I wrote a short scene that, so far, I haven't really thought of putting into a full play yet. But I'd love to get some feedback on the scene itself! Anything you can give me is amazingly appreciated.
(Chris and Mary are walking outside late at night after a date)
Mary: I had a great time tonight.
Chris: What’s that?
Mary: I said, I really had a great time tonight.
Chris: I know. I just wanted to hear you say it again. You cold?
Mary: Just fine, thanks.
Chris: You sure? Take my jacket. I’m naturally hot-blooded anyway.
Mary: It’s alright, really.
Chris: You’re shivering, Mary.
Mary: I’m not.
Chris: You are. Here. (Chris removes his jacket and gently drapes it over Mary’s shoulders) Better?
Chris: Where do you live?
Mary: Just around the corner.
Chris: (To audience) I’d better make this quick. (To Mary) You know, the night is still young. So are we. We don’t have to turn it in just yet.
Mary: I really am tired, Chris. But I do want to see you again.
Chris: You do?
Chris: I’m so happy to hear... (Chris suddenly stops dead in his tracks, quickly looks behind him, then continues walking)
Mary: What was that?
Mary: You stopping like that, what’s that about?
Chris: Just making sure we’re safe, Mary. Don’t mind it.
Mary: Safe? Of course we’re safe.
Chris: Says who? You can never be sure of that, ever.
Mary: This is my neighbourhood, I know how safe it is.
Chris: This being your neighbourhood has nothing to do with it. You think just because you live here that everything’s peachy-keen?
Mary: Not what I mean at all.
Chris: There’s danger everywhere, you know.
Mary: I know that. It’s something everyone’s parents say.
Chris: And for good reason. It’s the truth. And sometimes the truth is scary, but that doesn’t mean we should ever ignore it. Ignore it and you’re done for.
Chris: Look, I’m not trying to be a jerk about it or anything, I’m just looking out for you.
Mary: I get that. You’re very sweet.
Chris: (To audience) Hook, line, and sinker. (To Mary) Y’know, Mary... It never hurts to look behind you every once in a while. Remember that.
Mary: Sounds like good advice.
Chris: It is. Believe me. Some of the things I’ve seen...
Mary: What have you seen?
Chris: That’s another story for another time. Tell me something... do you trust me?
Mary: How am I supposed to know that yet? I’ve only known you for a day.
Chris: Up to now, I mean. As far as we are, do you trust me?
Mary: I don’t know!
Chris: Well up to this point, have I done anything that would make you not trust me?
Mary: Well, no.
Chris: There you go, then! There’s your answer.
Mary: There’s my answer.
Chris: And I’d say things are off to a great start.
Mary: And I’d agree with you.
Chris: I really do like you, Mary.
Mary: I like you too.
Chris: Good. Good! That makes me happy. I think I’m going to have fun with you tonight.
Mary: What’s that?
Chris: Isn’t it a nice night?
Mary: Bit chilly, but I’d say so. (Gesturing forward) Well, here we are.
Chris: Lovely house.
Mary: Not all mine though. I share with a few roommates. But they’re all out tonight.
Chris: All of them?
Mary: I didn’t mean to imply anything there, I-
Chris: No, no, I get it. I know you’re tired.
Mary: Well, if things keep going this well...
Chris: Don’t be such a tease! I’m a patient man, but when you’re teasing me like that...
Mary: Good night, Christopher.
Chris: Oh, the full name! My parents would use that on me when I was in trouble.
Mary: Suppose that means you’ve been a very naughty boy, then.
Chris: You’re teasing me again!
Mary: It’s just so fun.
Chris: I’ll call you.
Mary: You’d better.
Chris: (To audience) Mary Elizabeth Hampton was murdered that same mild evening in July. Axe to the face then gutted like a wild animal. Tragic. Police searched damn near forever for the killer. After a year or so, it feels like they’re giving up. Guess that means I’m in the clear. Someone had to teach her a lesson. She didn’t listen to me. When she walked up the steps to her front porch, she didn’t look behind her. It never hurts to look behind you every once in a while.
It's a decent piece! You could work from both before and after this scene and do a short play. I will say that you should remove any asides to the audience, I think it kills the connection to what's happening on stage in this case. Also I would work on making Mary more believable. Lastly, I think by reading it out loud a few more times you can tighten some of the dialogue. Omit a few dinks like 'do', 'again' and 'then'. Other than that, it's a good place to start for something larger.
