Unveiling the truth behind silence, this drama takes you on a journey of self-discovery and existentialism.
Alma stood nervously outside the hospital room where her new patient, Elisabeth Vogler, was waiting. She had only heard of Elisabeth through her acting career and was surprised to learn she would be her nurse. Alma wasn’t sure what to expect, especially since she had been informed that Elisabeth was silent. She hesitated briefly, gathering her thoughts, before entering the room.
As Alma stepped closer, she could see that Elisabeth was staring out the window. Alma cleared her throat to get Elisabeth’s attention but got no response. She took a deep breath and introduced herself, explaining that she would be taking care of her during her stay at the hospital.
Elisabeth didn’t move or acknowledge Alma’s introduction in any way, and the silence felt heavy and foreboding. Alma wondered about the reason behind Elisabeth’s silence but didn’t dare to ask.
Chapter 1: First Encounter
Alma visited Elisabeth in the hospital regularly, sitting by her bedside and talking to her, even though she never received a response. Alma enjoyed sharing the details of her life, speaking about her hopes and dreams, and sharing stories about her family. Despite her silence, Alma felt a strange connection with Elisabeth, a bond she could not explain.
One day, Alma brought a book to read to Elisabeth. She began to read, her voice filling the silent room, and to her surprise, Elisabeth’s eyes flickered towards her, studying her intently. Alma felt a flicker of hope that maybe, Elisabeth was starting to come out of her silence. But then Elisabeth turned her gaze back to the window, leaving Alma feeling disappointed.
As days passed, Alma started to feel as if she was the only one doing the talking. However, she didn’t mind. Talking to Elisabeth had become somewhat therapeutic for her. Her thoughts and worries would dissipate, and she would get lost in the sound of her own voice.
Alma began to notice that the room was taking on a strange atmosphere, one that made her feel uneasy. It seemed like the air had become thick, suffocating, with Elisabeth’s silence. She wondered what was happening in that mind of hers, what she was thinking, and if she was in pain.
Alma knew she needed to find a way to make Elisabeth speak, to help her overcome whatever was holding her back. She spent hours researching different techniques and therapies, hoping to find a way to break through Elisabeth’s silence. But the more she tried, the more she realized that it would take a miracle to get Elisabeth to open up.
As the days turned into weeks, Alma’s curiosity about Elisabeth grew. She longed to know more about her, to understand the woman behind the silence. However, she remained unsure if Elisabeth felt the same connection that she did.
One day, while Alma was sitting by Elisabeth’s side, she noticed something different in her eyes. It was a glimmer of recognition, a hint that maybe her words were reaching her. Alma sat up straighter, hope welling inside her. But then, to her disappointment, Elisabeth turned her head away, the glimmer of recognition fading.
Alma felt disheartened; however, it only increased her determination to help Elisabeth. She knew that breaking through her silence would be a challenge, but Alma was never one to back down from a challenge.
As Alma prepared to leave the hospital room, she paused at the door and looked back at Elisabeth. She felt a pang of sadness, thinking about how lonely Elisabeth must feel, trapped in her own thoughts. Alma made a vow to herself that she would keep talking to Elisabeth, no matter what, until she found a way to help her speak again.
In that moment, Alma didn’t know that her vow to Elisabeth would change her life forever. She had no idea that her persistence would lead her down a path of self-discovery, where she would learn things about herself she never knew existed, and that what was happening in the hospital room would shape her future in ways she never could have imagined.
Chapter 2: The First Session
Alma found herself sitting across from Elisabeth Vogler once again. The silence in the room was deafening but it did not deter Alma from attempting to start a conversation. She was determined to get Elisabeth to speak, even if it meant talking to herself. Alma was convinced that she could understand Elisabeth’s silence, that there was a reason for it that could be revealed.
“Ms. Vogler, I was thinking about our last session and how I shared a lot about my life. Do you have anything you would like to share?” Alma asked the actress, hoping for a response.
