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Toby Fesler Heathcotte, Author

Plays and Screenplays


HEROES IN BRONZE

 

 by Brock Heathcotte
 &Toby Heathcotte

 

TV Series based on
ancient Greek myths

 

Series Logline:
In the struggle for leadership of ancient Greece, lust, madness, and war bring down the tyrants of Thebes. From the brutality, mortal heroes forge a new civilization.
 

Theme: Tyranny is the enemy of justice. The weak can overcome the powerful only by cooperation and resolve. Justice requires us to rise and fight against tyranny.

 

Pilot Logline: Heir Apparent: To preserve his family's status and the honor of Thebes, Creon, an idealistic Sparti prince, must protect the authority of sadistic King Laius and his neurotic heir.
 

 

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DREAMS OF DIANA
or LOS SUENOS DE DIANA

 by Toby Fesler Heathcotte

A one-act play

 In this myth of modern life, a gifted young woman confronts conflicting forces in her mind, ancient goddesses of need, love, and power, to choose a life path.

 Shortly before high school graduation, Diana receives a scholarship to pursue her goal of becoming a veterinarian.  With her boyfriend’s military unit ordered to the war zone, Ray wants her to marry right away.  A battle rages within Diana. To make her decision, she consults the mythical figures in her mind— the dark witch La Llorona, the adventurous emerald woman Chalchiucihuatl, and La Curandera, the virgin healer.
 

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MAN IN THE MIDDLE

by Toby Heathcotte
& Brock Heathcotte

 Historical screenplay
 based on the  In-Prison Journal
of  Bobby Tuzon

 Logline:  A distressed inmate, trying to do “good time,” foils the escape of the sociopathic Gary Tison, only to find prison officials as corrupt as the prisoners.

 Synopsis:  In 1978, BOBBY TUZON, 34, faces seventeen more years in the Arizona State Prison for killing his brother-in-law in self-defense. He becomes the cellmate of the notorious GARY TISON, 50, a lifer for killing a prison guard in an attempted escape. Tison masterminds a new breakout plot and threatens the lives of Bobby’s wife and four children to get Bobby to pilot the getaway plane. Once free, Tison intends to kill fifty prominent people on his “hit list,” including Governor Bruce Babbitt. On the day of the planned escape, Bobby cuts a hole through the prison fence and dashes outside, tripping the alarms and thwarting Tison. As a reward the prison officials send a naked Bobby to “the hole.” Then, Tison escapes! Promising release, the warden seeks Bobby’s help, which Bobby gladly gives but not soon enough. Tison and his gang kill a family of four, including a twenty-month-old baby.  Through Bobby’s guesswork, police set up roadblocks and chase the gang down, killing one and incarcerating three. Tison dies of thirst in the unforgiving desert. Does Bobby get his release? No. The system, as tainted as its charges, prevails.
 

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ALMA CHRONICLES

 by Toby Heathcotte
& Brock Heathcotte

Treatment for a TV Series, family saga, paranormal historical, based on published novels by Toby Fesler Heathcotte

Souls, bound together in a circle of love, passion, betrayal, and murder, reincarnate lifetime after lifetime from the ancient Celtic world through twenty-first century America.

Humans reincarnate to solve problems their current lifetime presents. If they don't learn from their mistakes they come back to try again. They strive to become advanced souls who can respond with intelligent and loving perspective despite what life brings them. An angelic guide from the afterlife appears both as a human and as a point of light. He mentors the incarnating souls between lifetimes and in dreams. Still they retain choice in this New Age take on the tension between fate and free will.

Themes: Soul advancement happens whether the person believes in the Goddess, Jesus, Mohammed, Jehovah, ancestral spirits, or has no faith at all. Karma works and love is eternal. The barrier between the living and the dead can be breached through astral travel, clairvoyance, and past life recall. Human life is beautiful and valuable. No soul ever dies.

Incarnations of the Souls - the same actors play the parts in different centuries except perhaps for the one who switches sexes

Episodes:

England, 50 BCE
Alma, a Celtic druidess presides over the marriage of her son, Lugh, and proclaims him warrior king. When her banished lover, Taliesin, returns to reclaim her, a new lover, Morfran, murders Taliesin. Alma kills the new lover in revenge. The people doubt her ability to speak for the Goddess. King Lugh sends her into seclusion where she dies. Kegan challenges the king's. Lugh severs Kegan’s hand and banishes him. Kegan calls down the curse of the Goddess on them all. Their crimes echo down the centuries.

