SPOILER ALERT-- these were the little scenes meant to weave inbetween the main chapters of Dramatically Ever After (I went with social media and emails, instead, in the final version) and hint--a little ridiculously, but STILL--at the action in the text of the book, itself. Read at your own spoiler-y risk.

 

This is Em’s workshop notebook. Mr. Landry suggested his students take advantage of some weekend workshops in NYC to broaden their skills, which both Em and Dev decided to do. They’re currently in the middle of a 2-session, once a month playwriting workshop, which is supposed to help them collaborate better with directors and playwrights (basically, understand their craft from all sides) Her “homework” is to come up with a 5-10 act “short.” The interstitals are her notebook in action

 

 

(First Interstitial)

 

Em Katsaros

 

Actors’ Playwriting Intensive Session 2

 

The Prussian Rose

 

ACT I

 

Christmas In dRESDEN

 

Dresden’s Striezelmarkt at 11 pm. The stalls are brightly lit and couples stroll through the alleys between them, speaking softly in German. In the background is the famous Christmas pyramid. Standing to the side of a stall selling lit glass, plastic, and paper stars is seventeen-year-old EMMA, dressed in a white winter coat with a scarf and gloves made of shimmering yellow yarn. Like the stars, she stands out against a crowd dressed in dark coats. She adjusts her vintage-styled yellow cloche confidently and waits.

 

              [A group of girls start whispering as they pass, their eyes wide as they look her way.]

 

GIRL 1

 

That’s her? The American actress? Emma Kat? She’s even prettier in person.

 

GIRL 2

 

From what I hear, they call her the shooting star of Broadway. I can’t believe she’s here, in Germany.

 

[EMMA pretends not to hear them, but her smile grows wider and she glances their way for the barest of seconds]

 

GIRL 3

 

I’d kill to look and act like her.

 

Enter WILLIAM stage right, eighteen, much taller than EMMA, blond and handsome, with a heavy German accent. EMMA pretends not to notice him until he wraps his arms around her, but her smile gives her away.

 

WILLIAM

 

It has been a long time.

 

EMMA

 

[Turns around and wraps her arms around his neck]

 

              Too long, but I’m here.

 

              [Raises up on her tiptoes and kisses him]

 

              And I’m glad we’re working together again. I missed you.

 

              Can we talk here?

 

WILLIAM

 

It’s safe if we speak low. No one will suspect a Tony award winning actress or a famous photographer of being secret agents.

 

EMMA

 

True. People never see things right under their noses if they don’t expect it. So, fill me in on what you know about the jewel so far.

 

[The two start to walk slowly arm-in-arm past the stalls.]

 

WILLIAM

 

It is called the Prussian Rose. Not only is it very valuable, but its carvings also act as a key to a vault full of international secrets. They believe an enemy agent moving in the highest parts of society has taken it. You and I are to slip unnoticed into the elite, discover who it is, and recover the stone.

 

EMMA

 

              Piece of cake. Or should I say, stollen?

 

BRITISH WOMAN

 

              [to her husband as EMMA and WILLIAM pass]

 

              Aren’t they adorable? I love seeing young people in love.

 

EMMA

 

              [To WILLIAM]

 

Yes we are. Adorable, that is.

 

              [They kiss for a long while.]

 

WILLIAM

 

              Ich liebe dich, Emma.

 

[They kiss again and the fireworks between them are brighter than the stars and the pyramid in the center of the market.]


 

 

(Second Interstitial)

 

Em Katsaros

 

Actors’ Playwriting Intensive Session 2

 

The Prussian Rose

 

ACT II

 

The ballroom home of a very wealthy family in Dresden society, 9 pm. A string quartet plays in the background and couples in formalwear stand around talking in small groups while waitstaff weaves through the scene with trays of drinks. KRYS, seventeen years old with dark hair, stands far stage right.

 

Enter EMMA stage left, wearing a classic silver 1940s column gown that shines with every movement. She walks at a leisurely pace toward WILLIAM, who is in a full tuxedo, and puts a gentle hand on his arm to catch his attention.

 

EMMA

 

              Hello handsome. Looking good.

 

WILLIAM

 

[stops her before she can kiss him]

 

No. No one must know we are together. It may jeopardize the mission. We will have to put our feelings aside for the sake and safety of all the world.

