31 Years | Skillshare Projects



31 Years

TITLE:                                                        31 Years

                                Based on “Spoon River Anthology” by Edgar Lee Masters

Step 1: Text 

My story is based on the poems of Roscoe and Mrs. Purkapile from "Spoon River Anthology".  I was facinated by the dichotomy of their relationship. The cruelty of Roscoe leaving his wife for an entire year and his wife staying...not divorcing, left me with many questions.  Why would Mrs Purkapile stay if not for her own agenda? How were they able to continue to live a lie that was so much on the surface?  Maybe they weren't so different after all.

I tried to imagine what a day in their lives might be a few weeks after his return. 

Roscoe Purkapile

SHE loved me. Oh! how she loved me!
I never had a chance to escape
From the day she first saw me.
But then after we were married I thought
She might prove her mortality and let me out,
Or she might divorce me.
But few die, none resign.
Then I ran away and was gone a year on a lark.
But she never complained. She said all would be well,
That I would return. And I did return.
I told her that while taking a row in a boat
I had been captured near Van Buren Street
By pirates on Lake Michigan,
And kept in chains, so I could not write her.
She cried and kissed me, and said it was cruel,
Outrageous, inhuman!
I then concluded our marriage
Was a divine dispensation
And could not be dissolved,
Except by death.
I was right.

Mrs. Purkapile

HE ran away and was gone for a year.
When he came home he told me the silly story
Of being kidnapped by pirates on Lake Michigan
And kept in chains so he could not write me.
I pretended to believe it, though I knew very well
What he was doing, and that he met
The milliner, Mrs. Williams, now and then
When she went to the city to buy goods, as she said.
But a promise is a promise
And marriage is marriage,
And out of respect for my own character
I refused to he drawn into a divorce
By the scheme of a husband who had merely grown tired
Of his marital vow and duty.

Step 2:  Screenplay, Final draft 7/20/14: (fixed spelling error on 8/28/14


Step 3:  Logline:  The Purkapiles: A tale of death, toxic love and sweet tea. 



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