Alison's Legacy
A Scottish immigrant in eighteenth-century England, Alison struggles for acceptance as an independent innkeeper.  Such scandalous behavior for a lone and pregnant woman could result in exile to the streets of London. The Jacobite Rebellion brings an English lieutenant to the inn door, and Alison falls in love.  A diviner reveals that he is no other than the Celtic lover to whom Alison owes a centuries-old karmic debt.

Lainn’s Destiny
In search of his life’s path, Lainn, the boy, yearns to end slavery in the American colonies. During his youth he battles English tyranny by sword and pen. As a man, Lainn finds his future united with the spirit of rebellion swirling through his adopted homeland. He must find a way to preserve it. Two women haunt his soul—one beloved, the other a sworn enemy.

Angie’s Promise
In a vision, Angie sees her fiancé’s plane crash in 1987 in the American Southwest. She begs him not to leave, but he ignores her warnings, takes off in the plane, and dies before her eyes. Angie refuses to accept a future without her loved one. When lucid dreaming fails to keep his spirit near, Angie searches for a chink in the barrier of death. And she finds one.

Luke’s Covenant
Willing to sacrifice his life on Nine Eleven, Luke instead finds himself required to live. He must protect himself and his family from an ancient vendetta at the hands of a man compelled to murder them all. Although failing before, Kegan has been reborn with paranormal skills that give him the advantage this time. He’ll finally get the revenge he deserves.

The Comet’s Return
In 2061 Arizona, Angela dreams of people she should recognize and events she should remember. With her career and her sanity in jeopardy, she goes to the trunk opening for Halley’s Comet and finds her love from their previous incarnation. Connecting with her previous lifetime opens Angela to the great knowledge. Kegan yet walks the world, intent on ending the blood feud from Celtic times.

 

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All the books in the Alma Chronicles series are available in print and in various eBook formats

More about the books HERE

 

 

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PROMISE TO RETURN

by Toby Heathcotte

A Timely New Play for Arizona Audiences

This two-act play explores the influence a past life can have on prejudice.

A young man who remembers dying in the Vietnam War reincarnates compelled to find his previous family and fulfill the destiny denied him by death. His current family feels abandoned. Diego risks exposing his illegal status as a Mexican migrant and drives to Phoenix in 2014. He recognizes his home and some people but fails to convince them. An ally, Brianna, and other students accompany him to a protest for DACA "dreamers." The authorities deport Diego. He faces a dangerous return to Phoenix and the prejudice of family members who reject him and put his life in jeopardy. He must prove his identity and fulfill promises to both families.

 

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BIRTH OF THE DISPATCH

 by Toby Heathcotte
 & Betty Hammer Joy

 Historical screenplay based on the Memoirs of Angela Hutchison Hammer

 Logline:  A divorced newspaperwoman defies tradition to support her three sons but flees intimidation. When she meets a handsome state senator, they fight powerful banking and pumping enemies to bring irrigation to the Arizona desert of 1912. She comes to cherish the clout of her newspaper’s voice.

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DRAMA TRAUMA

 by Toby Heathcotte,
Ann Madison,
& Brock Heathcotte

A play in two acts

Accustomed to a genteel teaching environment at the performing arts academy, RACHEL finds herself exiled to a disintegrating inner city school. A culture of violence permeates Washington High with its armed students, bomb threats, and stabbings. Adrift and searching, Rachel becomes romantically involved with her former boss, SAM, a one-book wonder in the literary world. She struggles to produce The Crucible, a nearly impossible feat because of apathetic students, little funding, and constant hounding by the passive aggressive vice principal. The cast members’ lives demand intervention. They seek a way to belong whether overwhelmed with family responsibilities, craving attention, depressed, self-medicating, or suicidal. One student accuses Rachel of sexual misconduct, drawing the ire of an unsympathetic administration.  Suspended just before the performance, thanks to Sam’s betrayal, Rachel must choose between fighting for her job and taking a prestigious directing position out of state.  The students rally and mount the play themselves. At first a seeming enemy, ADAM, the basketball coach, becomes Rachel’s friend and ally when she defies her suspension.  The show, a minor triumph, instills pride and self worth in the students and validates Rachel as a teacher.

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GENERATIONS

 by Toby Heathcotte
& Brock Heathcotte

Treatment for a TV Series, family saga inspired by historical events, based on genealogical research and an unpublished manuscript by Toby Fesler Heathcotte

A family treks across generations and continents in search of land and liberty from sixteenth-century Europe through present-day America. Historical events and circumstances cause people to want to move, but family members create barriers and inner conflicts.

