Scene Analysis (Dialogue)

from Gangster Apparel
by Richard Vetere

Theater Arts 16: Acting for the Camera
Tony Santangelo (as Louie)
November 7, 2002

Scored Script

Beat Subtext Text Blocking

1 We're important people.

Obj: Find something to be proud of in this situation.

Louie:   Our pictures in the newspapers were nice.

Joey:   They gave me some pride.

Louie:   Though, like I said before, we shoulda got the front page.

Joey:   If we knew people, we woulda.

Louie:   Everything is politics.

Seated side by side in small prison cell.

2 We're pros, you and me.

Obj: Bond; continue to find something to be proud of (in this case, our standing as professionals).

Louie:   You shot your guy nice.

Joey:   Thank you. I appreciate the compliment.

Louie:   I saw you in the corner of my eye. That second bodyguard was about to pop me when you took him down like a pro.

Joey:   I got him once, nice, in the chest. The second shot was for good measure.

Louie:   We should talk about that second shot.

Joey:   You think it was overdoin' it?

Louie:   On the verge.

Joey:   I thought about that after I pulled the trigger.

Louie:   I'm just talkin' from a...what do they call a third party point of view. I'm just tryin' to be objective here.

Joey:   No, be hard on me.

Louie:   You looked good. Don't get me wrong. I was just wonderin' if the second shot was too...

Joey:   Too...?

Louie:   Too know...

Joey:   But I don't know what you mean.

Louie:   Too much...ego.

Joey:   Ego?

Louie:   Yes, ego.

Joey:   Oh, I get ya.

Louie:   See?

Joey:   Yes.

Louie:   All I'm sayin' is that the next time, when you get the impulse to do it twice, think about it. Because, as you know, if you do it right the first time, you don't need a second time.

Joey:   You should write a book.

3 I can't believe this is fuckin' happenin'! (This is a major transition.)

Obj: Express and discharge tension with gallows humor.

Louie:   Why not? I'll have plenty of time.

Joey:   Tell me about it.

They look away from each other and think.

4 We are in trouble. I gotta lead up to the witness protection thing gentle or Joey will go nuts when I suggest it.

Obj: Get Joey to realize what we're facing.

Louie:   We're facin' some heavy charges here, Joey.

Joey:   We know this.

Louie:   Murder Two ain't no picnic.

Joey:   True. But look at the good side.

Louie:   What good side?

Joey:   It ain't Murder One! We didn't kill a cop!

Louie:   You're right there. We just killed some racket guys so that don't count too bad.

5 We are different from the straights. It's you and me, Joey, just you and me.

Obj: Work through the digression and get back to the main topic (witness protection).

Joey:   You know, I can't figure it. What's the story with this first-degree murder and second-degree murder...?

Louie:   Who knows? The straights create these weird definitions. If you ask me, you kill a guy, you kill a guy. No?

Joey:   Sure.

Louie:   He's dead no matter what degree it's done in, right?

Joey:   Man, they complicate things.

6 OK, back on topic... Joey! Wake up! We're trapped! That D.A. has us in a trap, and she's left us only one way out!

Obj: Make Joey understand, despite his naive optimism, that we are in deep trouble, and that witness protection is the only way out.

Louie:   So here we are. If we get convicted we either get twenty-five years to life or we get ten to twenty.

Joey:   My uncle Carmine got ten to twenty and he was out in eight.

Louie:   Right. But if we get twenty-five we will have to definitely do at least fifteen.

Joey:   Right, we get twenty-five, we gotta do fifteen. We get ten we do eight.

Louie:   And don't forget that we get hit with three counts. One for the big shot and one each for the bodyguards. In other words, we're lookin' at a long stretch...

Joey:   Unless they find us innocent.

Louie:   What?

Joey:   They could.

Louie:   Innocent? They got an eyewitness who saw us pull the triggers. They got three dead bodies. So, unless you got some pull with the President of the United States that I never knew about, I suspect, Joey, that at the very least, they will find us guilty! Of murder! The only thing up for grabs is the sentencing!

7 Another god-damn digression! OK, i'll use it to wear down his god-damn optimism: It ain't no use, Joey. There wasn't no place to run. You do the job, you're in the trap. Period.

Obj: Make Joey understand that they've got us, that they had us from the moment we pulled the trigger. (Maybe he'll realize that the boss who gave us this job didn't care what happened to us afterwards.)

Joey:   We shoulda left the country.

Louie:   You keep sayin' that. But where were we gonna go?

Joey:   Anywhere.

Louie:   Anywhere, he says. Answer me this, Mister Anywhere: how many languages do you speak?

Joey:   Huh?

Louie:   You can't go back to England, right?

Joey:   That's for sure!

Louie:   Well, they don't speak English in many other countries, Joey!

Joey:   Why not?

Louie:   Because they speak their own language.

Joey:   What for?

Louie:   Who knows? But that's how it is! If we went to another country we woulda went out of our minds in two days! Could you see us tryin' to order a pizza in somebody else's language?

Joey:   They gotta speak English somewheres...

Louie:   Right, that's why we went to Atlantic City.

Joey:   What about Chicago?

Louie:   Yeah, they speak English there.

Joey:   And Philly?

Louie:   There, too. Name another place.

Joey:   Texas?

Louie:   You remember Joe Trash?

Joey:   From 29th Street?

Louie:   The same. He went to Dallas once, an' nobody understood a word he said.

Joey:   No shit?

Louie:   He walked into a diner and ordered Italian sausages and a cappuccino and the waitress looked at him like he was from Mars!

Joey:   So we went to the right place for us. We just got caught!

