Garage Sale, Tamahnous Theatre
Harbour House, New Play Centre/ Belfry Theatre
Life Skills Touchstone Theatre/Manitoba Theatre Centre
Back Yard Beguine New Play Centre/ Phoenix Theatre
Contents Under Pressure New Play Centre
Good News Week Station Street Arts Centre
Joey Shine Arts Club Theatre (Granville Island)
Up Island Arts Club (Stanley)
Maniac Bride Arts Club (Revue)
Local Colour Touchstone Theatre
Terminal Blues National Arts Centre (Adaptation)
Moliere's Tartuffe Playhouse Theatre / Citadel Theatre
Freemen of the Plains Manitoba Theatre Workshop
IN DEVELOPMENT Comfort and Joy (Silver Commission - Arts Club Theatre), After the Play, Small Guitar (Solo Show)
For Gentlemen Only National Film Board of Canada
Harmony Cats Ark Films
In Development: City of Beaches, Crazy Sexy, Shakin All Over , Bright Landing
Man About Midnight Late Night Radio Show
Music from the Film Every Other Tuesday
Jessie Awards (Garage Sale, Life Skills) + 6 Nominations
Genie Award (For Gentlemen Only) + one nomination (Harmony Cats)
1999-2000 Playwright in Residence at the Vancouver Playhouse
SYNOPSIS - CITY OF BEACHES
“Where are we going and why is it taking so long to get there,” says the thicker of the two young men to the not so thick one. In for the day from the valley with barely the means to get home. Here on the fun infused sand of Locarno Beach, Dean and Luke spy some hefty bald guy, lying on his side, up against a log, cell phone nesting in the palm of his hand, laptop upside down in the sand. Something about him says dead. Could be the angle of his head, no one alive could possibly find that position comfortable. Not a surprising end to the life of a man known to take his work with him to the beach. “He just doesn’t know how to do nothing, his mother would often say, and not in a proud way.
“There were four of us, all named Dorothy,” was how she began her story. “We called ourselves the Four Dots”. And on this first day of July, this particular Dot is caught up in the spirit of what she quaintly calls Dominion Day. And tonight there will be a picnic by the sea. Just her and her son, Kenneth and a very special guest who is in town from Australia. Dorothy doesn’t know yet that her son will not be in attendance, doesn’t know yet that he’s dead. She left him alone and alive with his lap top and cellular phone; and, by his side, what could possibly have been, a defibrillator.
Presently she’s too far away to see him, having followed the tide all the way out to its optimum recess, scouring the acres of fine wet sand for a particular rock. With four maiden names scrawled upon it, and under each name, a dot.
But Dean and Luke, the pals from the valley have the situation well in hand, having called the appropriate officials to officiate the dead man’s removal. When they hear the sirens get louder and louder, they see no reason to stick around to answer questions, providing what will, no doubt, be unsatisfactory answers. And it would not have been of interest to anyone at all that they had, indeed, appropriated the phone of the deceased to make the call; their own phones having died before they even got into the city. And from across the bay, jazz chords bleed out of the end of the morning. Along with a sprinkling of vibraphone.
Now let’s take for granted this untimely death will be absorbed by all concerned and that the picnic will, of course, be cancelled; as we allow ourselves to be transported across the bay to near where the music is coming from. There we meet Marcel, a man of sixty some years, some and some again, too impressed with himself to know that his vintage roller skates is not how today’s skaters roll. He is on top of the world having once lived under a bridge. But the advocates for affordable housing have lobbied his bad luck away. Why, he’s even got himself a smart phone. Got a deal on it, too. From two kids from the valley, who needed to buy gas to get home. The service will likely be cancelled soon, no doubt, but, for now, he can talk on a dead man’s smart phone to his sister in Sault Ste. Marie. For free. Talk about how proud their mother and father would be to see him living the life. “Made a new friend,” he boasts to his sis. “A hip young new friend here on the coast. Took me to a party on the west side of town where all I had to do to fit in was snap my fingers. And damned if this isn’t him I see walking towards me right now”
And sure enough, Marcel’s hip, cool, personable - albeit underachieving - friend is walking a straight line in his direction. By his side, a hip, cool pretty lady - musician no less, name of Daisy, a vibraphonistfrom Australia who was invited to play at the jazz fest. And Marcelcan’t get enough of her Aussi accent. He likes it but thinks it’s ridiculous.
