Understudies by andy watters | Script Revolution




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Two strangers; both understudies in London's Theatreland, swap the 'accidents' of their respective stars in order to each get their big break. Then it all goes wrong. "Strangers on a Train" in London's West End.

Sir Chesterley Mortimer and Sir Cedric Sanford; two ageing stars, dominate their respective sell out shows, in London's West End. Then a chance meeting of their respective understudies, Miles Addison and Harvey Vincent.

Vincent suggests they swap the accidents of their aged stars, to give them both a chance in the starring roles of their respective plays; referring to the plot in the Hitchcock film 'Strangers on a Train.' Next morning, Addison dismisses their beer fuelled fantasies. Then Mortimer is found dead; Vincent telling Addison that Mortimer's skull had 'cracked open like a hardboiled egg.' The Pathologist's Report deems it was an accident. Under pressure, Addison - now receiving rave reviews as the star of his show, thanks to Vincent - agrees to inflict an injury on Sanford so that Vincent also gets his chance at fame. When Addison runs off after the attack, Vincent approaches, helps Sanford to his feet, then brutally murders him.

Addison, believing he has killed Sanford, is thrown into turmoil; later exacerbated by Vincent now being his understudy in a new West End show, where he is the star. Now Vincent wants Addison to play 'sick' for two weeks, to give him one more chance at fame. To convince Addison to do this, he confesses the truth - he didn't actually kill Mortimer. It really was just a tragic accident.

But Addison turns the tables on Vincent. Convinced he has killed, whereas Vincent hasn't; he details a plan for Vincent to break into his house and murder his wife Emily, all while Addison is performing on stage.

But Vincent has plans of his own. He calmly walks up to the front door of the house and is invited in by Addison's wife Emily. He confesses his crimes before informing her he must now kill her. In the ensuing tussle, he is stabbed; Emily escapes.

Emily accompanies police to the theatre; her husband to be arrested for murder. Emily waits at the back of the auditorium, watching her husband perform in the final scene of the play, when a bloodied Vincent appears on stage, collapses and dies on stage. The curtain drops, the theatre is evacuated. Addison, climbs high up into the gantry. Police plead for him to come down, to tell his side of the story. Then a motor sounds, the curtain rises and Emily steps onto the stage. She calls up to her husband.

"Addison, suddenly calm, composed, leans forward, arms held stiffly by his side. Emily screams.
A sickening thud, the stage vibrates on impact, the floor timbers flex. Addison's body lays next to Vincent's, their hands touching. Addison's fingers twitch once, then nothing."

Submitted: January 10, 2020
Last Updated: January 15, 2020

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The Writer: andy watters

I am a writer in as much as anyone who can think and put those thoughts on a page in the form of words, is therefore a writer. So that pretty much accounts for a large chunk of the population. Now this is where it gets difficult. What sets me apart? Ok, so I have a vivid imagination. Big Deal. I have been writing screenplays for over twenty years now. Big Deal. I currently have four screenplays completed and being 'tweaked' right now. Big Deal. I was a quarter finalist in a 2018 screenplay competition for my screenplay STUMPY COMES CLEAN, which you can read below. Big Deal. So far so average. So why do I do it? Simply because I love the process of creating something new and original. It's... Go to bio

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