What starts as an ordinary school playground with ordinary teenage tensions, gangs and cliques, takes a sinister turn when two strangers arrive at the school. One is a new girl, Delphi, with good in her; the other a charismatic street salesman with only bad.
Finn is a dreamer, and the school geek. Apart from his pet mouse, Hercules, his life is lonely. Then Delphi arrives, and the two instantly become friends.
However, their friendship takes a difficult turn, and their integrity is then tested by the arrival of the other stranger at the school gates; the Dream Dealer. Although it might seem he’s only selling ice creams, the school’s coolest gang soon finds that this Pied Piper sells habits that can ruin your life. And what is it that he has glowing in his Jar…?
Scene 1. A School Playground.
A Bell rings for Break. Finn, with his pet mouse Hercules, is first into the Playground.
A group of young teenagers dominate the scene. The 6 “leaders”, Spikey, Scorcher, Spark, Trixie, Tiffy, and Tess, followed by a group of admirers, sing,
GET YOU SEEN : (Spikey) Got to get the hair gel if you're gonna succeed Spiked up like antennae - come and follow my lead. Add a bit of colour - yellow, blue and green. Funky hair will get you seen.
Mr. Turpentine, the art teacher, brings in the new girl, Delphi. He wears a white lab coat, and has a ponytail showing beneath his straw hat. He asks Tiffy to introduce Delphi to all the children. Tiffy stares at the newcomer and then points out the other 5 “leaders” - explaining they are the only ones worth knowing.
Delphi ignores this and introduces herself to Finn and Hercules. Tiffy quickly warns her that she will never be popular if she hangs out with Finn. The “leaders” surround Finn, threateningly, and sing:
SAD BOY: He's so sad, see his kit. He’s a total misfit. He’s such a loser...
Delphi deliberately returns to Finn. Delphi has been living in Australia. She confides to Finn that her mother isn’t happy because a long time ago she left some treasure behind in England - they are on a mission to find it. Finn is trying to save £60 for a dog. His father is not well off. He has no mother – and admits to Delphi that he doesn’t know if she is dead or alive because his father refuses to talk about her.
Mr. Turpentine, dropping paints and pencils, chooses Finn to be the model for the life-class. The children challenge him to paint a picture. Mr Turpentine says he was a child prodigy, but clearly he can’t paint now.
He sings the ARTISTS' SONG: Life can be measured in canvas and paint. All artists are gods, though not one’s a saint. Using your eyes – must be your first aim. So let’s start by learning each artist by name: Bacon, Brueghel, Boucher, Boudin etc
The children draw Finn, but Mr. Turpentine mercilessly criticises their work. The children are disheartened and take it out on Finn. They cover him with paint.
Meanwhile Scorcher has done a good drawing of Finn. He is flattered when Delphi asks if she can have it. This irritates Trixie, who is already jealous of the new girl. Scorcher asks Delphi to go with him to lunch. She asks Finn to join them. He agrees but needs to wash the paint off first. Over the playground wall the heads of the Dream Dealer and Flake appear. They watch as Finn sings;
To be special do you have to be a star? Can’t you shine as bright, if you’re true to who you are? I won’t fly to the moon, I won’t sail every sea. How can I be - anyone but me?
Flake makes a thumbs up but the Dream Dealer shakes his head.
Scene 2. The Playground.
Scorcher and Delphi are sitting on the wall, eating sandwiches. Delphi agrees to be Scorcher’s girlfriend but insists that Finn is her best friend.
Trixie runs in with Mr. Turpentine’s hat with his wig attached to it. She hangs it from a post. Mr. Turpentine enters, ectremely agitated. He tries to find out who has taken his hat, singing: ONE OF YOU IS LYING:
Trixie implies that Delphi is guilty and Mr. Turpentine takes Delphi off to write 1000 lines as a punishment.
The “leaders” quarrel over what has taken place and disperse, confidence punctured, weighed down by the pressure of having to be cool. Once again the Dream Dealer and Flake’s heads appear over the wall. The children sing,
PEER PRESSURE: (Spark) Most guys have girlfriends but girls make me shy. I say I don’t care but they know it’s a lie. I’m on my own again. Why aren’t I in? Maybe I’m a loser like Finn. Peer pressure - nothing helps if your not cool.
At the end the Dream Dealer makes a thumbs up.
Scene 3. A Street next to the Playground.
Parked in the street is a psychedelic ice cream van. The Dream Dealer, wearing black leather and dark glasses, leans nonchalantly against it. Flake, his stuttering sidekick, busies himself behind the counter, mixing dreams.
The Dream Dealer sings:
I deal in dreams. I mess with fiends. Expose every weakness. Through every means. Make volatile, vulnerable, vile little teens Feel a part of the scene...
He holds up a large Jar. It is a quarter full of something coloured and glows faintly. Every time a child buys one of his dreams, part of their soul is captured in his Jar. When his Jar is full, he will breathe in the contents and become immortal.
Having checked there are no adults around, Flake changes the sign from “Ice Creams” to “Ice Dreams”.
Finn is first out of school. The Dream Dealer accosts him and tries to persuade him to buy a dream. It doesn’t take him long to discover that Finn wants a dog but that his real dream is to have his mother. Finn fiercely rejects the Dream Dealer.