And it all ends with the three of them laughing until they cry, which is how Danny Monteith always engineers goodbye. Danny made quite an impression on Daisy as a sometime lover of jazz. And spent the night with her in a Tree House provided by a friend of the festival. A guest house in a tree; replete with fridge, stove, even a King size bed. Danny and Daisy up in a treehouse. Now it’s Danny and Daisy out for a stroll on the old sea wall. Danny’s engaged to be married, as a matter of fact; but Daisy doesn’t wanna know any of that.
She tells him tonight there is to be a picnic on the other side of the bay. She tells Danny he can come if he likes and of course he would like. And by all indications, he will.
Meanwhile, the boys from the valley are in the vicinity, spending the money they got for the phone on falafels instead of gas to get home. And it will be a mystery how one got sick and not the other.
Dean and Luke, friends since they were old enough to know what friends are for. More or less on the same wave length. For now, anyway. Dean exhibits political sensibilities. Far from being an Anarchist but not unwilling to give the Black Block the benefit of the doubt once in a while. If you were looking for potential in either, you likely find more of it in Dean, who, while waiting for his pal to finish throwing up, spies there on the seawall, Danny Monteith, Having just said goodbye to Miss Daisy who decided to be lazy and take a cab back to the festival stage.
Dean remembers clearly for someone so young, the day camp he attended one summer some summers ago. Danny was one of the counselors, the one all the kids liked to follow. And the one that Dean would like most to be like someday.
Danny vaguely recalls that summer job that would be his last. But he clearly remembers Dean just as the inverse is true. Remembers that he had a Quebecois mom who once complimented him on his parlez vous. She had an je ne sais quoi thing about her and was a bit of a knock out, too. “had a well organized mind.” Danny recalls for a fact. Dean knows what he means but doesn’t know how he knows that.
On the opposite side of the bay, from the opposite side we were just at, Marcel is still on the phone with his sis. Fondling a memory of the love of his life, a love that could not persuade him to stay. Listen now as he attempts to pronounce her name is a lilting, lyrical way. "Carol Turgenson. She was perfect for me, wouldn’t you agree? Hey, would you mind havin a look in your Sault Ste Marie telephone book? Do we still have phone books? I’m just not up to date with what is and what isn’t extinct? What’s that? You found her? Her name in the book along with her number? Well, now that you’ve gone to all that trouble, I suppose I’ll have to get it from you.”
Meanwhile over at English Bay, Dean introduces Luke to Danny and Dean knows right away that Luke is not long for this friendship. Looking at everything through someone else shades right now, sizing it all up anew. Through the eyes of his first rockin role model who made him think differently when he thought about having fun. And he can no longer let Luke embarrass him and the next time will be the last time ever.
Danny is being loquaciously laconic, testing Luke’s power of concentration. Luke wants nothing of that, tries to cover Danny’s mouth with his pukey hand, much to his best buddy's horror.
Marcel is now where the boys started out on the beach in Kitsilano, still on the phone, but no longer to his sis, instead to the one who was almost his wife, the one he always thinks of whenever anybody asks him what was the happiest time of his life. And after recalling their first date when he drove clear across town in the worst blizzard of the century “because you said you had some cheese”, he finally apologizes for not having done the right thing by her.
It’s then she tells him of a visitor she had a few years back, the baby she had given up for adoption, now an intense young man named Gary or Larry or Harry. She can’t quite recall; it’s all pretty muddy. Had a bit of a stammer, I remember. Is the best she can do.
“Nothing wrong with having a stammer. Lots of brilliant people got em, I’m sure.” Says Marcel in his boy’s defence.
She tells him she received a postcard of English Bay from him several months ago. “What did he want?” Marcel wants to know.
"He wanted to meet you." She tells him. "He didn’t say why."
Not far away, a beach cop is scouring the beach for a cell phone that was taken from a corpse, granted, it was used to make an emergency call. But the law is the law and there’s just not a whole else happening that demands the attention of this particular beach cop who, when he tells them his name is Barry. reveals a slight stammer.
Hopefully, soon, we'll get see how the evening picnic plays out.