Scene 1: Reason

[The screen is dark and the word ‘Reason’ appears on screen.]

[After that a metal slide in a door opens, letting in the only light for the entire set. The set is revealed.]

[We’re looking at a prison cell. The walls are plain gray cement slabs. A wooden board that serves as a bed is set into the far wall. The camera is looking in at the set through the ‘fourth wall’ (CP1). A large prison door is set into the middle of a wall to the right. The door has two metal slits; one at eye height, to allow the warden to look in, and one at the bottom to allow the food tray to be taken and replaced.]

[The main character (Prisoner) is sitting dejectedly in the middle of the room, his knees brought up to his chest and his arms wrapped around them. When the slit opens the prisoner’s head moves to look at the light and his eyes squint, but for the rest there is no reaction. The second metal slit opens a second later and a metal tray is pushed in the dishes full. Both hatches close again.]

[The above scene is repeated four times, with the man sitting in different positions and different places each time but nothing else changing.]

[Then the camera angle changes and we’re looking in through the slot as it opens (CP2), right into the eyes of the jailed man. He is staring into the camera. He squints a little and his eyes dilate, but he continues to look straight into the camera. His eyes are defiant.]

Prisoner: “I am guilty”

[For a long moment the slide remains open and the prisoner holds his gaze steady, then it is closed again.]

[(CP1) The slit opens. The prisoner is sitting on the ground, with the light falling on his face in profile, casting one half in darkness and the other in light (he’s at a 90 degree angle to the door). The normal routine happens, but just as the top slide is closing prisoner speaks]

Prisoner: “Don’t you want to know why I did it?”

[The slide stops half way and there is a long pause. The prisoner smiles slightly.]

Prisoner: “I did it because of the backlash. Society is a pendulum. Every extreme action will provoke an equal but opposite reaction. That counter reaction will make the price we paid – the price I’m going to pay – worth it. Because of my crimes, the world will become a better place.” [He chuckles ruefully] “Or at least, that’s what I tell myself now.” [Prisoner lies down with his back towards the door and curls up.] “How long will I have to wait?”

[A long pause, then the metal slide clangs shut again]

Scene 2: Time

[The screen is dark and the word ‘Time’ appears for a moment, before fading out.]

[(CP2) The slide opens and we see only the wall on the right (the wall with the door in it) and part of the door. The slit is visible. A piece of paper, a newspaper clipping, is thrust through the metal and held there. We hear the sound of the prisoner approaching. The prisoner reaches out and takes the piece of paper and then moves forward to read it in the light of the slit. The title reads ‘The end of an era/ death penalty for ‘Judas’’.]

Prisoner: [after scanning the article] “That’s not long.” [He turns to face the slit, holds up the piece of paper and gives a genuine smile] “Thank you.”

[The slit slides closed again]

[The prisoner is lying on the floor, with his feet towards the door. We see the shot from above, with the prisoner looking almost, but not quite, into the camera (CP4). The empty tray is replaced with a fresh one.]

Prisoner: “I deserve what I’m going to get, you know. What ever the reason for my actions, my deeds remain and must be punished.”

[The slit stay open for a long time. Clearly the warden is waiting for more, but the prisoner doesn’t say anything. Finally the slit closes.]

[The slit opens again and the prisoner is sitting with his back against the wall and his arms on his knees, his fingers are steepled, he looks up at the light, squinting against the glow but says nothing. The tray is replaced and the slits stay open for some time. The prisoner remains silent and the slit closes again.]

Scene 3: Solitude

[The screen is dark and the word ‘Solitude’ appears for a moment.]

[The prisoner is sitting on the bed, with his back against the wall. The slit opens again, though it’s not visible. The camera is set at a slight angle, with an extreme close up of the prisoner’s face. When the tray is replaced the prisoner speaks. Slowly, as the next speech is said the camera zooms out to give a feeling of his loneliness.]

Prisoner: “Man is a social creature. We’re so successful because we can work together so well. We’re not made for solitude. That’s why we feel lonely. Solitary animals don’t feel lonely, they don’t need to. Loneliness is in us to actually herd us together. Alone we are weak, so evolution has created in us a need for others. [pause, stop zoom out] Are you ever lonely?”

[The prisoner lets the question hang in the air. There is no answer. The slit closes.]

[The slit opens, top shot of just the metal of the door. The tray is replaced and then a chocolate bar is pushed through the slit and left on the metal sill. For a moment nothing happens, then we hear the prisoner shuffling closer to the door. We see his hand reach out and take the chocolate, tilting it towards him self.]

