Hotel Déjà Vu

"Hotel Déjà Vu" (exctract from the original script and photos of the characters):


ZOYA (27) and her grandmother Pat (78) stand by a window in their apartment and look at an old church. There’s a big line outside forming in front of the church. It mainly consists of homeless people and immigrants. They’re all waiting for the doors of the church to open.

Zoya notices that there’s a homeless woman (Dorota) lying on the ground at the corner of the church, covered with an old grey coat. You could have spotted similar overcoats in the 80s movies - t’s huge and awkward. Dorota moves and puts it on. She’s also wearing a shiny hat that looks more like an ancient helmet.

Dorota gets up and excersises. She stretches her arms and legs. After finishing her morning stretch, she joins the line-up in front of the church. Zoya glances at Pat.
ZOYA: It’s Sunday.
Zoya takes her trench coat hanging on the back of a chair and puts it on.
ZOYA: Do I look like I’m homeless?
Pat giggles quietly, like a little child. She looks mentally ill.

The church bell tolls. Zoya leaves her apartment.
PAT’s POV: Zoya crosses the street and stands right behind Dorota in the lineup. Pat looks through the window and smiles, listening to the church bell tolling.


Zoya stands in the lineup. People reach their hands out for a stamp.
MALE VOLUNTEER: I repeat once again: you are required to sit through the entire service in order to get lunch!
Crowd starts complaining.

MALE VOLUNTEER: I repeat once again!
MAN: I’m a buddhist!
FEMALE VOLUNTEER: Quiet! My God, it’s not your first time here! Alright, everyone moves forward, making sure to get a stamp. No stamp, no lunch! I’ll be checking everyone myself!

Crowd moves forward as the female volunteer yells. Zoya stands at the very tail of the lineup eavesdropping on a conversation of two men, who are standing right in front of Dorota (40). One of the men has a Parisian accent (60); the other speaks with a Russian accent (40).

PARISIAN (with nostalgic feel in his voice): Where I come from - and that is from Paris - they gave us coupons at a café. The meals were good, nothing extravagant of course, but at least it was real.We were given coupons to a theater once a month. I went to watch movies with Juliette Binoche, Sophie Marceau, Monica Bellucci... Ahhhhh.

Parisian moans as he pronounces the actresses names.

RUSSIAN (grins): Oh really?
PARISIAN (ignoring the grin, taken over by the memories):  In the shelters they provided us with clean towels, shampoo, razors, shaving cream, toothpaste and a toothbrush.

Parisian accidentally nudges Dorota.

PARISIAN: (turns to Dorota and lowers his voice to an intimate level): And even, pardon madam, underwear.

Dorota presses her lips together, trying to push a smile.

RUSSIAN: Don’t give me this crap... Paris this, Paris that. It ain’t so bad over here too, you just gotta know places.

PARISIAN (ignores the Russian’s remarks):  We had free passes to the parisian libraries and museums... Anyways, what would you know? I bet you’ve never heard about Degas or Renoir...

RUSSIAN: Regas, Denoir... Bullshit!

PARISIAN: It was so cold in the winter, you know? So I went to library to warm up, check my email.

RUSSIAN: (with sarcasm) You wrote an email to other clochards? "Let’s meet up at five at Montmartre?"


Volunteers show everyone where to sit. The choir is singing, while the congregation are whispering to each other. First row beside the stage is occupied by well-dressed ladies and gentlemen. Homeless are to be seated in the back of the church, beside the exit. On each row there is a volunteer, who is making sure that everyone stays quiet and civil. At the very back you can hear someone arguing.

FEMALE VOLUNTEER (says with her husky voice):  Simon, make sure your row stays quiet over there, or else no lunch for them! I swear!
Without even looking, Simon (a homeless guy), hits someone on the back of the neck. Arguing stops. Zoya listens to the choir sing; she hears the Parisian and the Russian whisper to each other, because they sit in her row.

RUSSIAN: Hey, Parisian. Why the hell did you move here from Paris?

PARISIAN: Ahh... It’s a long story.

