This is a stunt show designed for a collaborative design class as part of the Masters Themed Entertainment Design program at the Savannah College of Art and Design. I was the team's show writer and completed the full show treatment. Jon Plsek, also a Themed Entertainment MFA student, completed the storyboards, featured below. His website can be found here.
SCENE 2 – INT. 221 B Baker Street
The scattered mess of an middle-aged, crime-solving genius bachelor is strewn throughout the space of the tiny apartment flat. The desk, bookshelf, and other furniture are all dark mahogany and every inch is covered with the experiments and materials of SHERLOCK HOLMES. A globe with a face painted on it is wearing Watson’s bowler hat and a sparking Bunsen burner is resting on a phonograph player, next to a fishbowl containing a turtle and a clock. Various mechanical contraptions whir and spin throughout the clutter, their functions unknown. Thin chains and twine hook into pulleys which turn small fans and motors. The whole apartment has a quiet, kinetic energy. Sherlock’s bookshelf is crammed with countless dusty volumes; bits of parchment and scrolls poke out of it like moss on a stone wall. The skeleton of some spiny, ferret-sized creature is posed on top, amidst further rolls of paper. The mess is not chaotic or unclean, but certainly eccentric.
In the center of the room, Sherlock Holmes reclines in a squashy armchair, feet kicked over the edge, playing a mournful melody on his violin. He is completely lost in his music. WATSON is pacing across the room, his face buried in a newspaper.
Isn’t it time you got a case, Holmes?
SHERLOCK (without looking up from his violin)
Isn’t it time you got a job, John?
Oh, I actually found a job. Doesn’t pay well. Full-time babysitter to a socio-pathic, crime-solving genius who doesn’t know the difference between a foxtrot and a frockcoat.
Touche. I really don’t.
Sometimes, I don’t know who requires more housetraining, you or Gladstone. Where is he, anyway?
He whistles for the dog.
He’s on a case.
He nobly volunteered to help me run a lookout on the suspicious milkman.
See! This is what I’m talking about. You’ve been climbing the walls ever since you sorted out that Sussex Vampire last week…
…Ah yes, that was a good one….
…and we haven’t heard from Moriarty in months and I know it’s driving you mad.
We need work. That’s why I’m trying to find you a case.
SHERLOCK (glancing at the newspaper)
Another horse and carriage was attacked.
No, listen, it’s actually strange, this is the 7th one this week and nothing was stolen. Isn’t that odd? But the victims, Clive and Lucy Abbott, reported feeling “terror, dread, and confusion” afterwards. Huh.
Sherlock sweeps to his feet with a flourish, still drawing his bow gracefully back and forth across the violin. He picks up a slow, meandering figure-8 path around the room, just as Watson lands comfortably in a chair at his desk.
Thief just didn’t find anything interesting on board. Either that, or he’s completely inept. The Abbotts are confused because they’re simple.
Hardly, they’re members of parliament.
What else have you found?
The Bloomingdales are getting married. Oh, and the Queen is arriving on a ship tomorrow, from France. That’s charming. And…there’s a gala downtown tomorrow evening. We could finally work on your foxtrot.
Boring! Isn’t there anything going on that’s even the tiniest bit…what’s that?
Sherlock’s violin playing ceases abruptly with a small screech as he freezes, listening. The raucous sounds of dancing, shouting, and tambourines gradually become audible. Both he and Watson tread simultaneously to the window and look out to the street below.
Scene 5: EXT. Gypsy Camp (Hallucination)
Sherlock, enveloped in the cloud of purple smoke emitted by the grenade, tumbles gracefully off the top of the carriage. He lands flat on his back and as he lies still for a moment, the carriage goes dark and swiftly rides away.
The music has changed now to an eerie, a-melodic, almost sinister tune, with the stringent notes of stringed instruments permeating the space. The gypsies have all vanished and the scene of their camp begins to melt away into the darkness.
Sherlock gets to his feet and turns slowly on the spot. Purple smoke is now snaking like some fast-growing vine through the trees, like fear given physical form. And then steadily, through the smoke, groups of dancers swirl into the clearing, seemingly unaware of Sherlock. Macabre in the gloom, they look more like ghosts than humans. They drift through some kind of Victorian foxtrot, numbering more than 30 in all, weaving in an out of well-rehearsed choreography.
