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The Breathing Hole | Aglu “??

FRANKLIN: Welcome. TU-NGA-SU-GI... (You are welcome)
Ajjiaq returns the handshake in his fashion while, Panigayak, still uncertain, stands back. Franklin points to himself.   FRANKLIN: My name is John Franklin. I’m Commander of this Expedition. We consists of the HMS Erebus and Terror, and I am properly addressed as ‘Sir’. This is Officer James Holloway, second in command.   Holloway is not keen on shaking hands.

FRANKLIN: (pointing to Ajjiaq) You, your name uh...Ki-nau-vit.   AJJIAQ: Ajjiaq...(points to Panigayak)...Panigayak.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Ask if they have seen two bears pass here?   FRANKLIN: And what’s your business Aj-jiaq and Pa-na-ga-yak...(to Holloway) how do you say ‘what’s your business?’   HOLLOWAY: I don’t know their words.   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) Ta-ku-vi-hi Mar-ruungnik Na-nuuk Qaangiutiruuq. (Did you see two bears pass?)   FRANKLIN: I wish Morshead would get here – he picked up some of their language working with Parry in ’25 when they lost the Fury.   Enter Crew #1 carrying a tray with a porcelain teapot, cup and saucer, and sugar. He will pour a steaming cup of tea for Franklin and Holloway. Crew #2 hauls in the bulky Daguerreotype.   HOLLOWAY: Ah, tea - ‘Tea is the cup of life.’   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq, points to the Erebus in the distance) Look at that huge boat.   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) Ingna umiaaqjuaq angijuaaluk. Pigijahit? (That boat is very big. Is it your boat?)   FRANKLIN: I think that word umiaq means ‘boat’.   AJJIAQ: (to Panigayak) Maybe these men are the whalers my grandfather told stories about.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Ask him.   CARTER: They seem keen on our ship.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Let’s go to that boat!   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) You... Arvagasuttiuviit? (Are you a whaler)   CREW #1: (to Franklin) Your tea, Sir.   FRANKLIN: Thank you (to Ajjiaq) Pardon?   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) You...Arvagasuttiuviit? (Are you a whaler?)   FRANKLIN: (to Holloway) What’s he trying to say?   CREW #1: (to Franklin) Sugar, Sir.   HOLLOWAY: He’s saying ‘you’ - ‘you’ as in ‘you’.   FRANKLIN: (to Ajjiaq, points to his tea cup) Tea, gentlemen?   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) You...(pointing to their boat) Arvagasutiunut? (Is that a whaling boat)?   FRANKLIN: (to Ajjiaq) Will you have a cup of tea?   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) They don’t understand.   HOLLOWAY: (to Franklin) They don’t understand, Sir.   CREW #1: I’ll get more cups and saucers.   Exit Crew #1.   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin, making the motions of a whale swimming with his hands and body) YOU.   FRANKLIN: Me...my hands...swimming. Dear Lord – your hands swimming?
CARTER: FISH.   HOLLOWAY: Fish, yes! I think he means fish, Sir – wonders if we want to fish?   FRANKLIN: No, Aj-jiaq, my work is not fishing – my work is discovery and observation for I am at heart a scientist.   Ajjiaq reaches out and points to Franklin’s Hanoverian Order of Knighthood that hangs as a collar chain.   AJJIAQ: (in Panigayak’s direction) This is shiny.   Holloway swats Ajjiaq’s hand away.

HOLLOWAY: Don’t touch!   Panigayak is inclined to take a swing at Holloway.   FRANKLIN: No need for that - enough!   AJJIAQ: (to Panigayak) Angajuk no no.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Don’t touch them.   FRANKLIN: (to Ajjiaq) This is the Hanoverian Order of Knighthood bestowed upon me in ‘33 -Carter, give these fellows some trinkets.   CARTER: Here fellas...   Carter takes a box from the trunk, flips it open and holds it out to the two hunters.   CARTER: ...help yourselves.
AJJIAQ: (to Carter) Hungaurat. (Beads)   Ajjiaq and Panigayk are helping themselves to the trinkets in the wooden box.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Take two of everything.   CARTER: (to Panigayak) Hey - only one each!   FRANKLIN: They are worthless trinkets, Carter.   AJJIAQ: (to Panigayak) Our wives will like these – they are bright like fish eggs.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Maybe they have whales in their boat.   FRANKLIN: U-mi-ak means boat, doesn’t it. (to Ajjiaq and Panigayk) Yes, that’s an umiak – the Erebus - a Hecla-class bomb vessel built by the Royal Navy
PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Let’s go to the boat and get whale meat.   Ajjiaq and Panigayak start to leave.   FRANKLIN: Yes that’s our u-mi-aq - 370 tonnes, armed with two mortars and ten - Aj-jiaq where are you - (to Holloway) Where are they going?   HOLLOWAY: (to the hunters) Excuse me, Sir.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) I’ll get our sled.   CARTER: Whoa there buddy - (stops Ajjiaq) don’t walk away when Sir John Franklin is addressing you?   PANIGAYAK: (spies the dead seal) A seal!