 

[takes a drink off the tray of a passing waiter and holds it out to her. EMMA stares at him for a moment, then nods, taking the drink]

 

EMMA

 

Understood. So, tell me what I’m looking out for.

 

WILLIAM

 

[Points with his eyes towards KRYS and whispers, over his drink]

 

Sources say that is our enemy agent, Krys. He has taken out half of our people and we suspect he has the jewel either on him or knows where it is hidden. We need to get close to him and recover the jewel.

 

EMMA

 

Getting close to people is my specialty. Leave this to me. I know exactly what to do.

 

WILLIAM

 

              Be safe.

 

[she starts moving towards KRYS with intent, dropping her drink on the first flat surface she passes. She stops right next to KRYS and gives him her most brilliant smile]

 

EMMA

 

Why, hello. I thought I was going to be trapped here with a bunch of stuffy old socialites and canapes, but I think I’ve just found the most delicious thing in the room. I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Emma.

 

[She holds out her hand, but instead of shaking it, KRYS, in a very practiced move, kisses it, his eyes trained on hers]

 

KRYS

 

It’s a pleasure to meet you, Emma.

 

[He studies her for a moment before letting go of her hand]

 

I have a feeling things are about to get very interesting now that you’re here.

 

EMMA

 

              [Nodding and leaning close to him]

 

              Oh, definitely very interesting.

 

Third Interstitial

 

Em Katsaros

 

Actors’ Playwriting Intensive Session 2

 

The Prussian Rose

 

ACT III

 

A hospital room in Germany, middle of the night. The room is empty except for a nurse injecting medication into an IV attached to the pale and worn figure in the bed. WILLIAM is a shadow of what he used to be. He is hooked up to a number of machines. He doesn’t notice EMMA as she rushes into the room.

 

EMMA drops onto the side of his bed and grabs his hand.

 

EMMA

 

Oh, William what happened? I didn’t hear from you for days and then I got a message from headquarters that you were here. I was so worried.

 

WILLIAM

 

Emma, liebling. I didn’t want you to worry. You are my heart and I cannot bear to see you upset or distract you from our mission. I told them not to contact you.

 

EMMA

 

But I could have been here earlier. Taken care of you when you first got sick. I thought you were avoiding me.

 

[She gently pushes his soft blonde hair away from his eyes and it sticks in place from the fine layer of sweat over his forehead.]

 

Do they know who did this?

 

WILLIAM

 

They think I was poisoned the night of the party, likely by the enemy agent or one of his friends in the kitchen. I am past the danger zone, but I need to stay here until they are sure the antidote has fully taken effect.

 

EMMA

 

              I’ll make sure he suffers for what he did to you.

 

WILLIAM

 

              No, just stop him and recover the jewel. That will be enough.

 

[He sits up slightly and coughs wrack his entire body. EMMA wraps her arms around him and rubs his back, awkwardly trying to help.]

 

EMMA

 

Shhh. I’m here.

 

Oh, William, I thought you didn’t want to be around me anymore.

 

WILLIAM

 

Never, my love. I will always love you. In this life and the next.

 

EMMA

 

              [Visibly holding back tears as she helps him lay back down again.]

 

              Don’t say that. It’s going to be a long time before you have to worry about the next life.

 

WILLIAM

 

              Oh, love.

 

              [He breathes heavily, and reaches up to cup her cheek with his hand.]

 

If only I had your strength. But being near you… now… is enough.

 

[WILLIAM pulls EMMA down for a soft kiss, then wraps his arms around her.]

 

If I don’t make it, you need to carry on our mission. The safety of the world depends on you.

 

EMMA

 

              [Drops her head to his shoulder and starts sobbing.]

 

I will, but stay. Fight for me.

 

[His silence and the escalating machine beeps only make her cry harder.]


 

 

(Fourth Interstitial)

 

Em Katsaros

 

Actors’ Playwriting Intensive Session 2

 

The Prussian Rose

 

ACT IV

 

Dresden’s Semperoper, aka the Dresden opera house, at 9:30 pm. KRYS is the only person seated in the Loge as an opera performance plays below. The only light comes from the stage and a few sconces towards the back of the Loge. EMMA enters through the doorway, wearing a 50’s style gown, and quietly makes her way over to where KRYS is seated.

