustache. And, uh...

When I was divorced this whole patch just fell right into place.

And I feel like I'm me now.

And, uh... I might have some ice, actually. Could I...

Narrator: she longed for a sensitive, thoughtful man.

Do you really need to make 35-40,000 dollars a year with no chance of being fired, just to teach some kids how to clap their hands and run around in a circle?

I mean, physical education, that ought to be up to the parents, right?

So what do you teach again? French?

Narrator: someone mature, and soft-spoken.

Your system doesn't work, Linda.

It's gasping for air. [MOCK GASPS]

And you know what... [BLOWS RASPBERRY]

Let it die. This is common sense... hi.

Thanks.

Do you mind getting this one?

'Cause I'm a little short on cash.

Thank you, Linda. I mean...

Narrator: in the end, Linda gave up on men altogether.

Why can't we get back to, like, the Indian days...

You know, "you give me a piece of corn..."

"All right, I'll help you..."

She loved her work, she earned her keep.

[GIBBERISH] debate! Debate! Debate!

That was enough.

Man: what a country...

And if there was a tragic air about our stoic Ms. Sinclair, so be it.

[BEEPING]

If literature had taught her anything, it was that the true romantic is always alone.

And must ever be on guard against a dangerous world.

Hey.

Ow! Fuck! Ow!

Oh! Fuck!

It's me! Jason Sherwood! I was in your class in 2006...

Ah! Jason Sherwood?

Yeah. What are you doing here?

I thought you lived in New York.

No, I don't anymore... [GROANS]

Oh. Oh, my gosh... Lam so sorry. Oh...

Let me take you to the hospital.

No. I'm fine... Jason, I insist.

We have to take you to the emergency room...

No, no, no... Jesus, please, no, no, no. No.

It's fine. I'm fine. I'm sorry...

Ah! My Dad, he works at the hospital and I'd really rather not see him. Okay, okay.

Then let's get you home, all right.

God, that burns like a fuck!

It burned my face! I know. I'm so sorry...

I'm so sorry... come on, my car is right over here.

Oh, Jesus... who uses pepper spray in Kingston?

You know, I have a clean towel in the trunk, I could get that for you. No that's okay.

This is working fine.

I am so, so sorry.

Oh, don't be sorry.

It's my fault, I shouldn't have startled you like that.

No, no, you were just being friendly, I should have recognized you right away.

Jason Sherwood. What are you doing back here in Kingston, Pennsylvania?

I thought you'd be tearing up Broadway by now!

Yeah. Not quite.

Well, you know, it's only a matter of time.

You were one of the best writers I've ever had in my class.

Aw, that's nice.

So what's going on, really?

The last I heard you were in the playwriting program in nyu.

Is that right?

Dramatic writing.

Yeah, I got my degree a couple of years ago.

And? Don't keep me in suspense.

And nothing.

That's it. I'm done with writing.

What? What do you mean?

I mean, I'm finished.

I wrote my thesis play. But that took me forever...

But I don't know, I really believed in it.

Well, of course you did. What happened?

I tried to get it produced.

And used every resource I had just to get it read.

Right.

Here, you can just keep going straight. I'm staying with my Dad.

For now. Well, what does he think of all of this?

Uh, well. You don't really know my Dad...

Oh, I do, a little. He goes to my gym.

Oh, that's funny. Urn...

Well, he said I should go to law school.

Oh, no... Yeah.

So I'm probably gonna do that.

Oh, Jason...

I can't write.

Honestly, it makes me physically ill.

And besides, I have to do something, and law school's something.

You can make a left at the next block.

Jason: right here.

Home sweet home. Thank you. Mmm-hmm.

I am so sorry.

Oh, it's fine. Don't worry about it.

Jason, if I can do anything to help, you know...

I'd love to read your play at least.

Yeah, sure.

Uh, I could drop it by school.

All right. Yeah?

Okay. Bye, Ms. Sinclair. Thank you.

Bye.

[GIGGLES] thanks.

Linda: it was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

It was time to hand in your quizzes.

[ALL GROANING]

So now that I know that you've all finished a tale of two cities, let's talk about Sydney carton's death.

Now why would he switch places with a man condemned to the guillotine?

Why does he sacrifice himself?

Fallon.

I think it's really cool, you know.

'Cause he does it for lucie.

Even though she married another guy, he still loves her so much that he'll die to save her husband.

It's... It's totally unselfish.

Very nice. Yes?

Ms. Sinclair? Have you ever written anything?

Like a novel or a play or something?

No. No, I'm not a writer.

I'm a reader. And we need plenty of those.

I think it is only a true artist who can give voice to the human experience.

Yes, will.

I'm sorry, but if dickens was such an artist, couldn't he come up with an ending where this guy doesn't have to kill himself?

I think you're missing the point.

Sydney carton's death is, as Fallon said, a selfless act.

The only satisfaction he receives is knowing that he dies for a noble cause.

Now this is something that people understood in dickens time.

Today we've lost touch with classical virtues, like honor, selfless action, the purity of a love that asks for no reward...

Oh! Hi!

Oh, my goodness. Sorry to interrupt.

No, no, no. Come on in. Jason: no, no, no...

Everyone's gonna be so excited to meet you.

No, no, no. Please, please. No.

Class, I have a surprise for you.

This is Jason Sherwood. He's a former student, and a graduate of the dramatic writing program at nyu.

And I'm sure many of you remember reading his wonderful story, the hidden court.

All: oh. [INDISTINCT TALKING]

Sorry about that. [CHUCKLES]

Urn, I just came to drop this off...

Oh, that's terrific. Thank you so much.

You're welcome to join us. Oh, no, I'm okay.

I'm just gonna go.

You guys should feel very lucky to have Ms. Sinclair as a teacher.

I had many genius writing teachers at nyu, and she's up there with the best.

Thank you. [LAUGHS] [ALL LAUGH]

Bye. Goodbye.

Okay, I admit it. I bribed him to say that.

[ALL LAUGH]

All right, noble sacrifice.

[PANTING]

Dr. Sherwood! Yeah.

I saw your son today.

Uh, I'm Linda Sinclair.

I was Jason's English teacher... Yeah, I know who you are.

Yeah, Jason's back home.

He told me all about New York. It's very sad.

Well...

You know, I think he just reached a point where he felt like he had to stop and take stock of things. It's very normal.

But it would be such a shame for him to give up his writing.

Because he's so very talented.

Yeah. But that's a very, very tough racket, you know.

Not everyone's cut out for it.

I'm excited to read his play.

He showed you his play? Yes.

I'm very excited to read it.

I hope you like it. Well, I'm sure I will.

Did you like it'?

I can't exactly say it was my thing.

Nice to see you, Mrs... Miss.

Miss Sinclair.

Ms. Sinclair.

Right.

[PHONE RINGING]

Hello? Man: I'm calling from the...

No, thank you. And please take me off your list.

This will only take a second. Thank you very much.

Ma'am? Ma'am?

