As the seconds tick away on a song, so does one guy’s last chance with the girl that could become ‘The One’ or ‘The One That Got Away.’
“Last Dance,” a screenplay by Rick Hansberry, tells the story of a crumbling love affair — two people who had a chance at happiness but carelessly let it slip through their fingers.
The action takes place at a combination wedding reception/New Year’s Eve party, a celebration of joy and optimism and new beginnings. But this story isn’t about new beginnings — it’s about last chances, because the focus of this story isn’t on the joyful newlyweds, nor is it on party hats and champagne and New Year’s Eve merrymaking.
The focus is on John, the DJ.
As midnight approaches and John leads the crowd in the New Year’s countdown, Sara, his on-again/off-again girlfriend, arrives at the party, starting a countdown of another sort. Her appearance, “mired by storm clouds in her troubled expression,” lets John (and us) know that a moment of truth is looming. Sara has just come from a date, and her current beau has proposed marriage. John receives this news like “a verbal punch to the gut.” But he puts on his game face and continues playing party music as he and Sara face some music of their own.
It’s obvious to us, and probably to them, too, that these two people care deeply about each other. Subtle, subliminal clues — Sara’s fingers lightly brushing John’s last name on his business card, John’s hand lingering on hers as he takes the card from her — demonstrate their affection. The fact that Sara is even there with her startling news confirms it. And there’s a subtextual hopefulness in their conversation; they both seem to be seeking a favorable resolution.
But there’s also a deep resentment undermining their true feelings, and it just won’t go away. John seems to think Sara doesn’t appreciate the importance of his work, while Sara feels that John is afraid of commitment, and that he buries himself in work to avoid it. “Clever dodge,” she says. “Book yourself for so many weddings, you never have to worry about having one of your own.”
“We talked about it,” he replies.
“We danced around it,” she snaps back.
Finally, nothing resolved, a dejected Sara turns to leave. She’s made her decision. “I walk out that door tonight. When it shuts behind me I’m done.”
Now it’s decision time for John. Can he stop her? Should he? Or is he too late?
Budget: Low-to-moderate. A banquet hall, a crowd of extras, and some DJ equipment.
About the writer: Rick Hansberry is a screenwriter, producer and director with more than 20 years of industry experience. His SAG Foundation award-winning “Branches” features narration by Daniel Stern and garnered international festival awards. In 2017 his thriller/horror film, “Evil In Her” was released on Amazon Video and Vimeo On Demand. His most recent short, inspired by true events, has won praise for its portrayal of one girl’s positive approach to handling her Type 1 Diabetes. You can view It’s Not Permanent free. Rick has shorts and features available here and is presently available for hire for new story ideas, rewrites and adaptations. He can be reached at djrickhansberry – AT – msn, (cell phone 717-682-8618) and IMDB credits available here.
About the guest reviewer: Helen Magellan (a pseudonym) is a successful screenwriter with several produced short scripts under her belt.
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This screenplay may not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.