- 2004 June Screenwriters Lab
River Mall is a monolithic suburban hulk with the architecture of the future, circa 40 years ago. It’s a sultry summer morning and the first day of the Mall’s Teens Empowered by Employment Now! Program. Latrice, a mysterious 13-year-old girl, attends an orientation for her empowering summer job as a food demonstrator.
During her first day of work, an eccentric 40-year-old carpet salesman named Bob asks Latrice out on a date. Bob has the best sales record in the region. Bob despises practically everyone in the Mall, except its youngest girl employees.
Bob coerces Latrice into an illicit relationship. They drink way too much tea in Chinese restaurants. They go on shoplifting sprees, stealing stuff they don’t need from bargain bins. They act out Bob’s risky and increasingly sadistic role-play scenarios. But unbeknownst to Bob, Latrice is regularly visited by a mystical trio of divine girl pop stars who sing only for her. Latrice’s three stars first appear on the televisions stacked in the electronics store window across from Latrice’s workstation. As Bob’s cruelty towards Latrice intensifies, the three stars appear throughout the Mall, lifting Latrice out of her troubling reality. Latrice and her stars transform the bleak Mall into a fantastical pop musical landscape in which “energy is eternal delight.”
When Bob abruptly dumps Latrice for his even younger stepdaughter, Latrice and her stars intervene and wreak a glorious, if costly, vengeance. Was Latrice a real girl, an unauthorized Saint, or the dream of Bob’s stepdaughter? Saint Latrice, an ecstatic musical about trauma, tracks the possibility of vibrant imaginary worlds transforming brutal realities.