[JASON READING]


[SOBS]

[SNIFFLES]

[LINE RINGING]

Jason: yo?

Jason? It's Linda Sinclair. Did I wake you?

What? No. No, no, no, no. Hi.

Hi.

How are you? What's up?

Well, I read the play.

You did?

And it's fantastic!

[STUTTERS] you like it?

Ilovedifl.

It's remarkable!

I've been crying for the last half hour.

You have? [CHUCKLES]

Are you kidding? With that ending?

I mean how can you even think about law school, you belong in New York.

That's so nice of you to say.

No, no.

I'm not being nice. I'm being honest.

And I can't bear the thought that no one's gonna get to see this.

[SIGHS]

Yeah, me too. I mean, that's just the way it is though.

You know, uh, it's fine, you know...

I'll be a lawyer. [CHUCKLES]

I just... I have to let it go.

But what if there were a way to get it produced.

Right now.

Would you be interested in that?

I mean, honestly, there isn't...

Because... do you remember Carl Kapinas?

Mr. ka-penis, the drama teacher?

Jason, please, he's a friend.

Sorry. Kapinas.

Well, he's always complaining about having to direct the same show year after year and I wanna give him the chrysalis.

Jason: yeah, well, I'm...

I'm not sure really how I feel about that exactly.

Linda: because if he flips for it, like I know he will...

There's a very real chance that he could mount a production of it.

Jason: you mean at the high school? Linda: mmm-hmm.

[SIGHS] God damn it.

Jason: with him directing?

Linda: that's right.

Okay, I know that, you know, Carl's a character.

He can come on a little strong, you know... But say what you will, the man understands drama.

Linda, are you in there?

Lin... sorry.

Linda'? Linda: Carl.

Can you wait a minute?

I can't wait. I've just had the most transcendent experience!

Did you hear me? Yeah, I heard you. I heard you.

Hurry! Okay_

[TOILET FLUSHES]

Oh, Linda... Linda...

Oh, you liked it? Liked it?

It's my story.

The boy wrote it for me.

I know! I felt exactly the same way!

Naturally. The tale is archetypal, and thus universal in it's appeal. Mmm-hmm.

Of course. Oh, but it's so extraordinary.

I feel I've been transformed...

Wait... we should use that for the posters.

"The chrysalis will transform you." Period. "Forever."

Exclamation point.

Linda, I'll do such fantastic things with it.

I see it all so clearly up here.

Ah, for the design, I'm picturing a sort of Neo-edwardian-German expressionist gestalt.

But colorful and fun.

And I've already cast it.

Halle Anderson would make an ideal lead. Oh, yes.

And Sheila Nussbaum as the Irish stepmother.

Oh! She excels at dialect.

The timing couldn't be better.

I've harvested a bountiful and talented crop of actors this year!

Do you really think we can do it?

Oh, we can. And we must.

Don't you see?

I've become an artistic zombie, walking lifelessly through the same old productions year after year after year.

I'm supposed to direct the importance of being earnest this semester for the fifth time.

Try breathing life into that antiquated sitcom.

And how can I, after reading this play?

This is O'Neill meets kafka meets Spielberg and then they all walk into a bar.

It's fresh! It's new! It's...

It's not gonna happen, people.

[SIGHS] and why is that, Phil?

Because this is not a high school play, Carl!

What do you know about what is and isn't a high school play?

I've done 38 productions.

Thirty-eight over 19 years!

Ibefieve I'm the authority here.

No one is questioning your authority. Oh, yeah.

All Phil is saying... Phil would be happy if we put on our town twice a year.

Sue me, I like our town. I think it's wholesome. [SQUEALS]

Everybody likes it. [STUTTERS] I... Just for me...

I thought, "oh..."

I thought we were doing the importance of being earnest as the play.

Trudie, if I have to spend another two months making trays of cucumber sandwiches, I will curl into a fetal position and die.

Yeah, this is gonna be another one of your debacles, like that time you did Oklahoma with those idiotic masks.

It was in the traditional Japanese Noh style, for your information. Oh.

And Lydia plotke at the times leader called it "profoundly imaginative."

Yeah, well, I thought it profoundly stank.

[SCOFFS] this from a man who thinks American buffalo is about an American buffalo.

That's what it's called!

Well, in the words of David mamet, "fuck you!"

Hey, ya, pal! [SCREAMS]

Now time out!

Now just dial it down a notch.

I'm sorry.

Accepted.

Now as for this play, the chrysalis.

You know, I am impressed by what this alumnus has written, but I have to wonder...

You know, [CLEARS THROAT] is it appropriate for a high school audience?

Yes. Right.

What will the parents think? Phil: exactly.

Can we clear it before the board?

I'm sorry, what's the actual issue here?

[STAMMERS]

Hello? Have you read the thing?

It's got language, it's got violence...

Obviously we'd tone all of that down.

That goes without saying.

No, no... We can talk about it...

Not to mention the cost, with all these crazy special effects, and, you know, costumes.

Plus that girl who turns herself into a bug-monster...

What is that? This is not Broadway.

I'm painfully aware of that.

We are dealing with a limited budget.

But this is about more than money.

This is about the kids.

Think about of how thrilled they'll be to perform the work of a playwright who used to be one of them.

You want to sell the board? You want to sell the parents?

Then sell them on Jason Sherwood, a former Kingston high school student who came back to inspire the next generation.

It's a great story, and I think I know a little something about great stories.

We'll double normal ticket sales.

You'll see the people of Kingston are hungry for something new.

Linda: and if it does come down to money, I'll tell you this.

If we go one penny over budget, I'll pay for it myself.

Out of my own pocket.

That's how much I believe in this play.

Phil, what do you think?

All right. Okay. Hold on now.

We haven't talked about the ending.

What about the ending?

[SQUEALS] oh, it's dark.

"Dark"? Trudie, it's a teenage girl who hangs herself and then her Dad blows his freakin' brains out!

You can't do that on a high school stage!

But everything hinges on the ending!

It's poetry. Lfslbsenl.

It's a lawsuit waiting to happen!

The ending would have to change. [SCOFFS]

All right.

We'll cut the ending. What?

What? We'll cut it.

Leave it ambiguous.

Yes. Yes, it could heighten the mystery.

Leave it open to interpretation.

I like it.

Would Jason agree to that?

I'm sure he understands, as we all do, that one must be flexible in the name of theater.

I want it in writing.

Oh! God, I'll have to start the auditions by Friday, assemble my crew...

Carl. Carl! So much to do, so little time.

But when the inspiration is there, it hardly seems like work.

Carl! We can't cut the ending, we just can't.

It's gonna ruin the play, it'll kill it!

[SHUSHES] relax. No! I won't relax.

I mean... how am I supposed to explain this to Jason?

Very simply. Don't.

Because we're not going to cut it. We're not'?

No, I just said that to get the go-ahead from der fuhrer and his wife.

That's how it works in show business.

Itdoes? Keep it moving at all costs.

Believe me, when the entire audience is bawling on opening night, even that sub-cretin Phil will give it his blessing.