In this German-American "Roots" story, the Feslers emigrate from Geneva, Switzerland, but their saga mirrors the experiences of millions of Americans, no matter their heritage or land of origin.

The Feslers, peasant farmers, long for a life where they have freedom to own their own land. They want an autonomous life without interference by government or church so they can live in peace. They are buffeted, battered, and pummeled by religious wars, crop failures, forced military indentures, crippling taxes, and dishonest merchants. All are desperate for religious freedom, financial security, and the right to be regarded with dignity and equality before the law.

A motif of cherry trees runs through the episodes as a symbol of continuity, laying down roots metaphorically to hold onto the past in the new place. From the seeds of their Swiss trees, the women plant again in each location. After twenty years the trees mature along with the next generation of Feslers. Women tend the new growth and make preserves and pies. The children play beneath the trees. From the trunks the men carve, whittle, saw, and hammer the cradles, coffins, trunks, and rockers needed to sustain their lives.

Sample episodes:

1692 -  The army of Catholic Louis the Fourteenth attacks villages in the German section of Switzerland with orders to kill all Huguenots, those who practice the Reformed Faith. Albrecht Fesler flees with his wife and children. They survive the dangerous journey through the mountains and occupy an abandoned farm in Baden, Germany. They can work the land but it belongs to the baron to whom they must pay heavy taxes. Despite the difficulty of daily life, Albrecht swears never to run in shame again.

1710 - During the winter a great freeze kills animals and crops in the fields. The Fesler family takes refuge with other villagers in the baron's castle. When a woman gives birth in this desperate place, Helen Fesler, a midwife, assists in the birth. The infant dies, and the bereft father calls Helen out as a witch. She and her husband flee to Rotterdam, but other family members refuse to leave out of allegiance to the land and never learn her fate.

1750 - While working in a field one day in Baden, John Fesler and his brother are abducted by soldiers of Ferdinand the Great and forced to serve in the army. They learn the General's ambitions are limitless and their indenture lifelong. When the Feslers are furloughed to return home to plant their fields, they decide to desert and go to America. Their sister argues against the move out of fear of the unknown, but the brothers prevail. On the three month voyage across the Atlantic under terrible conditions, the sister dies, but John arrives in Pennsylvania Colony and takes an oath of loyalty to the English King. He is an American Colonist.

1776 - John Albrecht Fesler, named for his ancestor, promises himself he will fulfill the destiny of his family and own land, which he can lawfully will to his family. He must work off an indenture to an English road builder in Pennsylvania Colony. He struggles to keep his family solvent financially then agitates for the Revolution against the English King. When the rebels succeed and he is free to own land, John Albrecht buys a farm in Berks County after Pennsylvania becomes a state. The dream is fulfilled.

1823 - Margaret Culp has grown up listening to men while they talk politics and agitate for the freedom of slaves. She believes she should have the right to vote and make her own decisions. When her father arranges her marriage to a prosperous young merchant in Berks County, she defies him, declares her love for Jacob Fesler, and refuses to be denied. She wins Jacob and elopes to marry the man of her choice even though she still can't vote. She intends to work on that next.

1842 - George Fesler, a stone mason in Berks County, persuades many of his children and grandchildren to buy tracts of cheap land in the new State of Indiana. His second wife argues for staying safe while he is bent on the adventure of taking a chance. He divorces her because she refuses to go with him. Despite the argument and bad feelings, he leads a train of Conestoga wagons across Pennsylvania, Ohio, and into frontier Indiana. One of his sons dies on the way. The families brave the harsh tasks of protecting themselves from Indians to build a community with a school, a church, and a graveyard where George is the first to be buried.

1919 - The public debate over women's right to vote provokes outrage at James Monroe Fesler's kitchen table in Ovid, Indiana. A patriotic man named for a president, he argues for propriety and observing the American way. Just because women can vote doesn't mean they should indulge in such unladylike behavior. His wife agrees with him, but his daughters ignore his protests and scour the newspaper for candidates to vote for in the next election. They declare they'll run for office themselves. He fears the end of family as an institution because women will no longer cook or clean or do their wifely duties. The younger generation of women feel powerful and ambitious.

1941 - Howard Fesler's parents die. He anticipates mourning and taking comfort in his young family, but World War II explodes on everyone. All the men must sign up for the draft. His brothers, cousins, and brothers-in-law are drafted or enlist. Hardly a man is left at home except Howard who is 4-F. He works for General Motors building airplanes and spends his time making sure the women and children left by the other soldiers are cared for. Women pitch in and work alongside him at home and in the factory. He struggles with the inner conflict of not feeling like a man, and some people look down on him.