Dramatic Writing

SCRIPTS, SCREENPLAYS, & PLAYS

Pat MacEnulty has been a 2-time winner of the Florida Screenwriting Competition, a finalist in the Disney/Touchstone Competition, and a finalist in the Screencraft Competition.


 

TV SCRIPTS

“Let There Be Light” Orange is the New Black (spec script)

LOGLINE: When Piper asks for a job transfer and doesn’t get it, she sets up Luschek for a fall and in the process helps Leanne stand up for herself.

SYNOPSIS: When the GED Program reopens, Piper thinks she’s found a way out of the electric shop. But Healy doesn’t want her in what has become his program. And Luschek wants to keep her in his shop. Instead, Sister Ingalls gets the job. Sister Ingalls tends to get carried away when she teaches, however, and her lessons often turn into political rants. Piper finds out that Luschek is making porn videos of Leanne. She tries to talk Leanne out of doing the videos and finally realizes the only way to stop it is to offer herself up in Leanne’s place. Leanne isn’t pleased about losing her source of income, but Piper finds a group to sponsor her and also manages to persuade her to join the GED program. Healy gets fed up with Sister’s politics and asks Caputo to give the job to Piper. When Caputo finds out what Luschek is up to, he offers Piper the job. But Piper realizes that Sister Ingalls should do the job and she turns it down.

“Season of the Witch” (original pilot)

Series Logline: Teenager Elisa Burnes and her activist father William skirt the law and flout convention as they negotiate the changing times of the late 1960s and early 70s.

Pilot Logline: Premise Pilot: When Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated, Billy Burnes, a Detroit D.J., travels to his hometown of Atlanta to reconnect with an old friend, who is in the Civil Rights Movement, but neglects to visit his daughter, Eli, who is taking her first tentative steps toward womanhood.

Personal Connections to the Story: When I was 14 years old, I ran away from home with a draft dodger. We traveled the East Coast and wound up at the Second Atlanta Pop Festival where, tripping on purple haze acid, we watched Jimi Hendrix pluck out “The Star Spangled Banner” on the Fourth of July Weekend a few months before his death. At that point, I was tired and dirty and hungry and decided to go home. That fall I went to St. Louis to live with my older brother and his wife and kids as my mother tried to dismantle a disastrous marriage. My brother was a symphony musician (the youngest solo tuba player in an American symphony). He was also a peace activist. He is the inspiration for the character of Billy Burnes. The character of Mattie is based on my godmother, Elise, a gracious and beautiful southern aristocrat married to the State’s Attorney. Elise was not a former Metropolitan Opera soprano, but she did have a lovely voice, and she sang in many of my mother’s musical productions. Mattie also has a little bit of my mother in her. My mother was a brilliant and talented woman who fought racism in myriad small ways. She wasn’t an activist, but she didn’t tolerate injustice around her, and she treated everyone (besides bigots and Bible salesmen) with kindness and respect.

 

SCREENPLAYS

Outside In (screenplay, Finalist in the Screencraft Screenplay Competition)

A group of women inmates in a Texas prison fight to save their drama program from corrupt administrators and politicians who want to privatize the prison.

SYNOPSIS: Inspired by my 2008 novel, the story follows the lives of a group of women inmates and the two sisters who make it their mission to help these women realize their artistic vision. Molly Johansen is the poet and cancer survivor who dedicates her life to helping others; Jen, her sister, drinks too much to forget her brief stint in the porn business and her series of failed relationships; Nicole Parks is the college girl who fell for the wrong guy and wound up serving three years; and Sonya Kowalski is the career criminal who’s willing to change her ways for the love of her young son. Molly and Jen go into the prison to help the inmates create a drama program, but the real drama is happening in the political sphere where certain powerful interests want to privatize the prison and get rid of all programs. The inmates face lethal situations when they get in the way of an assistant warden who is gunning for the warden’s job. The sisters, Molly and Jen, must wrestle with an unfeeling bureaucracy to save the program, and in the process they manage to salvage their relationship. Part “Orange is the New Black,” part “Freedom Writers,” Outside In deals with the timely issue of prison privatization and what it means when prisoners become products.

Hold Onto Me (screenplay based on a true story, co-written with Therese Bartholomew)

LOGLINE: A woman grapples with debilitating depression after her brother’s murder by making a documentary and interviewing his killer.

SYNOPSIS: Tessa is devastated when she learns of her brother’s murder outside a strip club. Newly married, she struggles to keep her marriage together and to comfort her two teenage children. While she holds it all together on the outside, inside she is falling apart. To cope with her grief, Tessa picks up a video camera and starts seeking answers. Her goal is to confront her brother’s killer on camera but an antiquated justice system, her family, and her fear stand in the way. Then she stumbles upon a process called restorative justice. With blind faith she forges ahead and overcomes the obstacles. Ultimately, Tessa finds peace and the strength to move on.

 

PAT MACENULTY’S PLAYS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Following is a list of several plays written to be performed by and for young people, along with a cast breakdown of each play. Running times are approximate.

 

Shakespeare Alive and Well! — 31 characters. One set and a giant book.