Really? Really.

I give you my word.

It's a game, Linda.

And I know how to play it.

[CAR ENGINE STARTS]

Hi. Sorry, I'm late.

Oh, my goodness. You must be freezing! Oh, I'm fine.

Let's get you some coffee to warm up. Okay?

Oh, no. I don't want coffee. I have an ulcer.

Oh, some herbal tea, then. No, no, no. That's fine.

I don't... I don't really want anything.

How long have you had an ulcer?

Urn, since, uh... since New York, actually.

Since this play.

Urn, speaking of which...

Ah, yes! The play! The play's the thing.

Urn... all right. Here's the contract.

Well, it's not really a contract, it's more like an informal agreement that Phil Pelaski drew up.

Urn... all it says is that you grant the high school the right to mount a production of your play.

I just need your signature right here, and then we're good to go.

[CHUCKLES]

[SIGHS] everything okay?

Urn...

I don't want to be difficult, um...

And I know you're only trying to help, but this is not exactly a high school play that I've written...

Well, I understand that.

And as much as I want it produced, believe me, I do, I would just rather it be not made at all, than be made badly.

Well, Carl and I feel exactly the same way.

[STUTTERS] I...

I just don't think I can do it.

[EXHALES DEEPLY]

Do you want your father to win?

What?

I'm not stupid. I read the play.

I know where this came from.

Your father doesn't understand you, fine.

He doesn't support you, fine...

He'd say he does... Well, financially, yes.

Paying for law school. He'll encourage you, but only if you do what he wants you to do.

Don't give in to him, Jason! Prove him wrong.

Well, what if he's not wrong?

You know, you've just lost confidence, that's all.

Yeah. That can happen.

That can happen to any artist. But if you do this...

You're gonna get it back. I promise you.

[EXHALES DEEPLY]

I feel like I'm signing my soul away. [CHUCKLES]

Ja, herr faust!

It's all mine. [CHUCKLES]

Sheila Nussbaum will be playing the role of Margaret, the cruel Irish stepmother.

Sheila's been working on her Irish, haven't you, Sheila?

[IN IRISH ACCENT] I'll meet ya at the pub on grafton street, ya bloody eejit!

[CARL LAUGHING]

Will traynor will play Dr. Tim sherman, the cold, alcoholic father.

Yo.

Fallon Hughes will play our heroine's deceased mother, ariadne, who haunts our tale as the spectral moth queen.

And last, but certainly not least, Halle Anderson will be miss Jane sherman, our sensitive, misunderstood ingenue.

Hi.

And now, Mr. Sherwood, may I say on behalf of the entire Kingston high theater department it is an honor to have you with us.

And I know we have questions, questions, questions.

So, who wants to begin?

Carl: Halle.

Your play really captures what it feels like to be a teenage girl, not knowing who you are, and wondering if anyone gets you.

And I want to be as real as I can in my performance, so it would really help me to know where Jane came from.

What inspired you?

You know, well...

Everything I've written, everything my characters experience, is authentic.

Urn...

Yep! It all happened to me in my life.

It's all something I've lived through at some point.

It's a very, very personal story.

Carl: anyone else have questions? Yeah.

Urn, on page 52, when Tim is having that big fight with Jane?

Do you really think it's necessary for him to hit her?

I mean, isn't the whole point that he's too repressed to show any emotion?

It just seems kind of...

Kind of what?

Well, I don't know.

Trite. Oh, really, will...

Is that necessary?

Uh, yeah... I'm sorry.

Carl: oh, dear lord. girl: will?

Will, what is wrong with you?

What'd I do?

Do you know how lucky you are, to workshop with the actual playwright?

Jason is our honored guest.

And if you can't treat him with the respect he deserves, then maybe we can find someone else to star in his play.

Is that what you'd like?

No. Linda: no. I didn't think so.

Did you take your ritalin today?

Forget it. I think this was a very big mistake.

I shouldn't have even... I'm so sorry...

I am not going let some high school smartass tell me that my work is trite!

Of course not. You know what, he's testing boundaries.

I deal with this stuff every day.

You have to, it's your job.

I don't have to be doing this! No, you don't.

You don't have to do any of this.

We so appreciate you being here, and the kids are so excited, and they love your play.

No, they don't. Yes, they do. They love it.

And they'd be crushed if you pulled out now.

Not what's-his-name. Mr. trite. Will? What...

He's intimidated by you. Oh, come on.

He's a kid!

He's just an insecure kid in Kingston, Pennsylvania.

And you're a New York playwright.

Are you really going to let him get to you?

I think you're stronger than that.

And, Jason, your work is brilliant.

Thank you. I'm sorry if I'm overreacting a little bit, I don't really know how to react to criticism. No, no. Do not.

It's easy to feel discouraged, but you shouldn't be.

Not with something like that.

[ALL TALKING INDISTINCTLY]

We're back. Good.

Uh, let's all rejoin the circle, shall we?

I apologize for that. No, no, no...

It's will, right?

Yeah. Look, man, I'm sorry about what I said.

No, don't be sorry. I am...

I'm glad you brought it up.

You're right. Tim is repressed.

He's spent his whole life bottling up everything he feels.

That's why he hates Jane so much.

Because she represents everything he isn't.

She is wide open, she actually feels things, she can't hold back.

So when he hits her, it's like all the rage he's been suppressing over the years finally boils over, and when it happens, if it plays the way it should, it will not be trite.

Does that answer your question?

Urn... yeah.

Thanks.

Yeah.

Any other comments?

Wonderful. Let's move on.

As many of you know, I too was once a budding young actor.

Shocking, I know. [STUDENTS LAUGHING]

The year was 1983.

I was living in a fifth floor walk-up on Avenue c, waiting for my big break.

And then one day I was called in to audition for that living God of theater himself, Mr. Stephen sondheim.

[STUDENTS MURMURING]

And though I wasn't ultimately cast, I did receive a blessing from the great man himself, who took me aside and said three little words that changed my life.

"Keep at it."

Well, I did keep at it, and that's how I found my way here, to Kingston, and to all of you.

And now, as we embark on that...

Tough but oh-so-rewarding road ahead, I would like to honor Mr. sondheim with a humble blessing of my own...

And if our young documentarian would care to commence filming...

[CARL CLEARS THROAT]

[CAMERA BEEPS] [Exhales deeply] okay, hit it, George.

[FAST PIANO MUSIC PLAYING]

I” bit by bit, putting it together I piece by piece, the only way to make a work of art I every moment makes a contribution I every little detail plays a part.

"I piece by piece... j"

[IN IRISH ACCENT] I hate you worse than your bleedin' da!

[ALL TALKING INDISTINCTLY]

[IN IRISH ACCENT] shut your mouth, you stupid girl!

I hate you worse than your bleedin' da!

Let me hear it one more time.

Shut your mouth, you stupid girl!

I hate you worse than your bleedin' da!

[TALKS INDISTINCTLY]

All the trees.

