Kunstler's "Big Slide"

SUBHEAD: Finally a drama about what America is about to go through, from Jim Kunstler. Image above: I could imagine "Big Slide" taking place in a room an Adirondack lodge like this. From (http://bandbreservation.com/?p=50) By Juan Wilson on 2 February 2010 - James Kunslter, author of "The Long Emergency" has written a tragic-comedy play titled "Big Slide" and it is about the mess we are about to go through as Peak Oil turns our lives upside down. The play takes place in the Adirondacks of New York in September of this (or another soon to be experienced) year. "Big Slide" was first performed on 9 January 2010 in Rochester, NY. It still has some rough spots, but has the potential to be a great drama. A performance of Act 1 is available for streaming to your computer. Next week Act 2 and 3 will be available. Go to http://www.kunstler.com/BigSlide to hear it or get an e-book download. A few years ago Kunstler wrote a novel "World made by Hand" that dealt with the same general subject of post Peak Oil. There was some interest in making it into a movie. In my mind the novel did not have the immediate dramatic involvement that is needed for a commercial movie production. It needed something to grab the audience up front and propel them into the future he envisioned. As a result I wrote an opening for a treatment "World Made By Hand" that I retitled "Hand Made World". Needless to say it was rejected by Mr. Kunstler and his literary agent, but I think they actually got the point because "Big Slide" addresses the point of immediacy straight on. Below is the opening of "Hand Made World" as I imagined a filmed version of Jim's novel. If you have not read the original, let me just say it takes place in a future that has many elements of a period Western, but one that takes place in the future. My opening was an attempt to segway to that world with a few minutes of the present, to which we would have return several times. The excerpt is written in the style of a screenplay. BLACK. SOUNDS OF CLICKING TRAIN RAILS, HUM OF WIRES. FADE INTO DUSK - Looking across the four sets of shiny train rails under electric wires. In the distance six lanes of I-95 packed with traffic; commuters, semis grinding, bumper to bumper. WHOOSH! PHOOAHHH! A Doppler blast as a silver Metro-North COMMUTER TRAIN flashes by filling the frame. It’s packed with passengers. There’s a crackle of electricity as it passes. ANGLED SHOT from PLATFORM as TRAIN slides into STATION. A sign reads Stamford, Connecticut. A PUBLIC ADDRESS SPEAKER announces - ROBOT VOICE O.S. (Garbled with static) New Haven train arriving track four. The TRAIN drifts to stop. Passengers disgorge. LOOKING to - A crowd we CLOSE IN on ROBERT EARLE, 36, clean shaven, rugged but refined. He travels light, dressed elegantly casual. FOLLOWING ROBERT as he leaves PLATFORM for PARKING LOT. He makes his way to a big late model VOLVO station wagon. ROBERT looks across the roof of the car at the space-age skyline of STAMFORD. The sun is setting, flashing off mirrored glass. As ROBERT watches as a BROWN-OUT passes across the city. Building lights DIM and WINK out. ROBERT comes out of his reverie and gets in the VOLVO. There is some HONKING in the PARKING LOT. FOLLOWING the VOLVO as it bumps out of the PARKING lot. The building lights in the distance FLICKER back ON as the VOLVO leaves downtown for the inland SUBURBS. VOLVO INTERIOR: ROBERT: (ON HAND-FREE CELL) Sandy? I’m on my way. What’s going on? SANDY: (ON SPEAKER) It’s on TV. Some kind of brownout. We’re OK though. See you soon. FOLLOWING the VOLVO as it winds through upscale suburbs with houses lit brightly. We hear sounds from car RADIO. ROBERT is scanning for news. MALE NEWSCASTER: (RADIO) ...some kind of event in the Port of Los Angeles. The Governor in Sacramento has released... FEMALE NEWSCASTER: (RADIO) ...that’s all Connecticut Light & Power could say at this time... LOOKING DOWN DRIVEWAY of well manicured yard. A woman, SANDY EARLE, 34, stands in front of WHITE COLONIAL HOUSE looking nervous as VOLVO turns corner onto cul-de-sac and enters DRIVEWAY. SANDY moves to the driver’s door as ROBERT gets out of VOLVO. They embrace. ROBERT: Honey, you OK? You’re shaking. SANDY: I’m scared, Robert. Something happened in California. ROBERT: What does that have to do with us? SANDY: I don’t know. But it sounds bad. ROBERT puts his arm around SANDY. FOLLOWING them as he leads her to front door of HOUSE and inside. NIGHT - INTERIOR WHITE COLONIAL: ANGLE on KITCHEN from across FAMILY ROOM. SANDY at counter pours two glasses of wine from partially empty bottle. ROBERT sits down on lush couch and uses remote to hunt for TV news on big screen. PANNING ON SANDY as she reaches the coffee table in front of TV with the wine GLASSES. CLOSE-UP OF TV SCREEN: CNN ANCHOR (ON TV) A confirmed report of a large explosion aboard a container ship