E3ce3rpt3: Deception of Surfaces


We hear THIS IS LOVE by P.J. Harvey blasting over speakers
at a raucous and crowded teen house party. Teenage kids are
dancing, making out, playing games. They seem a little
young for all this, but there are no drugs or alcohol.

We pull back and see that the party scene is playing on the
big screen TV in the living room. TEEN ALICE is sitting on
the big couch with JEFF. Teen Alice is 15, Jeff is 18. They
are watching a home movie of a recent party. Jeff is way
more interested in Alice than the movie. It's a summer
night and Alice is wearing something revealing. Jeff is
well groomed and intelligent.

                         TEEN ALICE
                    Okay okay watch this . . . Wait -

The home movie cuts to ALICE'S ROOM - the music blasting
from further away now. Alice is with a bunch of her friends
goofing around for the camera. In the livingroom, Jeff
strokes Teen Alice's hair. She swats his hand away. He
looks bored.

In the home movie, ALAN is "interviewing" Teen Alice, who
is impersonating Jamie Lynne Spears.

                         ALAN (HOME MOVIE)
                    Alright okay so, Jamie Lynne, just
                    exactly how did you become so

He holds a cucumber like a microphone, tilting it to Teen
Alice. She does a "hick" accent. OTHER KIDS are cracking up
in the background.

                         TEEN ALICE (HOME MOVIE)
                    Well Dave, I just, you know, use
                    what I got, you know what I'm

She mugs for the camera "slutty-style". On the couch, Teen
Alice is cracking up.

                         ALAN (HOME MOVIE)
                   Uh-huh. Uh-huh. So Jamie, America wants to know                   - what is it that you got?
She mouths the words she says in the home movie:
                        TEEN ALICE (HOME MOVIE)
                    You want to see what I got Dave?

Other kids hoot and holler in the background.
                         TEEN ALICE (HOME MOVIE) 
                   I got this -
                      (She stands and points her ass.) 
                   And I got these.
In the home movie, she rips off her shirt revealing a
skimpy bra barely covering her already "perfect" breasts.
Other kids scream, someone cranks a boom-box, club music
overwhelms everything. In the home movie, Teen Alice and
Alan do a sexy dance to the club music, other kids dancing
in the background.

Teen Alice laughs and leaps off the couch, watching herself
in the movie, doing the identical dance moves.

                         TEEN ALICE
                    C'mon Jeff! Let me see you move!

Jeff, bored, stands and goes to his backpack on a chair in
the living room. Teen Alice dances and ad libs next to the
screen. Jeff pulls a digital camcorder and some cables out
of the backpack, then languidly goes to the remote control
and turns off the movie. MUSIC OUT.

                         TEEN ALICE
                    Hey! What the fuck!

Jeff begins attaching cables from the camcorder to a unit
under the TV screen.

                         TEEN ALICE
                    What are you doing? You shouldn't
                    fuck around with that. My Dad will
                    kill you if you screw it up.

                    Relax. Techno-geek, remember?

Jeff looks through the camcorder, turns it on. Teen Alice
appears on the TV screen - a live image.

                    So. You want to be in movies.

                         TEEN ALICE
                    Well yeah - what have I been
                    telling you all night?

                    Okay. Let's be in movies.

Alice sees herself on screen and grows quiet, still. She
touches herself absently, watching her hands on her own
body on the screen. Jeff operates the camera while putting
it on a tripod.

                      That's nice.

                          TEEN ALICE

                      Wait. Get on the couch.

She does, and Jeff moves around the room, adjusting lights,
setting up the shot. He grabs a quilt and tosses it to her.


                    Get naked under the quilt.

She does, tossing her clothes behind the couch, covering
herself in the quilt and staring at the screen. DUST MOTES
float in the lamp light.

                      (behind camera, filming)

                    So. Act. You know, do some . . .
                    acting for me.

                         TEEN ALICE
                    Um, like what? I mean, I don't know
                    any –
                    Just be somebody else, somebody
                    special. Anybody.

Teen Alice stares at the screen.


Jeff watches Alice on the huge TV which is now his video
monitor. Alice begins to pose, her attention moving from
the TV to the camera and back again, becoming more sexual.
The poses are more serious than the ones in the home movie.
She begins to appear older. She’s talking to her own image
on the TV - but in Jeff's shot it looks like she's talking
to someone off screen.

                          TEEN ALICE

                    Who . . . Who are you, and what do
                    you want from me?

                          JEFF (O.S.)

                           TEEN ALICE

                    Can't you see I'm lost? Lost I tell
                    you! And after everything, you then
                    leave me here alone?

                           JEFF (O.S.)
                    Not alone.

                           TEEN ALICE
                    Not alone, no.

                      (to her own image)
                    You're here. Oh thank God you're
                    here. What would I do without you?

She slides the quilt off her upper body.

                         TEEN ALICE
                     You. Beautiful you.

She shifts her gaze away from the screen, to something
below the camera. Her expression changes, then:
                           TEEN ALICE
                      (to Jeff)

                    Is that your cock?

“ – girl is freaking out, and I’m running through the Italian Market – “

Petey was on the the sidewalk outside the UArts building at Broad and Walnut. She was part of a small circle of her friends, each trying to bring a dream to life through the B.F.A. Acting Program at the University of the Arts, an institution whose name had acquired an unfortunate irony, since its curriculum was now driven exclusively by commerce. There was Carlos, urban Latino and paunchy; Elise, blonde, petite and cynical; Chaz, gorgeous, gay and outrageous; Henry, stocky, balding and shy; and Fatima, Lebanese with a British accent, exotic and heavy-set. Henry stood slightly apart, smoking, dressed in a plaid workshirt, jeans and brown smooth-toed boots.

“What was she wearing? This little thing?” asked Chaz with feigned interest.

“It was like some tiny wedding dress or something. It went on,” Petey replied with exasperation.

“Who cares what she was wearing?” asked Carlos.

“Well it sounds fabulous,” replied Chaz, “so I care, darling.”

“Where were her parents?” asked Fatima, her English accent slicing through the May afternoon.

“Her mother was in the fucking bakery,” Petey exclaimed. “Can you imagine? Just fucking leaving your kid alone like that?”

“Happens all the time,” commented Elise, worldly-wise as always.

“Ought to have her parenting license revoked,” Petey huffed. Wanting to get back to the story, Chaz persisted.

“So you’re carrying this little Botticelli angel around – “

“And then her Mom’s there, in the middle of the street,” Petey continued, “all like, thank you, thank you, I’m so sorry!”

“Yeah right, probably trying to get rid of her,” Elise chimed in. Fatima protested.

“Elise! She must have been terrified, the poor dear.”

“So I go back to where it all started,” continued Petey, relishing the attention, “and someone’s fucking pinched my bag!”

“Pinched?” asked Carlos.

“Stolen, chuckie,” Fatima explained.

“But baby, you can pinch my bag any time,” Chaz said, in a mechanical flirtation. Carlos replied without a hint of animus.

“Fuck off, faggot.”

“It had my lunch in it!” protested Petey, trying to drag the point of focus back to her own drama. But the story had run out of steam, and they all just kind of stood around, not knowing what to say next. Henry approached from the edge.

“Did you see the stacks today?” he asked, blowing bluish smoke out at the end of his breath. They all stared at him blankly. “The Retreat. They’re making some art tonight.”