RUSSIAN: How did they even let you on a plane?

The congregation listens to a preacher telling the famous biblical story about a woman caught in adultery: crowd wanted to beat her with rocks, but didn’t. Jesus stopped them.

PRIEST: They said to him: "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?". He stood up and said to
them: "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her". But when they heard it, they went away one by one, and Jesus was left alone with the woman
standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her: "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said: "No one, Lord". And Jesus said: "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more".

Homeless Dorota nods off. Looking around the church, almost everyone at the back row nods off.


Line-up in the church hall awaits their meal. Some big guy tries to cut through the line and accidentally pushes the female volunteer. She pushes him back.

FEMALE VOLUNTEER: Hey! Why the fuck are you pushing me?

BIG GUY (addresses the line-up):  I didn’t push her! Bitch.

Line-up buzzes.

BIG GUY (loudly): What’s the soup today?

Nobody answers to him.

BIG GUY (persistent): What’s the soup today?


BIG GUY (spits, enraged, frustrated): Ugh! Veggie! Fuck, not again.


Tables in room of food bank have a U formation. Volunteers stand behind the tables with hot pots. There is a woman standing behind the table with frozen meat. She’s wearing a dirty apron. From time to time she sighs with hate, so everyone can hear, as if she wants everyone to know how much she hates her job! It’s Zoya’s turn to collect frozen meat. Woman in an apron tosses two pieces of frozen meats on the table (horrible looking pork and beef) in front of Zoya.

ZOYA: Thanks, I don’t eat pork!

WOMAN IN AN APRON: Why bother coming then? Here, take beef.

Zoya shrugs.

WOMAN IN AN APRON: You didn’t bring a plastic bag?

Zoya opens her bag.

WOMAN IN AN APRON (tosses the beef in Zoya’s purse and says indifferently):  I don’t have any either.

Zoya looks terrified after glancing at the beef in her purse, she moves on to the next table. Two bums from the end of the line quickly move in and steal the pork that Zoya had refused.

WOMAN IN AN APRON (desperately): How can people so greedy? It’s killing me!!!

Zoya goes to the next table. Volunteers at the table throw a few onions and some potatoes in her bag. There is a tall skinny old man in the lineup. He wears a holey hat. Volunteers are having fun and throwing potatoes and onions from a distance into his open bag. An old man laughs and cheers on them.



There is a volunteer standing by the church exit door giving away mini New Testaments. Only a few people take them. Zoya has her hands full, so she doesn’t take any either. She sits down on a bench to drink her coffee. Dorota, Parisian and Russian walk out behind her and sit next to her on the bench. Dorota unwraps the crispy brown paper bag which contains a two-layered sandwich. She curiously peaks inside the sandwich to see what it consists of. Within it, a slice Kraft Cheese, ham and thinly cut slices of pickle await.

DOROTA (speaks Polish): Ogorki Konserwowe!

Speaking Polish; an excited attempt to point out to the men that the sandwich contains a pickle.

PARISIAN (speaks French):  Oui, c’est un cornichon.

RUSSIAN (didactically, in English, but with a strong Russian accent): Pickle!

Quite happy with their discussion, the three of them begin to indulge their appetite in common silence. Zoya, after looking at them, reaches into her bag and pulls out a brown bag with her sandwich. She begins to eat it. There’s also a veggie soup. Dorota eats very neatly, calculated; taking out every piece of boiled carrot from her soup, putting it on the plastic soup lid. Parisian takes a spoon full of soup and follows it with a sip of coffee. Russian eats everything, without going into details. Zoya carefully watches her "neighbors".

DOROTA (speaks with a thick Eastern-European accent): After food you need to smoke.

RUSSIAN: Yes, that’s a good idea.

Dorota neatly places a white napkin on her knees, reaches inside her pocket and takes out a few cigarette butts. Without any rush or disguise and seemingly unashamed in front of Parisian and Russian, like it’s an everyday thing for her, she places the butts on a napkin. Displaying confidence and comfort with her company.

Copyright © 2016 by Yana Yaseneva. All rights reserved.
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