Prisoner: “Chocolate?”

[The slit closes.]

Scene 4: Memories

[The screen is dark and the word ‘Memories’ appears for a moment.]

[(CP2) The slit opens and the prisoner is sitting where he can be seen easily from the slit. Immediately, before the tray is even replaced, the prisoner begins to speak.]

Prisoner: “You know, the second best time I ever had chocolate was in Belgium. It was truly exquisite stuff, bought in a little café actually attached to the chocolate factory. We sat out front and drank chocolate milk with chocolate truffles. It was a perfect moment. That was the second best time.” [he turns his head to look at the slit meaningfully]

[The slit remains open for a moment and then closes.]

Scene 5: Sensation

[The screen is dark and the word ‘Sensation’ appears and then disappears again.]

[The slit opens, the prisoner is sitting in the middle of the room, quite close to the door. The shot is cropped so that we see most of the prisoner and most of the door, but nothing else. The bottom slit is opened and a hand reaches in to take the empty tray. The prisoner suddenly pounces forward to grab the hand. The camera angle changes to look over his shoulder, with the image tilted. He pulls the warden’s hand towards himself and bites into the wrist. There is a lot of noise on the other side of the door as the warden hits the door. Then the hand gets pulled back sharply as the prisoner lets go. The camera angle changes to the front of the prisoner, slightly below him and to the right. The prisoner gets up with blood on his lips and grins broadly, as if he really enjoyed that.]

Prisoner: “I had never tasted another person’s blood before. Blood and chocolate.”

[There is a loud clang as the warden hits the door with something hard (a Billy club). Then both slits close.]

[(CP3) The sound of the slit opening and the prisoner is seen standing as far away from the door as possible. Another metal sound is heard as a fire hose is pushed through the slit.]

Prisoner: “Shit!”

[The prisoner tries to protect his head with his hands as the fire hose is turned on. The force drives him into the corner as they continue to spray him for a good twenty seconds. Then the water is turned off, the hose withdrawn and the slits closed.]

Scene 6: Guilt

[The screen is dark and the word ‘Guilt’ appears and disappears again.]

[(CP1) The slit opens and the prisoner is seen huddling in the top right corner. We’re looking at the scene past the metal tray, with both the tray and the prisoner in shot. The prisoner is obviously cold. For a long time the first slit only stays open. Then the second slit is opened. A hand quickly darts inside and withdraws the tray. The hand is bandaged. Very slowly a new tray is pushed in, but this one only has a plastic cup on it with water and ice cubes inside. The prisoner looks at the cup.]

Prisoner: [Sarcastically] “funny”

[The slits close]

[The camera is set up at the back of the cell, with the prisoner sitting in front of it, we see the two slits open and again the tray is replaced with only a plastic cup on a tray. The Prisoner looks at the cup]

Prisoner: [Gesturing rudely with his seen hand] “Fuck you and your water!”

[The slits close]

[(CP1) the slit opens again and again the tray is replaced with only a plastic cup on a tray. The Prisoner, sitting on his haunches near the back wall. When the prisoner sees the cup he moves forward with his body. Camera angle changes to a hand held that starts off to the left front of the character and follows him, sometimes letting him partially leave the frame, sometimes with him completely out of it.]

Prisoner: [Angry and frustrated] “You want me to feel guilty, you want me to feel sorry; but the system has already taken that away from me. By condemning me to death you no longer leave any need for me to feel bad about what I’ve done. We feel guilty because ultimately we want to be redeemed, but there is no redemption for me. For my crimes I will either face oblivion or hell fire. Your actions will make me feel cold, hungry, angry, vengeful and more; but they will never awaken my guilt!”

[The slits close]

[The camera is set up to the far left and looking at the door. The slit opens and again a hose is pushed through. Camera angle changes to look at the prisoner as the water hits him (only the prisoner is shown in his corner)]

Prisoner: [Irate] “God damn it!”

[The hose is turned on and the prisoner is hosed down again for a few seconds]

Prisoner: “Alright, I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”

[The water is turned off and he hose is withdrawn and both slits close.]

[We look through the bottom hatch as it is opened. The prisoner is sitting against the far wall, hugging himself. He’s again cold. A food tray is put down in front of the camera and pushed through.]

Prisoner: [Sarcastically] “Thank you”

[Both slits close.]

Scene 7: Sight

[The screen is dark and the word ‘Sight’ appears and disappears again.]

