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Circadian Rhythms

Script By: Liam Strong
Literary fiction



A screenplay I wrote for the Young Playwrights' Festival in T.C., I hope you like it!


Submitted:Nov 27, 2013    Reads: 19    Comments: 3    Likes: 1   


CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS

By

Liam Strong

ACT ONE

Scene 1

A café in the afternoon. It is quaint and there are only a few people sitting at the scattered tables. Near the door by the window sits TERRY at a table CS. He is reading a book and sipping coffee. He is young, stern looking, and wearing a button-up shirt and slacks. MEG and JONAH enter, seeing TERRY and they greet happily. MEG has long, tawny hair, and glasses. JONAH is tall, brash, and thin, and has a booming voice. The two sit down and they begin to chat with TERRY.

MEG

How are you, Terry? Really, as the writer you are, how are you?

TERRY

(Dryly)

I don't know what you mean. I am as mundane as ever.

JONAH

Oh, pish posh, you watch too many movies, you hermit. (Laughs) Get out, travel the country-write a novel on that! Bam! Best-seller! (Leans back in his chair) You can even put my name in the acknowledgements!

TERRY

(Smiles wryly)

What would I call it? (Smiles somberly at the table) Ah, here: "Sad America." Yes, that would be the name. But how mundane and dismembered it would read! Maybe the main character loses his peace of mind in the end. (Sarcastically chuckles to himself)

JONAH

Oh, don't you talk rot now! (Sits upright) Mundane! (Scoffs) You need a book that'll sell, Terry! Give the people what they want! You remember-"You Only Live Once!" Have to make this chance as if it were your last! (Taps his index finger on the table, griming) I think the book would be just fine.

TERRY

(Laughing dryly, and quietly)

If the people wanted anything I would not exist as a writer. (Waves his hand) And I don't. I am but a spectre among these-(gestures towards the street) these cars, people passing by, a mere wisp of breath lost in the fleeting memory of an absolute precarious people. (Frowns, looking out the window)

MEG

Whatever are you saying, Terry? I do not understand. (Flustered)

TERRY

Meg, look at me (he leans across the table), what do you see?

(Beat)

MEG

(Shaking her head, eyes widened) I don't know. I cannot see. (Takes off her glasses, swabbing them with her sleeve)

TERRY

(Leans back, smiling)

Of course you don't. (Breaths deep, his voice becomes sterner, clearer) What I am becoming is what many of you already are. Wandering am I in a state of void meaning, relentlessly struggling. I see what you see but I deny it. Communally we all get up and get down, but to what end? Where-

JONAH

(Interrupting, leaning slightly on the table)

Terry, you shouldn't beat yourself up like that-you're as special as all of us. (He smiles assuredly)

TERRY

Unique would be the better word. As I was saying, where am I now, a coffee house, in a small town? No, I am not unique; I am as consistent as you. I am not here, for I am enclosed in a cage.

MEG

But, we were all taught as kids and even as adults that this country was borne upon the specialty of all people. Something like that. (Her eyes dart from TERRY to JONAH, and then back to TERRY)

TERRY

And cracks in the pavement only tear so much! (Leans back in his chair, folding his arms) Lest there be any change of rhythm, your life and my own are repetitively the same. Indeed, we were taught this. But attention to detail dictates that a state of union is a state never subjugated to change. Yet here I am telling you this, but which-if any-words do you heed?

JONAH

(Calming speaking, laying his hands on the table)

Terry, I am a psychologist-as you know-and, with my experience I know where you stand. To me, you're just confused with your identity and role; you're just-

TERRY

(Interjecting)

If anything, Jonah, my situation is located on a much simpler level, but a level but more miserable than such. Of course you must know of Circadian Rhythms? (Gesturing towards JONAH)

JONAH

The biological processes that occur cycling on a 24-hour basis, yes. What of it?

TERRY

(Looks at JONAH straight on, and grins slightly)

Precisely that the rhythm of this life of mine has remained in an utter flux of monotony. The rhythms reverberate dry and droning; as if I were a grain of sand ceaselessly pounded upon by waves of torrential wake- I am the iron a blacksmith hammers into shape upon the anvil, yet I do not form but do not break. (His voice becomes stronger) Consistency rejects my fear of such pity. Strife pervades invisibly. My eyes recognize you as a visual representation of a tree without fruit. Purpose is deafened in your mind, but you do not perceive it.