The trees I like.

Carl: watch, watch. If a tree falls in a hallway...

[INDISTINCT]

The entire world.

[ALL LAUGHING]

[IN IRISH ACCENT] shut your mouth, you stupid girl!

I hate you worse than your bleedin' da!

Carl, could I have a word?

Mmm-hmm.

Urn...

It seems to me... and Carl... Jason, uh, correct me if I'm wrong that Margaret might be a tad more menacing if she were just a tiniest bit more subdued.

Yes. Thank you.

You mean like Amanda in the glass menagerie?

Dominating her children, but with a deceptive softness.

The velvet glove and the iron grip.

Exactly.

Hmm... interesting.

Let's try it.

Sheila, I have an idea.

That's a good note.

Shut your mouth, you stupid girl.

I hate you worse than your bleedin' da!

Jason!

Oh, shit.

I don't believe this.

I need to talk to you outside. Let's go.

Excuse me, but you can't just barge in here like this.

We are rehearsing.

Excuse me, I'm gonna talk to my son. Now!

Let's go! Uh, no. I don't think you understand...

Ms. Sinclair, it's fine.

Just go on without me, please.

Go on without me, guys.

I'll be right back.

Girl: is he gonna be okay?

Carl: perhaps not.

But all great art comes from pain.

Remember that.

[INDISTINCT]

Making such a crazy scene right now!

What is going on here? [STUTTERS]

This is really none of your business.

This is my school. And when I see someone being manhandled, it is my business. Now wait a second...

No, no. You wait a second!

For two weeks, your son's worked his fingers to the bone, cHallenging himself in ways that any parent would be proud of.

And you finally show up, and what do you do...

Do you show any appreciation?

No! You drag him from rehearsal.

You accost him!

Ms. Sinclair. With all due respect, you have no idea what's going on here.

On the contrary. I know exactly what's going on.

What... what are you talking about? What is she talking about?

I've dealt with men like him before, the Alpha male.

You may fool most people, but you don't fool me.

You know what, I'm not gonna listen to this, okay?

I don't wanna hear this. I've got to be at the hospital.

No, you do need to hear this! Oh, all right then, go. Go!

But know this, you cannot stop this play!

Jason will have the life he deserves, as an artist!

Fine!

Oh. Oh, Jason... It's my ulcer.

It's totally fine. Here.

All right. Okay.

Let's get back inside, all right?

Let's get you inside.

Oh, no. Thank you.

Come on in. I think I have something for you.

Oh, where is it, where is it?

I forgot my pills at home. Okay.

Oh... oh, I found it.

Okay. Oh.

This is still okay.

Okay.

[GROANS]

It'll be gone in like 1o minutes.

Okay. Here you go.

Oh...

[GROANS]

Thank you.

I'm just glad I had that bottle.

No, I mean thank you for what you did outside.

For standing up to him like that.

Well, you know what?

He's a bully, and someone needs to tell him that he's wrong.

Yeah.

Well, he's been doing that ever since my mother...

[EXHALES]

[SOBBING]

Jason“.

I'm so sorry.

I am so, so sorry.

It's okay.

He's an asshole.

I know. I know.

I know.

[SNIFFLES]

[SHUSHES]

Mmm.


[LINDA MOANING]

[BOTH MOANING]

Oops, sorry.

Okay.

I'm going to, uh, head home now.

Okay.

And we'll talk a little later. Mmm-hmm.

Narrator: what had she done?

What had she done?

Of course these things do happen.

The pages of literature were filled with such affairs.

It was only natural that feelings would arise and...

Spill over.

Surely no one would judge her for such a minor indiscretion.

[TALKING INDISTINCTLY]

Linda, dear.

I have a somewhat delicate matter to discuss with you.

What? What is it?

Jason and I were talking and...

We agree that the backdrop in the moth queen's lair, the Scarlet organza has more oomph than the voile, but it puts us a tiny bit over budget.

I hate to ask but you did say...

How much?

We shall hang a plaque in your honor.

Don't worry about it, Carl, it's fine.

I feel like if I had a cane, I'd look more regal.

Hey, Ms. Sinclair. Hello, will.

Hey, did you speak to Kapinas about the backdrop?

Yes! Yes, I spoke with Carl.

May I have a private word with you?

Yes. Sure.

Shall we? Please excuse us, will.

Okay.

We can, uh, talk in here. Sure.

Now, we're both adults.

And while it is possible for people of different ages to have a meaningful relationship...

Sure. I think...

It is best that what happened, uh, does not happen again.

Not that we did anything wrong. No. Not at all.

Because of the play... The, um...

We must be professional.

The play requires complete commitment with no distractions and no complications.

Absolutely. 100%.

And as a playwright, you need to keep a clear head from now on in.

Right. Because the play's the thing.

Yes! The play is the thing.

The play's the thing. Yes!

I'm glad you're in agreement.

So we're still friends?

Oh, Jason, of course. No. Of course we're friends.

I was just worried for a second. No, no, no.

You don't need to be worried.

You have more important things to worry about, like whether or not will nails that funeral speech in act two.

Right. Because he always loses focus in the middle. He does.

Yes, he does, so you should get out there and, um...

And work on that, so... yeah.

Well, I might need your help.

Well, all right then, um...

You will have it.

Thank you. Let's do it!

Urn, well, no. Let's, uh, we'll go out, and... yeah.

[BEEPS] excuse me.

Hi.

Just so you know...

Just for the record I did not go to the school because of the play.

I was there because Jason lied to me.

Dr. Sherwood, I'm not interested. No, no, no.

Just so you know... On Tuesdays and Thursdays, he's supposed to be taking lsat prep test up in Scranton.

He told me that these rehearsals would in no way interfere with that, and now I find out not only he's been skipping the classes altogether, but he lied to me. Oh, come on!

You expect me to believe this? Oh, no.

Yeah, I do. Look. Look.

He sent this to me an hour before I saw you yesterday.

"Hi, Dad. On my way to lsat prep class."

"Be back later tonight."

You see that, right?

Well, if he lied, it's because he feels he has no choice.

How can he trust you? You are crushing his spirit.

How am I crushing his spirit?

Forcing Jason to go to law school is like...

Like using a Shakespeare folio for toilet paper.

"Forcing him!" I've never forced Jason to do anything.

Going to law school was entirely his idea.

I'm sure you're begging him not to go.

This is unbelievable. Yes, it is.

You got me all figured out, right.

There's nothing I can say that won't convince you I'm not a complete asshole?

You know what you could do?

You could start by giving Jason the respect and the freedom that he deserves.

Maybe I should stop talking to him altogether?

Would that work for you? That might be an improvement, yeah.

Okay, you obviously don't have any kids!

Excuse me! Excuse me!

I have had hundreds of kids, and I have had a lot of experience...

Yeah, yeah, of course. My mistake.

Hey, I'm doing the best that I can with Jason.

Perhaps your best isn't good enough.

Is that what you tell your students?

Oh, there is no comparison! Do you know what'?