Elisabeth merely stared ahead, her eyes focused on a point in front of her. Alma continued to speak, her words flowing freely as she shared more about herself. She talked about her childhood, her family, and her dreams for the future.
Despite Elisabeth’s continued silence, Alma felt a sense of connection growing between them. There was something about the actress that drew Alma towards her, a feeling of familiarity that she couldn’t explain. Alma’s curiosity began to grow as she wondered what secrets Elisabeth was hiding behind her silence.
Alma’s thoughts were interrupted as Elisabeth suddenly stood up from her chair, startling Alma. The actress walked towards a painting on the wall, stopping in front of it. She stared at the painting for a few moments before turning to face Alma.
“She’s beautiful, isn’t she?” Elisabeth finally spoke, her voice barely above a whisper.
Alma was surprised but also relieved that Elisabeth had finally spoken. She nodded her head in agreement, not wanting to ruin the moment by speaking too much.
Elisabeth then proceeded to tell Alma about the painting, sharing its history and the emotions it evoked in her. Alma listened intently, fascinated by Elisabeth’s words and the passion behind them.
Time seemed to fly by as the two women talked, and it wasn’t until the sun had started to set that they realized how long they had been in the room. Alma felt a sense of accomplishment, having broken through Elisabeth’s silence and shared a meaningful conversation with her.
As Alma left the room, she felt a sense of excitement and anticipation for their next session. She was convinced that she could help Elisabeth, that there was something she could do to make her open up even more.
However, Alma couldn’t shake off the feeling that something was off about Elisabeth. There was something she was hiding, something that she was afraid to reveal. Alma couldn’t help but wonder what secrets Elisabeth was keeping locked away.
Little did Alma know, the journey that she was embarking on with Elisabeth would be filled with twists and turns, secrets and lies, and a revelation that would change both of their lives forever.
Chapter 3: The Second Session
Alma opened the door to Elisabeth’s hospital room and walked in, settling herself in the chair next to the bed. She had been looking forward to this session all week, eager to try and break through the wall of silence that Elisabeth had erected around herself.
“Hello, Elisabeth,” Alma said, her voice tentative. “It’s good to see you again.”
Elisabeth didn’t respond, simply gazing at Alma with an inscrutable expression on her face.
Undeterred, Alma launched into a monologue, telling Elisabeth about her childhood and her dreams for the future. She spoke for several minutes, feeling a sense of catharsis as she shared her deepest hopes and fears.
When she finished speaking, Alma looked over at Elisabeth, hoping for some kind of reaction. But once again, Elisabeth remained silent.
Alma sighed inwardly, feeling a twinge of disappointment. She knew that it was unrealistic to expect Elisabeth to suddenly open up to her – after all, the actress had been shut off from the world for months. But she couldn’t help feeling frustrated that her efforts seemed to be getting her nowhere.
“I don’t understand why you won’t speak to me,” Alma said, her voice tinged with annoyance. “I’m trying to help you, but you won’t even give me a chance.”
Elisabeth didn’t respond.
Alma shifted in her seat, feeling a sudden sense of awkwardness. She had never been good at silence – it always made her feel as though she needed to fill the space with words.
But as she sat there, staring at Elisabeth’s impassive face, something shifted within her. Suddenly, she realized that silence wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it could be downright liberating.
“I used to be afraid of silence,” Alma said, her voice barely above a whisper. “I always felt as though I needed to fill the space with noise, to keep the world at bay. But lately, I’ve been trying to embrace the quiet. It’s hard – it makes me feel vulnerable – but I think it’s worth it.”
Elisabeth still didn’t respond, but Alma didn’t mind. She felt as though she was speaking to a kindred spirit, someone who understood the importance of solitude.
“As an actress, you must understand the power of words,” Alma said, smiling wryly. “But sometimes, I think the things left unsaid are even more powerful.”
She fell silent, feeling a sense of peace settle over her. For the first time in a long time, she felt as though she had nothing to prove. She didn’t need Elisabeth’s approval or feedback – she was content to simply be in the moment.