For a personal recommendation, I would change the line
"I know. I just wanted to hear you say it again"
Nice! I actually think the asides were a nice touch and would keep them if you were to continue the play. I think they add to the creepiness of the scene. I feel as if it shouldn't be revealed at this point that she was murdered - I might save that for another scene. I thought it was funny because Chris very noticeably starts to sound like a murderer as the scene goes on and I think that Mary realizes that. I was confused when she responded to his creepiness by calling him a bad boy though and might keep her weirded out.
I think it can be easily expanded to whatever length you want to make it, or flush it out a little more and make it a play in itself.
Things to expand on: They've known each other only for today, is this after a date, what was the date? How did they meet? What was the rest of their day like?
The asides are up to you, but the exposition at the end is too much telling what happened and not showing anything/no action
I knew where it was going about halfway through, though it was more abrupt than I expected. Other than being a psychopath, I didn't feel Chris's motivation. If he'd gotten a bit more upset when she insisted she was safe, maybe a short debate on concealed carry, he thinks it's a good idea, she's anti-gun, then I might have gotten invested in his character and "understood" his motivation.
I thought it was clever, but like Jesse, thought the ending was kind of telegraphed. For me the dialogue was a little too "on-the-nose," as it were - too direct. I'd like to see a little more subtlety out of Chris and a little less lamb-to-the-slaughter-ness (if that makes sense) out of Mary.
And I had a hard time figuring out where the axe came from. Something a little easier to hide on one's person with one's jacket off would make a little more sense.
I like your idea. maybe a little more trickery. when i read this, i figure either he was going to murder her, ask her to marry him, or trying to get laid, or even rape. it doesn't make sense about the axe, where did that come from? even the knife to gut her. it would take a strong knife to do that. he is offering her his jacket, i would think the knife would be hidden there, but why offer it? if you go further i would input, how they met, where, etc..maybe a little fatal attraction. your call. thanks for posting and good luck
I generally dislike dialog that is nicely, grammatically correct, with every sentence complete and tidy. I generally dislike dialog that doesn't add to the depth of character. A NIGHT WALK was no exception. BUT, as a shorty in a festival, it's pretty good. If the play were only a couple minutes, and you have a beginning, middle and end, leave it alone for a while before going back and writing more. Listen to how folks speak. We do not talk in complete sentences. In a Theatre, an audience does not have the patience to listen to dialog that doesn't push the story forward, or deepen the depth of the character. We all have defining quirks. Find your character's quirks and explore them. But, that's me. I do believe, as a playwright, that Realistic dialog makes good drama; not to be confused with Naturalism (think Osborne). Realism only needs to be real within the context of the piece (think Beckett). I ramble, so forgive me, but the bottom line is: Get a little more funky with your dialog. SECRET: REMOVE ALL THE NAMES FROM YOUR SCRIPT. READ IT. HAVE SOMEONE ELSE READ IT OUT LOUD, AS WELL. ARE THE VOICES DISTINCTLY RECOGNIZABLE AS THE CHARACTER WHOSE LINE IT IS? IF YES, YOU HAVE DONE YOUR JOB. START THERE FOR YOUR REWRITES. Lastly, lose the narrator. Happy writing, Michael. ~ECW
A lot of my thoughts have already been echoed by Edd regarding character voice and stuff.
But here is another thing that I thought needed to be brought up regarding the piece. Lack of conflict. Conflict is basically the source of drama and there is no real conflict here and as such the piece lacks urgency. I mean the entire scene is just a conversation where the guy tells her to look back she doesnt and he doesnt seem even affected by this.
Ill just throw out an idea here. But what if instead of a gleefull psychopath the guy was a tormented one? A man who did what he did but hated himself for it? In that case his need to tell her to look back gains greater dramatic weight. Its like he wants to save her, he wants to be stopped. There is more at stake in a scenario like that.
Thats just an idea to illustrate to you different ways in which you could turn up the conflict in the scene.
I like it but, I agree, remove the asides to the audience. Doing that gives it away unless this is something that Chris does throughout the play and it's not a genuine twist for the audience. Definitely clean up the dialogue a bit. I didn't love "peachy-keen." Otherwise, great momentum.
Last edited on Sun Apr 21st, 2019 01:02 am by redlotus333
I'm a produced playwright and produced screenwriter who works as a script consultant when I'm not under contract.
Are you in a position to hire me to critique your scene?
OK, I actually liked. There is potential there, mostly because there is so many directions that you could go with it. For the most part the dialogue was natural, was not a fan of Peachy keen, seemed out of place. That is just a personal preference. I did love the line
(To Mary) Y’know, Mary... It never hurts to look behind you every once in a while. Remember that.
All in all I thought it was good, with potential.