The other children discover the Van and are easily tempted into buying their dreams in the form of lollies. They all sing different parts of the song;
TRY IT, starting with Flake: Try a Surrender or Magical Sun. D’you want to make friends? Do you want to have fun?
Try the Survivor or Heavenly Voice. We’ve got every flavour, so tell me your choice.
Delphi is curious but hesitant. Finn tries to dissuade her, but she cannot resist the temptation. She accepts an Ice Dream from the Dealer.
Scene 1 The Playground. A few weeks later.
The children are in bad shape. They are like zombies singing: WHO WANTS REALITY?Finn walks amongst them but cannot get any reaction.Tess physically attacks Delphi because she is eating the last Magical Sun. Finn comes to her defence. However, when he tries to talk, she ignores him. She won’t even look at a special photograph which he thinks could be of his mother. He is hurt and tells her she’s changed. She sings, MAGICAL SUN. Finn sings,
MORE THAN MEMORIES: - I need so much more than memories. Yes, I’m sad and – I bet that you’d be. I can’t help but wish my life had turned out differently.
He hurries to his only ally, Hercules, but discovers he is missing. Finn is desperate until he discovers the mouse up Mr. Turpentine’s trouser leg. Mr. Turpentine confides in Finn his concern over the children but, characteristically myopic, fails to see the connection with the arrival of the Dream Dealer.
Scene 2 The street outside the Playground.
Flake has repainted the van with a pattern of a spider’s web. The Jar glows brightly.
The Dream Dealer sings a verse of IMMORTALITY, explaining the moment he has been waiting for is about to arrive. Delphi approaches lost in her own thoughts. He forces her to take a lolly. She holds it absent-mindedly and sings:
I’VE CHANGED: He said, I’ve changed, and I have – it’s true. Now I don’t know who, I am.
At the end of the song she defiantly throws away the lolly. The Dream Dealer must wait for further prey.
Flake warns the Dream Dealer that if one of the children loses much more of “himself”, he will die. Scorcher enters in a miserable state and sings,
WHO AM I?: Afraid to live – afraid to die. Afraid to ask – who am I? …
The Dream Dealer recommends a really special dream – one that will last – but it will cost £60. Scorcher is desperate and goes to find the money.
Flake hears someone approaching and quickly turns the sign back to “Ice Creams”. Mr. Turpentine and Finn enter. Finn tries to expose what is going on but Mr. Turpentine is blind to the Dream Dealer’s ploys. However, something the Dream Dealer says reminds Mr. Turpentine of an experience he had when he was a boy – when a part of “himself” went missing. He sings:
LOST A BIT OF ME: He promised all that I wished for – a simply brilliant destiny I aimed for fame and fortune but – I lost a bit of me.
Scene 3 The street
It is evening. The school bell sounds. Flake turns the sign to “Ice Dreams”. Scorcher rushes in and slams £60 on the counter. The Dream Dealer gives him the Almighty Wondrous Paradise Dream and Scorcher sings:
PARADISE: A golden egg – a turquoise sky. A ship with wings – watch it fly. Laughter in the clouds – the sun and moon give chase. A planet spinning past – sends diamonds into space …
He collapses. The children surround the van, demanding dreams.
Finn rushes in, shouting that Scorcher has stolen his £60 – he wants to kill him. Trixie discovers Scorcher lying on the ground and the Dream Dealer immediately uses the situation to blame Finn for Scorcher’s death. Finn must be punished. The Dream Dealer will destroy Finn’s most precious dream.
Delphi has entered and watches as the Dream Dealer grabs the photograph of Finn’s mother. She quickly takes it from him and looks at it in amazement. The Dream Dealer wrenches it back and rips it up. Finn is devastated but seeing Scorcher is still alive, begs Delphi to get help. Mr. Turpentine enters and the Dream Dealer tries hard to divert him. Mr T suddenly realises the lid must come off the Jar.
Flake is clutching it to him, like a grenade. He is torn between the Dream Dealer and Finn, Delphi and Mr T trying to persuade him to give them the Jar. The Dream Dealer dives at the Jar, Finn tackles him and Flake pulls the lid off.
There is a flash of blinding light. Everyone is flung to the ground, except Finn. When the light returns to normal, all that is left of the Dream Dealer is his black jacket.
Gradually the children sit up, blinking. Mr T remains horizontal. Scorcher is horrified to discover what he has done and promises Finn a dog. Finn doesn’t care about the dog, he is too upset about the photograph of his mother – it is all he had.
Delphi excitedly explains the photograph was of her mother. He must be the treasure their mother left behind. They are not just brother and sister – they are twins!
Now the Dream Dealer has gone up in smoke, the world of real identities starts to return. Mr. Turpentine finally wakes up and asks where he’s been. They all sing:
SEEN THE LIGHT: A part of me’s been missing As if someone had stolen my soul Like waking up from a nightmare I feel that I’m back in control I’ve seen the light Things are going to turn out right.
Souls intact and wiser at last, they segue SEEN THE LIGHT into an upbeat version of Finn’s HAPPY TO BE ME.
TO HEAR SOME OF THE SONGS CLICK ON THE LINKS IN THE SYNOPSIS OR GO TO: www.nextcat.com/maritaphillips