The smoke thickens and the music becomes more intense. Sherlock attempts to weave amongst the dancers, trying to inspect them, but is continually buffeted to the side, or knocked off balance. One woman in particular is wearing a crown, but Sherlock can never seem to get close to her. All at once, they split unexpectedly in half, still not acknowledging Sherlock, and one group of dancers presses forward while the other falls back. The group in front are all dressed similarly, in frockcoats and top hats, wide skirts and elaborate bonnets: the dress of nobles.
As these dancers fall away, the second half drifts forward. Although at first they appear similar to the first group, a chord strikes in the music and, on cue, each dancer in this second group tears away their dignified clothes. In the darkness, it looks as though they are shedding their skin. This group of dancers, it now becomes evident, is clad much differently, in the tattered garb of gypsies.
Sherlock now runs frantically amongst the crowd as they rejoin, resuming their unnerving dance. A rider on a black horse gallops out into the fray, riding circles around Sherlock and the dancers. And then, from behind the trees, giant forms begin to emerge, unfolding mechanically. Roughly ten feet in height, their outlines are unmistakable: massive, mechanical horses. They whir and click mechanically, their eyes flashing fire.
The music is gaining momentum with drums like a heartbeat, the dancers twirling faster, the mechanical horses growing higher. As it all comes to a head, a last form rises from the smoke, a demonic horse three stories high, rearing its head. Sherlock staggers backwards away from it. The smoke is now so thick that the dancers and the rider have vanished completely. All that is visible are Sherlock and the monster horse. Sherlock is frozen, the light of the horse’s eyes bearing down on him, until he too is lost in the smoke.
The figure of the horse transforms. It features morph and meld until, bizarrely, they resemble those of a bulldog. A deep, throaty sounds resonates from the enormous creature: “WOOF.”
Scene 7 : INT. 221B Baker Street
Gladstone is licking Sherlock’s face. The detective is stretched out on the couch in his apartment flat, one arm hanging over the side, but comes to with a jolt. The normal-sized bulldog woofs happily as Sherlock jumps to his feet.
I’ve got it!
At that moment, Watson enters the room, carrying a cup of tea, taken aback by the outburst.
Oh, you’re awake! Sorry, what did you say?
SHERLOCK (pacing a small track back in forth in front of the couch)
I’ve got it, John, I’ve got it. It was all right here, and it’s so simple, God! How did we not see it?”
Watson sets the tea down, looking concerned.
Sherlock, you took a big fall off the carriage. I brought you back here, but you were ranting in your sleep. I think you’re confused.
No, I’m not, I see everything so clearly now!”
Unable to control his excitement, Sherlock jumps up to stand on the couch, bouncing slightly on the balls of his feet.
The carriages, the ones that have been attacked. What did they all have in common? Think, John, think!
WATSON (shaking his head, bewildered)
They all…own horses?
Dignitaries! They’re all dignitaries. Nobles and members of parliament. And where will all the dignitaries be this afternoon? Remember what you read to me from the paper?”
WATSON (slapping a hand to his forehead)
SHERLOCK (gesturing wildly)
The Queen! They will all be at the docks to greet the returning Queen! Nothing was stolen from the carriages, John, because something was added.
Sherlock gives a final, triumphant bounce on the couch. As he does, a small, round, metallic object drops out of his pocket. John bends to pick it up.
Sherlock snatches it out of his hands with a triumphant exclamation, then hops down and strides quickly to a table where his laboratory equipment is set up. He knocks all of it aside with an impatient brush of his forearms, except for a single Bunsen burner. As he extracts an eyedropper from the cluttered mess, he continues to bring John up to speed.
This, Watson, is a smoke grenade, exactly like our red-haired gypsy tossed at me on the carriage. Thankfully, this particularly one did not detonate….
…but why did she throw a second one? And how did that manage to stay in your pocket all this way?…
…meaning that I can use this to deduce exactly what I need.
Sherlock tips a small beaker of clear liquid into the Bunsen burner, which turns green. Then, holding the grenade delicately, maneuvers it slightly and tips over the beaker, so that a small amount of liquid drips out. The green concoction suddenly becomes violently purple and with a loud pop, emits a cloud of matching smoke.
Aha! Yes, I knew it!
He tosses the grenade to John, who bobbles it nervously.
Suffice to say, my dear Watson, that these particular chemicals combine to produce a hallucinogen strong enough to knock out a horse. Or…a sociopathic, crime-solving genius. The effects are fear, confusion, and in certain cases: death.
Sherlock, everyone at the docks is in danger!
Precisely what I was trying to convey. Now let’s go!
As the two sprint to the door, pulling on coats, a final thought occurs to Watson.
Sherlock, who’s behind it all?
I have a theory!
And the door bangs shut behind them.