Empty Spaces - And the Voids They Fill.... | Script Revolution

Empty Spaces - And the Voids They Fill....

Empty Spaces
Two sisters struggle with the loss of their father and wonder if and how they can move on.

 

Do we, as children, truly know our parents? And do we, as parents, let our children truly know us?

When growing up in a family environment, the order of birth, gender, and personality traits all play significant roles in how each individual child perceives their parents. And when one parent finds solace in a bottle, unveiling that reason is sometimes left to those who pay more attention to who their parents really are as opposed to who they want them to be.

Then, more often than not, when the oldest moves out of the unhappy home, the siblings who are left behind feel resentful as if they’ve been abandoned and are no longer loved. But, in reality, nothing could be farther from the truth.

This rings true between the sisters, Debbie and Aiden, in Jessica Waters’ “Empty Spaces.” And the dialogue in this script rings sharp, indeed:

DEBBIE
You’ve been eating nothing but nicotine for the past two days. Mom’s worried.

AIDEN
And you?

DEBBIE
I was worried too until I spent an hour being chastised by mom. Now I’m thinking of picking up the old habit again.

AIDEN
That’s what habits are for.

Aiden digs around in her pocket and pulls out a cigarette a moment later. She holds it out to Debbie who reluctantly takes it. Aiden pulls out a lighter and does the honors for her sister.

DEBBIE
You’re not a pod person, right? I mean you’re still...you?

AIDEN
What the hell does that mean?

DEBBIE
I just don’t wanna lose you.

Debbie takes a long drag of the cigarette. A moment later she’s doubled over coughing, Aiden pats her back playfully until Debbie regains her composure.

AIDEN
You know I don’t know how to act. I can’t sit at the kitchen table drowning in bullshit memories that mom’s created for him. I can’t.

DEBBIE
So love him how he was.

AIDEN
You can’t love someone who spent the past five years consumed by the thought that he’d rather live for booze than live for us.
(she snubs out her cigarette)
Well for me at least. You’ve been God knows where.

DEBBIE
I’ve been working. Don’t act like I abandoned you.

Aiden clenches her jaw tight. Debbie reaches out to her but Aiden brushes her hand away.

In “Empty Spaces,” Debbie figures out early on why her father appeared to have chosen alcohol over his family.

And later, shown symbolically through a box of their father’s photos, Aiden, too comes to terms with the reason for his personal torment.

In this one location, small cast drama, Jessica Waters’ “Empty Spaces” exposes the deeper wounds of a family dealing with alcoholism and the secrets it harbors. Forget about "looking in a bottle".... if you desire a solid, intelligent drama to wow festival audiences, a director need go no further than this.

The Script

Empty Spaces

Two sisters struggle with the loss of their father and wonder if and how they can move on.

About The Reviewer

Linda Hullinger's picture
Real name: 

Linda Hullinger is an award-winning screenwriter and published author who has written thirteen short screenplays, three feature screenplays and two TV pilots. She’s had short stories, articles, and essays traditionally published in magazines such as Woman’s World, Over My Dead Body, Dogwood Tales, Emporium Gazette, and Night Visions. In 2012, she won two Hallmark writing contests in which her essays were published in their anthology. That same year, she published two middle-grade novels and...Read more

About The Writer

Jess Waters's picture
Real name: 

Jess Waters is a Black non-binary writer who writes stories about queerness, blackness, family, and all the ways that people on the margins of society can find healing and family. Building on their childhood growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, they aim to create characters like themself and those who nurtured their growth as a writer. As a queer Black person, Jess understands how and why representation matters, and makes it their purpose to fight for the opportunity to tell stories like her own,...Read more