'The Last Human' by Harriet Riley

A medical team race to perform an emergency c-section that will save a mother and baby's life. But they'd rather be with their families, and with the end of the world just moments away, what’s the point of new life?

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'The Last Human' by Harriet Riley
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Comments: 12
  • #1

    Leilani Holmes (Monday, 03 June 2019 20:46)

    This is kind of a beautiful reflection on how we value life. The antagonist comes across as quite unpleasant and I'm not sure if you mean for that to be the case or if we're supposed to empathise with their own state of extreme despair, but if you wanted us to see the hopelessness of both sides you may want to soften the dialogue in a couple of places. Just a thought as overall it works well.

  • #2

    Teodora (Monday, 03 June 2019 23:53)

    That's just beautiful as it is. I don't know much about C-sections, but if that's what they are doing how come the mother is suddenly awake - isn't she supposed to be under anaesthesia?

  • #3

    Liz Briggs (Tuesday, 04 June 2019 08:36)

    I really like this script, it is punchy, the dialogue is just how Doctors tend to speak to one another under pressure, so very accurate. It is clearly very symbolic -a birth at the end of the world, and how the team feel obliged to deliver the baby in such disasterous circumstances.

  • #4

    Jaye Nolan (Tuesday, 04 June 2019 10:44)

    A poignant human story. A creative director would be needed to film a c-section but it's nicely contained and paced well.

  • #5

    Alice Rosso (Tuesday, 04 June 2019 11:06)

    Love this script! Such a great intense moment and with a great message at the end, so simple yet true. We are all going to die anyway but giving life matters more than death. Really well done!!!

  • #6

    Theo Schofield (Tuesday, 04 June 2019 12:12)

    V. good escalation- moving from the simple question of whether you sterilize medical equipment, to whether the whole enterprise of delivering a birth at the end of the world is futile. Also, liked the rumbling, as it seemed to build dramatic tension.

  • #7

    David Wike (Tuesday, 04 June 2019 20:20)

    Poses a brutal dilemma about who - if anyone - possesses the right to be moral arbiter in the instance of life.

    I agree with the aforementioned comments about the 'punch' to the script and - on further reads - wondered if, with a little editing / rejigging, some of those blows could become sharper still further enhancing the breathlessness of the question?

    For example, what impact would bringing the opening scene's dialogue into the operating room have on Maria? Would hearing the fears and doubts of others from the outset bring the chaotic outer world in and force her to doubt or resist the inevitability of her pending motherhood making her the central character (I was a little unclear as to who the key focus was in this instance)?

    The opportunities within this could be startling, trying to resist the inevitable of the outer world and that of her own body and conflicted emotions. If it were to happen my hunch is it would be less about what Maria says and more about what she does i.e. resisting the C section perhaps before succumbing to the best intents of the Medical practitioners.

    In a similar vein, editing / removing some of Brady and Patel's dialogue ("I vote not at all" / "I can't, I can't..." may allow the performances to breath and be scalpel sharp. For example, replacing "I vote not at all" with a look, as well as keeping that breathlessness relentless.

    As stated, this is coming off the back of return reads which - despite my waffling what 'ifs' above - means, for me, there is most certainly something that keeps me coming back to this script.

  • #8

    Chris Aronsten (Wednesday, 05 June 2019 09:23)

    This is such a potent idea, and the script is beautifully clear and economically written. Putting a moral dilemma at the heart of your story was a great dramatic decision. The way things escalate so well in real time is great too. I'm not sure if Hall would ask if the instruments were sterile. Perhaps that's his way of coping. I think that moment is more about Brady not being able to go through with it. Maybe he drops all the instruments and leaves - no explanation necessary, given what you have already set up, and what we know is about to happen. It is interesting to consider Maria's POV here. Is she too caught up in the physical and emotional process of giving birth? Or could she intervene or participate somehow? The situation and stakes you have set up are so clear, you could get away with trimming some of the dialogue. Eg. Conway's argument is so strong, it could be delivered in one killer line.

  • #9

    Emma Rae Teare (Wednesday, 05 June 2019 18:09)

    This is very well done and in this situation the doctors wouldn’t wash their hands and perform the Caesarean section in the room, not in theatre, so this would cut out a lot of issues when filming. And, just to clarify to Teodora’s query, she’s very likely have an epidural and be wide awake.
    I loved the tension and the drama and to end with just the sound of the crying baby! Fab :-)

  • #10

    Emma Rae Teare (Wednesday, 05 June 2019 18:56)

    Is the baby called Julius?

  • #11

    Thandi Lubimbi (Wednesday, 05 June 2019 19:39)

    A really beautiful script with a profound story. I really enjoyed this.

  • #12

    Marie (Monday, 10 June 2019 21:05)

    Dark… Interesting. I like the directness of the question, why bother?

    Very clear characterisation for the first two surgeons but no one else. Would have been nice to picture them more distinctly.

    Would it be stronger with fewer characters? I got lost and misread/assumed Patel ran out because he’d been described as ‘Ansty’.