And then, to her surprise, Elisabeth spoke.
“You remind me of someone,” the actress said, her voice quiet but clear.
Alma leaned forward eagerly. “Who?”
Elisabeth closed her eyes briefly, as though lost in thought. “Myself,” she said finally. “When I was your age.”
Alma felt a shiver run down her spine. She had never expected Elisabeth to offer up such a personal insight.
“What was I like?” Alma asked, her voice hushed.
Elisabeth opened her eyes and gazed at Alma, her expression inscrutable. “Full of hope,” she said simply. “And also, full of doubt.”
Alma nodded, feeling as though she was on the verge of a breakthrough. “I guess I still am,” she said, smiling wryly.
Elisabeth smiled back, a small, sad smile. “Don’t lose that doubt, Alma,” she said. “It’s what makes us human.”
Chapter 4: The Island Retreat
Alma and Elisabeth arrived at the isolated island, surrounded by the soothing sound of waves and the fresh scent of sea air. Alma was thrilled to be away from the hospital and all the stresses of city life. Elisabeth seemed content, a sense of peace that emanated from her entire body.
The retreat was designed to provide a relaxing environment, allowing them to focus on their personal growth. Alma hoped it would help Elisabeth to heal and break her silence. They settled into the cozy cottage, which was small but comfortable and had a stunning view of the beach.
The days passed, and Alma and Elisabeth spent their time exploring the island. Alma was thrilled to be experiencing new things, but Elisabeth remained quiet and unresponsive. Alma couldn’t help but feel disappointed that her patient was not making any progress.
One afternoon, as they walked along the beach, Alma found Elisabeth staring out at the ocean. “Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be a fish?” Elisabeth said, breaking her silence.
Alma was taken aback by Elisabeth’s sudden question. “I…I never really thought about it,” she replied.
Elisabeth continued, “Fish are so free, they can swim wherever they want. They don’t have to worry about anything.”
Alma nodded in agreement, thinking there was more to the conversation than just the idea of being a fish. She wondered if Elisabeth was trying to communicate something deeper. She decided it was time to bring up her concerns.
“Elisabeth, I can tell that something is bothering you. You seem to have a lot on your mind,” Alma said, gently.
Elisabeth didn’t respond, instead, she walked away in silence. Alma felt a pang of frustration, wondering if she had gone too far.
The following day, Elisabeth seemed more withdrawn. Alma tried to engage her in conversation, but she was met with silence. Later that day, Alma discovered an old photograph in Elisabeth’s belongings. It was a black and white photo of a young girl, with Elisabeth’s handwriting on the back that read, “My sister, taken too soon.”
Alma was surprised by this unexpected discovery and felt a pang of sympathy for Elisabeth. She couldn’t imagine the pain of losing a sibling. She wondered if her silent patient’s trauma stemmed from this particular event.
That night, Alma sat outside on the porch, gazing out into the stars. Elisabeth joined her, and they sat in silence. Alma broke the silence, “Do you think there’s life on other planets?”
Elisabeth turned towards her, with a small smile that made Alma feel her heart skip a beat. “I hope so. It would be nice to think that there is something out there besides us.”
Alma felt a sudden wave of emotion. This was the first true conversation they had had since they had met. It gave her hope that Elisabeth was slowly opening up to her.
The next day, they went on a hike through the forest. Alma was excited to see the island’s flora and fauna, but she soon realized that the trek was more strenuous than she had anticipated. They walked up the rocky hillside, and Alma stumbled and twisted her ankle.
Elisabeth helped her to a nearby rock and examined her ankle. “It’s not broken, but you need to rest it,” she said, her soft voice soothing Alma’s pain.
They sat under the shade of a nearby tree, with Alma’s ankle elevated. Alma was grateful for Elisabeth’s help and attention. Elisabeth was always so distant, but in that moment, she felt close to her.
