The Calm

It’s been a while since I updated, sorry about that. There have been things going on and not many of them have been all that good, so that’s why I’ve been silent. Trying to sort out real life and not getting all that far. I’ll try to keep updating as usual from now on, but bear with me if I can’t make the deadlines. I might say more in a later post, but I’m tired and just wanted to check in. Anyway, with Christmas fast approaching, who wants to be bummed out, right?Here’s a new short play/film script that I’ve written. Hope you enjoy.


THE CALM

A side room that is a sort of dressing room. It has a full length mirror DSL, surrounded by cupboards and shelving. There is a large table with chairs DSR and a door USL. The furniture is all opulently carved wood, but not gaudy or gilt.

In front of the mirror, ANTONY (mid 50s) stands in suit trousers, socks, and shirt. He is putting on a red tie. A suit jacket hangs from a hanger on one of the cupboards and shoes on the floor beneath it. At the table HUGH (early to mid 30s) sits. There are various papers scattered about and a neat stack of cue cards. There’s also a smart phone on the table.

HUGH
That’s what you’re going to wear, is it?

ANTONY
(not pausing in tying the tie, not turning around)
Yes. This is what I’m going to wear.

HUGH
Do you think that’s wise? At a time like this, I mean-

ANTONY
(interrupting)
This is what I would normally wear. The time is immaterial.

HUGH
But it’s not. People expect a little more…(he pauses mid-sentence) A little more. You can’t just soldier on like nothing’s different. Think about what the outfit says.

ANTONY
It says what it has always said; that I am professional, steadfast, and that I can be trusted. It is not coincidental that those are true. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it is the man that makes the suit, not the other way around.

HUGH
(sighing)
Look, Antony, with respect…this isn’t my first rodeo.

ANTONY
Neither is it mine. I appreciate your concern, but what I’m wearing will serve just as well as whatever you had in mind.

There is a pause. Antony continues to dress, slipping on the suit jacket. Hugh looks on concerned. The phone on the table buzzes, but Hugh ignores it.

ANTONY
Aren’t you going to answer that?

HUGH
No, it’s only… It’s not important.

Another pause. Hugh silences the phone. Antony brings his shoes over to the table, pulls out a chair and sits. Through the next dialogue he puts the shoes on and laces them.

ANTONY
What did you think of the speech?

HUGH
It’s some of your best work.

ANTONY
You’ve very kind. It’s absolute balls and you know it.

HUGH
People have always admired your balls. It’s what’s kept you in power.

ANTONY
(laughing)
What’s kept me in power is you, Hugh. Though having opposition who can’t do a thing right has helped.

HUGH
Speaking of doing the right thing…

ANTONY
Yes?

HUGH
You don’t mention Harry at any point.

ANTONY
I know.

HUGH
Well, don’t you think you ought to?

ANTONY
Why?

HUGH
Because they’ll want to know. They want to be sure.

ANTONY
No, they want to be reassured. They don’t wish to print allegations or speculate without something to which they can allude. I’m afraid that I’m no President Clinton. If you say you didn’t do something it causes just as much trouble as saying that you did.

HUGH
Only if it turns out you were lying.

ANTONY
This is politics, Hugh. Nobody’s telling the truth.

HUGH
The be the someone who is. It’ll be refreshing. Exciting, even. People will admire your courage.

ANTONY
Hugh.

HUGH
I’m serious. You need to make a clean breast of it. Call an inquiry and insist that your son gives evidence.

ANTONY
No.

HUGH
For God’s sake, Antony, this is your career we’re talking about.

ANTONY
Is it? I thought it was my son.

HUGH
Don’t be obtuse. The polls always drop when you’re obtuse.

ANTONY
I am not being obtuse. I’m being serious.

HUGH
You have to do it or this might very well be the end.

ANTONY
You know that I won’t. You know that it won’t.

HUGH
Antony, please!

ANTONY
No. I know why you’re saying it and I understand what I’m doing, but this is the path I’ve chosen and I just want you to come along with me. Figuratively, I mean.

HUGH
Sure you don’t want me in the room?

ANTONY
I think it sends out the wrong signals.

Hugh’s phone buzzes again. He picks it up from the table and silences it almost as soon as it begins ringing.

ANTONY
You’ve prepped the friendlies?

HUGH
Of course. They’re on stand by.

ANTONY
What would I do without you?

HUGH
I’m afraid that we’re about to find out.

ANTONY
Ever the cynic.

HUGH
One of us has to be.

Antony crosses to the mirror, brushing his lapels. Hugh checks is watch.

HUGH
Almost time.

ANTONY
(retrieving the cue cards from the table)
You can watch it on the portable in the study.

HUGH
I’d rather not.

ANTONY
But you will.

HUGH
Yes.

ANTONY
Good. Once more into the breach, then.

HUGH
Are you sure you don’t want to mention Harry? We can reschedule for later in the fay, give you time to-

ANTONY
(interrupting)
Thank you, but no. Our course is set and the winds in our sails. We must go forward, not back.

HUGH
Right.

ANTONY
Right. Wish me luck.

HUGH
Good luck.

Antony crosses to the door, smiling, leaving Hugh looking nervous. As Antony opens the door, though, he stops and turns back.

ANTONY
There is one thing you could do for me.

HUGH
What is it?

ANTONY
Call Samantha back. The time for not talking is over and we must go-

HUGH
(finishing the sentence)
Forwards, not back.

ANTONY
Exactly.

Antony exits. Hugh sits looking at his phone.

Lights down.

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