A group of thespians runs into a gang that wants to bury Shakespeare. The actors find an enchanted book of Shakespeare plays. With the help of Shakespearean characters, they convince the gang that Shakespeare is alive and well. Produced by Charlotte Preparatory School, April 2004.

 

Sherri Poppins: Substitute Science Teacher – 31 characters. Two sets and a time machine. A time-traveling exploration of science conducted by H.G. Wells and Mary Poppins’ grandaughter. Produced by Charlotte Preparatory School, April 2003. Running Time: 45 minues.

 

Land of Liberty – 20 characters, 1 set. A celebration of America, featuring appearances by Thomas Jefferson, Henry Ford, Emily Dickinson, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, among others. Produced by Charlotte Preparatory School, Feb. 2002. Running time: 30 to 40 mins.

 

Bug World – 35 characters; 3 sets. Elementary school-age children. Produced by Magnolia School Drama Camp, Summer 1997 Running time: 20-30 mins.

 

The Poets’ Duel – 30 characters; 1 set. Roman mythology. Produced by Magnolia School Drama Camp, Summer, 1998. Running time: 30 mins.

 

Robin Hood and the Forest Defenders – 15 characters; 2 sets. Environmental awareness. Middle school or High School. Produced by Magnolia School Drama Camp, Summer, 1997. Running time: 30 mins.

 

The Malted Falcon – 14 characters; 3 sets. Parody of The Maltese Falcon. Middle school or High School. Produced by Magnolia School Drama Camp, Summer, 1998. Running time: 30 mins.

 

SHAKESPEARE ADAPTATIONS:

All of the Shakespeare adaptations use as much of the Shakespearean language as possible. The plots are the same (except for the ending of Romeo and Juliet) but the complexities are removed. All of these plays have been produced and garnered rave reviews from parents, siblings and friends. Many adults have said these adaptations helped them to understand the originals.

 

Beware the Ides of March – 22 characters; ten scenes; three to four minimal sets. Ostensibly there are only two female characters in the play, but in our production we cast based on performance level not based on gender. My suggestion is to cast Brutus and Caesar with males and Calpurnia and Portia with females and then cast all other characters according to performance level. (However, I should like to note that in our performance Brutus was played with great skill by a 7th-grade girl.) Based on The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. Running time: approximately 40 minutes.

This play can be performed by adults, high schoolers or middle schoolers for children and adults. In many cases, one actor can play two parts if necessary (i.e. cobbler and Lucius).

 

Caliban’s Island – 10 characters (three male, one female, six can be either male or female); three scenes; two minimal sets. Based on The Tempest by William Shakespeare. Running time: approximately 25 minutes. NOTE: I also have a radio drama version of this play, and tapes from an actual radio performance are available. (Four separate productions of the play have been performed.)

This play can be performed by adults, high schoolers, middle schoolers, or even elementary school age children for children or adults. It has also been performed as a radio drama with the addition of a narrator. (Three of the characters are fairies in a scene which can be modified or eliminated if necessary.)

 

Puck and the Mushy, Gushy Love Potion – Available through Heuer. 18 characters minimum; two minimal sets; six scenes. In our production, we also had two younger fairy attendants and an additional four fairies who were not speaking roles but who mimed comic sketches reflecting the action of the play. Of the 18 characters, five need to be male; 4 should be female and the rest can be either/or. Hermia’s parent, for instance, can be Ageus or Agea, a father or a mother, depending on who you have available. A frame with Shakespeare as a character is available. Based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. Running time: approximately 1 hour.

This play is performed ideally by high school or college students in the lead roles. In our production we used middle schoolers for some of the less romantic roles, and we got an absolutely hysterical steal-the-show performance from Bottom, played by a 5th-grade boy (opposite a high-school aged Titania, he was especially funny). A lot can be done with this play by inserting dances or songs.

 

Night’s Magic – 11 characters; four scenes; one set.   (2 male, 1 female, the rest either/or). This is a shorter version of the above play. In this play, we only used the fairy scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.   Approximately 20-25 minutes.

Our production was performed by fourth through sixth graders. We had two boys. The other parts were played by girls. We incorporated dance and song into the play, which were choreographed and composed by the actors. Our audience consisted of younger kids and their parents. They loved it.

 

Romeo and Juliet Live Happily Ever After – 15 characters; 10 scenes; 3 minimal sets. With the exception of Romeo and Juliet, we cast all the parts more for comic effect than with regard to gender. Based on Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Running time: approximately 25-30 minutes.

Our production was performed by elementary school children. They especially enjoyed the dying scenes. Boys played ladies, and girls played men. Tall children played opposite short children. There is lots of space for children to create fun characterizations in this play. It was definitely one of the most amusing performances that most of us had seen in a long time.

 

Rosalind and Orlando – 14 characters; 10 scenes; 2 minimal sets. (6 males, 6 females, 2 either/or). Based on As You Like It by William Shakespeare. Running time: approximately 1 hour.

We used high school students for most of the roles, and middle schoolers for some of the lesser roles. Our lionesses were second-graders. We doubled up two characters for one of the actors. Instead of arm wrestling, Charles and Orlando thumb-wrestled. Our singing lionesses doubled as lords and ladies, wore sunglasses and carried microphones. There are any number of bits that actors can do to create their own characterizations.