Dancing Under a Buzzing Streetlamp by William Parsons | Script Revolution

Dancing Under a Buzzing Streetlamp

A young man risks a life of obscurity unless he can overcome the walls his family has put up that force him to stay in the closet and not pursue his passion to dance.



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It's Los Angeles, in the early 1970's, a time when a young Italian man was the legacy of his family. A time when a young man was destined to step into his father's, his grandfather's shoes. A time when a young man was not encouraged to chase his dreams of being the next Hollywood or Broadway singing and dancing sensation and of being in love with someone of the same sex.

Mike Demetriano, that 16-year-old third-generation young Italian man, has a lot on his plate.

His quirky, Latin-quoting best friend Kait knocks him upside his head (literally and often) and tells Mike to follow his dreams. Mike’s boyfriend Josh carries as many secrets as Mike is, and not just about also being gay. A dance instructor, outside whose studio Mike each night dances incredible, impromptu choreographies while bathed in the light of a buzzing streetlamp, tells Mike he's the most naturally-gifted dancer she's ever met and offers to teach him for free.

Mike just wants everyone off his case. He just wants to be the good little Demetriano and do what his beaten-down father and his tyrannical grandfather expect him to do. Mike knows it's the right thing to do, because he learned early on, when he was five years old and lost and abandoned in a dark alleyway in a foreign city: if you don't play things safe, you don't keep your head down and your nose clean, this life eats you alive and spits you out. And you end up the worst thing imaginable: alone.

At Kait's Sweet Sixteen party she demands Mike give her the gift she really wants: that he dance her off her feet, right there in front of everybody. Mike fights her, but his best friend knows she's the one person Mike can’t deny. Mike gives Kait her gift, and it just feels...so...perfect.

No! The family business, Demeter Design — the one that lets them live the incredible life they do as Hollywood Oscar-winning elite — needs a third-generation Demetriano at the helm, and that's got to be him. Helming Demeter is Mike’s security, it’s Mike’s playing it safe.

But then there’s that night when the nightmare Josh lives blows wide open, and Josh’s grandfather reveals all the horrific things he’s been doing to his grandson for so long. Incredibly horrific things. So how, therefore, can Josh still smile and laugh? Given his boyfriend’s optimistic reaction, Mike now knows he at last has some important, life-changing questions to answer: What choice does Mike make, this Italian young man, the pride of his family and their hope for the future? Play it safe for the rest of his life? Or risk everything and dance a choreography, right there in front of all of them, that opens the gates of Heaven themselves?

Submitted: January 21, 2019
Last Updated: June 22, 2022

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William Parsons's picture

The Writer: William Parsons

"Do not fear death; fear the unlived life." Ever since I read that advice given by Pa Tuck in Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting, I have thought of that as my rallying call. I do not want to come to the end of my days (at 52 years old, still—so I hope—a ways off) and look back and realize to my horror, "Wow, what a waste!" A product of a bad childhood, I have stumbled through my adulthood, always though managing to keep on the path of my own happiness. The one constant through all of it has been my writing, which has lived in symbiosis with my meandering that path. My writing has served as my journal of that journey, and my journey has provided me the well of emotions and experiences to... Go to bio

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