Last night I had one of those amazing, glorious, detailed dreams that end in disappointment, because you have to wake up. Every so often I have one of these, and I don’t always write them down, mostly because 1, there is nothing more boring then hearing about someone else’s dream, and 2, well, I can’t be arsed.
However, last night, I had a kick-ass dream, in which I basically dreamed the entire 4th (non-existant) season of Slings and Arrows. You know, the Canadian TV show that Bob Martin wrote specifically for me and me alone? That one.
So, anyway, as a joke, I wrote out the plot on Facebook today, and I decided that this level of dream is entirely too specific to be relegated to just a post on Facebook (and also because this will be my 150th post. Happy anniversary, blog world!).
I figure this way, you know, if Bob Martin ever needs a writer for Season 4 of Slings and Arrows (or an actress), he’ll know how to find me.
A girl can dream, right?
Now, without further ado, the closest thing to fan-fiction I’ve ever written.
So Geoffrey and Ellen are married and living in the shitty apartment above the dry cleaners where Barbara was staying, and Ellen has started directing her own theater company, but she’s terrible at it. Geoffrey has been secretly meeting with the actors behind her back because he doesn’t want to see her fail. (Hilarity ensues).
They get a call from Richard– the festival is in the shitter because they let Darren Nichols run it into the ground and he wants them to come back. Geoffrey is instant that he’s retired and he’s not going back, but Anna shows up at his house and begs him, so he reluctantly agrees. Ellen gets super pissed off because he’s abandoning her theatre company, and then Emily Lu (who she hired as a stage manager) accidentally reveals that Geoffrey has been running the show behind her back, and she realizes she can’t do it on her own. So Ellen goes to Richard and tells him that she wants her job back. He says okay, but you have to start out in the young company, meaning that basically she would be starting over and playing a spear carrier.
Meanwhile, Frank is mourning the death of Cyril, who died a couple of years back, but he’s never really gotten over it.
So Geoffrey shows up and Richard and Anna tell him that Darren Nichols refused to choose a new season, so it’s up to Geoffrey. Ellen gets super mad because he picks a season without anything for her, and he tells her that to fix the company, they are going to have to build a new one, from scratch. He puts out a call for auditions, and Richard insists that for grant purposes, they include spots for local amateur actors as well. Geoffrey is adamant that he won’t take anyone from the community, but Richard insists that he sits in at auditions.
There is an audition-y type of montage where a bunch of really terrible people show up, and Geoffrey gets more and more frustrated. Finally, this girl (okay, it was totally me in my dream) shows up, and she’s really shy and awkward, and she does a speech from Hamlet. And it’s awesome. Good acting music plays.
Actual dialogue from said dream: [approximated because I was asleep]
Geoffrey sits up.
Geoffrey: Why are you here?
Totally Not Catie: When I was a kid, I used to read these plays, all the time. I felt like a detective, figuring out what the words meant, putting it all together. It was magic. Then, as I got older, I fell in love with it.
Geoffrey: But why are you here?
Not Catie: Because with this–with these texts, it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from. It doesn’t matter what you look like, or whatever– it’s just….it’s about the words, isn’t it? When I’m saying them, they just— run through me, like fire. And then it’s just me. Just me and just…the words. And that’s what it’s about, isn’t it? standing on a stage, making them sound like something to everyone else.
Geoffrey: You’re hired.
So random not catie gets hired.
I forgot to say, that Geoffrey hasn’t told Richard what the season actually is, because his idea is that he will form the season around the new company that he casts.
So after all of the auditions, Richard comes into Geoffrey’s (new) office (which is in the storage room because he feels more comfortable there now) and demands to know what play he wants to do. Geoffrey tells Richard that he’s going to do Titus Andronicus.
Richard gets all mad because Darren Nichols already did that one, not very long ago, and Geoffrey tells him that that’s exactly why he wants to do it– Darren has destroyed the festival, and starting off with a play that he ruined once will give them the chance to do it right– to show how the show is supposed to be done. Plus, the blood will bring in the youth ticket.