As they sat together, Alma felt a pressure in her chest, a feeling she couldn’t ignore. She turned to Elisabeth and blurted out, “I think I’m falling in love with you.”
Elisabeth’s eyes widened, a look of shock on her face. “I…I don’t know what to say,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper.
Alma felt a sense of panic, wondering if she had ruined everything. She was just a nurse, and Elisabeth was a famous actress. Her feelings for her patient felt like a betrayal of her professional role.
They sat in silence, the weight of the confession hanging over them. Finally, Elisabeth spoke, “I didn’t think it was possible to feel anything anymore, but you make me feel alive.”
Alma felt a sense of relief wash over her. She was happy that Elisabeth had reciprocated her feelings, but she knew that their relationship could never be fully realized.
As the sun began to set, they slowly made their way back to the cottage. Alma’s ankle had improved, but she still needed to rest it. Elisabeth prepared dinner, and they sat together at the small table, each lost in their own thoughts.
Alma knew that their relationship was complicated, but she couldn’t help feeling a sense of comfort being with Elisabeth. They had both experienced loss and trauma, but together, they felt like they could heal each other.
As they finished their meal, Alma knew that their time together was limited. The retreat was coming to an end, and soon they would be back in the real world. She wondered what would happen to their relationship and if they would ever be able to fully connect.
They retired for the night, each lost in their own thoughts. Alma lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, thinking about Elisabeth and what the future might hold. She couldn’t help feeling a sense of sadness, wondering if their love would ever truly be realized.
As the night wore on, Alma drifted off to sleep, her dreams filled with the image of Elisabeth’s face, her voice, and the feeling of her hand in hers. For that moment, she felt complete, and she knew that no matter what happened in the future, she would always carry the memory of their love with her.
Chapter 5: The Confession
Alma sat nervously in her chair, her mind racing with thoughts about what she had just learned. Elisabeth sat opposite her, her expression unreadable.
“I don’t understand,” Alma finally spoke up. “Why didn’t you tell anyone?”
Elisabeth sighed heavily, the weight of her confession heavy on her shoulders. “I was afraid,” she said softly. “Afraid of what people would think of me, of what it would do to my career. I kept it hidden, buried it deep inside me. But it’s been eating away at me for years.”
Alma looked at Elisabeth with a mix of confusion and compassion. “What happened?”
Elisabeth took a deep breath before beginning her story. “I was filming a movie in South America. It was a small production, but we were all very passionate about it. One night, after a long day of filming, I went out for a walk. I wanted to clear my head, get some fresh air. But then, I was approached by a man. He was…aggressive. I tried to run, but he caught me. He held me down and…he…”
Elisabeth couldn’t bring herself to finish the sentence. Alma’s heart was pounding in her chest as she watched the tears well up in Elisabeth’s eyes.
“I’m so sorry,” Alma whispered. “I had no idea.”
Elisabeth shook her head. “It’s not your fault. I never told anyone. I kept it bottled up inside, and it’s been eating away at me for years.”
Alma took a deep breath and steadied herself. “What can I do to help?”
Elisabeth looked at Alma with a mix of gratitude and fear. “I need you to keep this secret. I can’t let anyone find out.”
Alma nodded understandingly. “I’ll keep your secret. I promise.”
But as Alma left Elisabeth’s room that night, her head was spinning. She felt like she was caught in the middle of a storm, with no end in sight. Elisabeth’s confession had changed everything, and Alma didn’t know how to react.
Days turned into weeks, and Alma couldn’t shake the weight of Elisabeth’s secret. She found herself becoming more and more distant from Elisabeth, unable to reconcile her feelings towards her. She wanted to help Elisabeth, to support her in any way she could, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off.
One night, Alma decided to confront Elisabeth about her silence. “Why won’t you talk to me?” Alma asked, frustration seeping into her voice.
Elisabeth looked at Alma with a mix of sadness and fear. “I don’t want to burden you with my problems,” she said softly.
