Orpheus Star by Donn Swaby | Script Revolution

Orpheus Star



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A young gay musician struggling with depression returns to his hometown seeking to heal the rift between him and the estranged Baptist preacher grandmother who'd raised him before either falls victim to a family curse.

DOUGLAS PRIVETT (late 20’s, thoughtful, sensitive Donald Glover type) is a talented singer and bass player in St. Louis, Missouri fronting the popular power trio, Third Degree, three-time winner of the Annual St. Louis Battle of the Bands Contest. Despite his band’s success, Douglas struggles daily with chronic depression, barely able to cope with the pain of loneliness and disconnection.

But when he receives a message that his grandmother, PASTOR EURYDIA CARLA MAE PRIVETT (50’s-60’s, head-strong, passionate Margaret Avery type) has been hospitalized following a stroke, Douglas heeds the inner stirrings of familial responsibility and returns to the small town of Holden to see her.

However, to say his grandmother is not thrilled with his arrival is an understatement; Pastor Privett treats Douglas with the same emotional indifference she’d displayed when raising him. Nevertheless, when none of Pastor Privett’s church friends are able to help her with therapy sessions, Douglas volunteers for the job.

Shown no love by his grandmother, Douglas turns his attention to finding CAL JOHNSON (late 20’s, cool, enigmatic Lucas Till type) his only childhood friend and secret romantic crush who’d mysteriously disappeared the night they’d planned to run away together. Instead, he finds Cal’s younger sister, JAYLENE JOHNSON (early 20’s, feisty Kristen Stewart type), a big-hearted, independent-spirited woman who supports her aspiration to study at a top culinary school by hustling as a stripper. She helps Douglas search for Cal while encouraging him to make peace with Pastor Privett.

But after several testy encounters, Douglas all but gives up on his grandmother… until he finds her journal. He learns of her belief that she was cursed for rebuffing the sexual advances of LIZETTE JEAN-MARIE (30’s, femme fatale Thandie Newton type) a female Mambo, aka, “witchdoctor” she’d befriended while stationed in Haiti as a young missionary. The untimely deaths of both her husband and son, both foretold in her dreams, only strengthened her belief that any family member she shows love to dies. Douglas realizes his grandmother has withheld her love from him in a misguided attempt to save his life.

After several near-accidents, Douglas begins to believe in the curse too. When Pastor Privett dreams Douglas will become a victim, she is overcome with fear and fervently prays to God to save him. A sudden black-out forces her to venture to the basement where she flips a fuse, causing the frayed wiring of a kitchen appliance to emit sparks which ignites old grease on a countertop and starts a fire that soon turns deadly. With Jaylene’s help, Douglas returns to the house and saves Pastor Privett before it’s too late.

Douglas forgives his grandmother and for the first time, finds inner peace. He returns to his band and his life in St. Louis, reborn, with a newfound desire to live life and be happy.

Attached Talent: 

Starletta DuPois as Pastor Ezrela Mae Privett
Marla Gibbs as Ruth Carmichael
Patricia Belcher as Beaula Davis
Jade Harlow as Jaylene Johnson
Chrystee Pharris as Dr. Janice Parker
Lou Beatty Jr. as Deacon Gabriel Timmons
Rosie Lee Hooks as Olivia Brooks

Suspense Drama
Submitted: July 23, 2019
Last Updated: June 28, 2020

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The Writer: Donn Swaby

Donn wrote the feature film, Buds for Life, which was distributed to video in 2008. Donn also wrote, co-produced and starred in the short films Wedding , The Two Professors , Star Wars: The Mission, Guns in the Posters, The Date and The Forum . His articles and blogs have been published on The Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com/author/donn-swaby) and donnswaby.wordpress.com. His feature length articles, restaurant and music reviews have been published in meltmagazineforwomen.com and entertainmentvoice.com. His children’s picture book, You’re Everything Everywhere All the Time, is available on amazon.com. Go to bio