You...

You are an asshole!

Huh?

[WHISPERS] asshole.

I'm a rascal? I said...

[MOUTHING]

[LINE RINGING] Jason: hello.

It's Linda. Do you have a minute?

Hey, Linda.

I just ran into your father and...

Girl: is that Ms. Sinclair? [CHUCKLES]

Hi, Ms. Sinclair!

Who's that? Jason: wait, look, urn...

Halle's over. Urn, we're running lines.

Over? Are...

Are you still at school?

Uh, no, my place. [HALLE GIGGLING]

Uh, it just seemed easier.

Uh, is everything okay?

Oh. Everything's fine.

I'm sorry to interrupt.

I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Uh, okay.

Uh, see you tomorrow.

Halle: bye, Ms. Sinclair! Bye.

Jason: uh, shall we pick it up where we left off'?

[DISCONNECTS PHONE]

So with tax and shipping, it comes to $433.52 cents.

That includes the smoke machine and the slightly more expensive strobe light.

Oh, Carl, is all this really necessary?

Well, it is if you want the magic of the play to work.

But if you're content to see the chrysalis undermined by a cheap strobe expeflence, I'll run out and buy two flashlights and a lazy Susan.

Oh, calm down, I was only asking.

[SIGHS] sorry_

[HALLE GIGGLING]

[JASON TALKING INDISTINCTLY]

Carl: Halle's doing spectacularly well, don't you think?

Oh. Bless you.

[SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY] stop. [GIGGLES]

I can't believe Mr. Adams gave us that quiz!

Halle...

May I speak with you a moment, please?

Take a seat.

Well, first of all, I want to tell you what a fantastic job you're doing as Jane.

Oh! Thanks. I've been working my butt off, but I love it.

I know.

That's why we're going to have this talk.

I know how important this play is to you, and I wouldn't want anything to jeopardize that.

Whoa, wait. Am I in trouble?

No, no, no, no. Everything's fine.

It's just, um...

Well, um...

It's about Jason.

Some of us have noticed, uh, that your behavior with him lately has been a little inappropriate.

I haven't done anything.

I know, but appearances are important.

And people tend to make assumptions.

Well, they shouldn't!

I know, I know. But...

They do.

[SIGHS]

Now, I understand that you want to pursue acting as a career. Is that true?

May I offer you some advice?

As you go out on auditions, you'll be meeting a lot of men, powerful men, who may be interested in you for reasons other than your talent.

Now you're a very attractive young woman, and you may be tempted to take advantage of that.

In the short term, that may work.

But in the long term, people might lose respect for you.

And they may find you a little, um, trashy.

I know I sound harsh, but it's only because I care about you, and I want you to earn the respect that you deserve as a woman, not because of your body, but because of your mind.

And that is why you need to stay away from Jason.

Am I making any sense?

It just seems really unfair.

Guys can get away with anything, but girls can't.

I know. It is unfair.

But, unfortunately, that's the world in which we live.

I wish it weren't.

Oh, so do I.

But I have learned from experience that wishing doesn't always make it so.

Changing the world is hard work, but we can do it.

We women just have to stick together, that's all.

[SCHOOL BELL RINGING]

I'm so glad we had this conversation.

Go ahead to lunch, go on. And I'll see you at rehearsal.

Yeah.

See ya. Okay.

[SIGHS]

Carl: and at $800, the fake fireplace is a real bargain.

Don't play with that, fellas.

Boy: sorry.

Oh, Linda, what can I say.

You are like the Peggy guggenheim of high school theater.

But prettier.

[GAS PS]

Oh!

Oh! Ah! I don't believe this.

Linda. Just relax.

She is a student, Jason. Linda, Linda just hang on...

What a scummy, sleazy thing to do!

I know. And you!

I expected better from you.

I'm sorry. No. It's too late.

This is going on your permanent record.

Linda, just relax...

No. You, you can forget about that letter of recommendation.

What! You can't do that!

You've left me no choice.

Linda.

Linda! Oh my God. My parents are going to kill me!

No, no, no. It's fine. [DOOR SHUTS]

Just sit down. Relax, okay. No, they are!

I'm going to go take care of it... Linda!

What? [DOOR OPENS]

Hey, Linda.

Can we talk about this, please?

No. I don't need to talk about anything.

I know what I saw.

But we didn't do anything! Oh, how dare you.

I catch you fooling around with a student, you have the audacity to deny it?

She started it. I didn't start it. [LAUGHS]

That is so chivalrous of you.

You know, you're a role model to these kids.

They look up to you!

To take advantage like that, that is...

Unconscionable!

I'm sorry.

You know, I thought you were serious about this play.

I thought you were ready to be a professional, but apparently not.

Because this was an amateur move, Jason.

Amateur!

This is bullshit.

Excuse me?

You're jealous!

[LAUGHS SARCASTICALLY]

As if I'd be jealous of some dirty little make out session in the boys dressing room.

No, you'd rather have a quick fuck in the classroom with one of your old students! Shh. Stop it!

Is that what you want? You want me to bend you over your desk right now?

You are awful! God knows you need it...

You are awful!

Shit.

Jason: hit me with a piece of fucking prop...

[TIRES SQUEAL]

[BEEPS]

[BEEPING]

[BREATHING DEEPLY] [PHONE RINGING]

Hello?

Man: ma'am, I know you like turtles...

Take me off your goddamn list, and never call me again!

[GRUNTS]

[Students talking indistinctly]

[WHISPERS]

[MUMBLING]

[SCHOOL BELL RINGS]

Fallon Hughes. Here.

Ed mckee. Ho.

[ALL LAUGHING]

Benjamin meyer.

Ho! [ALL LAUGHING]

What is the matter with you people?

Linda: settle down.

Or you're looking at detention! Is that clear?

[SILENCE]

[Man talking indistinctly over pa]


And 'cause the theme this year is "winter dreamz,"

I thought we could have giant beds and snowmen in pj's...

No, no, that is a horrible idea.

I need to talk. Linda!

Okay, joni, let's... let's talk about it tomorrow.

But this is "winter dreamz."

Out.

[WHISPERS] something terrible has happened...

I'll say.

You can't go three feet in this school without hearing about you and Shakespeare doing it in the classroom!

Because Halle Anderson is spreading vicious rumors about me, and I just caught her defacing my classroom door with obscenities!

Why would Halle do that?

Why?

Because yesterday, I caught her messing around with Jason Sherwood in the boys dressing room!

That's why!

Ow! Ow... Oh, God. Oh, God...

You should have told us.

I gave her a warning.

I just... I thought that would be enough.

I didn't expect all this to happen.

Tydical.

You know, good teacher let's a student off easy, she turns around and stabs her in the back.

And him, messing around with one of our kids, I'll knock his block off!

Where... where is Halle now? In rehearsal?

[STUTTERING] yes, but I don't think...

Do we really have to do this now? In front of everyone?

I thought you'd just pull her into your office.

No. We've got to clean this mess up before it gets any worse.

