Shortly after I published my historical fiction novel, Melaynie’s Masquerade, I was exploring ways of promoting the book. One of my most unique ideas was to create a teleplay and film it at a local TV channel in Westlake Village, near my home at that time. I was no expert in filming but luckily I had plenty of help with a volunteer camera crew. My best ally was John Kilpatrick, Director of Theater at Agoura High School who became Francis Drake. He had no problem with costumes since he had been a part of a vocal ensemble for the annual Renaissance Faire. He even wrote a song about the book and accompanied himself on his mandolin. I found my Melaynie through the Young Artists group in Thousand Oaks. Pardon the inconsistencies in the formatting. The dialog is in 16th century style.
John Kilpatrick as Drake, Me, the Author, and Genna Allen as Christopher/Melaynie
MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE TELEPLAY
Camera focuses on blown-up copy of book artwork to the sound of John Kilpatrick as Francis Drake playing and singing Renaissance song on mandolin as title sequence rolls – 10-15 SEC..
BOOK ON DESK – 10 SEC,
SHIP ON DESK – 10 SEC.,
AUTHOR’S HAND ON DESK AS SHE TAKES PEN AND STARTS WRITING – 10 SEC.
YOUNG CHRISTOPHER SITTING AT EDGE OF STAGE – 10 SEC.
The author starts to read and camera focuses on AUTHOR for 10-15 Sec. Camera then focuses back on CHRISTOPHER at edge of stage.
“She awoke abruptly, her heart pounding, her upper body drenched in sweat. It was the same dream, one that she had had since childhood. Strangely though, it was repeating this spring every few nights. She sat up and shook her head to dispel the vision as she lifted the heavy blond tresses off her sweating shoulders. A bare hint of daylight filtered through the bed curtains. She looked down at the curls that cascaded over the pale, cambric night-raile that hid her small breasts. The sight of her thick and wavy hair brought back a flash of the dream…..”
Hmm, I do like the way I started this. What an adventure she had….
Camera focuses on: Francis Drake as he walks onto the set and looks around, puzzled.
Start what? Are you talking of my adventure?
Camera focuses on Author .
I’m talking about the beginning of the novel I wrote, which is an adventure, that’s what. But who are you?
Camera focuses on Drake
Francis Drake, at your service.
(He bows down with a flourish, then he looks around again with a quizzical look)
Where am I?
(He walks to the desk and picks up the author’s book)
Is this one of the latest books from the printing press? I haven’t seen anything like it before, but the ship appeals to me.
(He looks around again as he puts the book back).
What the devil is keeping my captain’s boy? I sent him for the compendium, and he hasn’t returned. This doesn’t look like my cabin.
Camera on Author
Slow down, Sir Francis. I can’t believe it’s you. I must be dreaming. It isn’t even time for you to appear in my book yet.
Camera on Drake
Sir Francis? Would that I were. Are you a witch, prophesying my future? Is that why you’ve called me here?
(He keeps looking around, shaking his head to clear up his vision)
Well, you could say I’m a witch. I must have conjured you up. Or did you wander over from some Renaissance Faire?
A faire? Be you daft, Madame? I’m aboard my ship, the Pasco, and ye may be assured there are no women there! So you must be a witch.
No women… well, none that you’d know of. You do play a prominent part in my book, MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE.
God’s Faith! Now you’ve got me all a-puzzle. Who is Melaynie, pray tell? And where is Christopher, my captain’s boy?
I sent him on an errand, before you so rudely called me here.
(with mischievious smile) Christopher, you say… hmm. Now Christopher has an important relationship to Melaynie.
But that’s my secret, and hers.
(loudly in exasperation)
God’s Eyeballs! The minds of women! What has one to do with another? Christopher lad, where is my compendium?
I must check our course. We may be nearer the Caribbean than I thought.
Camera on CHRISTOPHER as she rushes in, out of breath.
Captain, Captain. Here tis.
(She hands him a compass).
This is no compendium! I’ve never seen such a thing. (He looks hard at the Author). Is this another of your trickeries?
It’s only a modern-day compass. It should get you to the Caribbean.
Camera on Christopher and Drake
(She catches sight of the Author, smiles as if she knows the secret of why she’s here, easily accepting the Author’s presence. She turns back to Drake) Aye Captain. I’ve never seen such as that, not even in the print shop.
The print shop? Tis a strange dream I’m having. Books, print shops. I’m trying to sail a ship and keep my men alive and healthy.
(She looks dreamy, remembering).
Captain Drake, ‘tis my father’s print shop I was speaking of. The Odyssey, ‘twas the book I was reading that must have inspired this masquerade. ‘Tis the male sex that have all the adventures. What’s a poor girl to do but dream? Of course I did do something about it.
Child, what are you prattling on about?
Melaynie… Oops, I mean Christopher, just because I’m here, don’t get carried away. Your captain never finds out your secret.
(saucily, betraying girlish ways)
Of course not. Men can be dull creatures! Not Francis Drake, mind you, but he had too much affection for me to see past my disguise.
(She does a little dance).
(He turns to Author and in a very self-assured manner proclaims…)
If ‘tis you, Good Lady, bedeviling me with this dream. reverse it back, I implore ye, afore I lose my mind and bearings. Let me awaken from this business. The Carib Sea awaits, where I am determined upon taking Spanish treasure. Twill be full of danger, but the rewards will be great. I mean to make my fortune, with aplenty for my men as well. (He gently taps Christopher on the shoulder) Even for young Christopher.
(she looks at him with imploring look)
Prithee, Good Captain, am I to be part of these perilous sports?
Young Christopher, upon that I shall ponder. Beguile us no longer Good Witch. My duty calls.
Camera on Author
Farewell, I bid thee be gone.
(she waves her hands and the two disappear).
What an incredible imagination I must have. Let’s see, where was I? Oh yes,
She turns back to her pen and paper.
“Her hair wasn’t blond in her dream; it was very definitely red. Cherry red.. And plenty of it. It was her hair, she was positive of that. But there was a full and equally red mustache and beard. On her chin. She touched the soft flesh of her full cheeks and slightly pointed chin. Her stubborn chin, as her beloved brother David called it. Why was she continually dreaming that she was a man? And such a man! In her horned metal helmet she towered over her companions.”
Camera focuses on Drake playing mandolin and singing and then credits roll
A fair young maid in a house of men
Three brothers and a father dear
On whom she waited both hand and foot
All seasons of the year.
Yet none could know that in her dreams
Another life did call
Where lives were sold for Spanish gold
And a boy ain’t what he seems
The fair young lass had had enough
And signed on with a crew
With ringlets shorn, on a cold gray morn
She bid her world adieu
As cabin boy to Capt. Drake
For adventure she set sail
Her comfort sold for Spanish gold
And therein hangs a tale.