Wednesday Morning: Acrobat School

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[INT. DRACHEV BODY ARTS FACILITY, FRONT HALL]

(High-ceiling, high-gloss, lots of visuals of acrobatic feats and similar-themed modern and folk art mixed around, like a museum exhibit. Very fancy front lobby. As they approach Reception, Christine looks around in wide-eyed wonder.)  

CHRISTINE: Wow, this place is amazing!

TRIX:   Everything amazes you, doesn’t it?

CHRISTINE: Amazes and disappoints at the same time, I think. Like I can’t believe it’s even real, but if it’s real, it should be…even more real. Or something.

TRIX: Like something’s missing? Yeah, I get that. Hello, Harley.

HARLEY: She’s expecting you half an hour ago.

TRIX: Hmm. Can’t be helped. Is she still pretending she doesn’t mind, or has she commenced open complaints?

HARLEY: She just noticed that you weren’t here yet, and wondered if she misunderstood the time.

TRIX: Ah. I stand forewarned. Let her know we’re here.

(Trix uses a keypass to buzz through a door)

[INT. DRACHEV, INTERIOR HALLWAY]

(Hallway is wide, ceilings high. Off side-walls, windows to gymnasium studios where people practice gymnastics and acrobatics – these are framed so they look like life-sized televisions from the hallway. Trix continues a brisk pace to wide double doors at the end of the hallway. Opportunities for interesting angles and shots for this corridor. Trix throws open the double doors as Christine hurries along behind her. )

HEIDI: The traffic must be busier than usual today.

TRIX: Not so, Mama, I’m just not bending time as well as usual.

HEIDI: Well, try harder. You know these girls are on schedules of their own. We already lost one, but I can see now she wouldn’t have done, so no great loss. I’m glad you finally arrived. Hello…?

TRIX: Mouse

CHRISTINE: (at the same time) Christine

HEIDI: Good. You are resisting. Never stop resisting! Pleased to meet you, Christine. Now, will you please dance for me?

CHRISTINE: Pardon?

TRIX: Way to just jump to it, Mama. Where are the girlS? Let’s look at them first, process of elimination.

(Heidi whistles, and girls stop practicing, run and stand in a straight line side by side with their feet together and hands clasped in front of them. They are all under 5’3“, and match Christine’s major characteristics. Trix walks around them, scrutinizing. She taps one girl on the shoulder and then another. The girls break from formation and return to their practice)

TRIX: Not you, or you. Good picks overall, Mama! Did you teach them the set I want to see?

HEIDI: Eric taught them. I have other things to do than your bidding, my royal daughter. But rest assured, they know the routine. Ready? Go!

(The remaining girls in line spread out and begin executing a series of movements, some like dance and some like just regular walking bending, turning. Trix walks around examining them, and taps out all but three of the girls.)

TRIX: Okay, Mouse, now we need you to dance.

CHRISTINE: I thought you were kidding! I can’t dance in front of all these people!

TRIX: I watched you dance in front of a whole floor full of people the first night I met you. And I’m counting on you dancing in front of a whole theatre of people in short order.

CHRISTINE: It’s not the same, and you know it!

TRIX: Then we all dance.

(Trix leads all the girls in the room, and her mother, in a simple set of dance steps. Christine tries to follow. The girls all watch her and copy her way of moving, but Christine doesn’t notice this right away. Lots of opportunity to bring in old world feel with modern version of traditional music, to start the dance with slow, easy movements, moving slowly to longer, more graceful and flowing. Christine loosens up, and girls copy her more fluid movement. The music stops abruptly.

TRIX: Good, that made things easy. You are in the show, and you are understudy. The rest of you, if you want to come out, Mama can get you tickets. Thank you.

[INT. Heidi’s office]

(Trix, Heidi, Christine and Emilie sit around a chic coffee table in stylish but not-quite-comfortable chairs. Although the table is circular, they sit on angles that make a square, creating an unusual space among them. Could be shot from above to emphasize? On the walls are photos of Heidi in various poses in her prime, and some of child-Trix and an older boy. Emilie pulls off the excellent wig she was wearing, showing a head of bright-red hair underneath.)

Emilie: I’m so excited! Thank you!

TRIX: Wait. How old are you?

Emilie: Fourteen.

TRIX: Mama, she’s too young! Why did you put her forward?

HEIDI: Because I knew you would choose her.

Emilie: I’m emancipated. I live in the student housing and I have a special scholarship to study here.

TRIX: I see. Well, Mama, it’s on your head. Trace will have more papers for you to sign.

Emilie: Can I come back with you? I’d like to follow her around, get her movements down.

CHRISTINE: Excuse me, but am I her? Because I’m not sure what is going on here, and I did what you asked without any complaining but I’m not having her following me around and mimicking me. What is this, anyway? She’s supposed to be me?