These types of rumors can do real damage to a teacher's reputation.

Even one as sterling as yours. But I'd really rather not...

Damn it, Linda. These punks took advantage of you!

Now you got to look them in the eye and tell them you're not going to roll over for their b.S.

You!

And you! Get over here, right now.

You too, Carl. You should hear this.

What's the meaning of this, Phil? We're trying to rehearse.

Yep. Well, rehearsal's gonna wait.

It seems Romeo and Juliet here have been fooling around a little bit after play practice, huh.

What on earth are you talking about?

And to top it all off, sweet little Juliet has been spreading some pretty nasty lies about one of our best teachers.

They're not lies!

She's just jealous, because he's with me now!

So you admit it? Oh, Christ.

Oh, Halle, really? It's true!

She did him in her room. Everyone knows!

Phil: okay, now you listen.

You are digging a very big hole for yourself, right now.

Where are you going, Halle? You get back here, miss!

Halle...

Hey, what's with all the shouting?

Oh. Traynor, what the hell is that?

Oh, good lord.

It's for my big suicide at the end.

[IMITATING GUNSHOT]

Phil: no, sir, it is not!

Hey, we had an agreement!

What? I'm sorry... What agreement?

Ah, I can explain.

Don't play dumb, Romeo. Now, you know damn well we had to cut that ending!

What?

Jason: what? What? [STUTTERS]

I'm a little confused.

Why are you even rehearsing this ending?

You trying to pull one over on me, Carl? Huh?

You want to get yourself fired?

You have it all wrong, Phil, as usual.

This is merely an experiment.

Yes. I wanted the actors to experience the full darkness of Jason's play.

But it was never my intention to perform the ending.

After all, we did agree to cut it.

Carl, what the hell? You never said I had to cut the ending!

You never said that.

But it wasn't my place to tell you.

It was my understanding that Linda cleared it with you when you signed the contract. [WHISPERS] Carl. No.

You knew? Carl. No.

You knew? No. No...

You did read the contract, didn't you?

She forced me to sign it, without actually reading it.

You never told me I'd have to cut the ending, because you knew I would never agree to it!

No, no, no... Linda, is this true?

No...

No... Is it true?

Is that true?

Yes, but I can explain...

Because it's complicated...

Linda: as if I'd be jealous of some dirty little make out session in the boys dressing room.

Jason: no, you'd rather have a quick fuck in the classroom with one of your old students. Linda: shh. Stop it!

Is that what you want? You want me to bend you over your desk?

God knows you need it... Linda: you're awful! You're awful!

Oh, my... Wow...

Oops.

Told you.

She's a lying old whore.

She's, uh... where... Linda, you're fired. Oh.

Phil: you better run. You hear me!

You are fired, lady!

Yeah, who's trashy now?

Hey, Linda! Linda!

Leave me alone! Don't run away from me.

How could you lie to me like that?

I trusted you.

And you sat there and you lied to my face!

Get away, get away! Oh! Fuck! No!

Jason: fuck! Fuck! Fuck! No!

[TIRES SQUEAL]

Jason: not again!

Fuck! I fucking hate this school.

[SOBBING]

[GROANING]

[TIRES SQUEAL]

[GROANING]

[SCREAMING] [AIR HISSING]

[AMBULANCE SIREN WAILING]

[MONITOR BEEPING]

[SNIFFLES]

Ma'am, you've been in an accident, okay. You're in the hospital.

Oh, God...

No, you're going to be just fine.

No, I won't.

Yes, you will. I promise.

Oh. Hi, Dr. Sherwood.

Linda: [WHISPERS] no, no, not him. Someone else.

Get me someone else, please.

Honey, there's no one else unless you want to wait a few hours.

I'll wait. I can wait. Please...

Urn, I...

Can you, uh, excuse us, nurse?

Oh, sure.

Um, I think she's still in shock.

Yeah.

Don't worry, honey, you're in good hands.

This is awkward.

It says here you were in a car accident after you rubbed pepper spray into your eyes?

Wow...

Okay.

Have you any dizziness?

No. No?

Any nausea? No.

Neck pain? Yes.

Where?

Up here? Mmm-hmm.

Does that hurt?

Yeah...

How severe, as if on a scale of one to 10?

I don't know. Three? Five?

What does that question even mean?

I don't know, it's something we have to ask in the hospital.

All right, let's take a look at this.

Okay.

It's going to sting.

[GROANING]

Well, that's not so bad.

I'll have a nurse clean this up.

You're actually a very lucky woman.

I don't think you're going to need stitches.

[SOBS]

Okay.

Here you are, here...

It's good to get it out like that.

Could you please leave'?

Listen, you've been through a very physical trauma.

It's perfectly normal to have...

No, please. Please...

Honestly, emotional outbursts like this are very common.

Stop it. Stop being so nice to me.

You hate me. I know you hate me.

I don't hate you. Ms. Sinclair, listen...

Hey.

I know we've had our differences, I know that.

But you know, I...

Honestly, I appreciate everything that you have done for Jason.

Oh, God.

And I can tell you right now, you mean the world to him.

[CONTINUES SOBBING]

What? What am I saying?

[STUTTERS] I...

[STUTTERS HYSTERICALLY]

Had sex with your son.

What?

You heard me.

How long... [CLEARS THROAT]

How long has this been going on?

Is it a relationship? No! It was one time...

When did this happen?

Can we be done now?

No. No, we can't be done.

We're not done until...

What... What's wrong with you?

[MUMBLES]

What, is this what you do?

You go around sleeping with your old students?

I don't want to talk about it.

You're the one who brought it up.

No, don't you have something important to do?

Don't you have a life to save or something?

I'm going to have someone take you to orthopedics.

Ma'am, your card was denied.

[BREATHING DEEPLY] mmm-hmm.

Okay, try this one.

Okay.

Can someone call me a cab?

Jason, okay, calm down. Jason, I understand. No.

Turn around. Take me back. Take me back inside.

What? What? Take me back.

[GROANING]

Lady! I'm sorry. Are you okay?

Let me call you back. Okay? I'm fine. I'm fine.

It's okay. I'm fine. Mike. Mike.

I'll take her, it's fine. I'll wait with her.

No, no, no. I'm going to wait inside.

No, no. I need to talk to you.

Take the chair inside, please.

[COUGHS]

How's your neck?

Just say what you need to say and leave me alone.

Is it true? Did you lie to Jason about the play?

Yes. Yes, I did.

I don't believe it.

What kind of teacher are you?

I mean, you come at me with this holier than thou bullshit, and this is what you do'? What's wrong with you?

Fine, fine. I get it. I'm horrible, I'm a horrible person. Now would you leave?

No. Not until you tell me what you're going to do about this.

You know, I've been fired. Isn't that enough?

What about the play? Oh, who cares about the play.

I do! I care about the play. I care about my son.

Yeah! Now you care. Fine. Now that everything's ruined.

What?

This is all your fault. I wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for you.

I don't know where you possibly get that.

