Edwart & Arlette, 2014

Edwart & Arlette, 2014
Written, directed and produced by
Alan Phelan

Andrew Bennett as Edwart
Mikel Murfi as Arlette and Sam
Stella Godmet as Mary
Stephen Mullen as Alec

Michael Fleming

Luca Rocchini

Alan Phelan

Maureen Hughes

Gina Moxley

Grace O’Hara

Hair and Make-up
Bridge Lucey

Hair and Make-up Assistant
Anna-Leah Rackard

Production Co-ordinator
Paul Hallahan

Production Assistant
Cormac O’Brien

Focus Puller and Camera Assistant
Tommy Fitzgerald

Ela Gas

Lighting Assistant
Ultan O’Conner

Hugh Fox

Oisín Callinan

Emily Strong

Post-production co-ordination
John Beattie
Fire Station Artists’ Studios

Michael Higgins

Locations thanks to:
Office of Public Works
National Concert Hall, Dublin
Irish Architectural Foundation
Broadstone Studios, Dublin
Justin Kinsella

With special thanks to:
Noel Kelly, Anna Rachard, Wendy Judge, Gabhann Dunne, Stephen Loughman, Molloy & Dowling, Patricia Kelly, Liam O’Callaghan, Sarah Jones; Jimmy Eadie; Clodagh Kenny, Trish Perrott, Jerry Organ, Gallahad Goulet, Con Dempsey, Ken O’Shea, Sean Lawlor, Gareth Ball; Nathalie Weadick, Jacinta Lynch, Angela Rolf, Hugh Bonar, Barry Walsh,  Ronan Fogarty; Oonagh Young, Peter Richards, Deirdre McKenna, Matt Packer, Sam Basu, Charlotte Bari

Funded by a Project Award from:
The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon



(version 3, Jan 2014)

Edwart & Arlette by Alan Phelan

Dialogue derived from Tumblr images with words from www.just-a-hand.tumblr.com and the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 1893 Sherlock Holmes story “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box”. The story will be told visually through close-ups of hands making various gestures and poses. Dialogue is assigned to each hand position. Camera shots are to be structured and symmetrical – Ozu style – characters when speaking or making movements should be facing camera in the centre of the frame – low tripod height.  As a starting scene, the film cuts back to here while the story is revealed as flashbacks. Edwart does not exactly confess as the dialogue is not specific. He does not realise that Arlette is in fact Sam maybe this is patently obvious with the make-up and hand close-ups. The conversation between them is tense. The package which contains two severed ears, evidence of a violent act that they are both implicated in differently.

SCENE 1 Arlette’s house, sitting room


Edwart is sitting beside Arlette in her darkened living room, large and largely empty. In front of them is their collaborative book, Les Main dans L’Art, the result of shared research, shared pain and stress, now just a book for a coffee table. Arlette’s work as a curator in the museum gave Edwart the access he sought in tracking the pattern of hands across vast art collections. Edwart’s drive for public recognition gave Arlette the motivation to make her mostly private research public. They developed a close yet strained relationship. His celebrity television pop art criticism was always hard for Arlette to accept as serious opinion, let alone anything close to the academic excellence she demanded. But she had to keep him on her side. And he needed her even more. But they shared a history he was unaware of, one that he only now was on the verge of untangling.

On top of their book, is a box. Brown paper wrapping and string cast aside, the contents revealed, stunning them both into a silence. Two severed ears nestled on a bed of coarse salt stare back at them, mute.

I suppose it was about power
raising his fist, muttering cryptically

Yes, you taking over
snaps back, clasping her hands together, surprised yet knowing

Trust me, it wasn’t meant to happen
shows his full arm, pulling his shirt sleeve to his armpit

Arlette moves to the other side of the table, a more comfortable chair or just a little more distant position. She looks down at the coffee table again, at the box, but averts her gaze to a pile of magazines and books instead. Opening one, she happens, annoyingly, on an amputation graphic and quickly drops the magazine back down, recoiling her hand.