But Alma wouldn’t let it go. “You’re not a burden,” she said firmly. “I want to help you. I want to be here for you.”
Elisabeth looked away, her eyes filling with tears. “I just can’t,” she whispered.
Alma’s heart ached as she watched Elisabeth struggle. She didn’t know what to do or say to make things better. She felt helpless, like she was standing on the edge of a cliff with no one to catch her if she fell.
Days turned into weeks, and Alma and Elisabeth’s relationship became more strained than ever. Alma felt like she was walking on eggshells around Elisabeth, never knowing what might set her off. But despite it all, Alma stayed by Elisabeth’s side, reluctant to leave her alone in her pain.
One night, as Alma sat by Elisabeth’s bedside, she finally found the courage to ask the question that had been nagging at her for weeks. “Do you regret telling me?” she asked softly.
Elisabeth looked at Alma with a mix of sadness and regret. “No,” she said firmly. “I don’t regret it. But I wish I could go back and change things. I wish I could make it all go away.”
Alma took Elisabeth’s hand in hers and squeezed it gently. “I’m here for you,” she said firmly. “Whatever you need.”
Elisabeth looked at Alma with a mix of gratitude and fear. “Thank you,” she whispered.
And as the night wore on, Alma sat by Elisabeth’s side, holding her hand and listening to her breathe. She knew that their relationship had changed forever, but she was determined to be there for Elisabeth, no matter what.
Chapter 6: The Clash
Alma had developed a deep emotional connection with Elisabeth, sharing her deepest secrets as they spent more time together. As their connection grew stronger, Alma began to struggle with her own identity as she tried to understand Elisabeth’s silence, wondering if it was a reflection of her own inner turmoil.
One day, Alma initiated a conversation with Elisabeth, asking her why she was silent. But once again, there was no response from Elisabeth. Alma became increasingly frustrated, feeling as though she was talking to a wall.
This frustration led to a clash between Alma and Elisabeth. Alma began to question her own purpose in life and if her own existence was meaningful. She wondered if Elisabeth was reflecting her own inner thoughts back to her through her silence.
Elisabeth, on the other hand, was dealing with her own demons. Her confession had left her feeling exposed and vulnerable, and she was starting to question her own existence as well. The tension between the two women was palpable, and it seemed as though their bond was on the brink of breaking.
As the day went on, Alma and Elisabeth tried to avoid each other, but they could feel the tension building. Alma found herself feeling angry at Elisabeth for not responding, and she couldn’t understand why she was even bothering to take care of her.
Elisabeth, in turn, felt guilty for not responding to Alma’s questions. She wanted to tell her the truth, but she was afraid of how Alma would react. She knew that the truth could potentially ruin their relationship.
Despite their attempts to avoid each other, Alma and Elisabeth crossed paths in the kitchen. As they stood there in silence, tensions reached their boiling point. Alma couldn’t take it anymore and exploded, unleashing all of her frustrations on Elisabeth.
“Why won’t you talk to me? Do you even care that I’m here? I’m starting to think that you’re just using me as some kind of therapist,” Alma shouted.
Elisabeth remained silent, but the look on her face made it clear that Alma’s words had hit a nerve. Alma continued to vent, feeling like she had finally found her voice.
“I’m tired of pretending like everything is okay. I’m tired of taking care of you and not getting anything in return. You’re not the only one with problems, you know,” Alma said.
Elisabeth still didn’t respond, and Alma was beginning to feel like she was talking to a wall once again. It was as though Elisabeth’s silence was a barrier that she couldn’t break through.
As Alma continued to vent, she suddenly came to a realization – that maybe she was the one who was using Elisabeth. Maybe she was projecting her own insecurities onto her, and using her as an emotional crutch.
Tears streamed down Alma’s face as she looked at Elisabeth. She felt guilty for what she had said and realized that her outburst was a reflection of her own feelings of inadequacy.
“I’m sorry,” Alma said, her voice barely above a whisper. “I don’t know what came over me.”
