by Arthur Meiselman
Currently Under Option.
Ellie lives with her daughter, Sarah, in an unfinished condo on the
North Shore in Chicago. Sarah is an invalid, spending most of her
time in bed or in
a wheelchair. She doesn't speak and seldom moves, the victim of a brutal and terrorizing rape two years ago.
The medical prognosis is grim. She has not responded to any
treatment and she may remain nearly catatonic for many years,
maybe the rest of her life. What no one knows is that Sarah does
"awaken" when she is alone, when she can speak and sing about
fantasies that make her happy. Ellie refuses to consider the
possibility of institutionalizing Sarah. Her life has become
intensely focused around the care and protection of her daughter.
It is an intensity that has affected her self-esteem and pressured
changes in her relationships with friends and family, particularly
her older daughter, Rachel.
Rachel comes to see Ellie and Sarah every day. But today she
has a goal. She wants to close the chapter on what has always
been a troubled relationship
with Sarah, and she wants to convince her mother to put Sarah away and get on with her life. As usual, they clash and dig at each other.
ELLIE: And another thing, stop calling me mom!
RACHEL: Oh that's great, what should I call you, aunty?
ELLIE: I have a name, call me by my name.
RACHEL: Fine, Aunty Elaine!
ELLIE: Elaine is what doctors and lawyers call me.
My friends call me Ellie. You are a friend of mine, aren't you?
RACHEL: I think so -- I hope so-- maybe some day-- Aunty Ellie!
Ellie then reveals her own plan. She has located the man who
brutalized Sarah and who was never convicted for the crime.
She has arranged to have him "hijacked" and brought to confront
Sarah in an effort to deliver the shock that she believes will
lead to recovery. Rachel is outraged. Ellie is obsessed.
That evening, the encounter takes place. The man is dragged in
and Sarah awakens. In a series of comic and terrifying events,
the three women reaffirm their identities and reconnect a
stronger, more lasting bond between them.