Rent script
Rent (2005)
Synopsis: In this musical, set at the dawn of the 1990s, a group of New Yorkers struggle with their careers, love lives and the effects of the AIDS epidemic on their community. Mark (Anthony Rapp), an aspiring filmmaker, and Roger (Adam Pascal), an HIV-positive musician, scramble for money to pay rent to their landlord and former roommate, Benny (Taye Diggs). Meanwhile, their friend Tom (Jesse L. Martin), a professor, has fallen for Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia), who is slowly dying of AIDS.

(The audience enters in the theatre to discover a stage bare of curtains.

At stage left looms a metal sculpture intended to represent: [a] a totem

pole/Christmas tree that stands in an abandoned lot, [b] a wood burning

stove with a snaky chimney that is at the center of MARK and ROGER's

loft apartment, and [c] in Act II, a church steeple. On stage the

five-musician band performs under a wooden platform surrounded by

railing. The wooden platform has a staircase on the upstage side.

Downstage left is a black, waist-high rail fence. Once the audience is in

the theatre, CREW and BAND MEMBERS move about informally

onstage in preparation for Act I).

ROGER DAVIS, carrying an electric guitar, enters upstage left and

crosses to a guitar amp sitting on a chair at center stage. He casually

plugs his guitar into the amp and adjusts levels, then crosses downstage

and sits on the table.

After a few chords, the COMPANY, led by MARK COHEN, enters from

all directions and fills the stage. MARK sets up a small tripod and a

16mm movie camera downstage center, aimed upstage. He addresses the

audience.)

"INTRO"

MARK:

We begin on Christmas Eve with me, Mark, and my roommate, Roger. We

live in an industrial loft on the corner of 11th street and Avenue B, the top

floor of what was once a music publishing factory. Old rock 'n' roll posters

hang on the walls. They have Roger's picture advertising gigs at CBGB's and

the Pyramid Club. We have an illegal wood burning stove; its exhaust pipe

crawls up to a skylight. All of our electrical appliances are plugged into one

thick extension cord which snakes its way out a window. Outside, a small tent

city has sprung up in the lot next to our building. Inside, we are freezing

because we have no heat.

(He turns the camera to ROGER)

Smile!

"TUNE UP #1"

MARK:

December 24th, Nine PM

Eastern Standard Time

From here on in

I shoot without a script

See if anything comes of it

Instead of my old shit

First shot -- Roger

Tuning the Fender guitar

He hasn't played in a year

ROGER:

This won't tune

MARK:

So we hear

He's just coming back

From half a year of withdrawal

ROGER:

Are you talking to me?

MARK:

Not at all

Are you ready? Hold that focus -- steady

Tell the folks at home what you're doing Roger ...

ROGER:

I'm writing one great song --

MARK:

The phone rings.

ROGER:

Saved!

MARK:

We screen

Zoom in on the answering machine!

(An actor places a telephone on a chair and we see MARK'S MOM in a

special light.)

"VOICE MAIL #1"

ROGER & MARK'S OUTGOING MESSAGE

"Speak" ... ("Beeeep!")

MOM:

That was a very loud beep

I don't even know if this is working

Mark -- Mark -- are you there

Are you screening your calls --

It's mom

We wanted to call and say we love you

And we'll miss you tomorrow

Cindy and the kids are here -- send their love

Oh, I hope you like the hot plate

Just don't leave it on, dear

When you leave the house

Oh, and Mark

We're sorry to hear that Maureen dumped you

I say c'est la vie

So let her be a lesbian...

There are other fishies in the sea

... Love Mom!

(Lights fade on MOM and answering machine.)

"TUNE UP #2"

MARK:

Tell the folks at home what you're doing Roger

ROGER:

I'm writing one great song

MARK:

The phone rings

ROGER:

Yesss!

MARK:

We screen

ROGER & MARK'S ANSWERING MACHINE

"Speak" ... ("Beeeep!")

(Lights fade up on the street: the front-door area of MARK and ROGER's

building. Nearby is a battered public pay phone. TOM COLLINS stands

at the phone.)

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Stephen Chbosky

Stephen Chbosky (born January 25, 1970) is an American novelist, screenwriter, and film director best known for writing the New York Times bestselling coming-of-age novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999), as well as for screenwriting and directing the film version of the same book, starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller. He also wrote the screenplay for the 2005 film Rent, and was co-creator, executive producer, and writer of the CBS television series Jericho, which began airing in 2006. more…

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