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Thea Pilarczyk

Animator, Media Designer, Storyteller

35

17

Gnomus - Draft 1

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 FIRST DRAFT

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Thanks everyone for your feedback on my treatment! Here is an excerpt of my first draft. I am working on getting the full draft online, once I have it up I'll post a link.

*UPDATE* Here is the link to the full first draft. (Update #2: I decided to upload a PDF to Dropbox instead.)

I should mention that I've been thinking of writing a script for Gnomus for awhile, it's actually based on a few passages from an original poem written by my mother. I've always been enchanted by the idea and wanted to try and keep the same kind of rhyming structure and rhythm in the script, hence why the lines are in verse. I think given the whimsical nature of the story, and with the right actors, this could work...I'm imagining it as more like the conversational iambic pentameter that Shakespeare used, but I'm not 100% convinced that it won't come out cheesy and overdone. I'd like all of your thoughts on this - please let me know if you think the rhyming is over the top and won't come off well. I don't want this to be a comedy. :)

End of the excerpt, read the full first draft here.

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 TREATMENT

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Gnomus

by Thea Pilarczyk

Scene 1

ELENA (19F) is attending a faire in the countryside when she sees a Mystic's tent. On a whim, she decides to pay the MYSTIC (48F) two silver in order to hear her fortune. The Mystic secures the tent flap tightly, then procedes to conjure mist and smoke into the solid form of a crystal ball. She peers into the ball, then becomes distraught, showering Elena with pity. She tells Elena that when the sun sets on the summer solstice, in just a few days' time, Elena will lose her life. Devastated, Elena runs from the tent and into a beautiful meadow filled with sunshine and flowers. She falls to her knees and begins to cry.

Scene 2

A passing MAYFLY (6hours M) notices her, and asks why such a healthy young person is so upset. Elena tells him about her fortune, then points out the beauty around her. She admits that she is devastated to have to leave it behind and enter the cold, dark grave. The Mayfly tells her that a short life is nothing new to a mayfly - he was born that morning, and he will die before sunset. He is happy, at least, to live and die during such a beautiful time of year. Elena dismisses his philosophy, calling it fine for a mayfly, but ridiculous for a human. She is young, she's supposed to have a long life ahead of her. The Mayfly, taking pity on her, tells her that gnomes live forever. Perhaps, if she must delay death, she can seek the wisdom of a gnome. But, she must be wary - gnomes are among the trickiest of creatures. Elena thanks the Mayfly and sets off at once.

Scene 3

GNOMUS (∞M) lives in an underground lair, far away from the sun and sky. He is practicing his sorcery, showing off to his pet SLOOZE (∞M), a magical eel conjured from mist, and boasting about how good his magic is getting, when he smells mortality. Elena arrives in his lair, exhausted and travel-worn. She has obviously been through a lot to get here. She explains her predicament to Gnomus, adding that the solstice is today, and she begs him for immortality so she may never have to fear death again. Gnomus scolds her, amused by her naivety. He begins to tell her that what she asks is impossible, because each mortal has a contract with God that includes one birth and one death...the two are interlinked. As he's speaking, he suddenly realizes that there is a way to remove Elena's death - by transferring it to someone else. Gnomus conjures her a potion, then hands it to her, explaining that she must make a choice. If she doesn't drink the potion she will die...but if she does drink the potion, someone else will die. Elena asks who, but Gnomus won't say. She had better hurry though, because it's almost sunset.

Elena thanks Gnomus, then leaves. She runs through a dark swamp above his lair and emerges into a beautiful field, just as the sun is about to set. She hesitates, then tips the vial into her mouth and swallows the potion just as the sun sinks below the horizon. As she realizes that she is not dead, she is at first happy, then becomes solemn as slowly all the bright color and vibrancy - her life force - leaves her body and seeps back through the woods toward Gnomus's lair. It soaks through the ground and heads toward Gnomus, then is absorbed by him. He breathes a sigh of relief, and addresses Slooze as he proudly boasts of his fine trick; Elena got her immortality, but at the cost of everything that makes life worth living. For without a death to balance it, a mortal's life is worthless, colorless, and devoid of any joy. She will continue to exist, but not really to live, and will be unable to die...just as Gnomus once was. It's sorcery that gave Gnomus a distraction from his own immortality. As he finishes speaking, Gnomus happily dies and crumbles to dust as Slooze dissipates into a cloud of smoke.

Scene 4

In a brief montage we see Elena walking through her joyless life, carrying on and appearing the same age - though more hollow and wan, all through human evolution - through the industrial age, mid-century, and the turn of the century into the modern era. Compared to those around her, she seems comparatively lifeless, more like a walking corpse. At different points, we watch her suffer the effects of immortality. In one image, she is wooed by a man - in the next, she's standing over his casket. Near the end, we see Elena learning sorcery in what looks like a darkened cavern, finally appearing gleeful again.

Scene 5

STEPHAN (20M) opens the door of a dusty old curiosity shop, buried in the back alleys of a city like Rome or Paris. He enters cautiously, calling out for any inhabitants. He is wearing the clothes of a modern-day backpacker, and it looks like he has traveled very far. He wanders through the back of the shop until he reaches a doorway leading down. Seeming sure that this is what he's looking for, he pushes it open cautiously and goes down the stairs to a very dusty, very smoky cellar, with colorful beakers and vials - the paraphernalia of sorcery. Suddenly Elena appears from a dark corner of the cellar, startling Stephan, exclaiming that she smells mortality. Her demeanor has completely changed from the young maiden of a few hundred years ago - she still has youthful hair, skin, and proportions, but seems otherworldly. She has the same gnarled gestures as Gnomus, her eyes are hollow, her teeth yellow - she looks like an evil crone trapped in a youthful body. She studies Stephan for a moment, then laughs maniacally. She asks him if he has a desire to cheat death. Stephan looks afraid, but also hopeful that he's found the fabled sorceress who can grant his heart's desire of immortality.

END

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