 

EMMA

 

You bought out the entire balcony?

 

KRYS

 

I like the privacy.

 

EMMA

 

[EMMA leans in close to say into his ear]

 

So do I. But people can still see us.

 

[She slowly runs a hand up his arm until her fingers reach the back of his neck, playing with his hair]

 

How about after this we go back to your place for a nightcap and some real privacy? You can show me some of the pretty historical things you’ve picked up on your travels so far?

 

KRYS

 

Tempting, but…

 

[KRYS firmly takes a hold of her hand and brings it to the armrest, not letting go. He leans even closer to her, but keeps his eyes trained on the performance below.]

 

What’s your game, little butterfly?

 

EMMA

 

Game?

 

KRYS

 

Yes, game. It’s too easy to see right through you. Go home to America, actress, and leave the work to the professionals before you get hurt.

 

[He lets go of her hand and stands, passing close in front of her to get out of the row. As he turns to go down the hallway, he pauses and turns to look at her.]

 

Oh, and butterfly? Don’t trust everything you’re told.

 

[KRYS exits through the balcony door]

 

EMMA

 

[Gets up and starts pacing worriedly]

 

What the heck was I thinking? He’s right. I’m just an actress, and not even a good one if he’s already on to me. Definitely not secret agent material. I’m going to fail and the world will be in danger because of me.

 

[She then stops and straightens up]

 

No, I promised William I’d save the world. I will beat this evil agent. Even if it kills me.

 

Krys, this “butterfly” is taking you down.

 

[Exit stage] 

 

(Fifth Interstitial)

 

Em Katsaros

 

Actors’ Playwriting Intensive Session 2

 

The Prussian Rose

 

ACT V

 

Dresden’s waterfront at sunset. EMMA, in a yellow dress with a jaunty fedora, is walking arm-in-arm with WILLIAM. Both seem distracted.

 

EMMA

 

I haven’t been able to convince him to let me into his flat, even though I think I fixed things from the opera situation the other night. He’s suspicious of me. Ugh. This is going nowhere.

 

WILLIAM

 

I admit, part of me is somewhat relieved to hear that. The only flat you should be visiting is mine.

 

EMMA

 

              Cute. Is that a hint of jealousy I hear in your voice, agent?

 

KRYS WILLIAM

 

              [Sweeps EMMA into his arms with a laugh]

 

              I am not superhuman, liebling.  I love you, with all my heart. Of course I will be jealous.

 

EMMA

 

I like that, but you know it’s just an act to get the jewel. I only have eyes for you, Krys William.”

 

WILLIAM

 

I would very much hope so.

 

[He puts her back down again, dropping a kiss to the top of her head]

 

EMMA

 

Anyway, we have plans to go to the Semperoper again tonight to see Sonntag aus Licht, so when he thinks I’m meeting him for the performance, I’ll head for his flat, instead, and search for the Prussian rose.

 

WILLIAM

 

Be careful. I would come, but I am still too weak from the poison. I would only be a hindrance. But I know you will be able to find the jewel and bring it back.

 

EMMA

 

              I wish I had your confidence.

 

WILLIAM

 

              I trust you, Emma.

 

              [They kiss.]

 

(Sixth Interstitial)

 

Em Katsaros

 

Actors’ Playwriting Intensive Session 2

 

The Prussian Rose

 

ACT VI

 

KRYS’ flat in Dresden, simply decorated with expensive, modern furniture. One lamp is lit stage right, casting a glow over the scene, and pale moonlight streams through the windows. The only color comes from an abstract-styled chandelier made of red glass ovals and bubbles dominating the center of the room. EMMA, dressed in a skintight black outfit with her hair tied back in a black headband, enters stealthily stage left, shuffling through drawers and scanning the room as she passes through.

 

EMMA

 

              If I was trying to hide something, where would I…?

 

              [Her eyes roam the room, then land on the chandelier.]

 

              Of course.

 

[she pulls a chair directly under the chandelier, climbs on, and carefully balances as she searches among the glass balls.]

 

              Gotcha!

 

[She reaches in to extract the Prussian rose from its hiding place and jumps to the ground, getting ready to run. WILLIAM steps out of the shadows stage left, blocking her exit]

 

WILLIAM

 

              You found it. Good girl. Now, give me the stone.

