Martin, a young, idealistic teacher in a late 1960s working class neighborhood, discovers a diamond in the rough among his students. 12-year-old Jenny has a remarkable singing voice and the opportunity to escape her poor background when Martin introduces her to George, the charming and powerful producer of Beat Box House. A once-in-a-lifetime chance to sing on George's national program lets Martin see Jenny whisked away to a life on the stage.
But all is not as it seems. George comes with a dark side, dangling the promises of a star-making career in return for devotion and silence, grooming Jenny into both the perfect pop star and perfect lover.
Two years later, when Martin is directly confronted with the troubling relationship he inadvertently fostered, he then faces his own dilemma: expose the truth and suffer the consequences or keep silent and leave a young girl to be repeatedly victimized?
CHARACTERS in order of appearance:
Principal of a badly run middle school in a working-class area of a large city.
Martin, dedicated young English and ESL teacher who teaches language through movement and songs.
George, charismatic and persuasive director of a large radio and TV network for children and teens.
Jenny, 12-year-old student of Martin--groomed into a teen starlet by George within two years.
Brent, Martin's partner and owner of the house that George and Jenny visit for one night.
Frank, George's young adult son, who is slowly discovering his father's trickery.
EXCERPT: ACT II, Scene 1
One year later. George’s bedroom. He locks the door, full of reverence, walks up to an antique table set against the wall near his bed. It’s covered by a beautiful antique lace curtain, almost resembling an altar in a Catholic church. Slowly, shaking like a lover who gently pulls apart the most private entrance of the object of his desire for the first time, he ceremoniously pulls each of the two panels to the side as if he were entering an erotic sanctuary, revealing drawers, labeled with the years: 1960 through 1969.
He opens drawer 1969, takes out a pair of panties that once belonged to a slim young girl. Smelling it deeply, he gets high like a sniffer. Carefully he folds it, puts it back into the drawer and searches for another panty, covered with dried blood—his prized possession. He holds it up like a totally devoted priest, believing that he is holding up the golden cup with red wine—admiring it, feeling holy and deeply fulfilled.
(A knock at the door.)
Dad, what are you doing? Open up. Open up!
One moment. Just one moment.
(Frantically, he brings his holy celebration to an end, moving around like a priest who fears that some heathen, some iconoclast, is knocking at the door, trying to destroy his shrine.)
Damn it, open up.
No problem. I’m coming. I’m coming.
Dad, open up, right now.
(George, nervous, reluctantly opens the door.)
What are you doing with that knife? Have you joined the boy scouts?
You know what you did, you bastard. Years and years of hunting down talented girls, fucking little girls. Dozens of little girls who trusted you—you bastard.
I have no idea what you’re talking about.
I have all the evidence. All those little bras. All those panties, especially the ones with red blood, baked into the slips.
Son, that’s nothing. Just a little harmless fetish. The way you collect old baseball cards.
Some of those girls committed suicide. No more stupid talks. You’re done, bastard.
(Lights out. VOICE OVER: The newspapers reported the next day that . . .)