E3ce3rpt3: Deception of Surfaces
INT ROBBINS HOUSE - BASEMENT PARTY - NIGHT 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.
INT ROBBINS HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT 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 famous? 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 saying? 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? CLOSE UP TEEN ALICE 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. JEFF Relax. Techno-geek, remember? Jeff looks through the camcorder, turns it on. Teen Alice
appears on the TV screen - a live image. JEFF So. You want to be in movies. TEEN ALICE Well yeah - what have I been telling you all night? JEFF 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. JEFF That's nice. TEEN ALICE Yeah. JEFF 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. JEFF (simply) 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. JEFF (behind camera, filming) So. Act. You know, do some . . . acting for me. TEEN ALICE Um, like what? I mean, I don't know any –
JEFF Just be somebody else, somebody special. Anybody. Teen Alice stares at the screen. MONITOR 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 (“acting”) Who . . . Who are you, and what do you want from me? JEFF (O.S.) Good. TEEN ALICE (dramatic) 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.”