Applause

Written by Rodion Beletsky

FADE IN:

INT. BAR — NIGHT

A small, dimly lit bar with low ceilings. Some soft music is playing. There’s a tape-recorder at the bar counter. Behind the counter we see Father (63). He is busy calculating revenues on a calculator.

Veronica is standing next to him, with her back to Father. She is washing the glasses and putting them on a tray. Her eyes are wide open, but her look is empty. Veronica puts the last glass at the tray, grabs a towel without even looking and wipes her hands.

VERONICA
Dad, what time is it?

Father turns off the tape-recorder.

Veronica puts the towel aside, turns around, and picks up her guitar, which was standing somewhere under the bar-counter.

Father shakes his head in disapproval.

Veronica walks past the counter and heads towards a small stage, making her way past the tables. She is holding the guitar in her right hand, and stretching her left hand a bit forward, to avoid bumping into things. Now we understand, Veronica is blind.

Veronica accidentally rubs the guitar against a chair. A dull sound breaks the silence.

A Drunk wakes up at one of the tables, and opens his blear eyes.

At one of the other tables we see a young couple, staring at the iPhone, and sharing the headphones.

Veronica settles at the stage, takes the guitar in her hands and finds the mike.

VERONICA (TO THE MIKE)
Good evening, dear guests.

Neither the Drunk nor the couple pays any attention to her.

Father looks down. He feels shame.

VERONICA (CONT’D)
Today I’m going to sing my favorite song for you.
“You are not alone”.

Veronica starts playing the Michael Jackson song, accompanying herself on guitar. She’s not a very good guitar player, but her singing is quite impressive. She is obviously confused.

Father buries his face in his hands.

The Drunk gets to his feet and heads to the exit, loudly bumping into some chairs as he goes.

The couple cracks up. They react to what they are watching on the iPhone.

VERONICA (FINISHES SINGING)
Thank you so much. You are wonderful.

Father looks at the empty hall, then at the couple and starts applauding loudly.

VERONICA (TO THE MIKE)
Thank you, dad.

Veronica takes the guitar strap off her shoulder and walks back to the counter, stretching her hand a bit forward to avoid bumping into things.

CUT TO:

EXT. BAR. FIRE ESCAPE — DAY

Father is standing there with the Extras Coordinator. Father gives him a thick envelope.

Extras Coordinator takes the envelope, opens it and finds a wad of money there. He counts it.

FATHER
They shouldn’t leave before she finishes singing. They should stay some time after as well.

EXTRAS COORDINATOR (PUTS THE ENVELOPE IN HIS POCKET)
Don’t worry. They’ll do what they should. It will be just like in movies.

Father and Extras Coordinator shake hands.

CUT TO:

INT. BAR — NIGHT

The tape-recorder is playing. Father is behind the bar counter. He is tense. He looks around.

The bar is full. There are 30 people there. People of different age and background.

Extras Coordinator is seated at the table, closest to the stage. He stands up upon seeing that Father is looking at him. But Father gives him a sign – it’s too early.

Father looks at Veronica, she finishes washing the last glass, grabs the towel, and wipes her hands.

VERONICA
Dad, what time is it?

FATHER (POSITIVE)
Your time has come, sweetheart!

That sounds fake, and Veronica notices it. She picks up the guitar and heads to the stage.

FATHER (AS SHE GOES)
Full house tonight!

Father turns off the tape-recorder and shakes his head – it’s a sign for the Extras Coordinator that it’s still too early.

Veronica gets onto the stage, right in the spotlight. She finds the mike.

VERONICA (TO THE MIKE)
Good evening, friends.

Under this everyone turns to the Extras Coordinator, but he shakes his head in the negative.

VERONICA (IN COMPLETE SILENCE)
Tonight I will sing my favorite song for you. It’s called “You are not alone”…

Veronica starts singing.

People at the tables are not moved at all, occasionally they look at the Extras Coordinator.

Veronica finishes singing.

Father nods to the Extras Coordinator.

Extras Coordinator swiftly pulls out a sign that reads “Applause” from under the table.

Suddenly everyone starts applauding really loud.

BALD GUY (YELLS)
Bravo!

The extras stand up, still applauding.

Veronica is happy and confused, she doesn’t know what to do. She bows awkwardly. Tears appear in her eyes. The extras keep applauding. Veronica bows again.

VERONICA
Thank you, thank you so much! Thank you…

Father smiles. He is proud of himself. But his smile fades away when he sees that suddenly people stop applauding and start leaving the bar. He sees the Extras Coordinator as well, he is on his way out too.

Father hurries out of the bar counter to catch him, but happy Veronica approaches him.

VERONICA (CHEERFUL)
Dad, have you heard?!

FATHER
I have! Your time has come!

Father hugs Veronica, watching the Extras Coordinator leave. Everyone else has gone too. Father and Veronica are the only two people at the bar. Father и Veronica stop hugging.

VERONICA
I’ve started learning a new song.

FATHER
What song?

VERONICA
It’s going to be a surprise. For you.

Under this the door opens and the Bald Guy enters. He quickly comes up to Father.

BALD GUY
Excuse me, when is the movie going to be aired?

VERONICA
What movie?

BALD GUY
I just wanted to know when I could see myself on the TV.

Veronica figures it all out, turns around and heads to the exit, grabbing her stick, leaning against the counter.

FATHER
Veronica, please wait!

The door shuts. Veronica has gone.

CUT TO:

INT. BAR – NIGHT

Father is behind the bar counter, calculating on the calculator.

Veronica is with his back to him, washing the glasses. The tape recorder is playing.

Father looks at the watch and turns off the tape recorder.

FATHER
Veronica, it’s time.

VERONICA (KEEPS WASHING GLASSES)
I’m not going anywhere.

FATHER
I’m so sorry, sweetheart.

VERONICA
It’s not about you.

Beat. Father looks at the empty stage. He looks resolute — so he gets on the stage and approaches the mike.

At the bar we see the Drunk, a Woman and a Man. All three are occupying different tables.

FATHER (CONFUSED)
I am going to sing now. This is a song… for my daughter. (SINGS) You are not alone…

The Drunk wakes up and looks at Father with his bleary eyes.

Father goes on singing. He is really bad at it, he blushes, yet trying to do his best.

From the bar counter to the stage, from darkness to light, Veronica is making her way with the guitar in her hand. She climbs up the stage, next to her father and starts singing along, accompanying on guitar.

VERONICA AND FATHER (SING TOGETHER)
You are not alone. I am here with you. Though
we’re far apart, you’re always in my heart but
you are not alone…

O/S: We hear a crowd of thousands applaud.

FADE OUT.

THE END.

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