(Beat)

MEG

Where can you be going with this? (Her voice rises) If what you feel is true, then what do you mean to do? (She becomes silent, but continues in a softer tone) You, you do not mean to take your own life do you? (She covers her eyes and quivers)

TERRY

(Takes a hand from her eye gently, smiling)

Meg, I am not a taker of risk, and I could not do such a thing.

JONAH

(Raises his voice)

Terry, stop kidding with us! (His eyes widen and he stares at TERRY) You are beginning to frighten me, and Meg even more. (He takes out his wallet, taking out a card and handing it to TERRY) Here's my card, Terry-I want you to come by the office some time: preferably soon. I think I may be able to help-

TERRY

(Interrupting he raises his voice and places the card on the table)

Jonah, really you don't understand! And do not try to pull your folly and deviate your will to pursue for my better fortune! I can only define my conundrum to myself, but you may listen further if you can.

MEG

(Putting her arm through JONAH'S arm, her voice wavers)

Terry, you may go on, but please let's not be too drastic.

TERRY

But of course, Meg.

JONAH

Now, to continue (easing himself in his chair, and MEG is watching him), you were talking of your life as if it were such a pity-will you reiterate upon this?

TERRY

Pity would sufficiently ascribe this parable of…(Beat), of lost sensibility, if you will. Insisting upon such panoramic grief, why do any persist? Merely because you would rather let your life be lived as an empty demeanor of prolonged pity. This pity of life has become your wholesome, as you treat it as the very lifeblood of your frame. But I cannot question this much longer, for my words are fading, and my will to refrain my steps from falling in sync with yours is faltering, soon to be deprived of all sensibility. I do not jest, and who may know-will a life sparse of meaning token me a new guidance? Surely I do not know-but what is more: do I even wish to know?

JONAH

(Gaping, he becomes tedious, but calm in his voice)

Terry why don't you come to the office tomorrow, I-(takes out a piece of paper from his coat and begins scribbling with a pen) I will set an appointment for you any time of your choice.

TERRY

You said it yourself, Jonah.

JONAH

Come again?

TERRY

(Grinning sardonically)

You said we only live once. So this is the mentality you've brought me now to. This becomes my pity; this becomes my waste… (He murmurs, trailing off)

MEG

(Speaking up)

Terry, please, don't talk like that! (Turning to JONAH) Dear, can't you please do something to comfort him?

TERRY

No, Meg, thank you though. It will be all right, you two; but please, let me be for a little time. (Turns his body in his chair to get up. He gets up as if he were struggling and aching.

TERRY stands up and paces to and fro, then comes back standing at the back of his chair.

JONAH

Terry, are you all-

TERRY

(Gestures as if he pushed JONAH's words away He looks to the ceiling and breathes. He taps his index fingers on the back of his chair, in an unchanging beat)

TERRY

No, no, don't you worry; I am fine. Reprieved of myself even. But not pardoned this trifle-no, never will I be released. (He looks at his watch) Hmm, I think I should be leaving now.

TERRY goes the counter SL to pay. TERRY hands MAN AT CASHIER money.

MAN AT CASHIER

Have a good day, sir.

TERRY

(Nods)

Thank you, I will try to.

TERRY walks SR, and exits.

MEG

(Looking out the window after TERRY)

Where do you think he is going?

JONAH

(Breathes deeply and shrugs)

I can't say. Anywhere to nowhere, most likely. (He pauses and looks out the window) Looks like it's going to rain. (Beat)

JONAH chuckles to himself, his eyes cast down to the floor.

MEG

(Sits up in her seat, turning and taking JONAH's hand)

What is it, dear?

JONAH

(Raises his head slightly, smiling)

Oh, it's just that Terry seems like that kind of person.

MEG

(Her head tilts in curiosity)

What kind of person?

JONAH

The kind with a rain cloud always over their head.

MEG

(Smiles happily, easing herself in her chair.)

MEG (CONT'D)

Like in the cartoons?

JONAH

(Smiles, looking out the window, and taking a deep breath)

Yes, just like the cartoons.





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