HEIDI: I see your superior communication skills remain intact. This girl doesn’t even know why she’s here. You certainly must be bewitching, and not in the least responsible. (turning to Christine) My girl, you are the subject of an elaborate ruse on the trusting fans.

TRIX: Mama, you are not helping. And it’s not a ruse, it’s live props, it’s a show. People expect special effects. Look, Mouse, you’re going to disappear from the stage, and then Emilie here will show up in a spotlight, dressed like you, climbing the wall to a trapeze. She’ll do a trick and land on the stage, run backstage and you’ll come out with your guitar like you just scooted back to fetch it. We won’t be announcing it’s you, the audience is left to its own deduction.

CHRISTINE: It’s a total fraud!

TRIX: It’s marketing!

CHRISTINE: What, so after, when people ask me about it, I’m supposed to pretend that was me up there?

TRIX: Say what you want, and people will believe what they want to believe. Hopefully we’ll get a viral video movement out of it at just the right moment.

CHRISTINE: I don’t like this! You’re using me.

TRIX: Hey, language matters and that’s hurtful language. I’m not using you. I’m using Emilie, but since she’s being paid, the energy exchange is complete. What about you? What do you need to make this okay?

CHRISTINE: I don’t like the idea of pretending. What’s the trick? Is it something I can do?

TRIX: (laughs, then stops) Sorry. It’s a legitimate and principled question. Well, let’s see.

(Cut to Christine in protective gear on a  high platform with a trapeze in her hands. She looks terrified. Trix stands beside her on the platform)

TRIX: So, just, swing to the other side. There’s a net, if you don’t make it, just fall from the lowest point in the swing, and land loose like we practiced. But you won’t need to do that, because you’re going to swing your body so your feet hit that other platform. Ready?

CHRISTINE: No. Not ready.

TRIX: Keep your eye on the target and go when you’re ready. Do you want me to count?

CHRISTINE: Okay, you count, that’s like, accountability.

TRIX: Nice pun.

CHRISTINE: It was an accident.

TRIX: Three, Two, One, GO!

(Christine stands on the platform.)

TRIX: That was the count.

CHRISTINE: I know. I wasn’t ready. Now I’m ready.

TRIX: Three, Two, One, GO!

(Christine jumps. She misses the other platform and swings back and forth for awhile, then drops to the net. Trix is at the bottom and helps her roll out of the net.

TRIX: Good try!

CHRISTINE: Okay, I guess I can’t do it myself. But do we have to pretend it’s me? Why can’t I stay on the stage?

TRIX: Don’t you know that an audience needs mystery, magic, wonder and speculation? People say I’m straight edge, but you’re like a razor! Look, you gave it your best go, but you can’t pull it off yourself and it’s part of the show, so it’ll be what it is. Can you be cool with that?

CHRISTINE: I guess. Hey, thanks for that. I’ve always wanted to try the trapeze, like, my whole life!

TRIX: Well, you didn’t do half bad, but you’d need lessons, and there’s no time this week. You’d be a light toss through the air! Maybe someday, never say never!

[INT. BASH’S CAR.]

(Emilie sits in the front seat, Christine in the back. Christine is looking at her phone when it rings. She looks at the number and makes a face)

CHRISTINE: Um, Hello?

BREN: Christine. Hello. It’s Tyler Brendshaw, we met last night?

CHRISTINE: How could I forget? You sent me a huge reminder this morning.

BREN: Good, you got them!

CHRISTINE: Trace was pissed. That is why you’re calling, right? To make sure she was pissed?

BREN: No, not at all. I’m sorry she was…pissed. I’m not sure why you getting flowers should matter to her, exactly. Unless you and she…?

CHRISTINE: Don’t be stupid. I know you and Trace have a thing and I’m just bait in the middle or something.

(Trix’s eyes shoot to the rearview, showing that she’s very displeased with the conversation)

BREN: Is that what they fed you? Do you eat everything you’re served, Christine?

CHRISTINE: Look, I don’t know, okay, but I’m just really…busy this week. And I don’t want to get in the middle of anything. So, yeah.

BREN: I guess dinner tonight is not possible, then?

CHRISTINE: Exactly. Not possible. Impossible. Not going to happen. I mean, I’m sorry.

BREN: I get it. You’re not the only girl in the world,  you know. Lots of girls want to have dinner with me.

CHRISTINE: That’s good, I don’t feel so bad about saying no then. I gotta go, okay? So, bye.

BREN: Bye for now.

(Emilie turns in her seat excitedly.)

Emilie: Who was that? Sounds super-juicy.

CHRISTINE: No one.

Emilie: Really? ’Cause I heard on the blogs that you got a big bouquet of flowers this morning. Who were they from?

CHRISTINE: A mistake at the florist.

Emilie: I’m going to find out all about you, Mouse. You can’t escape me.

CHRISTINE: That sounds really ominous.

Emilie: I know.

 

 

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