A STUFFED BUNNY IN DOLL-LAND
Words: Anya Martin
Pictures: Mado Peña
HALF-PAGE DETAILED PANEL
WIDE ANGLE: A conservatively furnished living room. In the panel, you can see three walls.
A doorway on the left with the front door open and just stepping inside are MOM and ANGIE. Mom is wearing a casual dress and holding a box of cookies. Angie is wearing jeans and a light purple short-sleeved shirt with ball sleeves and purple sneakers. She has her blonde hair in 2 ponytails. She carries 2 stuffed animals in her arms. MUNNY is a yellow bunny with big blue eyes and floppy ears (as if the wires are failing). Her shape is like a teddy bear/doll with arms and legs. Her fur is patchy and she is wearing an orange coat and pants. ELEPHANT is an elephant whose gray fur is also a bit patchy. His eyes are brown glass, and we see him in silhouette wearing a red circus costume with silver trim.
MRS. TAYLOR greets them. She is an old woman with a ‘50s hair-style and cat-eye glasses dressed in a pink and green house-dress and sneakers.
Behind MRS. TAYLOR, one can see the curved lines of a pastel blue Victorian formal sofa and an oval wooden coffee table with a white lace cloth, set for tea with cups and saucers, a silver teapot, a silver cream pitcher and a silver sugar dish with a lid. Since space is limited, it’s fine if MRS. TAYLOR is standing in front of the sofa and table.
On the far right, angled as if it’s on another wall (since obviously you couldn’t see inside it if it was at a pure 90-degree angle; if this doesn’t work artistically, it can be next to the sofa) is a tall bookcase cabinet with glass doors open and each of its four shelves filled with dolls.
Inside the bookcase, obviously you can’t have a lot of detail but it should be clear that the dolls are fit so tightly that there’s no space for anything else. There should be all types of dolls – dolls in frilly party dresses, baby dolls, Victorian dolls with hats, dolls in national costumes from foreign countries (Japanese doll with kimono; Lap doll fromFinland; doll in German dress, American Indian doll, etc.) nurse dolls in nurse uniforms. The dolls have glassy eyes and should be staring vacantly—lifeless but maybe just mildly creepy. If it’s hard to make it four shelves with details, then just make it three shelves.
On the bottom row are one particularly creepy large BABY DOLL with a white bonnet and a pretty VICTORIAN DRESS DOLL in a red dress with white lace trim and a red hat with a brim lined in white lace trim. The dolls have blank expressions.
MOM: Hi, Mrs Taylor, so nice of you to invite us to tea. I brought cookies.
MRS. TAYLOR: It’s my pleasure! Welcome to the neighborhood.
ANGIE: These are my best friends, Munny and Elephant.
MEDIUM CLOSE-UP on MRS. TAYLOR, the silhouette of her face leaning into the frame as her, and her arms reaching out and taking Munny and Elephant from Angie. Angie’s hands are empty and she looks a bit startled.
MRS. TAYLOR: How sweet. I bet they’d love to meet my doll collection.
CLOSER AS MRS. TAYLOR hands placing MUNNY and ELEPHANT on a fancy floor cushion in front of the doll cabinet. In this panel, it should be apparent that one of ELEPHANT’s eyes is broken – just a half eye.
Behind the two stuffed animals, dolls stare glassy-eyed, including one particularly creepy large BABY DOLL with a white bonnet and a pretty VICTORIAN DRESS DOLL in a red dress with white lace trim and a red hat with a brim lined in white lace trim. The dolls have blank expressions.
MRS. TAYLOR (VO in speech bubble coming off side of panel): Now come in the kitchen and let’s find a plate for those cookies.
CLOSE-UP on MUNNY and ELEPHANT. From their eyes, it should be apparent they are nervous. Meanwhile the eyes appear to have changed in the dolls on the bottom row behind them, especially the BABY DOLL and the VICTORIAN turning a little sinister (maybe slightly red) and seem to be grinning.
MEDIUM CLOSE: MUNNY and ELEPHANT still sitting in the front of the frame as the BABY DOLL and VICTORIAN step forward behind them.
CLOSER: The BABY DOLL and VICTORIAN grab ELEPHANT from behind and pull him into the cabinet. ELEPHANT looks very scared, his pupils dilating. It’s happening so fast that Munny’s eyes are barely glancing sideways.
