Watch the Stairs by R. J. Cardullo | Script Revolution

Watch the Stairs

A young movie usher is being shown around during his first day on the job by an older usher—who warns him about the manager, people who try to enter the balcony, and seductive girls.

Type:

Status:

Page Count: 
18pp

Genre:

Budget:

Age Rating:

Based On: 
a 1949 one-act play by Tennessee Williams
Synopsis/Details: 

"Watch the Stairs" is set in the lobby of an old movie house in New Orleans, but it deals with the allure of anonymous intimacy in the galleries of the theater. The script is about a naïve sixteen-year-old boy’s first day of work as an usher at the second-run Joy Rio Cinema, where the film "All About Eve" is playing during the summer of 1951. At the start, the young man is being shown the ropes by an older usher named Carl Meagre, who cautions the new employee not to let people go up to the box seats in the upper balcony.

In "Watch the Stairs", at least according to the boy’s older co-worker (who has been at this job for ten years), the manager, Emil Kroger, initiates new male employees with a figurative, as well as literal, trip up the forbidden stairs—which thus represent, not a romantic escape to a new Eden, but the road to knowledge of a decidedly earthly, even transgressive, corporeality. As the action chaotically escalates, Carl makes this allegation-cum-warning essentially a charge of sexual abuse against Mr. Kroger—a charge that raises psychological as well as ethical issues.

The main focus in "Watch the Stairs", however, is on the shy teenager enduring his first few hours on the job. To pass the time, he and Carl watch Bette Davis on the screen as she bites down on a piece of celery as if she is fellating it (or worse)—at which moment a girl bolts past them to the balcony. This leads to an all-out conflict between Mr. Kroger and Carl, who explodes, quits, and goes upstairs himself, ripping off his uniform along the way.

That leaves the young usher to deal with another girl, a talkative teenager named Gladys. This boy may have little experience of sex or the world, though he tells us that he has published two poems. His future poems may improve, moreover, if he makes the decision to go upstairs and join the lascivious nymphet beckoning him. Will the new hire give in and let Gladys have what she wants? Or will he just stand there and—watch the stairs?

Submitted: October 23, 2020
Last Updated: October 26, 2020

Want to read this script? You must join the revolution first. Don't worry, it's free, easy, everyone's welcome, and you can start reading right away.

This Script Is Loved By 1 Readers

Nicholas Zingarelli's picture
R. J. Cardullo's picture

The Writer: R. J. Cardullo

A former university film teacher, I turned to screenwriting several years ago. I have also written film criticism for many publications. A New Yorker by birth, I grew up in Miami and was educated at the University of Florida, Tulane, and Yale. My last U.S. address was in Milford, Connecticut; I am now an expatriate residing in Scandinavia. Many of my scripts (both long and short) are adaptations of lesser-known works by well-known authors. I am happy to re-write, collaborate, or write on demand. Thanks kindly for any attention you can give my work. Go to bio

More Scripts From R. J.

Brooklyn Boy
The protagonist of "Brooklyn Boy" knows he can’t go home again. All he can really do is think about it—about the influence on his life of Brooklyn, the Mafia, Catholicism, and World War II.
Feature Crime, Drama, Family For sale 126pp
2 readers love this script
Hemingway's War
Inspired by Hemingway’s experiences as a correspondent during the Spanish Civil War, Nick Adams is the protagonist of this script. He witnesses a traumatic event, participates in one, or learns of one during each episode.
Feature Action, Adventure, Drama, War For sale 108pp
2 readers love this script
The Boarded Window
This is the story of a man who THINKS his wife has died of fever.
Short Horror, Mystery For sale 3pp
2 readers love this script
Light in Darkness
"Light in Darkness" concerns a masquerading moralist who campaigns (for a price) for the closing of brothels—until he realizes that he has been so successful, he’s putting himself out of business.
Short Comedy, Drama For sale 28pp
1 reader loves this script
The Frosted Glass Coffin
Through the conversation among three elderly men sitting outside a Miami hotel, "The Frosted Glass Coffin" focuses on the twin predicaments of old age and impending death.
Short Comedy, Drama For sale 21pp
1 reader loves this script
While the Auto Waits
A young man of wealth comes upon a young, lower-class woman in a park; each pretends to be a member of the other’s class until it's time to return to work—or leisure.
Short Comedy, Romance For sale 8pp
1 reader loves this script
The Ragpicker
Possessing distinct relevance to the current age, "The Ragpicker" is a short, compassionate study of a homeless man as he forages on the street for sustenance and respect—as well as to bury his sorrows.
Short Drama For sale 19pp
1 reader loves this script
The Teacher
A retired professor and his former student meet for the first time in years, only to discuss a pedagogical lesson that both have already learned.
Short Drama, Mystery For sale 3pp
1 reader loves this script
Home Stretch
An old couple anxiously make their last move, from the city to the countryside, to await what the future may bring.
Short Drama, Family For sale 9pp
1 reader loves this script
Mending Wall
Two neighbors repair a wall between their farms, only to have gaps in the wall appear again.
Short Drama For sale 2pp
The Monster
A black stable-hand saves his white employer’s young son from a house fire, but the black man’s burns disfigure his face so much that he becomes a pariah, like the employer himself—and his family.
Feature Drama, Family, Horror, Thriller For sale 76pp
Intimacy
Unexpected and unannounced, a writer calls upon his ex-wife, only to summon her welled-up wrath.
Short Drama, Family, Romance For sale 10pp
Body and World
A group of people wait in a room, anticipating the moment they will be born—and knowing in advance what kind of life they will ultimately live.
Short Drama, Sci-Fi For sale 19pp
Fool of God
An old Belgian peasant loses his entire family to the Germans in one day during the First World War—only to be confronted by questions of God, man, and self.
Short Drama, Family, War For sale 24pp
Bodies Count
Three American soldiers are interrupted by an unwitting messenger as they eat breakfast—sitting on frozen German corpses. (Part I)
Short Drama, War For sale 8pp
The Runaway
A father and son go walking in the snow in winter, only to encounter—and leave alone—a fearful colt without his mother.
Short Action, Drama, Family For sale 2pp
A Watcher by the Dead
In San Francisco in the 1890s, three doctors decide to test their theories on people’s fear of the dead—only to have death test them.
Short Horror, Mystery, Thriller For sale 13pp
Book-Burning
At a Nazi book-burning, a writer protests that his own books are NOT being burned, then further protests by jumping into the fire—and burning himself to death.
Short Drama, Horror For sale 2pp
The Laugher
John Cleverhouse’s moon-face and grating laugh are enough to get under anyone’s skin—but how far will his neighbor go in order to get rid of the jolly man with the ridiculous name?
Short Comedy, Horror For sale 8pp
Business Deal
"Business Deal" portrays a young writer’s already-jaded weariness of the movie business—and his surprising one-upmanship in financial negotiations with a middle-aged (yet benighted) studio boss.
Short Comedy, Drama For sale 7pp

Pages

sendnudes