A Comedy of the Ant and the Grasshopper
Reg’d © Library of Congress
A serious woman falls in love with a frivolous man and tries against all odds to hang on to her Greek-island hotel.
Colorful carefree gigolo Toby—the grasshopper—comes to a holiday island with elderly but attractive Beverly—and the owner of their little hotel, Friederiki, the ant, sees immediately what he is.
Proposed cast: Kristin Scott Thomas (Friederiki)
Friederiki, the ant, is serious, struggling, still in black a year after her husband’s death. She doesn’t approve of Toby—especially when Beverly dies in her sleep and he leaves the arrangements to her.
No mourning for him—he takes nothing seriously, not even death. With Beverly’s cards he cleans out her cash accounts—and what the hell writes himself a check in her name. He’s got to eat! But he can’t leave the island till the check clears so he parks his money in the hotel safe and lingers.
We’ll have to count it, says Friederiki. So they count it together and come up with different sums. Let’s split the difference, he says. He takes nothing seriously, not even money.
Proposed cast: Tom Wilkinson (Alden)
Alden, a developer who has acquired Friederiki's mortgage and is buying up the island, arrives at the hotel and threatens to foreclose on her unless she makes good her arrears.
Proposed cast: Silvana Maimone (Marie)
With him is his wife Marie, patient and dutiful but she wants something better out of life, and soon realizes it’s Toby.
Proposed cast: Catherine Tate (Claudia)
Also with Alden are his niece and her lover Claudia. (He’ll put a stop to that.) Claudia, butch and abrasive, is the co-mother of his niece’s daughter Lisa, and snarls at Toby whenever his gaze wanders to one of the women in the party.
Proposed cast: Eve Newton (Lisa)
When Alden tells fourteen-year-old Lisa he wants to take her away from her lesbian parents she accidentally knocks him off a cliff and kills him.At the desk Toby overhears Alden threaten Friederiki with foreclosure and simply slides him over a stack of cash. Keep the change. At this she weeps—and, well, it happens. Her mourning is over.
But not her problems. She must go to Athens and get a loan to cover the mortgage, and leaves Toby in charge of the hotel—a risky thing to do but who else is there?
Bad enough the humiliation she suffers trying to get a loan: the only creditor she can find requires that she sleep with him—and then dies in her arms! Big help.
But while she’s gone the worst that could happen happens: a family feud, the hotel catches fire, a bulldozer knocks some of it down—and Lisa accidentally kills Alden, which Toby, her family and the villagers conspire to cover up. (Alden held several mortgages.)
Friederiki comes back to a half-demolished hotel and police all over the place. Where’s the body? Well—don’t order the mousaka.
And a seventh character is the tiny no-car island of Hydra.