AJJIAQ: Seal!   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Nuka, this is fresh, very fresh.   The two hunters kneel beside the seal as Ajjiaq uses his small bone knife to expertly slit open the abdomen, cut out a choice part and hand it to Panigayak who eats it.   FRANKLIN: A bear brought that to us as a...well, a gift - don’t mention that in your observations, Holloway – readers will think we’d a bit too much to drink.
HOLLOWAY: You’d think they’d have the decency to cook it first.   Ajjiaq offers some of the tastiest bits of the seal to everyone.   WICKERS: No thank you.
AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) Tinguit Mamaqtupanaluit (The liver is very tasty.)   BEAN: Thank you no.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) How can he resist the tastiest part!   FRANKLIN: Perhaps later.   CARTER: I’ll pass.
PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Only idiots refuse the tastiest part.   Panigayak uses a wound pin on the seal to prevent more bleeding.   HOLLOWAY: What - are they going to sew up the seal? Savages, Sir – right ungodly savages.

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Amaryllis & Little Witch

You got all the good stuff. That left all the bad for me. FEY
Curse'd be she
who betrays her family! AMARYLLIS
Oh, yeah? What if I don’t have a family no more! FEY
“What if I haven’t got a family anymore...” AMARYLLIS What? FEY
You used a double negative. AMARYLLIS
How can you be so perfect and not get it! FEY
What have I failed to grasp? AMARYLLIS
How everything got messed up when you left! Mom took off. Dad’s been a total Zombie. The only time they’re kinda with it is when they’re standing in front of the mantelpiece looking at your urn. FEY
You can’t just steal my urn A gesture most unwise!
It won’t undo the turn
of my untimely demise. AMARYLLIS
It’s all I could come up with. FEY
So, what is your plan for my ashes? AMARYLLIS
I was just going to throw you off the end of the pier. FEY
You wish to drown the dead? AMARYLLIS
Well... maybe it’s not the best idea. FEY
It’s absurd! AMARYLLIS
You got a better one? FEY
Yes! Seek assistance! AMARYLLIS
Watch Miss Perfect fall apart. FEY
I’d rather be perfect Than wicked! AMARYLLIS
I’d rather be wicked than dead! FEY
Enough, please stop. You’ve gone too far. Think being dead
Is fun—a lark?
I didn’t want
To fade away
Nor do I want
To stay this way AMARYLLIS
So why are you here? FEY
I’m hanging on by a thread. Once dead, my relieved soul fled, crossed over to the other side, where I met sad souls who tried
so desperately to find a door.
I found mine but could do no more, held back by a bit of ribbon.
I traced it here, to its origin,
my last earthly tie drawing me
to the foot of the white tree NARRATOR
At the centre of the Garden stands the Ribbon Tree. It is what is holding your sister back. Thousands of ribbons are tangled in its branches. One thread for each of the dead whose loved ones refuse to let go. AMARYLLIS
Why didn’t you untie yourself? FEY
No solution availed. Whatever I tried, failed. NARRATOR
Only the living can untie the knots. AMARYLLIS
Well, if that’s all, I’ll go do it. NARRATOR
You can’t just enter the Land of the Dead like it’s the mall. FEY
I could be your guide
But promise to be good— don’t make me nag or chide. Swear to listen as you should! AMARYLLIS
On one condition. FEY
State your terms. AMARYLLIS
No more rhymes. That’s it. I’m fed up. Starting now, you talk like everybody else. FEY
You demand too high a price for so great a sacrifice! AMARYLLIS Fine. Whatever. FEY
Wait! Okay... I’ll try. AMARYLLIS
Deal! So, which way to the Land of the Dead? FEY
To cross to the other side Simply swallow your pride Promise this hand to heed wherever it shall lead AMARYLLIS
I’m sorry, what was that? FEY
Hold my hand. AMARYLLIS
Now you’re talking. FEY takes her sister’s hand.

