| General Script
posted July 13, 2019
10-minute TV Script
• Emily and Michael, aged in their late twenties. Emily is English. She has gained qualification in London as a doctor. Michael is a New Zealander. He has been working in London as a civil engineer. They announced their engagement in England and have returned from living in the UK to marry and reside permanently in New Zealand, where Michael's parents and four siblings live. Emily has never been to NZ before. She is slender, and taller than Michael, who is more sturdily built. They are both wearing neat, casual clothing.
• Mr and Mrs Walsh (Brendan and Margaret), mid fifties. They are Michael’s parents – salt of the earth, outdoors types; practical and hard-working.
• Four other Walsh children (secondary characters), 2 young men: Matt, 19, and Rory, 23; and 2 young women: Josie, 21, and Flora, 25 – Michael’s siblings.
A comfortably cluttered family home on a sheep farm in rural New Zealand, on the outskirts of a southern regional town. Emily and Michael have just arrived in a rental car and have parked in the yard at the back of the house, beside the parent’s car. They get out of their car and walk along the path, hand-in-hand.
(Camera follows the car up the curving driveway, pans around house exterior, then zooms in on Emily and Michael as they exit the car and begin walking towards the back door.)
Michael: Well, honey, here we are – your first look at my old family home. Plenty of memories here. But farming’s not for me. I’m glad I got away.
(They pause for a while to talk while looking at the house and grounds.)
Emily: I am too; I’d never have met you otherwise. The house is lovely, just how you described it. I can see that your mother likes gardening. What a pretty flower bed. Let’s get married under that lovely spreading oak tree over there…
(Emily gestures to the garden, pointing out features as she talks.)
We could have some musicians playing on that lawn… how nice that’d be! I can see it now… the guests in summer clothes, everyone feeling relaxed, drinking champagne. We could stand there, by the rose pergola… and look, there’s a bird bath… we could let doves fly around… oh, how delightful it’ll be.
* * *
Michael: Don’t get too carried away, my sweet. Mum reckons it’ll be a formal church wedding. That Catholic thing really kicks in sometimes.
Emily: Oh, no! I remember you saying she’s disappointed I’m not Catholic. Let’s tell her I’m a practising witch! A devil-worshipper! The church might fall down if we get married in it… after all, we’ve been living in sin in London for the past two years! And to think your mother wanted you to be a priest! Oh, my giddy gosh. Suddenly I’m quite nervous about meeting her.
(Michael takes Emily in his arms and strokes her nose.)
Michael: Please don’t joke about being a witch! I don’t think I’d like a wart on this, pretty as the rest of you is. I’m fine with your devilish delights, but Mum’d have you run out of town. Or burnt at the stake by the offal pit. She probably thinks it’s bad enough that you’re a Protestant. Mum’s OK, just don’t torment her and she’ll like you for sure.
Emily: But I’m not even a Protestant. I’m a Protester. You know I think religion is a crock of cow manure.
Michael: Please keep that to yourself while you’re here, Em. Anyway, it’s more likely to be a crock of sheep shit on this farm! And promise me you won’t tell those Pope jokes you know, either – especially not that one about the papal bull!
Emily: Yes. I can see what you mean about sheep poos. These Wellingtons on the porch are rather filthy. But surely the papal bull would be OK in this rural context?
Michael: Wait till they like you first before unleashing your protests and that joke upon them. Oh, and by the way, we don't call them Wellingtons here – they're gumboots.
(By then, Michael and Emily are at the back door. It swings open and Mr Walsh is suddenly standing in front of them, with a broad smile of welcome. He is dressed in moleskins and a checked shirt. He is shorter than Michael.)
Mr Walsh (looking up at Emily): Geez, you’re big!
Emily (Putting on a kiwi accent): Geez, you’re a runt!
Michael (Horrified): Geez, cut it out!
(They all start laughing uneasily, with Emily feeling awkward. She steps forward to give Mr Walsh a handshake or a hug of greeting but he has grabbed Michael in a bear hug and is dancing around.)
Mr Walsh: My boy’s come home! My boy’s come home!