Fig 62 – Amputation of the leg, V.: Sawing of the bones of the leg

show  her hand raised up to her mouth, then shielding her face, perplexed

And your sense of duty

Your’re …
pulls her hand back as if to gesture stop

You’re just hard work
As if pre-empting a physical reaction from Edwart she suddenly splayed out all ten fingers, either a calm down signal or an offensive, not defensive, reaction

Under her breathe
An evil fucker
shows her touching her forehead to shield what she is saying

I’m not something you can fix, take me as I am
shows him reaching across and grasping Arlette’s pinkie finger

That blog is nothing but lies
she ungrasps and picks up her phone, looking distracted and trying to change the subject – brings hand up to eye

SCENE 2 Day 1 Edwart and Mary’s apartment


This first flashback shows the beginning of the Edwart and Mary’s relationship – starting when they move in together, carrying Mary over the threshold to enter apartment.

Remember what we always said, to keep reaching for the moon
view from behind as Ed carries Mary into apartment over threshold with him/both reaching out

Mary looks down at Edwarts arm at his tattoo 

– love will tear us apart

Now I hear the laughter
raising her had to her face looking out the window

No way!
he insisted on pointing in some kind of melodramatic way, looking down at children below, he brings his hands together as if to pray – then turns them into a gun, pointing at them or playing game boy console

Fuck them
Die die die die

Well if I knew you hated kids, do I dare disturb the universe of my dearest Edwart?
a little rattled but trying to make the most of their special day picks herself up and walks back to the door, as she reaches for the door handle to leave

7, is not what I ever wanted
holding his hand up oddly with elastic bands forming a star shape

You’re going to lose me if you are not careful
glumly she walks back to him, touching the tops of his fingers, caressing only slightly, then letting go.

Sometimes I get so confused with you, I hate myself and I want to die
holding her hand out again, grining

Fuck you. You know I only play dirty
giving her the finger, smiling
SCENE 3 Day 2 Edwart and Mary’s apartment


Mary’s brother Sam comes to visit. The interaction between the three is strained. Edwart seems to be flirting with Sam and Sam is complaining to Mary about Edwart. There is a small confrontation between Sam and Edwart – which ends in him almost striking Sam.

They slowly furnished their place after moving in as the scenes in this room progresses. There was some strange reluctance to properly settle so the rooms only gathered more furniture when necessary. Mary’s older brother Sam finally broke the familial disapproval of Edwart and came to visit. Sam was measured yet camp. He and Mary were never that close and she knew only that he worked in a museum, but not really at what.

I’ve always wanted a gay best friend
she points at him as if holding a gun

Darth Vader’s hand
pointing back at her

Picks up magazine and asks
What the hell is a solar ship guide sheet, some kind of horoscope, love and sex advice nonsense, to me it’s just a fuckfest, period
pointing the slapping forehead

It’s all like “please don’t hurt me” don’t break my heart
waving hands in air

These scars are a sign of your strength
pulls up sleeve of shirt, points at wrist

Hard luck Sam – I do still believe in supreme love
is standing now in front of Edwart with her back to him, she touches his thigh, then turns her palm around

I’m a ro… I rock
Edwart snuggles towards her, bring his left arm up to hold her neck and right arm down to hold her crotch

SCENE 4 Day 3 Edwart and Mary’s apartment


Sam brings his handsome friend Alec over for a visit and he flirts with Mary. Sam is jealous. Sam was getting worried about Edwart and his odd, aggressive behaviour. He had therefore decided introduce his friend Alec into the equation. Alec was straight but very good looking. He liked to flirt with Sam and generally confuse everyone as all good looking guys must be gay, right? Mary instantly hit it off and Edwart was instantly pissed off.        

Direct from the hand of a world famous novelist, or some such nonsense, I give you Alec…
holding his hand up like stop

Thank you Sam, but really, nobody understands, I just want to disappear, and be a normal person
he says making writing gestures in the air, feigning modesty, all Garbo-like

Odd, I thought you were a faggot like him
stretching his hands

I really worry about you honey. Are you close to insanity, but not insanity… is unsanity
reaching towards him

Not Penny’s boat, bitch
hand to her face

Ohh, Christain Lacroix, darling
mimicking the same hand gesture, attempting to diffuse the moment