Elisabeth still didn’t say anything, but she reached out and placed a hand on Alma’s shoulder. It was a small gesture, but it was enough to make Alma feel that maybe their connection was still there.
As they stood there in silence, Alma realized that maybe, just maybe, she didn’t need Elisabeth to respond. Maybe the act of talking was enough for her to work through her own issues.
The tension between Alma and Elisabeth had been building for days, but in that moment, it seemed to dissipate. They had both laid themselves bare, and despite the lack of response from Elisabeth, Alma felt like they had reached a level of emotional intimacy that she had never experienced before.
As the day drew to a close, Alma and Elisabeth went their separate ways, but Alma now felt like she had a newfound understanding of herself and her relationship with Elisabeth. She had faced her own demons, and even though there were still unanswered questions, she knew that she was on the path to finding her own sense of purpose.
Chapter 7: The Climax
Alma and Elisabeth sat in silence, both equally aware of what had just transpired. Alma felt a weight on her chest; a weight that had been building up over the course of their time together. She had always found solace in Elisabeth’s silence, but now, it seemed to mock her.
Elisabeth sat motionless, her eyes locked on Alma’s. It was as if she was trying to communicate something without words. Alma couldn’t help but feel like she was the only one who didn’t understand.
“What does this mean?” Alma finally managed to ask.
Elisabeth remained silent, her gaze unbroken.
“Please, Elisabeth, you have to tell me,” Alma begged.
Elisabeth sighed and finally spoke, “You exist only in relation to me.”
The words hit Alma like a ton of bricks. She felt her whole identity being stripped away in that moment. Who was she without Elisabeth? What was her purpose if not to care for her?
“I don’t understand,” Alma whispered.
Elisabeth leaned forward and took Alma’s hand. “You are a projection of my own psyche. You are everything I wish I could be but can’t. You are my escape from reality.”
Alma’s mind spun as she tried to process what Elisabeth was saying. She had never considered herself in such a way. She had always believed she was her own person with her own thoughts and feelings.
Elisabeth continued, “But it’s not just you, Alma. It’s everyone. We all exist in relation to each other. We all need someone to define ourselves against. Without that, we’re nothing.”
Alma looked down at their joined hands, feeling a sense of loss. Everything she had known and believed in was being turned on its head.
Elisabeth’s voice brought her back to the present. “I’m sorry, Alma. I never meant for you to find out like this. I just wanted to feel… I don’t know, connected, I guess.”
Alma pulled her hand away, tears streaming down her face. “How can you say that? How can you just use me like that?”
Elisabeth looked down, shame etched on her face. “I don’t know. I’m sorry. I just wanted to feel something real.”
Alma stood up, her body shaking with anger. “You don’t get to do that! You don’t get to use me and then just apologize and make it all better!”
Elisabeth didn’t say anything, but Alma could see the hurt in her eyes.
“I need to go,” Alma said, her voice barely above a whisper. She couldn’t stay there any longer. She couldn’t be around Elisabeth knowing what she now knew.
As she walked towards the door, Elisabeth called out, “Alma, wait!”
But Alma didn’t stop. She couldn’t. She needed to get away. She needed to figure out who she was without Elisabeth.
As she stepped out into the cool night air, Alma felt lost and alone. She didn’t know what the future held, but she knew one thing for sure – she needed to find meaning in her own existence, not just in relation to someone else.
Some scenes from the movie Persona written by A.I.
Opening scene: We see a panoramic view of a modern city skyline, as the camera zooms in on a hospital.
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM – DAY
We meet Alma, a 25-year-old nurse, as she enters a hospital room where the famous actress Elisabeth Vogler has been admitted. Elisabeth is sitting on the bed, staring out the window. Alma approaches her with a warm smile.
ALMA: Hi, Elisabeth. My name is Alma, and I will be taking care of you.
Elisabeth doesn’t respond, but Alma continues to talk, hoping to make some connection.
ALMA: I heard you are a brilliant actress. I’ve seen all of your movies. “Persona” is my favorite.