[The camera is positioned over the prisoner as the slit opens. The prisoner is looking at the newspaper clipping. He starts reading the back of it. His initial semi-interest turns more intent. He leans forward and then the slits close.]

[The slits open and we’re looking from the warden’s POV. We see the prisoner quite close to the door reading the words on the back of the newspaper clipping. The camera remains on the prisoner for a moment, then sinks as the warden kneels. The bottom slit is opened and the food tray is replaced. The warden closes the two slits.]

[The slits open again and again the prisoner is studying the wall]

Prisoner: “You know, I can actually see a part of you. Like in Plato’s cave, your shadow has become my reality. [He holds up the newspaper clipping.] It mentions Plato’s cave, but how many people actually know what it means? Plato’s cave is an analogy of the mind. Imagine yourself in a cave where you only ever see a wall, with on it shadows from things moving outside. You’d believe those shadows are reality.”

[he turns around to look at the slit]

Prisoner: “But it’s not an analogy, we’re physically in two caves. A sensory cave, with so much more out there to ‘see’; in radio, ultraviolet, sonar, infrared. And a mental cave, with us altering memory every time we remember; filling in with our imagination what we can’t recall, yet never realising our own self-deception.

Prisoner: “We walk through life blinkered and short sighted; but we have the audacity to believe that what we see is what we get. The result? We mistake the map for the territory and murder each other over semantics.”

[He moves forward, looking into the slit, his tone turning taunting]

Prisoner: “You might have deprived of sensory stimuli, but I am convinced I see more now than you ever will. You might deprive me of my senses, but it is you who’s blind!”

[The slits close]

[(CP2) the slit opens and the prisoner looks up from where he’s sitting, huddled in a corner. A picture gets pushed through the slit, with the back facing up. The words ‘I see them,/ Cry’ are visible as the picture gets pushed through. The prisoner takes it and his face clouds over as he reads the words. He turns over the picture and uses the light of the slit to see what’s there. We see the Prisoner standing with his arms around a beautiful woman and a young girl. He looks happy.]

[When he sees the image his features initially turn to stone as he tries to control his emotions, but he can’t and his control shatters. He loses it and charges the door, screaming his rage. The camera withdraws quickly and looks at the door from the outside. The door quakes as it is attacked and the prisoner’s hands can be seen pulling at the slit. After a while the anger subsides. The camera moves forward again and a hand reaches out to close the slit.]

[Fade out]

Scene 8: Starved

[The screen is dark and the words ‘Starved’ appears and disappears again.]

[The slit is opened and the food replaced several times. Every single time it is clear that the food has not been eaten. Nor has the prisoner changed his position, though the camera angle has. He’s sitting in the same position every time and the position just radiates his surrender. The prisoner is, obviously, starving himself. Each time the pause after the food is delivered is longer.]

[After several such shots a small old fashioned tape recorder is pushed in through the slit. The prisoner ignores it. A hand reaches in and hits play.]

Woman’s voice: “Baby, I’m not sure what’s just happened but they say that I could say something onto this tape and that they’d give it to you.”

[The prisoner muscles clench. After a few seconds he turns around to look at the door, his mouth hanging agape slightly, as if he can’t believe what he’s hearing, his previously dead eyes sparkling with a hint of life.]

Woman’s voice: [Cracked and in terrible pain] “Baby, they won’t let me see you. I’ve tried so hard. I just want to see you.”

[The prisoner convulses in a terrible sob.]

Woman’s voice: “If you get to hear this and I pray to God you do, then I just want you to know that we forgive you. Maybe nobody else does, but we do. We forgive you and we love you and miss you.”

[The prisoner moves forward, his hand outstretched, his lip trembling]

Woman’s voice: “I miss you so much, baby. I chase your scent around the house, even as it slowly fades. All I’m waiting for is to find you again in the hereafter. Be strong my love.”

[There are some shuffling sounds. The prisoner has now reached the recorder and has taken it gently, almost religiously, into his hand.]

Woman’s voice: “Come on, Love. Say something to daddy. Just this once, please say something?” [Silence] “Come on, love. Say something to daddy before it’s too late.” [Silence] “I’m sorry, baby. She doesn’t speak anymore. She misses you terribly. As do I. But God sustains us and we will see you again.”

[The prisoner breaks down on the floor cuddling the recording and rolling into the foetal position. Sobs wrack his body. The slits are closed.]

Scene 9: Escape

[The screen is dark and the word ‘Escape’ appears and disappears again.]

