With Darkness (Is All I Ever See)
I'm (slowly) trying to
write my version of a Batman musical and I've sketched out a new scene
description for 'Dark Entwined with Darkness'.
First of all try & picture the following:
On left-hand side of theatre (as audience looks on), and outside the stage perimeter, is a platform resembling a rooftop high over Gotham, with a spire and demonic/angelic gargoyles. It protrudes out over a corner of the first 2-3 rows (no-one would sit here), and will be used for various scenes throughout.
At rear of stage is a large video screen that engulfs the whole rear wall and extends beyond each side of the stage. This will be used to project 'live' close-up images of the actors on stage (especially the mad rants of Joker), as well as various pre-recorded images, including still and moving panoramic day/night time shots of Gotham.
This particular scene closes Act 1. The previous scenes have been at Arkham Asylum (about half the first act – think Midnight Express meets Silence of the Lambs meets The Shining), and Joker has escaped with lots of other inmates, and in doing so Batman has been critically injured (not sure how yet, probably shot).
Batman manages to call Alfred who gets him to hospital as Bruce Wayne.
Scene opens on extreme right of stage (centre stage and rooftop are not lit). A group of reporters, photographers & concerned citizens are gathered at the entrance steps to the hospital.
Reporter 1 is making an outside broadcast and talks into a camera:
'Over in Arkham last night it really was a case of the lunatics taking over the asylum. A mass breakout of 81 inmates from the infamous prison, including the notorious Joker, left 5 guards dead and 16 injured, along with millions of dollars worth of damage.
Police report that 17 inmates have been recaptured leaving 64 of the most, maddest, baddest, criminally insane freaks, that you’ll ever likely to meet, still on the loose & stalking the streets of Gotham.
Details are still sketchy but it appears Bruce Wayne was somehow caught up in the incident and is now fighting for his life inside Gotham General…'
Reporter is cut off as he is jostled and a scrum for position then breaks out amongst the crowd as Commissioner Gordon and a surgeon appear from inside.
Reporters start to shout out questions as flash bulbs continually go off.
Reporter 2: 'Commissioner Gordon, can you confirm that the Joker was one of the escapees from Arkham last night?'
Gordon: 'Unfortunately yes, but the Gotham City Police department is doing everything within their powers to recapture every prisoner who escaped, with the Joker at the top of the list'.
Reporter 3: 'Any idea what Bruce Wayne was doing at the asylum and what is his condition?
Gordon: 'At this stage we don’t know but we are all praying for him…'
Surgeon: 'Mr. Wayne was brought to the hospital in the early hours and has undergone surgery to remove three bullets from his chest, and is now in a critical condition. It is just too early to tell, and we should hopefully know more in the next few hours.
Reporter 4: 'And does anyone know where the Batman is?'
Gordon: 'I wish I knew, and we are trying to contact him as I speak, so please let me get on with the urgent work at hand…'
Gordon & the surgeon turn to go inside as more questions are shouted out.
Reporter 1 resumes his broadcast: 'So there you have it folks, Bruce Wayne on the critical list, Batman absent without leave, and a whole bunch of lunatics out on the streets. Lock up your sons & daughters, looks like it’s gonna be a dark one tonight!'
Piano intro then starts as stage right fades and centre stage is slowly lit to reveal an intensive care unit inside the hospital.
Bruce Wayne lies in a coma on the bed with a bare chest and lots of wires/drips attached. Several nurses are in attendance along with the surgeon.
The rear screen suddenly comes to life with intermittent flashes of white noise, scrambled dialogue and the heart monitor display, along with various images of Joker & Bruce Wayne’s parents (to indicate Bruce's comatose thoughts).
Centre stage slightly fades as the rooftop is now lit to reveal Batman, but as part of Bruce’s comatose thoughts (are you following?).
Batman then starts to sing DEWD as the heart monitor display starts to move more rapidly and the nurses start to show more concern.
During the second chorus Batman moves from the rooftop onto centre stage, walking around the bed and between the nurses & surgeon (but he can’t be seen as he is a 'comatose thought').
During the 'For Crying Out Loud' section he drops to his knees (by the bed) and sings towards the heavens (with a close-up on the video screen).
As this section ends the video screen now shows the heart monitor flat lining as Bruce goes into cardiac arrest, and Batman 'fades away' (off stage).
Throughout the solo that follows another surgeon runs on and Bruce is shocked with defibrillators on numerous occasions, jerking high off the bed (for effect) before the heartbeat returns as the final chorus starts.
Batman has now re-appeared on the rooftop to sing the final chorus, and ends by turning towards centre stage and bowing his head. Will Bruce/Batman survive?
As the bells slowly start to chime, the video screen shows a night view of Gotham with church spires slowly being lit with celestial beams. Batman raises his head and as the first note of the 'Heaven Can Wait' melody kicks in, a bright celestial beam lights up the bed and Bruce suddenly bolts upright, finally awake from his coma, and starts to pull at his wires/drips, as the nurses subdue him.
Batman then expands his caped wings in defiance, lets out a primal scream that echoes all over Gotham and then 'leaps from the roof top' (via a trap door and dry-ice).
The fight is back on (in Act 2)!