Elisabeth remains silent, and Alma starts to feel a bit awkward.
ALMA: It’s okay. You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to. I’ll be here if you need me.
Alma starts arranging some of Elisabeth’s things, and trying to make her room more comfortable. She starts humming a song, hoping to lighten the mood, but Elisabeth continues to stare out the window.
ALMA: Is there anything else you need, Elisabeth?
We hear a sudden beep from Elisabeth’s heart monitor, and Alma looks worried.
ALMA: Are you okay? Do you need me to call the doctor?
Elisabeth suddenly turns and looks at Alma intently, and we see a glimpse of emotion in her eyes. However, it quickly fades away, and she goes back to staring out the window.
End of Chapter 1.
INT. PSYCHIATRIC WARD – DAY
Elisabeth sits in the corner of her room, staring blankly at the wall. Alma, a young nurse, enters the room.
ALMA: Good morning, Elisabeth.
Elisabeth remains silent.
ALMA: I brought you breakfast.
She places the tray of food on the bed and sits down next to her.
ALMA: You know, I used to think silence was a sign of weakness. But after spending time with you, I don’t think that’s the case anymore.
Elisabeth’s eyes flicker in recognition.
ALMA: I mean, sometimes it’s easier not to say anything at all. That way, people can’t hurt you with what they say.
Elisabeth finally speaks.
ELISABETH: People say what they want, regardless of whether or not you respond.
ALMA: That’s true. But it’s important to know that you have a choice in how you respond to them.
Elisabeth looks at Alma for the first time.
ELISABETH: And what do you choose, Alma?
ALMA: I choose to keep talking. Even if I don’t get a response, I know that I’ve at least tried to connect with someone.
Elisabeth nods, a small smile forming on her lips.
ELISABETH: You have a wisdom beyond your years, Alma.
ALMA: (laughing) I don’t know about that. I just try to live my life as best I can.
Elisabeth goes back to her breakfast, but Alma can sense a change in her demeanor.
ALMA: Is there something on your mind, Elisabeth?
Elisabeth hesitates before speaking.
ELISABETH: I just…I don’t know how to be anymore. I feel like I’ve lost a part of myself.
ALMA: What do you mean?
ELISABETH: (voice breaking) I used to love acting. It was my passion, my reason for being. But now…I don’t know if I can ever go back to it.
ALMA: Why not?
Elisabeth looks down at her hands.
ELISABETH: Because I don’t think I can ever be that person again. The person who was able to put herself into other people’s shoes and become someone else.
Alma places a comforting hand on Elisabeth’s shoulder.
ALMA: Maybe it’s not about becoming someone else. Maybe it’s about finding a way to be yourself again.
Elisabeth looks up at Alma, a glimmer of hope in her eyes.
ELISABETH: Do you think that’s possible?
ALMA: I do. But it’s going to take time, and a lot of hard work.
Elisabeth nods, a sense of determination in her gaze.
ELISABETH: I’m ready for it.
– Alma, a young nurse
– Elisabeth Vogler, a famous actress who refuses to speak
Setting: A therapist’s office
Alma: “Why won’t you speak to me? Do you have trust issues?”
Elisabeth: (remains silent)
Alma: “I understand it must be hard for you. But if you don’t open up, we can’t work together.”
Elisabeth: (still silent)
Alma: “Fine, I’ll start then. I’ve always had trouble connecting with people. I feel like I’ve never belonged. But being here, with you, I feel like I finally have a purpose.”
Elisabeth: (looks at Alma, still silent)
Alma: “Do you feel it too? This connection we have?”
Elisabeth: (shakes her head)
Alma: “Then why won’t you speak to me? Why won’t you let me in?”
Elisabeth: (leans forward, writes something on a notepad and shows it to Alma)
Alma: (reads the note) “Because I don’t exist.”
Alma sits across from Elisabeth, dumbfounded. She stares at the note, unable to comprehend its meaning.