He never would have written the play if you hadn't been such an abusive, alcoholic jerk.

Who took out all your anger on your son after your wife died.

Oh, my God.

Is that what this is about?

You believe all that? Don't try to deny it.

No, no, no. I don't drink, for your information. [SCOFFS]

I haven't had a drink since medical school.

Jason's Mom isn't dead.

We're divorced.

She lives up in teaneck. She's remarried.

He... he said it was based on his life.

Oh, well, jeez, if Jason said it then it must be true, right?

God knows there's never been a writer that just made stuff up.

All right, there are. Stop it.

You think he turns into a monster as well?

Okay. I get it. Do you?

Because for an advanced English teacher you seem awfully naive to me.

Or is your head so full of, of these stories you don't know the difference between fact and fiction.

[HORN HONKS] is that why you slept with him?

Huh?

Thought he was lord Byron or something?

You know what? You don't know me.

You don't know anything about me.

Oh, shoe's on the other foot.

Marilyn Avenue.

Hey, you can't run away from this.

Yes, I can.

[SIGHS]

[PHONE RINGING]

[ON ANSWERING MACHINE] hi, it's Linda. Leave a message.

[ANSWERING MACHINE BEEPS] [TV PLAYING]

[ON PHONE] Linda, it's Carl.

I know I behaved abominably, you have every right to be mad, but please call me.

It's about the play.

[ON ANSWERING MACHINE] hi, it's Linda. Leave a message.

[ANSWERING MACHINE BEEPS]

Carl: Linda, call me, I beg of you.

I swear I'll never deceive you again.

I'll be entirely honest from now on.

[STUTTERS] I'll...

I'll even tell you my deepest, darkest secret.

Something I've never told anyone.

My audition for sondheim...

[SIGHS]

I lied.

I... I did have an audition, but...

As soon as I walked in and saw him sitting there, looking at me with those dark genius eyes, I couldn't breathe.

I thought I was going to die.

The last thing I remember before I blacked out was the look of utter confusion on sondheim's face.

And the sound of the stage manager saying, "I think his name is ka-penis."

It was the worst experience of my life.

Carl: so there it is.

I stand naked before you.

Please come back. Help me out.

[ANSWERING MACHINE BEEPS]

Carl: [GASPING] Linda, I'm having a nervous breakdown!

I'm having chest pains.

And a nervous breakdown!

Call me!

[TV PLAYING] [KNOCK ON DOOR]

Uh!

There has been an emergency.

Carl is in the hospital.

What? What happened?

And, well, he keeled over during rehearsal.

And the kids called 911. They're beside themselves.

Oh, my God. Is he okay?

Well, it wasn't a heart attack, thank goodness.

They think stress. Stress.

But there's no way he can finish the play.

And we are days away from opening night, there's a ton of work to do.

And we've sold $18,000 in tickets.

We need the money. Someone needs to step in.

Yeah, you should call Jason.

Oh... [LAUGHS SARCASTICALLY] I did.

And he refuses to help unless we restore the original ending.

Which, no, we cannot do.

I think you know where I'm headed with this.

No. No, no, Trudie. No, forget it. I'm not doing it.

I know, it's not ideal.

Ideal? You fired me!

Not officially, not yet.

And if you agree to help, I'm willing to let you off with just a little formal reprimand and that's it...

Okay, two weeks suspension. That's if...

I can't. I can't. I can't. I can't do it.

[GASPS] you started this.

Are you going to really sit back and let everyone else pay for your mistakes?

I need you, the kids need you to...

To just step up and be a goddamned teacher here.

And if you can't do that, you have no business in a classroom.

I want to think about it.

Oh, well...

I expect you there at 3:00.

Okay. This is the last chance you're gonna get.

[BOYS TALKING INDISTINCTLY]

Hey, Ms. Sinclair, I wanna bend you over your desk!

[ALL LAUGHING]

"Mother. Oh, my dear mother. How could you..."

No, no. Come on. Come on. It's got to be louder.

You got to get them in the cheap seats. Come on. Loud.

"Mother! Oh, my dear mother!"

Come on, support it. "How could you abandon me to such a cruel..."

Thank God. All right, listen up, people.

Uh, Ms. Sinclair is going to take over from here on out.

But listen, I'm going to be sitting here in the front row, and I don't want any funny business, okay?

Is that clear?

Students: yes, Mr. Pelaski.

Could somebody please tell me where we are?

We're doing the new ending.

New ending?

Yeah, Carl wrote it. They were working on it when he collapsed.

Carl wrote it?

Yeah, as long as nobody kills themselves, it's good with me.

[SIGHS]

Fine. Let's just do this.

Go ahead.

Do you have any direction?

Urn...

You're in pain.

You're in deep, unbearable pain.

"Mother! Oh, my dear mother!"

"How could you abandon me to such a cruel fate!"

Okay, Halle. "A father who couldn't love me!"

"A world where I'd never belong!" Linda: that's enough.

"Oh, God! I want to die..."

No, my darling! You must live! Live!

Knock it off, both of you!

Take it seriously. Why?

It sucks. This ending sucks.

My grandparents are coming in from Tucson to see me suck.

This isn't Jason's play anymore. It's bullshit.

Hey! Language.

Where's Jason?

We want Jason back.

Not you, you bitch.

Phil: okay, that's it. One week detention, miss Anderson!

[DOORBELL RINGS]

[SIGHS]

Yes. I'm coming.

Nope.

Linda: Jason, please don't make me stand outside.

I'm gonna... I'm not going to leave here until we talk.

May I come in?

Yeah.

May I have a glass of water?

I'm here to ask for a favor. Are you kidding me?

If you could just write a new ending.

No. No. No.

Write a new ending? Jason, please...

For what? To make it happy? To make it cute and safe?

That's not my story!

I understand that, but I'm in an untenable situation here...

Hey. While you're at it, slap a feel-good ending on death of a salesman.

Does he really have to die?

This isn't helping anyone.

That's because nothing's gonna help.

Everything's fucked, and it's your fault!

I want to kill myself.

That's not an answer, Jason.

What makes you think you have the answers'?

I mean, who are you, anyway?

You're just some lonely old woman who gets a power trip lecturing teenagers.

You really think you affect their lives by reading them emerson?

You're a joke.

They don't respect you.

The second they finish high school, they forget you.

[CLICKS TONGUE]

[SIGHS]

Yes, um...

Well... [SNIFFLES]

Uh...

I was thinking about your ending, and I realized that there may be something that I missed in previous readings of your play.

And that is...

That the ending sucks.

What?

Everyone kills themselves? That's your resolution?

Jason, come on. What do you think?

You said, you loved the ending.

Or is that another lie?

Well, you know, I do make mistakes, as you know.

Whatever. I'm done with this.

You know, sometimes you can't run away.

And you can't go to law school.

And you can't kill yourself.

Because sometimes you have to stay and suck it up.

"Fuck you! Ca" you just try?

I mean, can you imagine that there might be another ending?

A different ending, where everyone doesn't die.

