Draft 2 – 1949

Welcome to the second installment of 1949: The Comfort Station Plays, written by Dusty Wilson and directed by K. Hannah Friedman. There are a few things I notice about the changes that I like.

By eliminating the “meet-cute” convention of offering someone a light, the characters are forced to have a conversation without context. There is less to connect with, and the characters are forced to figure out how to communicate on a different level.

The Logan Square Comfort Station, 1949. WALT DISNEY, 48, sits on a bench, wearing a beige trench coat and a brimmed hat. He is hunched over a notebook that he vigorously writes in. Moments pass. ANNA SORENSEN, 20s, enters. Walt looks up.
WALT
Good evening.

ANNA
Good evening yourself.

Walt smiles and jots a quick note.

WALT
I trust your day is going well.

ANNA
Very well, thank you.

Anna sits next to Walt.

ANNA
Do you talk to strangers often?

WALT
It’s interesting you ask that. I just started today.

ANNA
I’m very glad you did.

Walt jots excitedly.

WALT
So what brings you to this quiet corner?

ANNA
I’m meeting a friend. Someone who wants to get to know me better.

WALT
Definitely an interesting choice of venue.

ANNA (Confused)
It was his idea.

WALT
I’d glad at least someone is visiting this place. I actually used to come here every so often when I was a kid.

ANNA
Is that so?

WALT
It was busier then, but progress I suppose.

Walt jots more.

WALT
This is pretty incredible.

ANNA
Now why is that?

WALT
I’ve been instigating conversations all day long. This is the first one that’s lasted more than ten seconds and very definitely the first that appears to have a level of genuine kindness to it.

ANNA
That’s terrible.

WALT
And fairly typical as far as I can gather. But what makes this conversation so different?

ANNA
I suppose it depends on who you’ve been saying ‘hello’ to.

Walt leafs through his notes.

WALT
I’ve been trying to greet as many different demographics as possible. Race, age, gender, I suppose financial well being, but I have no way to prove it.

ANNA
Are you some kind of scientist or something?

WALT
No. Well, maybe. Yes. Kind of. We don’t know each other’s names yet.

ANNA
And it’s awful rude of you not to have asked.

WALT
What is your name?

ANNA
Anna. And yours?

WALT
Walt. Pleasure to meet you.

Walt extends his hand.

ANNA
Ah.

WALT
I’m sorry?

ANNA
Oh, no. It’s nothing. I am meeting a man named John. I was assuming you might have been him.

WALT
I’m dreadfully sorry to disappoint.

Anna shakes his hand professionally.
ANNA
No need to apologize.

WALT
All in all, it does throw a wrench into my data.

ANNA
Sorry.

WALT
No need to be. It makes more sense anyway. We talk to who we know or who we expect to know.

ANNA
Why are you doing all of this research anyway?

WALT
I’m opening a park. An amusement park.

ANNA
Here?

WALT
No. Out in California.

ANNA
Then why are you here?

WALT
The train fair.

Short pause.

WALT
There’s a huge train fair in town. All the big railroad magnates are there showing off their new designs and plans and everything.

ANNA
Huh. You have heard of cars, right?

WALT
Yes, I have. But cars aren’t nearly efficient enough to transport people from one end of a park to the other.

ANNA
Is that really necessary? I imagine if you have a problem walking from one end of Riverview to the other, you probably shouldn’t be there in the first place.

WALT
It’s going to be bigger than Riverview.

ANNA
How much bigger?

WALT
Twice. Ish.

ANNA
Are you sure you need a park that big?

WALT
Big ideas need a lot of space.

ANNA
So why all of this research?

WALT
I don’t want it to be just a park. I’ve been visiting a lot of them, all over the world, and you always see families having fun together, but not once have a seen people, complete strangers, collectively enjoying themselves.

ANNA
Sounds a lot like Communist talk to me.

Walt looks up, very serious.

ANNA
I’m kidding.

WALT
Are you sure?

ANNA
Yes, of course. The day there’s an amusement park in Moscow is the day I learn Russian.

WALT
I just think there’s more to fun that…the word’s not selfishness, but…I guess a small version of that.

ANNA
Like an introspective sort of thing.

WALT
Exactly. I’ve just been trying to figure out how to create a place where people can break down that introspectiveness without really noticing it.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed the evolution of the script. We would love to hear your thoughts on the differences.

Eileen Tull

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