The Last Resort - Script Development


The Last Resort

Original Ending 
Alternative Ending 

 

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The Plays

The Last Resort 
A Mother's Voice 
Bridges 
Jabberwocky 
Children of the Blitz 

 Development of The Last Resort

The version of The Last Resort currently in print is considerably different from the original script. The show now runs at about 90 minutes - it ran for well over two hours when first performed! If you saw the original production (or were in it) then you will notice quite a few differences.

The script was first altered to suit the requirements of a festival version. We only had two hours for these performances and this included time for "get in" and striking. In the first version many of the characters were followed for the entirety of the day. The lads were seen waking up in their over-crowded caravan and this was mirrored by a scene as the girls dragged themselves out of bed at their "bed and breakfast". A number of running gags began in these scenes that were resolved later on.

Two other mirror scenes of both families -the Brights and the Killjoys - having breakfast and preparing for their day trip were also cut.

I felt that these cuts were acceptable. The characters now were introduced either enroute to Ferryton (the families) or as they arrived at the beach (the lads and the girls). This reduced the chance for character development a little and the chance to plant running gags - I love to put jokes into comedies which are set up early on and then you have to wait 40 minutes or so to reach the punchline!

 

The Ending

The ending of The Last Resort is quite different from the one used in both the original performance and the one used at the Edinburgh Festival. Although there are similarities - there is still an amorous couple and a young pregnant girl contemplating suicide - there is now a totally new character included (Mrs Higgins) and a different emphasis.

The ending was rewritten in the light of comments from my editor and one or two others. I thought it would be interesting for students studying the play in school (it makes a good class reader - after it has been performed!) to have the original ending available to them so they could draw a comparison. I've also included an earlier attempt at rewriting the original ending which I rejected and never submitted.

Looking at the three different versions makes quite an interesting exercise! The original ending and rejected version can be found using the left hand navigation bar. To get the current ending you need to purchase the play!

We also had to cut one of my favourite scenes which was when the Killjoys went to a teashop in the "Gouda Canyon" (Cheddar Gorge!). In this scene we used a split stage technique. On one side we showed what was going on in reality as the Killjoys stuffed themselves full of cream teas. On the other stage we had what was going on inside Wayne's head at the time! We took the not very original idea of having lots of little people "controlling" Wayne from the inside and added our own twist - we used the crew of the starship Enterprise! Thus we had Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Ohuru and Bones at the helm of "Wayne".

We had some nice little jokes here: Wayne - "I don't know why but I really fancy one of these cakes!" cutting to Ohuru - "Impulse only Captain.". I was also blessed with a really talented cast who could pull off great impressions! The scene concluded with Scotty crying, "She cannae take it Captain!" as Wayne struggled with controlling the consequences of over eating!

Much as we loved the scene it did take away from the main thrust of the action and had to go when cuts were needed. I didn't really think about including it in the published version - when we first did it they were just finishing Star Trek movies which included the original cast so the characters  were still really well known. With all the subsequent versions of Star Trek the characters don't have the same resonance with contemporary audiences.

One character - the cleaner sweeping the seafront and having a record played for him by Bobby Brewster - was cut completely. Both the donkeys and the old ladies lost small scenes. These were mostly contracted into the current scenes but unfortunately the whole scene where Dot (slightly mad old lady) went on the bouncy castle had to be missed out!

A scene which was included in the touring version but omitted from the  printed version was a scene where one of the lads was desperate to buy condoms and ended up being totally himiliated by a checkout girl when she had to call for a price check on " 24 Rampant stallion, pina colada flavour, giant size!" across the shop floor. This was a favourite scene for many from the original show and was brilliantly performed by the young actor concerned (hiya Greg!) who had a real gift for physical humour. The success of the scene did depend a lot on the talent of the actor but my editor also felt that the subject matter lacked sophistication and was a little old hat - still blooming funny though!

The cut festival version formed the basis for the printed version largely because of space restrictions. We only had a certain number of pages available to us and could not exceed these.