So he casts the show. Jerry (Macbeth Jerry) is Titus, and he’s freaking out. He gives the new girl Lavinia, and she is also freaking out. He gives Ellen Mutius, and she’s freaking out. He gives Frank Marcus, and he’s freaking out. Oh, and he casts Nahum as Aaron the Moor.
Nahum: You want me to play Aaron? One of the most despicable villains in the works of Shakespeare?
Geoffrey: Yes, that’s just what I was thinking.
Nahum: But I am just a security guard.
Geoffrey: For me?
Nahum: All right. I will do it, but do not come to me if the theatre is robbed by bandits.
So erryone in the company is either super fucking excited, dreading the show or terrified. They start rehearsals.
The first read through is an absolute disaster. Frank is a hot mess, the woman playing Tamora (instead of Ellen) is the worst actor in the world, Jerry can’t handle the line load, new girl is freaking out and the rest of the cast is not excited to do Titus again. Many “kicked by a horse jokes” happen.
Richard, still hell-bent on being part of the “artistic side”, has decided that he’s going to attend rehearsals and give input, and he tells Geoffrey that he wants a lot of pyrotechnics and flashy stuff.
Geoffrey loses his shit on him, telling him that the whole reason the festival is fucked in the first place is because he let Darren Nichols explode everything all the time, and that he is going to do the show his way, or no way at all. Richard responds with “well you’re doing Titus, isn’t that going to be a bit flashy anyway?” So then there’s a big dramatic monologue from Geoffrey about how Titus isn’t about the blood and gore, it’s the story of a family torn apart by revenge and madness, etc etc.
Richard says something along the lines of “isn’t that just king lear?” and then the entire company of returning people jump on him, because it was his fault in the first place that they never got to do King Lear at the festival.
Subplot: The actor playing Saturninus (who is actually a really nice dude) starts to fall for Maria, the stage manager, who is super uncomfortable about dating an actor. He asks her to help him run lines, and she realizes that he is dumb as fucking shit, and so he has to basically explain every line to him, and we realize that Maria actually really knows her shit.
So rehearsals press on, and we find out that Nahum is a brilliant, brilliant fucking actor. Like, so good. The woman playing Tamora is horrible, and Ellen gets more and more pissed at Geoffrey because he’s not letting her play the role. Geoffrey enjoys it from a purely “learning a valuable lesson” standpoint, and the new girl and Jerry form an unlikely bond in their terror about being leads.
Anna shows up again, this time, in Richard’s office, and we find out that she’s now the director of a very successful competing theatre festival, but she still wants New Burbage to succeed. She offers Richard a one-time deal: Let Geoffrey do what he wants, when he wants, how he wants, and she will fund the production, entirely. Richard agrees, but only after trying to make out with her a little.
The woman playing Tamora is really very nice, and she asks Ellen to go out to lunch so they can talk about the show. Ellen agrees, and over the course of the meal, the woman reveals that she has really bad stage fright, so Ellen tells her a bunch of crazy stories about all of the terrible things that have happened to her during shows, and the woman doesn’t show up to rehearsal the next day.
Ellen assumes she’s going to be asked to fill in, but Geoffrey tells her that no, we’ll have Maria read the lines until we find a suitable replacement. Ellen storms out, and Maria winds up reading the sexy love scene with Saturninus, and she starts falling for the guy as well. Hilarious on-stage make-out scene.
Frank, who is playing Marcus, is really struggling, and so Geoffrey pulls him aside and gives him an impassioned speech about his big speech, and how it’s a speech about processing loss. Frank breaks the fuck down, and there is a super touching moment where we finally see how much he loved Cyril.
The new girl goes out for drinks with the cast and we see how adorably socially awkward she is. Geoffrey sees this as well, and, in the next rehearsal, uses this knowledge to create a fantastically amazing “worst day in the world” scene, and between Geoffrey’s coaching and the new girl’s friendship with Jerry, it’s pretty fantastic.