Please, give me a break
I don’t like your vibes man
same gesture again

Get free shit here
forming a fist

“Assistant!” “Operator!” yes yes! 11 12 13
on the phone, held up with her shoulder to her ear, both hands now playing with an elastic band

You are not cool
Looking over to Edwart and pointing

It’s you I want to be with
hands in praying grasp

showing a fist

giving the finger

Hey you Mr Captain Americannibal, don’t make me want to me put you in a coma
gestures as if to bite nails the covers eyes with hands

Take my hand a run fast my dear
grabs Alecs hand

Dice with the devil eh?
palm of hand up as if to stay stop

SCENE 5 Day 4 Edwart and Mary’s apartment


All four characters are now in the apartment together. Mary has invited Alec for dinner thinking Edwart is away but the dinner is interrupted by the sudden arrival of Edwart. Edwart bans Alec from the house telling Sam that he will send one of Alec’s ears for a keepsake if he ever comes back.

So, classy is the original black, yeah? What shite!
holding a black book from the corner – a Twilight sage book

I hate that bitch Demi Lovato
tossing the book down onto the table and presenting two fists

All that vampire crap, my blood, your blood, our blood
running a knife over his palm

This is cabaret
again showing fists

Keep calm darling
grabbing his arm

We can kill him later
taking an elegant exaggerated drag of a cigarette

I’m so lonely with my selfish husband now kids have left
walking over to the table, hiding behind a newspaper

You wish!

Promise me. Promise you won’t leave.
interlocking pinkies with Alec

Edwart enters the room suddenly and sees the two holding hands

to Sam jokingly, dropping Mary’s hand and holding up his up to stop

I’m so glad I met you
holding Alec’s hand again

POLICE! Ice that!
barging accross the room with hands up

Imagine a world in peace
taking flight out back door, holding palm out

I’d do anything to hold your hand.
writes on a piece of paper

And then he was just like, are dust
pressing finger into wrist

Remember who you really are
whispers putting palm to window

In the heart in the head,
there is a different world

comforting Mary showing wrists

Hand to hand. It is the basis of all combat. If that I ever see that fucker again, I’ll be sending you his ears in a box to you
swaggering across room, turning sharply

Slap my hand now, I am to blame, it’s my fault for inviting him over, it’s nothing you fool, can’t you see that, you didn’t need to do that
holding up left hand

Gnarly fucker
exiting the apartment, shakes hand with thumb and little finger extended only

SCENE 6 DAY 5 Street outside Sam’s house


Edwart is returning home from work only to see Alec and Mary leaving the house together hand in hand, heading out for a picnic by a tennis court. He follows and in a jealous rage murders them, slices off an ear from each victim.

Trust became an issue. Edwart could not understand Mary’s relationship with these two men. Yes he had had a drink problem and this did provoke extreme responses to normal stimuli but he had been dry since they married. Maybe that was the problem. His sober state was unnatural. Edwart went for a drink to resolve his head. A few whiskeys later a kind of clarity set in and he decided to pop home to talk it over with Mary. He should have been at work but needed to do this. Walking up the street he sees Mary and Alec leave the house, hand in hand, carrying a sports bag with some rackets. Ducking in an out of doorways and foliage, overhearing snippets of the conversation, he followed them.

The spaces between my fingers are right where yours fit perfectly
fingers interlocked with Alec’s

Someone like me… there’s no reason he would like…
reaching out

What was it again that I wanted to have? Or let it go? Slip away?
tearfully brings hand to face in a fist

You’re a fighter, come on let’s get out of here, what’s on your to-do list – nothing!
he takes out an imaginary notebook from his pocket and crossed off an imaginary list – makes gesture with two middle fingers down, then scribble on paper

Camera shows the Prada label on this coat sleeve as he reaches inside to produce a small bunch of flowers.

Here. Here is something simple and happy.
giving Mary a small bunch of flowers

Yes, it is simple.