 

EMMA

 

              William! I thought you couldn’t come with me tonight?

 

WILLIAM

 

I changed my mind and decided it was too dangerous for you to go alone. You did a very good job, Emma. Now, hand that to me, I’ll keep it safe.

 

[EMMA steps forward, holding out the jewel in the palm of her hand. Just before she reaches WILLIAM, KRYS enters stage left, pointing a spy stun-gun at WILLIAM.]

 

KRYS

 

              No, Emma, don’t! He’s the enemy. He’s been tricking you all this time.

 

EMMA

 

              What? No. Not William. You’re the enemy agent. Aren’t you?

 

WILLIAM

 

              Exactly. He is lying, Emma.

 

EMMA

 

              I…don’t…

 

[EMMA looks from one boy to the other but, as she hesitates, WILLIAM rushes her and grabs the stone, putting her between him and in direct path of KRYS’ stun-gun.]

 

KRYS

 

              Hold still, Emma! I’ll save you!

 

EMMA

 

              No.

 

[She effortlessly breaks WILLIAM’s hold and delivers a perfect roundhouse to his head, knocking him out and taking the stone]

 

I’ll save myself, but thank you for offering.

 

[She gives WILLIAM another kick for good measure.]

 

Ugh. I really can’t believe I thought I loved you. [She then walks over to KRYS] And I can’t believe I fell for his lies!

 

KRYS

 

He was one of the most sought-after operatives for the enemy. We assumed it was him, but I didn’t know until the night of the party. When he called you in to help, I thought you were working with him, but it was obvious at the opera house that you had no idea what you were doing. I tried to warn you, but you were apparently blinded by his act.

 

EMMA

 

              You don’t have to rub it in. I know.

 

KRYS

 

It’s not your fault. You are an actress, not a real secret agent. Come on, let’s get this jewel back to the vault. Now that the mole in the organization has been revealed, the Prussian Rose is not in danger anymore. We won, Emma.

 

[He takes her by the arm and they exit stage left]

 

 

 

Seventh Interstitial

 

Em Katsaros

 

Actors’ Playwriting Intensive Session 2

 

The Prussian Rose

 

ACT VII

 

Times Square, New York City. EMMA exits one of the theatres, the marquee above it spelling out her name in bold black letters. She is dressed fabulously in a fourties-style suit and signs a few autographs before waving away the fans. Just as she’s about to step into the swirling crowd, KRYS enters the scene. He grabs EMMA’s forearm, stopping her and turning her around to face him. His expression is intense. People rush around them, but their attention is laser-focused on each other.

 

KRYS

 

I got your text. You know we can’t keep playing this game, Em. Dresden was different from here.

 

EMMA

 

It wasn’t as different as you think. We can be partners, Krys. We can work on missions together. You and me, we have something special.

 

[EMMA reaches up, messing up his perfect gelled style. She lets her finger trail slowly down his cheek.]

 

At first, I thought you were right. I thought maybe I wasn’t meant to be a spy. But then I realized that, with you around me, anything is possible. We’re possible.

 

[EMMA pulls him into a silver-screen-worthy kiss. After a long moment, KRYS breaks away and shakes his head sadly, eyes cast down.]

 

KRYS

 

Emma, I wish things could be different, but you’re the theatre. I’m spy games and espionage. You’re a butterfly and I’m a hawk. It just won’t ever work. It’s too dangerous for you out there.

 

EMMA

 

              But, but—we can make it work.

 

KRYS

 

[Coldly, turning his head so he’s not looking at her. KRYS is delivering the line for her own protection, but she doesn’t realize it.]

 

I need someone who is level-headed and ambitious. I don’t need some dramatic girl who will get herself shot on her first solo mission. Admit it, Emma, we’re not right for each other.

 

[He shakes his head and starts walking away.]

 

I have to go.

 

EMMA

 

              [In a crushed whisper as she clings to a signpost for support]

 

              I thought we could be different.

 

KRYS

 

              [Stops walking but doesn’t turn around, delivering his line to a point off-stage.]

 

              Don’t you know, Emma? This was all a part of the game.

 

              [EMMA collapses to the floor and buries her head in her arms as KRYS walks off stage.]


 

 

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