Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Yes, It's A Real Job: MacBeth In A Bedroom

This is another "stuff I wrote" post. This one's pretty old; the idea is shamelessly ripped from Eisner's "Hamlet On A Rooftop."


PANEL ONE: Establishing shot, likely from above, of the scene of our story. A small bedroom, no more than ten-by-seven feet, in a one-person apartment in New York City. The walls are bare white, the paint cracking in several places. On one wall, next to each other, are an old analog clock (not working) and a calendar (current, but tattered). The floor is hardwood, with several stains that suggest it has not been cleaned in a while. A steam-pipe heating unit in the corner, a rumpled single bed, and a small stack of crates used as an end table are the only pieces of furniture. Light comes from a single sixty-watt bulb suspended from the ceiling at about chest-height. There is a window, open, opposite the bed, but it is night.
Sitting on the bed is our hero; we’ll call him MAC. Mid-thirties to mid-forties, but he looks older. He may once have been tall, strong, and good-looking, a high-school star athlete, but all of that’s been beaten out of him. Bags under his eyes, disheveled hair on his balding head, wrinkles. He wears a soiled “wife-beater” shirt and stained dungarees. He is hunched over, his folded hands held up to his mouth. (He’s biting on one of his knuckles, but we don’t need to see this in too much detail until the next panel.) This is a working-class man at the end of his rope.

CREDITS: MacBeth in a Bedroom
Adapted from the play by William Shakespeare
Inspired by Will Eisner’s “Hamlet on a Rooftop”

PANEL TWO: Close-up on MAC. His face, and especially his eyes, is a mixture of panic and exhaustion.

MAC: Tomorrow --

PANEL THREE: Same angle. MAC’s hands are now clutching the sides of his head. More panic now than exhaustion.

MAC: -- and tomorrow --

PANEL FOUR: MAC’s fist, slamming into the wall next to him, hard enough to leave a hole (although in this apartment, that’s not too difficult).

MAC (OP): -- and tomorrow!


PANEL ONE: MAC, having wrenched his hand from the wall and whirled around in fury, beginning to pace the room. A little blood on the still-clenched fist. He’s talking to the universe as much as to himself.

MAC: Creeps in this petty pace from day to day --

PANEL TWO: MAC pacing, his gestures manic; possibly a double image of him going each direction, with whirled lines to indicate where he turned around. His head is framed between the clock and the calendar. Closer now, we can see the calendar has X’s scratched on the used days.

MAC: -- to the last syllable of recorded time –

MAC (2) – and all our yesterdays --

PANEL THREE: Angled above shot, so that we see the bulb, and beneath it MAC’s face, and beneath that the shadow of his body stretching on the floor. The pacing is gone; he’s standing stock still, his head angled down towards the floor. The shadows the light bulb casts on his face make him look ancient, possibly horrific.

MAC: -- have lighted fools the way to dusty death.


PANEL ONE: MAC grabs the light bulb in his hand (not the one he used to punch the wall) and squeezes, shattering it. The fist and bulb are in the foreground; MAC’s face is in the background, twisted with rage. This is the last instant before the light vanishes.

MAC: Out, out brief candle!

PANEL TWO: Now the room is dark, but we can still see MAC from the dim light coming from the window. He’s in the same position as the last panel, letting the glass fall from his bleeding hand, now twin to the other. The half of his face facing the window is lit; the half facing the room is not. His utterly calm face belies his entrance into the world of madness.

MAC: Life’s but a walking shadow –

PANEL THREE: MAC, from behind, walking towards the window. All we can see is the light streaming into the room; no cityscape.

MAC: - a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage –

PANEL FOUR: MAC, in side view, propped up by his hands on the windowsill. He’s looking up at whatever he sees in the night sky, his face tired and beaten.

MAC: And then is heard no more.


PANEL ONE: MAC launches himself out the window.

MAC: It is a tale told by an idiot –

PANEL TWO: This, and the remaining panels, are from the POV of a person looking out the window and downward at MAC as he falls. His word balloons for each of these panels will be at the top center of the panel; the tail will extend with each panel as he falls further. His bloody handprints on the sill frame the bottom of the picture. We can see the cityscape now, or rather the empty alley below. In this panel, his form is still recognizable, spread-eagled like a parachuter, ready to embrace the ground.

MAC: -- full of sound and fury –

PANEL THREE: MAC’s further down now, a stick figure.

MAC: -- signifying –


MAC: -- nothing.


No comments: