DOCTOR WHO: A LIGHT IN THE DARK
Story and script by Andrew Hawcroft
Based on the BBC TV series created by Terry Nation
Ideally, budget allowing, the entire back of the stage will be compromised of one large hi-def LED screen (used sometimes in certain concert events.) Alternatively, traditional light-projections may possibly be substituted of a large projectable custom-made screen. The images projected on it will comprise the bulk of ‘scenery’ for each scene, but will be also enhanced practically by appropriate set elements pushed on either side of the stage to give it a material grounding and reality.
IMPORTANT: A doorway, the same size as the door on the TARDIS, will be part of the LED/projectable screen near Stage Right, which will, when the TARDIS materialises, match the image of the TARDIS precisely, so that actors can walk ‘out’ of the TARDIS and onto the stage at different places. Behind this part of the LED screen will be a moveable back-lit piece of scenery depicting the interior of the TARDIS, to further assist the illusion. On other occasions, the TARDIS will be a real full-size physical prop that appears onstage.
THE DOCTOR: 900 plus year-old Time Lord, the last survivor of his race, born of the planet Gallifrey. Apparent age 35-45. He wears a three-quarter length black frock-coat over a modern blue or purple long-sleeved top or T-shirt, black canvas trousers and sturdy modern boots. In this incarnation, he is a little darker and moodier than in some others, bearing more of a Jane Austen male-quality about him; more Mr Rochester or Darcy than before. He has more of an emotionally-repressed air about him, one that requires the passionate, feisty spirit of young Florina to bring him out of himself more than any companion in the Doctor’s history. At some point before the events in this story take place, he has decided never to take another companion due to the pain of eventually having to part from them.
FLORINA PELLEA: A fourteen year-old born survivor. Romanian, the only loving force in her young life was her nanny, Alannah, assigned to her by her wealthy parents who cared more for high-society than their little daughter. When they died after her eleventh birthday, her vile aunts and uncles, seeking the parents’ wealth and property, paid to have her sent to the world’s worst orphanage, here in the mountain province of Orsova at the end of the Carpathian Mountain Range. She is the unofficial guardian and team-leader of the tragic band of small, frightened, under-fed and neglected children on Ward 9. All the children speak in English thanks to the TARDIS’ translation abilities, but still with a strong Eastern European accent.
MISTIFIED: The spoilt brat offspring of a mighty and terrible alien ruler. Given everything he wanted as a child by a disinterested warmongering megalomaniac who lived only to overthrow planets and increase the breadth of his kingdom. Mistified (real name His Highness, Hollacious Voobaro Kretessaller the 13th ,of the planet Kargoa,) finally rebelled and stole an artefact of his father’s, the Flutari, that allows him to control the minds of the weak and gullible; children especially. Still not content, he has come to Earth to engage The Doctor in a dastardly scheme to obtain The Orborium, a terrible, near-mythical device that can re-shape matter itself, essentially making the owner omnipotent.
NURSE VILANI: Vile , cruel, thirty-something ‘medical professional’, ensconced here in the orphanage to ‘care’ for the children. Assistant to the Director.
DIRECTOR GREGOR MADI: Miserable, soulless, bloated ‘Director’ of The Orsova Home For Orphaned Children’, interested only in keeping his salary, his pension, and exploiting his position of power to his own pleasure and gain.
WARD 9 CHILDREN: LORI,(9) LANI, (9) GEORGE (10), NORA (8) and GRETLE (10). Five children, aged from 8 to 10, occupy Ward 9 with Florina. In total, they are the only children in the entire orphanage. All are under-fed, under-dressed for the cold, unhealthy and totally depend on Florina to keep their spirits and courage up.
THE NEW DOCTOR: In the final minutes of the story, the Doctor will regenerate. Each week, a different FAMOUS ACTOR, a star of stage and/or screen, will appear on stage as the new Doctor.
1 Animated Prologue
2 Title Sequence
3 Romanian Countryside
4 Orphanage/Ward 9
5 Jungle of Fernoplasti
6 Orphanage/Ward 9
7 Temple of Ico/Tunnel
8 Temple of Ico/Lair of The Corcator
9 Temple of Ico/Lair of The Eleetium
10 Temple of Ico/Lair of The Mandiblu
11 Temple of Ico/Lair of The Dust Merchants
12 Temple of Ico/The Orborium Chamber
13 Orphanage/Ward 9
DOCTOR WHO: A Light In The Dark
SCENE 1: ANIMATED PROLOGUE.
‘CRUDE’ ANIMATION SEQUENCE:
SCREEN IMAGE 1: The following images are not photo-real, but a stylised version of a child’s attempt at animation, perhaps sketched with crayon, perhaps (ostensibly) painted with water colours, perhaps made with cut-out sugar paper, but completely childlike in appearance.
We see a speck of light. Another. Another. Soon we realise we are drifting through the (crudely made) stars. Soon we begin to pass different coloured planets, some plain, some patterned, roughly -painted depictions of cosmic storms....
FLORINA (V/O) Once upon a time, not so long ago but a very long way from here, there was a young Prince who lived in a castle. His father, the King, was the most powerful man in the land. Now it would be charming to say that this Prince was kind and caring, but.... he was not. Not at all.
The stars begin to grow less frequent and the planets we pass become darker and uglier, as though we are entering a ‘bad neighbourhood’ part of the Universe.
We finally enter pure blackness, and there, in the centre, stands a very ugly planet. Dark and gloomy, with fiery green cracks running over it like streams of unnatural lava.
Sound FX: The sound of something like alien weaponry is followed by the painfully- realistic sound of distant human-esque screams and plaintive cries can be heard. Disturbing.
We see the animation of the following. The animation is almost like 1960’s Russian Communist Propaganda films. Not childish enough in tone and mood anymore, though just as roughly done.
FLORINA (V/O) The King of this domain was vicious, violent and cruel. He cared only for war, for dominating everything and everyone around him, not just within his own kingdom but in all the land surrounding it. He was able to do this because of a magical device called The Ball, which gave him any material thing he could imagine. The problem with The Ball is that every time it was used, it took another year off the Life of the User, so the King quickly became old before his time. Still, the power of the The Ball entranced him, and he would give it up to no man, not even his son, for whom he cared little. Instead of being an attentive father, he allowed his son to have anything he wanted during his many absences from the King’s palace while he pursued yet another war. Missing a parent’s love and a parent’s discipline, and yet given everything else he wanted, the son quickly grew into a spoiled brat, wanting everything and yet being pleased by nothing. Whatever he gained, it wasn’t enough, and his over-indulged manner only grew more demanding, more unsatisfied. During his many angry, petulant moods, he would darkly plot the means to obtain The Ball from where his father had hidden it, and finally, be able to obtain anything and everything he wanted, as soon as he wanted it.
So powerful was his father, that none could stand up to him. As the King’s realm increased, so less and less domains were able to resist his domination. Like a virus the King’s armies spread across the world, and it seemed no one was able to stop him.
But no matter how much land the King had, no matter how feared he was, it only made the people under his dominion wish harder and harder for a hero to save them.
And when enough people wish hard enough, anything is possible....
We end on the image of a crudely animated image of The Doctor. He is standing high on an alien mountain beside his TARDIS before a stormy alien sky; charcoal clouds streaked with green lightning...
Fade to black.
End animation sequence.
SCENE 2: TITLE SEQUENCE.
SCREEN IMAGE 2: Using the famous theme, we see a new interpretation of the classic TV show’s ‘Wormhole’ credit sequence, listing the actual names of the cast as well as the stage production team.
SCENE 3: ROMANIAN COUNTRYSIDE.
SCREEN IMAGE 3: To a rather mournful score, we drift over the Carpathian Mountain Range, cold and bleak and inhospitable, eventually passing over the Romanian province of Orsova. An ugly landscape of jagged rock, snow, dead trees, wolves, and an icy cold winter sun low in the background, heating nothing at all.
Finally we arrive at our destination. Nestled in a valley beside a poorly maintained mountain road, stands a rather horrible-looking building that could be a Victorian-era mental hospital. Decaying, dirty, forgotten. We see a weathered old sign beside the rather Gothic, oaken double doors. The lettering is in Romanian, but SUBTITLES at the bottom of the screen read:
‘ORSOVA HOME FOR ORPHANED CHILDREN. Est. 1916. Director Gregor Madi.’
SCENE 4: ORPHANAGE/WARD 9:
SCREEN IMAGE 4: We see the inside of a filthy, decrepit orphanage-ward. The Romanian word for ‘Nine’ is painted in large faded, chipped letters along the dirty white wall at the back.
SCENERY: A freestanding old wooden door in a frame stands far Stage Right to ‘enter’ the Ward. It has an old metal light switch built into the frame. A line of six beds, like rusty hospital beds, covered in entirely inadequate bed sheets that haven’t been cleaned in weeks, lie across the back of the stage. The Ward is (ostensibly) lit poorly by a single hanging bare bulb.
FIVE ROMANIAN CHILDREN; LORI, LANI, GEORGE, GRETLE and NORA are in those beds, peeking timidly out from under those bed sheets, trying to keep warm, watching Florina finish telling the story from the Prologue sequence.
FLORINA PELLEA is fourteen years old, half-starved, with short, poorly-cut, messy blond hair made rather spiky-ish from lack of washing, wearing boyish, threadbare pyjamas (like the others.) She speaks English but with a heavy Romanian accent. She speaks and gestures with slightly heartbreaking enthusiasm and energy, a real light in the dark of this place.
FLORINA But no matter how much land the King had, no matter how feared he was, it only made the people under his dominion wish harder and harder for a hero to save them. And when enough people wish hard enough, anything is possible....
And then, one day, just as the King ...yes Lori?
Lori has put her hand up very timidly.
LORI Is there enough of us here to make anything happen if we wish hard enough?
FLORINA Maybe Lori! Maybe. Maybe if we all wish hard every hour of every day, then....then change will come. It has to! The Universe cannot stand up to enough wishes!
GEORGE So if I wish to be adopted this year?
FLORINA It could happen George. Anything is possible.
GRETLE I’m going to wish hard now.
FLORINA Hang on Gretle! Wait until the story is over, and then we’ll all wish to be adopted together. I think it works better when a lot of people wish at the same time.
LORNA I’m clever. I can wish and listen at the same time. I can get a head start on the wishing. Sort of let the Universe know what’s coming.
FLORINA I’ve known you for three years Lorna. You can’t tie your shoelaces and breathe at the same time. Just wait! I’m nearly finished.
NORA I’m..... hungry.
FLORINA (This throws her a little) Yes, I know. But.....while we’re wishing to be adopted this year, we’ll also wish for more food while we’re waiting. Might as well get all our wishes in at once.
NORA Can I wish for cake?
FLORINA Absolutely. A giant chocolate cake big enough for all of us.
NORA I’m cold too.
FLORINA Er.....why don’t you get started on wishing for that cake? I’ll finish telling the story and then we’ll join you.
Nora nods weakly, closes her eyes and hugs her tiny bed sheet around her body.
FLORINA (Trying to keep the energy up) Right. So, this really evil Prince decides one day that he can’t....
Bang! The old wooden door in the frame swings open and all the children shudder...and
shudder again when they see who the visitor is. NURSE VILANI, worthy of the name.
A vile, mean thirty-something hag in a very unclean nurse’s uniform enters.
She carries a lit cigarette. She takes a deep puff and blows the smoke casually across the
stage. Romanian-accented English too.
VILANI Lights out little bugs. Go to sleep and don’t give me cause to come back. The Director has a bad hangover. He wants a trouble-free night. Any problems from you Miss Pellea, I think he might ask me to arrange a Bath Time for all of you. You remember the last Bath Time? You were all very badly behaved, so you deserved it. You’re not going to be badly behaved tonight though are you?
FLORINA No Nurse Vilani. Only....
FLORINA Only, Nora is hungry. She’s the youngest. She can have some of my breakfast from tomorrow. But can she have it now?
VILANI Are you getting breakfast tomorrow Florina? That remains to be seen. Depends on how quiet you are. Depends if I find you out of bed, filling the bugs’ heads with more nonsense. Lights out little ragdolls! Lights out. Don’t make Nurse get her Scrubbing Brush.
She smirks and leaves, flicking the light switch on the doorframe. The bare bulb goes out.
‘Night blue’ lighting covers the scene. Florina looks crestfallen.
NORA Florina, I’m scared!
Florina moves over and sits on her bed (which is roughly Centre Stage) and Nora throws her
little arms around her, sobbing into her shoulder. One by one, the other children nervously
get out of bed, hurry over and sit on the same bed, trying to console Nora, but glancing
anxiously at the door. They speak in urgent whispers.
GRETLE Nora! Please! You have to be quiet!
LORNI It’s alright Nora.
NORA I want my mother! I don’t want to be here. I want my mother!
FLORINA Ssssshhhh Nora. It will be alright. I’ll make it alright. George, light the candle.
GEORGE But we’ve only got one match left. And what if Nurse sees the light under the door?
FLORINA She’ll come in anyway if Nora doesn’t stop crying.
George goes to Florina’s bed at the far end, and pulls a thick wide candle and a cardboard tab
of matches from under her mattress. He sets about lighting it and brings it back.
LORNA Nora, remember Happy Pony? Happy Pony! She’s waiting for you in Nurse’s office. She’ll be given back to you soon. That will be nice won’t it? Be nice to see Happy Pony again. I bet she misses you.
NORA I want her now!
She starts sobbing loudly again.
FLORINA Lani, get Mister Huggs. He’s under my pillow.
Lani slips off the bed and hurries to Florina’s where she pulls a rather threadbare but
loveable teddy bear from under Florina’s pillow. She hurries back and gives it to Florina.
FLORINA Look Nora! Look what you’ve done! You’ve woken up Mister Huggs. He’s wondering what all the fuss is about. At least say hello now that you’ve woken him up.
FLORINA (Gruff bear voice) “Hello Nora. My goodness what a fuss! You’d better give me an especially hard hug to make you feel better.” Go on then Nora, don’t keep him waiting!
Nora wholeheartedly lets go of Florina and hugs the proffered Mister Huggs instead.
FLORINA (As Mr Huggs) “Oooooh that’s better. I like a good hug. Now I feel better too. Thank you Miss Nora.”
GEORGE Sing her the song too.
GRETLE Yes, sing her the song.
FLORINA Alright, but I’ll have to sing it quietly, so are you listening very hard Nora?
FLORINA (The original song, ‘Broken.’) ‘You’re broken. I see it. You’re broken, but you can mend. With time, and a lot of love. And still more time. And still more love. With time, and a lot of love, you can mend....’
FLORINA/GEORGE/LORNA ‘You’re lonely. I see it. You’re lonely, but you’ll be found. With time, and a lot of love, and still more time. , and still more love... With time, and a lot of love, you’ll be found...’
FLORINA/LORNA/GEORGE/LANI/GRETLE ‘You’re happy. I see it. You’re happy, and all is well. With time, and a lot of love, and still more time, and still more love.... With time, and a lot of love, all is....
Suddenly the door bangs open and Nurse Vilani, holding a bottle of what could be spirits in
one hand, and a bulky, stiff-bristled scrubbing brush on her other hand.
Florina has blown out the candle but it’s too late. Nurse Vilani violently flicks the light
switch and the bare bulb comes on. When she sees the children with the smoking candle, her
eyes develop a shocked kind of special cruelty.
VILANI Oh my God! You have a candle?! You stole this!
FLORINA No! We....found it! I found it! In one of the other wards. They’re all empty. I didn’t think anyone would mind! Please!
Nurse Vilani strides over and snatches it out of her hands and flings it offstage.
VILANI Well, we do like being disobedient don’t we Miss Florina! And who is this?
She snatches Mister Huggs off Nora, and suddenly all of Florina’s toughness is gone, and she
might as well be the same age as Nora.
FLORINA No, please! Please!
VILANI Ragged little thing. I think he needs to be adopted. I think I have a home for him in my special cupboard upstairs! Or maybe just the furnace in the boiler room.
This does something to Florina who suddenly goes hysterical, throwing herself at Nurse
Vilani, clawing for Mister Huggs like a mother desperate for her baby. She is quite violent in
her attempts. Nurse Vilani takes a cruel pleasure in holding the bear out of reach, until
Florina jumps up and scratches her eye. Nurse Vilani falls back, dropping the teddy bear as
a terrible hush falls over the room. Florina scoops up Mister Huggs and clings him to her chest protectively, even though she is terrified. As Nurse Vilani raises the heavy scrubbing brush high, clearly not going to scrub with it....
Suddenly GREGOR, the Orphanage Director, a middle-aged, unshaven, heavy-drinking slob
in a crumpled suit staggers in through the door, rubbing his head and looking furious.
GREGOR WHAT THE HELL IS ALL THIS NOISE?
VILANI (Showing him her slightly bloodied fingers, still shocked) She attacked me Mr Director. She attacked me! She...she drew blood.
GREGOR I pay you to keep the discipline Nurse Vilani. We had two hundred children in this orphanage ten years ago. Now we have six. Are you saying six children are too much for you?
VILANI No Mr Director.
GREGOR Am I overpaying you?
VILANI No Mr Director.
GREGOR Sixteen years you’ve worked here. Do you wish to receive your pension in four years time?
VILANI I do. Very much.
GREGOR Then by all means, do what must be done to maintain discipline Nurse Vilani.
VILANI Oh I will Mr Director! I’ve learned the error of being soft with them. This one in particular. (Pointing to the terrified Florina) I shall remedy that right now.
(Ugly appraising pause)
Can I help? I need something to distract me from my er... migraine
VILANI That’s very kind of you sir. Please be so kind as to hold this one while I give her a good clean.
She shows him the stiff-bristled brush. The other children cry and huddle around Nora,
terrified. Gregor grins and hurries over to grab Florina from behind, who struggles
GREGOR Don’t forget behind the ears.
Nurse Vilani moves in. Florina screams helplessly...
Sound FX: The sound of the TARDIS. Just the sound.
Those inside stop and listen, surprised.
Thump! Unseen, the TARDIS has arrived outside. The people in Ward 9 all hold position in the silence momentarily after. Then;
Sound FX Ding-dong. Doorbell (old-fashioned kind)
Everyone turns to look at the door where the sound has clearly come from.
GREGOR What the hell?
VILANI There’s no doorbell on that door!
Sound FX: Ding-dong.
GREGOR WHO IS THAT!?
Sound FX Ding................................................dong.
GREGOR (Whispering harshly to kids)
If this is a government inspector, I want you all to tell him how happy and well-treated you are. If you do, if you do a really good job of it, we’ll forget all about this display of insolence and ungratefulness. Just this once. Perhaps you will also get pudding with dinner tomorrow.
Nurse Vilani looks angrily at him.
GREGOR We’re due one spot check every year. You want us closed down?
VILANI I thought you paid the last one off!
GREGOR And if it’s a new one? The staff change all the time!
Sound FX Ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong....
VILANI There’s no goddamn doorbell on that door! How is he....?
GREGOR It doesn’t matter! Just play along. And get rid of that!
He’s pointed at the brush. He straightens his rumpled tie, flattens his hair and heads to the door as Nurse Vilani releases Florina with a baleful glare and shoves the brush under Nora’s mattress.
Gregor goes to the door and opens it. And there.....stands THE DOCTOR. He is late thirties, early forties. He wears a black frock coat over a modern long-sleeved blue top, dark canvas trousers and modern chunky Caterpillar-style boots.
THE DOCTOR Lovely evening isn’t it?
GREGOR And who are you?
THE DOCTOR I’m a government inspector. You’re due a spot check at least once year...so I’ve recently come to understand.
GREGOR Which government department do you represent?
THE DOCTOR Department? Oh. I represent the Galactic...I mean, the Global Organisation For The er....Welfare of er...Junior Lifeforms and er.... the National Society for the..er...Protection of er..Stuffed Bedtime Animal Companions....
....Limited. Regarding the latter, I also track down their owners when owner and companion become separated. Does this fine beast have an owner?
He holds up a large stuffed pink pony with big blue eyes and yellow mane. Nora looks ecstatic.
NORA Happy Pony!
THE DOCTOR Marvellous! Back to the stables you go...