Sunday, November 9, 2008

BishopKentManning OUTLINE
Act I

-The “opening scene” is the gunshot in the bank and the subsequent reaction of the bank’s customers.

-Bishop Kent Manning is introduced while deliriously waking up on a surgeon’s table and seeing a bullet being removed from his abdomen. Scenes are intercut between the surgeons operating on him and moments from his past. His past is highlighted by a great faith in god, images of preaching in front of a podium to thousands of followers, his father slaughtering farm animals, his father’s funeral, and various acts of criminal financial management. During the surgery, and in a delirious state, Kent prays to God but feels surprisingly unfulfilled.

-Recovering in his hospital bed at St. Anne’s Memorial Hospital, he is visited by his assistant, his camera ready wife, politicians, PR agents working for his television special, “Bishop Kent Manning’s Rising Tide Congregation,” etc. Outside his hospital room, journalists struggle past each other to see Kent. He is inundated with letter and flower deliveries. The visitors patronize him with phony emotion; brief him on what the shooting means for his career, and how the media found out that Kent was depositing large amounts of money into various overseas bank accounts. They tell him the media’s made him out to look like a criminal, that thousands of followers are leaving the congregation, that he is under investigation by the police, and that stock holders are angry. All Kent can think is, “There is no God,” and it’s killing him. He doesn’t understand why he feels this way, attributes it to stress, and tries to ignore it. When told he’s “ruined,” he feels grief stricken in a way he never has before.

Act II

-Kent leaves the hospital with his wife. He looks at her with disdain and realizes that he only married her to further his career. He never trusted her. He thinks back to a time when he was in love. Before the success of “Bishop Kent Manning’s Rising Tide Congregation,” Kent deeply loved a woman named Sarah who didn’t care for any religion. Sarah gave Kent an ultimatum to choose a life with her and without religion, or to continue his life with the church. He chose the church.

-Kent’s need to assert his beliefs took hold of his life. He began to hate those who didn’t adhere to his belief system and those he described as “lost.” His addiction to religion evolved into an addiction to power, money, and influence. He thought of himself as chosen by God and used this belief to rationalize his behavior. He was convinced that he spoke to God every night and that God told him to gain as much power as possible.

-When he was raising money to build homes for the homeless, he cut corners on the construction at every turn; pocketing the savings. Homes he built became death traps; none were up to any safety standard. Entire buildings burned while people remained locked inside, the cheap, toxic materials used destroyed the health of tenants, and whole walls, floors, and ceilings were known to cave in. Kent funded groups that blew up abortion clinics, he bribed politicians and the police to make and enforce laws harmed the poor and benefited himself. For example, he’d bribe a politician to define certain housing areas as fit to be sold and paid the police to violently evict people living in these regions. He took and laundered money from people with known mafia connections. As a man chosen by God, he felt that others were beneath him and that only his word was truth and only his actions were holy.

-He’s now living his life with the unexplained belief that there is no God and is faced with a police investigation, the possible destruction of his congregation, and the growing realization that he is no chosen man, but a mere average person.

-Kent tries to go back to his television show. He is not as comfortable as he once was and fumbles his words. He trembles, shakes, and sweats. During a live broadcast and while speaking to his thinning congregation, Kent is verbally attacked by a group of protestors in the crowd. The protestors hold up mock dead bodies, signs, and pictures of dead bodies while continually scream over Kent. He’s trying to block the thought “There is no God,” with no success. To Kent, it is as if the protestors are demons tearing him apart mentally and physically. He feels pain throughout his body and finds it hard to stand. Through the protestor’s shrieks, Kent hears a familiar voice but can’t identify it. With all his strength, he moves towards the microphone and yells, “No man can judge me! Only through me does God bestow judgment! All of earth’s sinners will surely feel the never ending torment of hell!” The crowd becomes silent. Kent’s followers and the protestors stare at him for a moment. The silence is broken when a member of the congregation attacks one of the protestors, inciting a riot. Realizing what an arrogant and blasphemous remark he made on live television and amidst the chaos of a now full blown riot, Kent flees the church/TV set. While rushing to his car, Kent’s wife approaches him and says, “You’ve ruined us! You’ve ruined me!” Kent ignores her and walks on.

-While driving, Kent thinks about a world without God. He doesn’t know how to deal with his emotions or even reality without the idea that God is watching over him. He finds a small church deep in the city and goes inside. Inside the church and kneeling down with his hands in a tight prayer form, he pleads for help from God. He hears and feels nothing holy. In fact, just being inside the church makes him uneasy. He looks at the huge crucifix in front of him and screams, “Everything I did was in your name! I had a clear purpose! And you are nothing!” He thinks back to his father slaughtering the farm animals.
“God put these animals on earth for us to eat, Kent,” his father would say. “They have no souls. Only good they are is for making us stronger.”
“Only good they are is for making us stronger,” Kent thought. That phrase helped him rationalize the consequences of his criminal actions over so many years. The people he made suffer while he got rich, they had no souls. God put them on earth for Kent’s benefit. And now, there is no God. There are no souls.
“Is this funny to you?!” Kent asks the crucifix. He laughs as he realizes that he is no better than anybody else. “You got it all mapped out, don’t you?! Fuck…you.”
Kent’s kneeling in church, weeping, sweating, laughing, and hysterical. He looks back on his life and tries to find anything that was ever more important to him than religion.
“Sarah,” he thinks.

-After calling Sarah’s family, Kent finds out that Sarah is in the intensive care unit at St. Anne’s Memorial Hospital due to an “accident.” When Kent arrives at the hospital, he is told that Sarah has suffered third degree burns over 70% of her body and that her legs have been amputated. She was working as a receptionist at an abortion clinic for only three months before the building was bombed. At the time of the bombing, she was the only person in the building.

Act III (quick draft)

-Kent then goes to the top of the hospital and jumps off the building to commit suicide. He wakes up in a hospital bed and is visited by the guy who first shot him in the bank and who has the familiar voice Kent heard from the protestors. The ending is mostly like the original short story (w/kent speaking to the man who shot him).

*Keep in mind-the lyrics for the songs don't have to strictly adhere to any of the above text. This is just an outline depicting Kent Manning's evolution throughout the story. I'm sure we'll be dealing with different people's perspectives (i.e. the obsessed follower you introduced, the shooter, etc.

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