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Three Gender Plays: Nelly Boy, My Funny Valentine, and Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls
More Info

(Sounds of the Boreal Forest slowly reach a fevered crescendo. FLOYD in silhouette.)   FLOYD Dreaming of awakening from a long winter slumber... Stretching forward and back...claw and rump... Greeting the morning sun...eyes sensitive from sleep... Smelling the mountain air...the snow as it shifts...the forest as it stirs with new life... Sliding down slippery slopes with the melt...ready to meet the valley again... Buffalo shake off their winter coats...Elk search for new growth...Crocuses push their heads up out and out... Turning over boulders...digging up grubs and tubulars, bulbs and fungi...   (The CHORUS on all fours.)   Crossing mountain passes...frolicking in alpine meadows...splashing through glacial waters...passing through ancient cedar forests...swimming across swollen rivers... staring into the swells and the shallows...   (The CHORUS stand.)   Following in the footsteps of those who have come before...   (The CHORUS travel.)   Standing to meet danger... Never turning tail... Never backing down.   (Heart beat.)   Bears.   (Lights to full. FLOYD wears oil patch coveralls, boots and a hard-hat.)   CHORUS The prime suspect in a work-place accident, Floyd had to get out of town fast.   (FLOYD takes off his hard-hat.)

FLOYD He was headed west, but he wanted to avoid the cookie cutter homes and Star Bucks rush, electing instead to follow the trails along the Whitemud and Blackmud ravines, emerging like Gaddafi from a drainage pipe—but instead of finding death, finding open farmland, Prairies, which would roll into Hills, which would fold into Mountains— which of course was where Floyd was headed.   He knew a guy who flew helicopters, tailing and tranquilizing Grizzlies to track their declining numbers, and if there was one thing Floyd loved, it was Bears. Maybe he'd take in an orphaned cub, maybe he'd hunt poachers, maybe he'd make art installations out of their shellacked droppings—it didn't matter really, so long as it involved Bears.   There'd been a berry patch out back behind his du-plex growing up, Raspberries—   CHORUS Like shitloads.   FLOYD At three years of age, Floyd had guarded the patch jealously, charging out of the brambles after a feeding frenzy to chase any would be ‘Sally Samplers’ away.   His mom had named him—   MOM “Little Cub.”   FLOYD —setting a half pint daily berry limit, a rule Floyd still followed at thirty-eight years of age. There can be too much of a good thing—   CHORUS Even for Bears.   FLOYD Walking through the native grasses in the gutters to avoid the G.M crops in the fields, Floyd wondered what life would have been like for the last Grizzlies of the Plains. They dwelt in the Mountains because it was a refuge, not because they chose to be confined to the range. There was a reason Grizzlies could run at over forty klicks— they were equipped to bring down Antelope and Deer, Moose, and Elk.   (Antlers become quills.)   CHORUS “Progress.”   FLOYD Floyd scoffed, as he stepped over the bloated carcass of a Porcupine that lay decaying in the dirt.   (The call of a Prairie Dog. FLOYD hits the dirt.)

The call of a Prairie Gopher alerted Floyd to a passing patrol.   (The Prairie Dogs watch the passing patrol, then dive for cover.)

Eyeball to eyeball with a Dark-Eyed Junco, Floyd couldn’t help but recall that songbird populations on the Prairies had been off the charts when the Buffalo used to roam— Tattlers, Warblers and Thrashers feasting on the insects that fed on the vast herds’ dung.   CHORUS "Fuck progress.”   FLOYD Floyd thought, dusting himself off.   (Moving through open Prairie again.)   FLOYD Floyd didn’t know what he’d do when he encountered his first Grizzly friend, but he knew he wouldn’t play dead.   (A drill site.)   That’s what his foreman had done when a Bear had wandered through their drill site outside Fort Saskatchewan, and that nearly ended with Floyd’s foreman being dragged to kingdom come.   Grizzlies were foragers, they’d feed on a carcass just as soon as they’d feed on dandelions or truffles. If you encountered a Grizzly in the wild you either had to clear out or try and stand your ground, Floyd reaffirmed, because—   CHORUS “There’s no such thing as neutral in the Bear world.”   FLOYD Somewhere outside Edson, Floyd found his rhythm. He wasn't walkin', he wasn’t marchin', he was trompin'—trompin' to the beat of deerskin hand-drums he'd had beatin’ in his heart since he was eleven. His gait was widenin', his muscles were bulgin’—he couldn't see the Mountains yet, but ohhhhhh—   CHORUS Ohhhhhh—

FLOYD He could smell 'em.   (FLOYD scratches his back on a birch tree.)

Stopping to scratch his back on a birch tree, a guy in a jacked F-150 stopped to see if Floyd was o.k.   CHORUS "Doin' fine.”   FLOYD Floyd assured him— "I'm headed West.”   (Moose lips. Hat tip. Truck peels out.)   FLOYD Blowin' into Hinton, Floyd found his friend's hanger deserted. There were no helicopters, or their component parts, just a note with a forwarding address that read—   CHORUS "Feds cut our fundin'. Headed north.”   (Helicopter blades chop up the playing space.)

FLOYD Goin' for flapjacks at the Husky truck-stop, Floyd drowned his disappointment in a shitload of blueberry syrup.   (Blueberry syrup swamps the playing space like an oil spill.)

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