in the Port of Los Angeles. We are going to... The TV goes to BLACK as the lights flicker and go out. DARKNESS. SANDY: Damn! What the hell? SANDY: (CONT'D) I’ll get some candles. FOLLOWING SANDY to the COUNTER. A butane FLAME lights the darkness. SANDY melts the CANDLE to a saucer and lights light it. She returns to the COFFEE TABLE. She puts down CANDLE and kisses ROBERT’S forehead. She sits and they pick up the GLASSES for a toast. SANDY: (CONT'D) To us. ROBERT: To us. They lean back with their wine to sip and relax. SANDY: How was the Baltimore Expo? ROBERT: Lots of software. Too many people. I’m really beat. SANDY takes a long sip of wine. SANDY: Well, just relax babe. We’ll catch up when the power comes back. CLOSE-ON ROBERT as he puts down his glass and settles back to close his eyes. ROBERT: Okay. CLOSE-ON ROBERT IN DARKNESS: ROBERT still sits on COUCH. The CANDLE on the COFFEE TABLE is low, guttering down, and SANDY is GONE. The lights FLICKER and are ON AGAIN, BRIGHT. WITH LOUD STATIC. Now the COUCH looks disheveled, as does ROBERT. CLOSE-UP OF ROBERT IN BRIGHT LIGHT: He has stubble on his face. His hair and beard look colorless. His FACE is seamed but puffy at the same time. It is the FACE of a man at fifty-six. DISSOLVE TO: ROBERT shakes off an invisible demon from his sleep. His shoulders shudder. Suddenly ROBERT looks alarmed as he remembers his dream. ROBERT: SANDY! Sandy. San... ROBERT’s voice trails of as we PULL WIDER. We see his COUCH and TABLE from twenty years ago all scuffed, worn and dirty. But we are in a different room, an ENCLOSED PORCH in another HOUSE. There appears to be fine sawdust coating surfaces. A WORKSHOP. ROBERT looks at the old CLOCK over the side table. It reads five-four-five A.M. ROBERT: (CONT'D) Again! That same friggin’ dream. FOLLOWING ROBERT as he stands and runs his fingers through his hair to groom himself. He waves his arms. ROBERT: (MUTTERS) (CONT'D) Gotta get rid of it. What happened in Baltimore, anyway? ROBERT’s hand hits a PAPER BAG shading a hanging LIGHT BULB. The swinging LAMP sweeps away and then back in his FACE. BRIGHT WHITE LIGHT fills the SCREEN for a INSTANT. CLOSE-UP ROBERT: CUT TO: He looks shocked. SUDDENLY the LAMP WINKS OUT - DARKNESS. The STATIC is gone. There is no sound but a distant CHICKEN. Early dawn light is filling the room softly. ROBERT looks at the swaying DARK LAMP. ROBERT: (CONT'D) Just as well. Gotta go fishin’ with Loren anyway. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. (AFTERNOON): RAILROAD TRACKS BY RUSHING STREAM It is mid JUNE and HOT. ROBERT walks along between the RUSTY TRACKS with a FISHING POLE and CREEL that looks full. Another man, a bit smaller keeps pace. IT is LOREN, about ROBERT’s age, and similarly equipped. BEHIND them a old RAILROAD TRESTLE spans the STREAM. Wild flowers sway on the EMBANKMENT below. ROBERT: Do you think I’m nuts, Loren? LOREN: You are obsessed with the old days, but it sounds to me you’re trying to get rid of ‘em... I’m obsessed too. But I want them back. Even the mall. ROBERT: I miss a lot of things... but I not the mall... even though it reminds me of Christmas shopping... with Sandy. Screenplay adaptation by Juan Wilson ©2008-2010
Recognizable Characters in Predictable Circumstances By Dmitry Orlov on 1 February 2010 in ClubOrlov - (http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2010/02/recognizable-characters-in-predictable.html) Act I of James Kunstler's new play "Big Slide" is now available as a staged reading via KunstlerCast, with Acts II and III to follow, and the entire text also available as an e-book. The play is set in the not-too-distant future, after West Los Angeles has been obliterated by a bomb, Chicagoland's drinking water has been laced with Botox, the President has been suicided, gas is at $10 a gallon and mostly not for sale, stores have been looted, electricity is off for good and armed gangs in police uniforms man checkpoints and confiscate anything edible. Other than that, everything is fine. It is a story of three generations of the prosperous and privileged Freeman family, who flee the growing mayhem in New York and Boston and hole up at Big Slide, which is their family compound in the Adirondacs. Big Slide comes complete with a stalwart and competent caretaker, a large collection of guns and fishing tackle, a nearby lake stocked with trout, a forest full of deer, rabbit and seasoned timber felled by a winter storm, a greenhouse and an ample garden plot. If only the Freemans had prepared... but then their varied needs include morphine, a replacement hip joint, a strict vegan diet and plenty of booze—all inaccessible or in short supply, now that even venturing into the nearby town has been deemed inadvisable. Also, with family tensions worthy of Anton Chekhov, can they avoid shooting each other? .

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