Skip to main content

Writer's Digest 91st Annual Competition Script (Stage Play or TV/Movie) First Place Winner: "The Mad Scene"

Congratulations to Wim Coleman, first place winner in the Script (Stage Play or TV/Movie) category of the 91st Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Here's a preview of his winning play, "The Mad Scene."

Congratulations to Wim Coleman, first place winner in the Script (Stage Play or TV/Movie) category of the 91st Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Here's a preview of his winning play, "The Mad Scene."

WD-90th-Annual-2022-LaunchLogos-1100x615

[See the complete winner's list]

The Mad Scene

Synopsis 

On a night in 1793, Marie Grosholtz (the future Madame Tussaud) searches a Paris cemetery for the freshly guillotined head of Queen Marie Antoinette. While the young sculptress makes a plaster cast of the face, she engages with a conversation with the decapitated queen. Back in her workshop, she adds Marie Antoinette to a wax exhibit that already includes the firebrand journalist Jean-Paul Marat and his assassin, Charlotte Corday; they will soon be joined by the revolutionary zealot Maximilien Robespierre. As the Reign of Terror rages around them, the wax figures come to life and argue among themselves and with their creator about revolution, freedom, tyranny, power, history, personhood, and other themes as vital today as they were in Revolutionary Paris. By the end of the play, Napoleon is France’s emperor, and Marie Grosholtz has moved her exhibit to London and has become known as Madame Tussaud. While Madame Tussaud dances with a mute wax figure of Napoleon, the other figures become something more than mere hallucinations in the mind of their creator.

Writer's Digest 91st Annual Competition Script (Stage Play or TV/Movie) First Place Winner: "The Mad Scene"

PROLOGUE

The Madeleine Cemetery, Paris; the night of October 16, 1793. 

MARIE ANTOINETTE’s head lies in the lap of MARIE GROSHOLTZ, who will later become known as Madame Tussaud. MARIE works by the light of a lantern.

MARIE

Madame …

ANTOINETTE

There is no sky.

MARIE

… can you hear me?

ANTOINETTE

I never noticed it before.

MARIE

I must take your face.

ANTOINETTE

Carolina, look for yourself. You’ll see it’s true.

MARIE

I’m not Carolina.

ANTOINETTE

There is no sky. There are only stars. Oh, and a slender curved scimitar of a moon,

hanging by … an invisible thread, I suppose. But tied to what? There’s nothing to tie

it to, nothing to hang it from. There is no sky. (wincing) Don’t. Carolina, why are you

touching my face like that?

MARIE

I’m not your sister. I’ve got to make a cast of your face.

Keep Reading! Click here to download the first 15 pages of the script.

Writer's Digest Competitions

Get recognized for your writing. Find out more about the Writer's Digest family of writing competitions.

Willaims, 11:26

Preslaysa Williams: On Finding Hope in Romance

Award-winning author Preslaysa Williams discusses the process of writing her new romance novel, A Sweet Lowcountry Proposal.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 26

For the 2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Day 26 requires a second thought.

12 Books That Make Perfect Gifts This Holiday Season

12 Books That Make Perfect Gifts This Holiday Season

Here are 12 books released in 2022 that make perfect gifts this holiday season for the reader in your life.

Writing a Nonfiction Crime Story in a Literary Style

Writing a Nonfiction Crime Story in a Literary Style

Rigorous research, incorporating  authentic dialogue, and adding details from true-to-life moments, author Deborah Larkin shares how she wrote a nonfiction crime story in a literary style.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 25

For the 2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Day 25 gets serious.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Make a Deal

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Make a Deal

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character make a deal.

5 Rules of Ethical Journalism

5 Rules of Ethical Journalism

Alison Hill shares five rules of ethical journalism and shines a light on why more and more people may be growing weary of journalism and journalists.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 24

For the 2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Day 24 considers what it's all for.

12 Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing Your Cookbook

12 Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing Your Cookbook

Cookbook author Deanna Martinez-Bey shares 12 pros and cons of self-publishing your cookbook to help you make the best choice for you and your manuscript.