Alma: “What do you mean you don’t exist?”
Elisabeth: (writes on the notepad) “I’m just a character in a story. A figment of someone’s imagination. And when the story ends, I cease to exist.”
Alma: “That’s insane. You’re a real person, with thoughts and feelings. You can’t just be a character in a story.”
Elisabeth: (writes on the notepad) “But can you prove it? Can you prove that you’re more than just a character in a story?”
Alma: (pauses, deep in thought) “No, I can’t. But that doesn’t mean we don’t exist. We’re here, right now, having this conversation. That has to mean something.”
Elisabeth: (writes on the notepad) “Does it? Or are we just playing out a story that’s already been written?”
Alma: (looks at Elisabeth, determined) “Maybe. But if that’s the case, then we can choose how the story ends. We can make it meaningful. Just because we may not exist outside of this story doesn’t mean our existence here isn’t real.”
Elisabeth: (looks at Alma, contemplative)
The two sit in silence, lost in thought. For the first time, Alma begins to understand the weight of Elisabeth’s silence. It’s not just a refusal to communicate – it’s a deep-seated fear of insignificance. But Alma is determined to show Elisabeth that their existence does matter. That even if they are just characters in a story, they can make that story count.
The scene ends with Alma reaching out to take Elisabeth’s hand, a silent gesture of solidarity and understanding.
Alma – a young, curious nurse
Elisabeth – a famous actress who is unable to speak
Setting: An isolated island retreat
Alma: (looking around) It’s so peaceful here. I could stay on this island forever.
Elisabeth: (nodding) It’s good to get away from everything sometimes.
Alma: (pausing) Elisabeth, I need to talk to you about something.
Elisabeth: (curious) What is it?
Alma: (nervously) I found something in your room. A picture of a man.
Elisabeth: (sighing) That’s my husband. He passed away a few years ago.
Alma: (surprised) I had no idea. I’m so sorry for your loss.
Elisabeth: (smiling sadly) Thank you, Alma. He was the love of my life.
Alma: (sympathetically) I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you.
Elisabeth: (seriously) It’s been a struggle, but being here with you has helped. I don’t feel so alone anymore.
Alma: (smiling) I’m glad I could be here for you.
Suddenly, they hear a noise outside. Alma goes to investigate and finds a man standing outside their cabin. He introduces himself as Anders, the caretaker of the island.
Anders: (smiling) I’m sorry to disturb you, but I have some news. There’s a storm coming and we need to evacuate the island immediately.
Alma and Elisabeth quickly gather their things and follow Anders to his boat. As they leave the island, they look back at the peaceful retreat that had turned into a place of fear and uncertainty.
The storm rages on as they make their way back to the mainland. Alma and Elisabeth huddle together for warmth and support, unsure of what the future holds.
The scene ends with a close-up of Alma and Elisabeth’s faces, both filled with a sense of impending doom and a deepening bond between them.
The screenplay for Chapter 5:
INT. ISLAND HOUSE – NIGHT
Alma confronts Elisabeth about the truth she discovered.
Why did you lie to me? Why did you pretend to be someone else?
I didn’t lie to you, Alma. I just didn’t tell you everything.
(struggling to control her emotions)
You said you couldn’t talk. But you can talk, Elisabeth. You just chose not to talk to me. Why?
Because I was afraid. Afraid of what you would think of me. Afraid of what I would think of myself.
What are you afraid of, Elisabeth?
I’m afraid of being forgotten. I’m afraid of disappearing into nothingness.
What do you mean?
I’ve spent my entire life pretending to be someone else. Playing characters. I don’t know who I am anymore. And I’m afraid that if I stop pretending, I’ll disappear.
I understand, Elisabeth. I’ve been pretending too. Pretending that I’m happy, that I have it all figured out. But I don’t. And that’s okay.
Thank you, Alma. You make me feel less alone.
The two women share a moment of understanding and connection, each feeling a sense of relief at finally revealing their true selves to each other.