Computer love, eh
watching Alec and Mary release hands

What a fucking loser
holding up Mary’s not that says “I’d do anything to hold your hand”

Supreme love my shite
muttering, holding hands up to eyes to shield

They depart, camera shows an A4 flyer for practical palmistry discarded by Alec on the ground

I may be down but not out
raising his hands in the air as he watches them leave

We don’t talk of love we’re much too shy
carrying the tennis racket bag, Alec mooched on Mary’s shoulder once more with his hand on her shoulder

Revolt! Bite the hand that bleeds you Nixon, Agnew, Laird, Hoover, LIARS
watching them leave, muttering, biting his hand

Please applaud with hands only
waving his hands at his side

Classic cigarette Gentry Twee Comfort Classic Cigar Chap Bounder Stealth Woman’s
watching the couple smoke, he mutters

Mary and Alec walked down to a local park which had a secluded tennis court, hidden behind an urban woodland. They settled down at a bench, for a rest and an over due cuddle. Edwart snook in behind them quietly, weeping quietly. Picking up a tennis racket Edwart comes up behind them

These are the tears of neglected children
tearfully, coming from behind, holding the racket

Blonde! redhead now!
smashing Alec’s skull open with a tennis racket

I wish I’d known this from the start
after Mary tries to embrace Alec, he kills her, slices off their ears

A tattoo is a lifetime “mark” have it done by an artist
showing his wrists covered in blood over his tattoo

SCENE 7 Arlette’s house, sitting room


Arlette sitting opposite Edwart, looking, wondering, fearing. She knew him more than he knew. He sits there, numb but fidgeting, running is hand over his crotch. He seemed to be confessing, explaining possibly what he knew about those bloody ears in the box, but something else took her by surprise.

I can’t feel anything but sadness
holding hand out to Arlette

I gotta confess, it’s not that I don’t dislike those guys which I sure as shit do! It is that I’m actually afraid of ‘em! That’s right. Actually fuckin’ afraid of ‘em! Well, maybe it’s more like I’m afraid of my own reaction to ‘em. You see, while I was in the Marines and in the SP’s, well, things can get pretty rough for some hot-cocked guys like me, and  I had this guy who sucked my cock on a regular basis. I mean that fucker just pulled load after load of hot jizz outta my churing nuts. I didn’t just like it, I loved it! I mean, it was the best fuckin’ sex I ever had, ever! Anyway, he got caught and I just missed getting’ caught and thrown out myself. Since then, as I always knew I wanted to be a cop when I got out of the Marines, I played it pretty.
holding crotch

This signal, accompanied by a jerking motion, indicates the guy’s availability.
making jerk-off motion

The thought of anal penetration fills some men with fear.
surprised by the revelation, showing a fist

So what do I do? Pray for Japan, this is the end
hand makes stop gesture, he raises his hand to say stop and a tear rolls down his face. Arlette nervously acknowledged his pain with a slight grin

SCENE 8 Day 2 Edwart and Mary’s apartment


Back when Edwart and Mary were living happily yet awkwardly Sam had more than once been confused by Edwarts behaviour. It was like he was trying to hide something. His aggressive homophobic behaviour was too easy to re-interpret as the signs of some kind of conflicted sexuality yet Sam’s teasing drew often a different kind of reaction.

Not long after Sam had been introduced to the new husband he was over at their apartment to check in. Edwart was on the phone with someone called Mike and having a heated discussion. He quickly finished the conversation when Sam walked in.

Do not push this button,

on the phone then pressing off and blushing

gay not gay, gay not gay, gay not gay
says repeatedly flicking the light switch on the wall

My role was to support, to hold, to reach, to caress
reaching down, rolling up sleeve like in SCENE 1

Sam holds a Wonka bar and unwraps it

She fucking… she… reject me
flexes bicep

In that sales room, of all places, she didn’t want to know me
points to the ground

Did you ever hold his hand?
reaching to hold hand

The truth is I miss you deer.
tearfully, putting two fists together and reaching to embrace Sam, making a show of deer antlers on the wall

Hollywood butts, hmm, nice
freaked out by Edwart’s mood he walks away, picks up a magazine, flicking thru, stops at a page with a male torse, puts it down, then frames it with his fingers, then gives it the thumbs upSCENE 9 Arlette’s house, sitting room


Edwart and Arlette, still reeling from the marine revelation can’t seem to get the conversation going again. The box with the ears has still not been explained so Arlette tries to lighten the mood by making a number of hand gestures at the box, wanting it to reveal itself. Instead it is Sam who reveals himself to be Arlette.