Michael: Yeah, just for a little while, Dad. We’ll get this wedding done then Emily’s got a medical residency to begin up north, and I’m sure to find a decent job up there too.
Mr Walsh: Stop, stop, stop… please don’t disappoint me as soon as you arrive. Come on inside.
Michael: Where’s Mum and the others?
Mr Walsh: She’s probably on the phone telling everyone in the province that her eldest son is home. Oh, and his girlfriend, too. Your brothers and sisters are all coming over soon for afternoon tea.
(Mr Walsh ushers Emily and Michael to walk ahead of him down the hallway to the kitchen. The muffled sound of a horse-racing radio broadcast can be heard. When the door to the kitchen is opened, the radio is very loud. Emily enters the kitchen first. It is a spacious, comfortable family room, in the middle of which is a large table with 8 chairs. Mrs Walsh, dressed in a blouse and skirt, is poised listening to the radio on the sideboard.)
Emily (Brightly): Hello at last, Mrs Walsh. I’m so pleased to…
(Mrs Walsh holds up a hand and stops Emily in mid-sentence, not turning her attention from the radio.)
Mrs Walsh: Ssshhhhh!! I’ve got money on this!
(The radio commentary reaches a frenetic finale. Then Mrs Walsh clicks the radio off and begins jumping up and down excitedly.)
Mrs Walsh: I can get it! I can get it! I’ll be back in half an hour.
(She brushes past Emily and rushes out of the kitchen. Everyone exchanges perplexed looks when they hear a car leaving.)
Mr Walsh: Oh, well. She’s probably going to pick up her winnings at the TAB. Let’s get your things out of the car and get you settled in, then it’ll be time for afternoon tea and the others’ll be here by then. We can put the kettle on and have a brew. Everyone’s bringing food for a slap-up family tea party.
(They go out to the car, get their suitcases and return to the house. Michael’s four younger brothers and sisters arrive: Matt, Rory, Josie and Flora. They greet Emily and Michael enthusiastically when introductions are made in the kitchen. Plates of fancy food are arranged on the table, with a large pavlova as the centrepiece. The kettle begins to whistle, then the back door bangs, and shortly afterwards Mrs Walsh bustles into the kitchen carrying a large cardboard box.)
Mrs Walsh (Happily): I got it! I got it! I got the last one!
(Everyone starts talking at once: “What? What is it? Show us! Last what?”)
Michael: What’ve you got in the box, Mum?
Mrs Walsh: Step aside, boy. This little feller is for our Emily!
(She puts the box on the floor and scoops out a black kitten and hands it to Emily.)
Emily: Well, bless your kind heart, Mrs Walsh! What a lovely surprise! Look at this, Mike. He’s got a black coat, then there’s this little white tuft at the front of his neck. He’s dressed like a priest!
(She claps a hand over her mouth and looks embarrassed.)
Mr Walsh: Hahaha… you’re funny! You’ll fit in well here. It wouldn’t be a dog-collar on a cat, though, would it?
(Mr Walsh winks and digs Emily in the ribs. They both start laughing.)
Mrs Walsh: Michael told me that you had to leave your cat behind, so this is my ‘welcome to our family’ present. I have a proper basket set up for him, with a nice little fluffy blanket… and there’s food in a new bowl… I do hope you like him?
Emily: Oh, Mrs Walsh, he’s perfect. You’re so very thoughtful. Mike, what shall we call him? Something about him being black… he’s like black satin.
Mrs Walsh: Well, I have a suggestion. And please do call me Margaret. Perhaps you could name the kitten ‘Satan’?
(Camera focuses on Emily’s face, open-mouthed, then grinning as she glances at Michael.)
Emily (Formally, trying not to giggle): How very appropriate. Thank you, Margaret.
(Camera pans around the table, with everyone laughing, pouring cups of tea, reaching across in front of each other for slices of cake, all chattering at once.)
(Camera zooms in on Emily, who is smiling happily with Satan cradled in her arms. Michael reaches across with a dollop of cream on his finger for Emily to lick. The kitten gets it first. Michael is heard saying: “Get thee behind me, Satan.” More laughter. Fade out.)
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