Rhetoric by Conor Matthews | Script Revolution


A troubled youth joins a private school debate team, struggling to keep it a secret from his broken family.



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Education Minister Dean Curry is due to attend a graduation ceremony at Glenwood Academy, an elite private secondary school. As he makes a detour with his assistant, Gregory Gowan, to visit his old family home, now abandoned, he flashes back to his youth, when he was a good-for-nothing teenage nicknamed “Deano”.

After a fight with another student, he’s suspended just before the start of the summer break. He picks up his younger brother, Alan, from school and they return home, where he encounters his mother Carla and his step-father Brian. After an argument and fight, due to Brian stealing money from Dean that he was saving to take Alan to the zoo, Dean storms out of the house and encounter Adam, the local drug dealer. Adam reminds Dean that his family owe him money. To repay the debt, Dean is told to steal money deposited in Glenwood Academy in the office of a teacher.

During the break-in, Dean becomes distracted by a trophy case. Regaining his senses, he continues on to the office, only to find the English teacher, Dr. Arthur Weiss, is present. Panicking, Dean flees, trying to escape, but not until he attempts to smash open the trophy case and steal a trophy. Outside, Dean find that Adam and his friends have escaped on scramblers, leaving Dean to be arrested.

While interrogated, Dean meets Arthur, who enquires why did he steal the trophy when he could have escaped. At Arthur’s insistence, Dean reveals that he admired it and wanted something of worth. Refusing to give the names of his accomplices, even when threatened with charges, Arthur offers Dean to drop the charges if he accepts a scholarship to attend the school. Confused, Dean learns that Arthur comes from a similar background to himself and that he sees something of value in Dean. The only other stimulation is that Dean must join the debate team, which Arthur coaches. Dean is allowed to comtemplate the offer.

Returning home, Dean finds Carla and Brian both stoned. Dean tries to sober Carla up to get him to school, but is told he’s at his friend’s house for a sleepover; the same home of his ex-girlfriend, Jessica. Trying to talk himself up and impress her, he tells her about the scholarship, but she belittles him, saying he’s lying. While taking Alan to school, Alan tells Dean he’s upset with him for leaving the night before. Saddened that he’s upset his brother and that he’s thought of as having nothing going for him, he decides to visit the school.

Making his way through the country-side by bus and on foot, Dean is brought to the school’s auditorium by the Academy’s gatekeeper. Within the auditorium, he finds Arthur drilling two students who are practicing for the debate team try-outs at the start of the next term; Heather Frost and a young Gregory Gowan. Dean is then brought to Principal O’Shea who further explains the stipulations of the scholarship, explaining that they will not tolerate any of Dean’s previous behaviour. Dean expresses disbelieve in why he’s been chosen, expressing his desire to feel value and pride in himself. It’s only when Principal O’Shea reveals that Glenwood Academy works on a legacy scheme, meaning Alan would be offered the same scholarship when he comes of age, that Dean fully accepts the offer.

Dean returns to the auditorium to practice his skills with the other students, joined by two more, but discovers that he struggles to be comfort debating in favour of motions he doesn’t believe in. Arthur leaves displeased, encouraging Dean to be more prepared for the real try-outs at the start of term. Mocked by the other students, Dean is ready to assault one until Gregory begrudgingly stops him. Leaving, Dean argues with Heather, as he takes out his frustration with her. Heather scolds Dean for making assumptions about her simply because of her class, revealing his hypocrisy. While getting a lift to the bus stop by the Gatekeeper, he’s encouraged to stay, if only for the sake of being given the opportunity few lads like him are ever given in life.

Returning home, Dean learns Alan was bet up at school because other students didn’t believe Alan when he said Dean was going to Glenwood Academy. Needing Carla’s signature to attend, Dean tries to tell her about his scholarship but is belittled by Brian, who confirms Arthur’s story that he himself was once from a poor family. It’s then that Brian reveals that Carla is pregnant again. With so much to consider and riding on his acceptance, he forges his mother’s signature.

Dean returns at the start of the new term, accepting his place, ready to begin his new secret life as a student of Glenwood Academy. This is reflected in the b-story, as adult Dean finally makes it to the entrance of Glenwood Academy.

Submitted: June 30, 2019
Last Updated: June 30, 2019

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Conor Matthews's picture

The Writer: Conor Matthews

Writer. Ireland. Interested primarily in TV. I recommend reading "How Death Got A Life", "The First Witch Trial", and "Bronach". Feel free to reach out. My Website My Ko-Fi Go to bio

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