The Teaser The Pleaser The Shocker The Spocker The Rocker The Showstopper
Don’t take my word for it. try em for yourself.
Have fun kids!

making various hand gestures as per photo

Get your hands dirty
making a gesture for each letter as if signing

sitting upright suddenly she raises the palm of her hand to her forehead and shrieks

There’s no hope, objects in mirror are closer than they appear
The mark of the beast, eh?

cryptically, mimicking Arlette’s stop gesture

The next day we will be blood brothers
reaching under the newspaper on the table to get a knife, holding it in her fist

Oh, Talk to the hand
Dong Jun

picking up a glass from the table and teasing

Come with me
reaches over, showing her wrist, taking the knife and running it over her wrist

I’m awkward and terrible and never know what I want
confused, reaches to get package instead

Keep breathing
showing wrist, rubbing her wrists, and then finally removing her wig to reveal Sam

SCENE 10 Day 2 Edwart and Mary’s apartment


As per SCENE 2 but later in the evening. Edwarts developing relationship with Sam who rejects him, an unrequited love that leads to jealousy of Alec.

Sam and Edwart’s relation had begun to unfold toward Arlette before this. They seemed always surrounded by violence. Sam had tried to fend off the mild advances of Edwart through humour but his innate flirtatious manner backfired over the whole situation again, and again.

No matter where you are in the world the moon is never bigger than your thumb
with Ed showing him, with thumbs in the air

I promise love
taking hold of Sam’s hand

What the hell man, are you trying to provoke direction here?
Good luck with that

pushing him away

Take my hand and we’ll make it, I swear
persisting and reaching back

But your hands
show both hands intertwined

This crap failed
shaking out hands

pushing index finger into palm of hand until it bleeds

pretend shoots him with fingers

These hands miss yours
looking down on the palm of his hands

SCENE 11 Day 4 Edwart and Mary’s apartment


Another day. More failed flirting with Sam and Edwart. Sam is serving green tea but the mood quickly changes and becomes darker again as he feels both threatened and victimised by Edwart. Same serves tea but the knife on that table becomes the key character.

1. Human 2. Yixing 3. Tea
making Chinese tea for Ed, pouring it from a porcelain tea pot

Life… Me…
pressing finger into the table to snub out something

You daft punk
touching Sam on the cheek

I want you, Doctor
but this isn’t covered by your insurance

touching his crotch who then removes his hand

People who are different are beautiful
makes a stop sign with palm

shows his wrist

Can I hold your hand?
reaching for Sam’s hand

You don’t care a bit
angry yet sarcastic, making a circle with finger and thumb raising it up to his eye
Call me maybe?
holding out a business card

Make art not friends
flips card around where it says

Gash the soul within, call 465 0360
takes the card and makes a knife gesture across his wrist, then reaching

I am Bradley Manning
makes a talk to the hand gesture

Are you ok? – Yes?
looking at Sam’s wrist

I need something metal
taking up a knife from the table

What’s the point in living if it’s all to die for
laying his palm on the table

SCENE 12 Arlette’s house, sitting room


Arlette was fed up with these games. Fed up with pretending. Scared by the truth and just not sure what to do. Holding her head in her hands, she ran her finger threw his hair which had been matted down by the wig. 

I want out…
I just want out…

holding head in hands

A hand throwing a ball
A hand reaching for a doorknob
A guy drowning at sunset
God reaching to help the guy drowning at sunset

absentmindedly drawing hands and circles on a piece of paper

putting his fist in his mouth

The queer side of things, eh? A bit like a turnip resembling a human hand
showing gnarled hand gestures

Bitch, give me your hand
grabbing for her hand

You are the Love Glove
yanking her splayed hand and shoving it into the box

Be your own hero, fuckwit
resisting and making a fist in the struggle

It’s only a dream
letting go of her arm

I’m fine.
tearfully, wiping his eye

If you aren’t all mine, I can’t stand it
realising that Arlette is Sam, holding down Sam’s arm and cutting his wrist

We all have scars, we all have stories
reaching over and then also cutting Edwart’s wrist

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