A still-seated shocked MUNNY turns around to stare at the cabinet. The doors are still open and most of the dolls are still in their places, but the BABY DOLL and VICTORIAN are missing and a black space gapes where they once sat.
MUNNY, a determined look on her face, stands facing black space in the cabinet. Outfitted like a warrior ready for combat, she is gripping a butter knife with her right paw like a sword and the shiny silver lid of the sugar dish with her left like a shield. It’s one of those sugar dishes with a lid with a knob on top and a little half-circle opening for the spoon handle.
Back view of MUNNY heading into the hole with the dolls on either side.
WIDE ANGLE(1/3 page): MUNNY emerges from the hole into a large ballroom with a crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling. In front of her, dolls of all sorts are dancing.Because most dolls are girls, most of the couples are pairs of girl dolls and they’re an odd mix. An exception is a Barbie-looking doll in a pink ball-gown with a Malibu-Ken-looking doll in a tux. A nurse doll in white dress and nurse hat dances with a Native American doll with long dark hair and a single-feather on a band in brown fringe shirt and skirt and moccasins. A dark-haired doll with a Victorian bustle dances with a contemporary doll with blonde bobbed hair in a simple sundress. [Please use these ideas for a starting point but don’t feel married to them. If you want more ideas, though, let me know]
The dolls are all so intent on the dancing, that no one seems to notice MUNNY, holding the knife and sugar-lid-shield.
The dolls continue to dance. In the background, MUNNY creeps on tiptoes along the side of the room, keeping close to the wine-red curtains that hang around the edges.
MUNNY ducks behind a froo-froo lace-trimmed love seat as a doll in a French maid’s black and white uniform walks by with a tray with a tea pot.
MUNNY crawls out of the other side of the love seat and a voice calls from somewhere else in the room. The dolls around her have stopped dancing and are looking to the side.
VOICE: Step right up, dollies! Have we got a show for you!
With the other dolls stepping back so they can move to the center of the room, The BABY DOLL has stepped forward, now dressed in a red circus ringleader’s costume—top, hat coat with tails, tight pants and black boots (all of which look a mix of silly and sinister on the plump baby doll). He has a whip in one hand and a round red stand in the other (the kind that circus animals stand on). Next to him is the VICTORIAN who is leading a very sad-looking ELEPHANT by a gold rope.
BABY DOLL: Dollies, Dollies! For your rare entertainment pleasure, we have captured a stuffed animal.
MEDIUM CLOSE-UP on the BABY DOLL ringleader cracks the whip on ELEPHANT who now is perched on the round stand.
CLOSER on The VICTORIAN who smiles gleefully and claps her hands.
VICTORIAN: As every dolly knows, stuffed animals are nasty creatures. Clearly it’s been loved by a child.
MEDIUM CLOSE-UP on members of the doll crowd previously introduced in the dance scenes, which may include the Native American doll, a nurse doll, random Victorians, etc.
DOLL #1: Disgusting!
DOLL #2: How dreadful!
MUNNY: (OS) STOP!
Munny has pushed her way to the front and brandishes her knife and the shield at the BABY DOLL and VICTORIAN. The rest of the dolls look surprised at Munny’s sudden defiant appearance.
MUNNY: Let my friend go!
The BABYDOLL and RINGLEADER freeze as they see their faces reflected in the brightly polished silver of the shield. The other dolls though look malevolent and as if they are poised to pounce on MUNNY.
The VICTORIAN has dropped the gold cord and is winding one of her curls around a finger and pursing her lips as if to check her lipstick. The BABYDOLL bends down to adjust his top hat. MUNNY’s eyes grow big as she realizes the effect the mirror is having on the dolls. The other dolls though are almost pounced on her.
MUNNY spins around to shine the mirror shield on the rest of the dolls.
Suddenly all the dolls are primping. Brushing their hair, fluttering eyelids.
MUNNY: Run! Now!
MUNNY and ELEPHANT make a mad towards the hole through which they entered.
MRS. TAYLOR, MOM & ANGIE re-enter the room, MRS. TAYLOR holding a plate of cookies. Munny and Elephant are back sitting on the cushion, as if nothing had happened. The dolls in the cabinet behind are back to looking glassy-eyed, empty and innocent.