No! Get the fuck out of my house!

[DOOR SHUTS]

[BREATHING DEEPLY]


[TYPING]


[PEOPLE TALKING INDISTINCTLY]

Halle: this is horrible. They're gonna hate it.

It's gonna suck.

Halle... I can't, I can't, I can't do this!

No. Halle, calm down.

No, no. I can't... I can't remember any of my lines.

No, no, no. You know your lines.

Just say them the way we rehearsed them last week and you'll be terrific.

I know. I heard you.

All right? Thank you.

Yeah. All right.

All right. Five minutes.

It's five minutes, everyone.

All right, you've worked really hard.

And you know what to do.

And you're going to be great.

And you should all feel so proud of yourselves.

I know, I am...

Hello, my children of the night. girl: [GASPS] Mr. Kapinas!

I'm back. [ALL TALKING INDISTINCTLY]

Mr. Kapinas, you made it.

Wild horses couldn't keep me away. [CHUCKLES]

Ah, dear, dear Linda.

I am eternally grateful for all your help, and understanding.

Aw. It was no problem. How are you?

Much better, thank you. Fully rested, mildly medicated and ready to resume my duties.

Well, I think, everything's under control.

We've worked very hard this week.

Oh, don't worry, I've done this a thousand times.

Why don't you relax? Take a seat, enjoy the show.

Thespians. It's time.

Prayer circle of love and commitment?

Prayer circle of love and commitment.

My future Tony award winners, let's all take a deep breath.

[ALL INHALE DEEPLY]

Let it go. [ALL EXHALE DEEPLY]

Focus.

And as meryl streep once said, when we were doing Shakespeare in the park, "up!"

Mmm... all: mmm...

[ALL VOCALIZING]

[ALL SCREAMING]

Here we are.

Next year, we are definitely doing our town.

[AUDIENCE APPLAUDING]

Why are you not at the hospital?

[FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING]

Are you going in? I'm too nervous.

Jane: no, not white. Pink.

They were pink roses. That must be a good sign, I'm sure of it!

Tim: no, Jane. She's gone.

She died this morning.

I don't understand, you said she was getting better. You...

She took a turn.

Jane: no. No.

Tim: I'm sorry. It happened so suddenly.

She never woke up again.

Then, she was gone.

Jane: but I never got to say goodbye.

You told me that, I would see her one last time.

Why didn't you come get me?

It would not have changed anything.

Jane: I could have been there to tell her that I love her.

I could have held her hand so she wouldn't have felt so alone.

Jane, control yourself.

I must prepare for the funeral.

It's time to move on.

Jane: I never knew my mother.

But she was beautiful...

She loved bright and colorful things.

Here. I'll give you your favorite colors.

Green for her wings.

Green with flecks of gold, just like her eyes.

[IRISH ACCENT] pleasure to meet you. I'm Margaret.

Did you hear me? I said step away!

Damn it, Jane!

[ALL GASP]

That's not me.


Mother. I'm ready.

Yes, daughter. Come away with me.

You'll never belong in this world.

Leave it all behind.

All the pain and the fear and the loneliness.

We'll be together, always.

Jane! Get away.

Please listen to me. Jane: get out!

You ruined everything. My entire life.

I know, I've made mistakes. I'm sorry.

I wish I could go back and change what happened, but I can't.

Please, Jane, I'm asking for another chance.

It's not too late... I know you want to run away, I know you want to punish me, maybe I deserve it...

Hmm. It's better than I thought...

Jane: you do deserve it! You're the monster. Not me!

Tim: I know... I know, I am. I'm so sorry...

[WHISPERS] what the fuck is this?

Jason.

At least in New York they didn't give a shit about my play, they didn't try to destroy it.

It's not destroyed. It's still your play.

You've ruined the whole point of the story.

Jason, I was wrong. I didn't know what to do, or how to fix it.

And I'm sorry.

I am truly, truly sorry.

[SCOFFS]

Please don't let my mistakes stand in the way of your success.

[DOOR CLOSES]

[AUDIENCE APPLAUDS]

[AUDIENCE CHEERING]

Thank you. [CHUCKLES]

Oh, you were wonderful.

Whoo!

[WHISTLING]


Author! Author!

He means you.

Goon.

There he is.


Ms. Sinclair.

Nice work.

Thank you.

May I apologize for my behavior?

Oh, no. Forget about it, it wasn't my finest moment either.

No, no, no.

I shouldn't have believed that stuff from the play. I was ridiculous.

I'm very sorry.

Apology accepted.

Thank you.

It's actually true.

Sort of.

About the play.

I wasn't a great Dad.

[SIGHS]

I was absent.

Pushed him to do all the things I wanted him to do.

I'm sure, you did your best.

I dated some crazy women. None of them Irish.

[CHUCKLES] but, uh...

Creative license, I guess. Mmm-hmm.

Anyway, we learn from our mistakes, right?

[SIGHS] yes, we do.

Good luck with everything. Thank you.

Narrator: and so, Linda Sinclair resumed her life as a schoolteacher.

Though she brought a new, modern approach to her craft.

Now that you've all finished the reading, let's try a little creative writing exercise.

I'd like you all to write a new ending to a tale of two cities.

Now, it could be anything you like.

So let your imaginations run wild.

Narrator: she often saw Dr. Sherwood, though propriety dictated that she maintain a respectable distance from the father of the young man with whom she'd so disgraced herself.

That's a good biography.

I have a copy if you want to borrow it.

You're a fan? Of conan Doyle?

Of course. Me too.

Since I was a kid.

And that was the end of it.

How are you?

I'm pretty good, thanks.

Hey, would you like to grab a cup of coffee or something?

Narrator: naturally...

Urn...

She refused.

Okay. Why not.

[STUTTERS] and so they spoke in a strictly impersonal way.

She did some crazy stuff.

She had a yard sale one time when I was out of town, and sold my entire collection of ellery queen first editions.

Oh, no! Yes!

That's when I knew the marriage was kinda over.

Narrator: they did not discuss the boy.

Jason's doing really well. Is he?

Yeah, yeah, he's actually written another piece.

Oh.

And he's work shopping it in a children's theater in New Jersey.

I mean, you may or may not realize some references to orwell, and kafka in the first act...

Linda: oh, that's so wonderful.

Can I be honest with you about something?

Narrator: I knew it.

Here it comes.

The whole time we're strolling along here, I keep thinking...

You know, you slept with my son.

And listen...

I understand that it was just one of those things or whatever, but...

I guess, what I am trying to say is...

I still think you're pretty great.

What?

Yeah.

And if it's not too weird...

For you, or me...

Walter mosley's speaking over at wilkes next week, and I thought maybe...

Narrator: Linda Sinclair. What are you doing?

You belong here. At home. Alone.

You don't want to go out there.

It's a cruel and unforgiving world.

Linda.

Hi, Linda. Hi.

Linda.

You look great.

Thank you.

Are you ready?

Yes, I am.

Linda? Are you listening to me?