Addendum: (full disclosure, I didn’t dream this, but I was in the shower and thought of it): So Geoffrey is at rehearsal and he asks Emily to go get some rehearsal props. She comes back with like a huge pile of shit in her arms, and Ellen comes rushing in late to rehearsal, and knocks into Emily, which makes a big Roman eagle fall off of the top of the pile and hit Geoffrey on the head. Unfortunately, he’s chewing on a razor blade at the time, so he cuts the heck out of his tongue. The special effects guy is there and is like “no, that’s way too much blood to be realistic” and Nahum realizes that he’s actually bleeding: “Excuse me, sir but I think he is actually bleeding”, so they take him to the hospital, where we find out that Geoffrey is not going to be able to talk for like 3 days, which leads to hilarity in rehearsals and the new girl bonding with Geoffrey. Then he tells her she can’t talk at rehearsals anymore, which she takes personally, leading to a dramatic monologue about Lavinia’s loneliness and isolation. Good acting music.
So we’re at previews.
The preview goes horribly. Everything that could possibly go wrong does, and there’s just something missing from the show. Geoffrey goes back to his office, and there sits Oliver. (hooray!)
Oliver: Hello, Geoffrey.
Geoffrey simply closes the door and turns around.
Oliver: But Geoffrey, I’m here to help you. I know how to fix the show.
Oliver tells Geoffrey that he has to give Ellen the part, but Geoffrey is adamant that keeping her in a small part will be good for her.Oliver hands Geoffrey a revised cast list, and Geoffrey realizes that it’s the right thing to do.
Oh, I forgot subplot #2: It turns out that the guys playing Demetrius and Chiron went to acting school together, and they fucking hate each other. They do a pretty decent job of hiding it, but they are constantly fucking each other over on stage and trying to one up each other, and the new girl is caught in the middle, because they keep trying to get her on their personal sides. This also means that they keep being dicks to her, and she feels really bad about it.
So, the next morning, Geoffrey announces to the cast that all of their parts are going to be shuffled around. He recasts most of the people, and there is a pretty awesome “rehearsal montage” in which Ellen is a brilliant Tamora, the replacement rapists are really nice to the new girl and the two fighting guys are placed in opposition to each other, which works well.
Richard shows up at the next preview with a young kid’s school group that’s mandated by the grant-issuing organization. Hilarity ensues when the cast, collectively, decides that they don’t want to scar the kids forever, so they present an improvised, scaled back version of the show. Nahum, especially, steps up his game.
Geoffrey is furious because they didn’t stay true to the intent of the show, but Nahum gives a moving speech about the horrors he’s seen in his home country and what those horrors did to the people around him, and Geoffrey realizes that what he said is the key to the show.
So now it’s opening night, and Geoffrey is running around trying to get everything set. There’s some hilarity when the hand goes missing. Anna comes back and tells Richard that she wants her old job back, but lays down the law about her job duties and what she will and will not do. Richard starts crying because he’s just so happy she’s back.
The show opens, and everyone is brilliant (good acting music all around). Jerry delivers, Nahum is an overnight success, new girl gets hired into the company, Ellen is happy because she has the part she wanted, and Frank sees Cyril watching him from the wings. (Thanks, Oliver).
Geoffrey gets offered his old job back—permanently, Richard learns a valuable lesson about the power of genuine theatre vs. pyrotechnics, and the show sells out its run, which saves the festival.
Richard goes to Geoffrey and asks him what he wants to do next season. Geoffrey tells him he’s thinking about doing Othello, with Nahum in the lead. Richard is mad because he has to hire a new security guard. Maria and her new boyfriend get married on the stage, and Maria gets mad in the middle of the wedding because the lighting cues are late. Jokes.
The season ends with Ellen apologizing (in her ellen way) for being such a raging bitch for the whole season, and she promises to do better next time. Then Geoffrey tells her the next season and she gets mad again because she doesn’t want the new girl to play Desdemona. Geoffrey does one of those “picture this” speeches, and ellen realizes his concept is fucking brilliant, so she agrees.
Then I woke up.