(A RUMBLE OF THUNDER. A LIGHT IN THE ATTIC FLICKERS ON ANDOFF AND ON AGAIN, as Regan enters. THE WIND HOWLS SOFTLY.)
REGAN: Hello? Is anyone there?
(Something flies out of a pile of junk – a Ouija board. She picks it up, kneels, puts the board on the floor and examines the planchette.)
REGAN: (to herself) What’s this for?
(Suddenly the planchette slams to the board and, with her fingers on top, begins to spell out a word: REGAN.)
REGAN: R-E-G-A-N. (delighted) That’s my name!
(A beat. THE WIND STOPS. She picks up the planchette again, examines it, then places it back on the board.)
REGAN: Do you have a name?
(The planchette moves to “Yes.” Regan’s thrilled.)
REGAN: “Yes.” What is it?
(The planchette quickly spells out “Captain Howdy.” She says some of the letters as they are spelled, then laughs.)
REGAN: “Captain Howdy”? That’s a funny name. How old are you? I just turned twelve.
(A beat. The planchette moves to four numbers.)
REGAN: No you’re not. No one can be that old.
(The planchette moves to “Y.”)
REGAN: Why? Because you’d be dead.
(THE LIGHT FLICKERS. She hears BREATHING. She looks around, suddenly nervous.)
REGAN: Is someone there?
(THE BREATHING STOPS.)
REGAN: I don’t like this game anymore.
(She puts the board aside and starts to rise, when a soft voice asks:)
DEMON: Would you like to play another game, Regan?
(She stiffens, looking around.)
DEMON: Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you.
REGAN: Where are you?
(THE LIGHT FLICKERS…)
DEMON: I’m here. With you.
(…and she starts to leave.)
DEMON: Don’t go. Please. I’m lonely too.
(She stops, looks around.)
DEMON: I just want to play. A fun little game. I think you’ll like it. You’ll probably win.
REGAN: What kind of game?
DEMON: A game with a prize. Do you like prizes?
REGAN: Depends on the prize.
DEMON (chuckling): Clever girl. The prize is a wish. Whatever you wish will come true.
REGAN: Anything? Like – Dad calling to wish me happy birthday?
DEMON: He’ll call tomorrow. I promise. All you have to do is win.
(She relaxes a bit, steps back into the center of the room. Then:)
REGAN: What if I don’t win?
DEMON: Then I get a prize.
REGAN: What would you like?
DEMON: I’d like to touch you.
REGAN: Is the game hard?
DEMON: No. You think of a number and if I don’t guess it in three, you win.
REGAN: Any number?
DEMON: Any number.
REGAN: Okay. I’ve got one.
DEMON: Is it – seven?
DEMON: Is it – twenty-three?
REGAN: No. You have one more guess.
DEMON: Is it – thirty-one thousand one hundred and five?
REGAN: How’d you know?!
DEMON: I’m a good guesser. May I touch you now? Close your eyes.
(THUNDER. THE LIGHT GOES OUT.)
DEMON: This won’t hurt, I promise.
(THUNDER ROARS. LIGHTNING. A FIGURE DRESSED HEAD-TO-TOE IN BLACK STANDS BEHIND HER.)
THE STORY: An adaptation of the novel by William Peter Blatty, this is the story of a child possessed, a mother frantic to save her, a priest on the verge of losing his faith, and an anthropologist who, in a sense, brings salvation to all.
THE BACKSTORY: In February 2008, I got a call from a Hollywood producer who said that he and a partner had the rights to do a stage-adaptation of Blatty’s remarkable novel. He asked me if I was interested, and I responded with an enthusiastic yes. I made an appointment to go to a meeting with Mr. Blatty, but shortly before I was to leave the producer’s partner called me to say that the trip las off because they were unable to get the rights (which I was under the impression they had already secured.) I went anyway, presented my case to the warm and wonderful Bill Blatty, and was fortunate enough to gain his blessings. I mapped out an outline of sorts, pounded out a draft in a quick ten days, secured a producer who in turn found us a first production At the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. The audiences responded quite enthusiastically (I’ve never heard a house so quiet and attentive) but the critics did not. I did a major re-write, refocussing the script entirely. It is this revised version that opened in London, and later toured the U.K.
It has not yet been produced in the U.S. – stay tuned….