8 That's right Joey: Caught! And I gotta tell ya: I don't wanna stay caught.

Obj: Make him understand that I can't take it inside, maybe engage his sympathy.

Louie:   Joey, I gotta tell ya!

Joey:   What?

Louie:   I can't do ten or twenty or fifteen or eight!

Joey:   It ain't that bad.

Louie:   For you it ain't that bad. You like it inside.

Joey:   Sure. You get fed, you get a gym, you get a nice bed, you get HBO! And everything's paid for! Look, I did one once before, right? And it was easy. So now, I do one ten times, or fifteen, or whatever it takes. That's not bad.

Louie:   You're outta your mind...

9 It's you and me, Joey. You gotta come with me. This is it!

Obj: Make him understand that this is a crisis, and he has a decision to make.

Louie:   Joey, listen to me. In about ten minutes they are going to come for us, they are going to take crosstown to court and our trial is going to start. Now, before that happens, I want you to think about somethin'.

Joey:   Okay.

Louie:   Somethin' about you and me.

Joey:   It sounds important.

Louie:   It is.

Joey:   Go ahead. I'm ready.

Louie moves closer.

10 This is it!

Obj: Lay it on the line. It's now or never.

Louie:   I think we should take the DA up on her offer.

Joey:   What?

Louie:   Witness protection.

Joey:   Louie?

Louie:   You heard me.

Louie's face close to Joey's at first; Joey backs away.

11 Listen to me, Joey!

Obj: Contain the explosion. Appeal to his sympathy.

Joey:   Don't even think about it! Witness protection? How can you?

Louie:   Hey, why don't you announce it on the loudspeaker!

Joey:   But the very thought of it? I'm not standin' near you!

Louie:   Joey, I can't do five minutes more in this place!

Joey tries to stand up and move away from Louie. Business with handcuffs.

12 THEY ain't our friends, Joey. It's just you and me.

Obj: Make him understand that the only way out is to get out of the gangster life completely.

Joey:   But what kinda life you gonna have? You'll be rattin' out your friends!

Louie:   Friends? I'm lucky I got one friend in this world. You. And who else?

13 The boss ain't no friend of ours. We just do his dirty work, and for what? Killing makes me sick--an' it makes you sick too, Joey.

Obj: Save Joey and preserve our friendship by making him realize that the gangster life is not what he really wants.

Joey:   Don't even walk near me.

Louie:   Look, the secret of life is never to go halfway with somethin'. I tell them what I know about the boss, and then I get a first-class new life.

Joey:   You're gonna give up the boss?

Louie:   Like what? He wouldn't give me up?

Joey:   You got no loyalty, Louie. I am shocked. I am sick. Sick!

Louie:   Be sick. What can I say? Joey, I was paid for a job and I did it. Am I right?

Joey:   But to give him up to them? To the Feds? To the lousy Feds? It's better you give him up to some other boss than to the government!

Louie:   Joey, answer me truthfully. The other night was the first time you did somebody in, no?

Joey:   Maybe.

Louie:   You never whacked anybody before, did you?

Joey:   Not for money.

Louie:   Me, neither. I mean, I went on a couple of hits but I never participated.

Joey:   What's your point?

Louie:   How did it feel?

Joey:   Whackin' somebody?

Louie:   Exactly.

Joey:   Kinda

Louie:   Was it a healthy feeling?

Joey:   Healthy?

Louie:   I mean, would you like to experience the feeling every day of the week?

Joey:   I don't think so.

Louie:   Twice a month?

Joey:   Louie, what are you gettin' at?

Louie:   There are two kinds of people, those who order the hit and those that do it. We are those that do it. We are the ones facing life in Sing Sing. Not the boss.

Joey:   Okay.

Louie:   But we have to get this sick feelin' every time we do for him what he needs to have done. Does that make sense to you?

Joey:   I've thought about this.

14 It ain't just loyalty that's a con job, Joey. Justice itself is a sham.

Obj: Push Joey further towards acceptance by showing him that ethical abstractions are just masks for the will to power.

Louie:   And then there's something else even stranger. It has to do with this concept of justice that the straights are always dealin' out at us.

Joey:   Yeah.

Louie:   It don't exist.

Joey:   It don't?

Louie:   It's a sham.

Script Analysis


Objective in this scene:

To get out of this trap, and bring Joey out with me.

Obstacles in this scene:

I have to persuade Joey that turning over the boss is the right thing to do.

Dramatic Values


Comic and goofy with flashes of insight and pathos.


In this scene, there are undercurrents of ethical nihilism, but i haven't been able to find a copy of the whole play, so i don't know how to put this theme in context.

Another important theme in the scene (and perhaps in the play as a whole) is loyalty, as between friends, and as between bosses and underlings.


Louie is a gangster who thinks about things (in his way) and wants out. (It's a little convenient, though, that he opts out of the life only after he's trapped by the D.A.)

Louie is a mentor to Joey, and feels a real connection with him. After all, Louie could presumably take the D.A.'s offer himself and leave Joey behind. But that doesn't seem acceptable to him and he takes great pains to persuade Joey to come along. (It's "somethin' about you and me.")

The friendship between the two appears to be of long standing. ("Do you remember Joe Trash?"...)


This scene would appear to be a turning-point in the plot, but without the rest of the script, it's difficult to say.


Stereotyped New York Italian Mafioso accent, syntax, and (apart from a puzzling absence of profanity) vocabulary.

I find a few of Louie's phrases a little out of keeping with the rest. (The phrase "concept of justice," for example.)


Representational, with a degree of comic stylization.