[The scene starts with the slow fading in of part of the track where the woman says ‘we forgive you’ being played over and over again. Then sight comes and we’re looking from CP2. The slits are opened and we see just a hint of the prisoner lying on the floor. He keeps replaying the same stretch of the tape again and again, ignoring the food tray.]

[There is a pause and then the slits are closed again.]

[(CP1) the slits open again and the prisoner is sitting on the bed, his hands in his hair. The tape recorder is lying beside the prisoner with the cassette part open. The cassette itself is lying on the floor with the entire length of tape pulled out.]

Prisoner: [distraught] “It snapped. I tried to fix it. I couldn’t. Now they’re gone again.”

[The slits close again.]

[(CP1) the slits open again and the prisoner is sitting against a wall, running the tape between his fingers and his eyes closed. The warden puts a tape and a small microphone with a wire on the edge. The warden raps on the metal and the prisoner opens his eyes. For a long time he simply looks at the door distrustfully. Then he moves forward and picks up the items. He examines them and understanding dawns on his face.]

Prisoner: “I get to say something back?”

[His fingers tremblingly start to unwrap the plastic. The slits close. In the darkness we hear the prisoner preparing the tape player. The cassette player is opened, the tape is put in, the cassette player is closed. A moment of silence and then buttons are pressed.]

Prisoner: [Quiet but Joyful] “Baby, I get to say something back. Baby I have so much to say. Baby I’m so sorry” [Slow sound fade out as the prisoner speaks the above sentences.]

[(CP3) The sound of the slits opening is heard and then the prisoner gets up from the bed, where he’d been sitting. He picks up the tape recorder and approaches the slit and goes out of sight. Almost all of the next speech is out of sight of the camera]

Prisoner: “Here’s the tape. Please give it to her, please. I beg you. [pleading becomes desperate anger] Don’t you dare not give it to her! If you don’t give it to her then I’ll come back from beyond the grave and haunt you! I swear to God, I will find a way back if you fuck me on this one!” [The anger is replaced with pleading] “Please give it to her. [The slits close begin to close, the prisoner tries to stop the top one. He yells] “You bastard!”

[the slit closes all the way]

Scene 10: Faith

[The screen is dark and the word ‘Faith’ appears and disappears again.]

[The slits open and the prisoner is angrily pacing. The moment the slit opens he stops and wheels on the door.]

Prisoner: [angry] “Do you understand how fucking destructive this is, how cruel you are? [He starts pacing again] I have to sit in here and wait, hoping that you’ve brought my voice to my family. You’ve given me no proof, so I’ve got to accept it on faith, but what happens when you no faith left to give? What happens when trust has been torn away? Let me tell you, each moment in here becomes an excruciating eternity of uncertainty that eats away at my very soul! I’m supposed to be put to death, not tortured into insanity! When does this end?”

[The bottom slit opens and a tray is pushed through. But it isn’t the normal meal, instead it’s his last meal. It’s a bottle of wine and a steaming dish.]

Prisoner [stunned he stares at it] “My last meal? [he sinks to his knees, next to the tray] it’s going to end? [He reaches out and picks up the bottle, pulling out the cork and frowns slightly] It’s going to end [he takes a swig and begins to chuckle, slowly it turns into an all consuming laugh.]

[The slits close and we hear the sloshing of the liquid.]

Prisoner: [Solemnly] “It’s going to end”

[Slits open]

[Close shot of the prisoner lying on the bed. This frame is constant. The prisoner has his hands folded across his stomach, we can’t see him very well in the light. The warden raps against the metal, but the prisoner doesn’t react. The warden raps again, but again there is no reaction. We hear the door swing open and finally the set is flooded in light. The boots of the warden can be heard stepping into the room. In the light of the doorway we see that the prisoner’s front is covered in blood and he isn’t breathing. He’s holding a piece of glass in his hand. Above him, in blood, are written the words ‘I forgive you, I hope one day you can forgive me’. The warden walks forward and takes off his gloves. We see that he is actually a she, with slender hands. She feels for a pulse, but finds none. She takes the piece of glass and replaces it with a tape recorder. She presses play. And she walks away.]

Woman’s voice: “Baby, we got your tape! It was so amazing to hear your voice.”
Little girl’s voice: “Daddy”
Woman’s voice: “When she heard your voice, she started talking again! Thank you for all you said. It made us feel so much better.”

[The door swings closed. The slits are closed. The sound fades.]


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