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The Sea Dragon

England, 1810: A sharp-witted young girl who hunts and sells fossils to help support her impoverished family unearths a never-before-seen skeleton that shakes the foundations of science and religion.

In 1810, after the sudden death of her father, 11-year old Mary Anning and her older brother Joseph struggle alongside their mother Molly to make ends meet. To help their family survive in the seaside town of Lyme Regis, Mary and Joseph hunt and sell fossils they discover along the beach.

Unable to pay their rent, the family is faced with the threat of eviction. They have until the end of the month before they will be forced to move to the workhouse, a rundown refuge for the impoverished.

Mary’s father used to tell her wondrous stories about ancient creatures that no longer exist, and Mary believes there is a “dragon” waiting to be discovered. If she can just find her dragon, Mary knows she can help her family out of their present dilemma. Mary is encouraged in her pursuits by Rev. Wheaton a local minister. However, Rev. Wheaton’s mentor, Rev. Jeffrus, meets Mary’s belief in the revolutionary concept of extinction with hostility.

Undeterred, Mary and her brother continue to search, and Joseph stumbles across a gigantic animal skull full of razor-sharp teeth while on one of their outings. Overjoyed by their discovery, Mary and Joseph seek a way to remove the skull from the cliffs. Eventually, Mary persuades their landlord, Mr. Henley, to agree to buy the skull and hire workers to extract it. But he’s only interested in buying if there is a whole skeleton, so Mary lies and tells him that there is.

Mary then goes on a desperate search for the rest of her dragon before her lie is discovered. Adding to the pressure Mary feels, Joseph takes full credit for the discovery of the skull, creating a rivalry between the siblings. To make matters worse, Rev. Jeffrus openly condemns those who believe in the concept of extinction, and the Anning family is publicly shamed.

While Mary is on the verge of giving up, she and Joseph bond over their beloved father’s stories. Joseph tells her that he believes that they were all true and encourages her to push forward on her search.

Mary goes to the beach one last time and finds the rest of the giant skeleton. Amazed by her find, Mr. Henley pays the Annings for the skeleton, and the family’s debts are cleared. More importantly, Mary and her family have grown closer and begin to heal from the loss of her father.

Script Excerpt
Written by:
Format:
Screenplay
Starring Roles For:
Bobby Millie Brown (young)

In the Vein Of:
Secret Garden
Where the Wild Things Are
Little Women
Posted:
02/25/2021
Updated:
10/14/2021
Author Bio:
Adam Sharp is an award-winning writer who received his MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU Tisch. His most recent accomplishments include the selection of his screenplay “The War Unheard” as a semifinalist for the 2021 Nicholl Fellowship. His screenplay “The Sea Dragon” received the Alfred P. Sloan Prize writing award and placed 1st Runner Up in the Cynosure Screenwriting Award Contest. He co-founded Box Wine Theatre, serving as Associate Artistic Director and Resident Playwright from 2008-2019, and has been commissioned by multiple institutions around the US as a playwright.

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Contest Results:
Cynosure (Second Place, 1st place in "Female Category") [2020]
Launch Pad Feature (Quarterfinalist, Ranked Top 50) [2020]
Final Draft/Big Break (Quarterfinalist) [2020]
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