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Long Live the New Flesh

Long Live the New Flesh

Five Plays from the Digital Frontier
edited by David Owen
edition:Paperback
More Info
Through the Bamboo
Excerpt

A forest. The air is humid and filled with electricity. PHILLY opens her eyes surrounded by IPAKITA, GITING.

 

PHILLY (Simultaneously.)? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

IPAKITA/GITING (Simultaneously.)A?hhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

GITING Nale!

IPAKITA It’s you! It’s really you!

PHILLY Where’d you… how’d you do that?

IPAKITA/GITING Begin the barrio fiesta!

IPAKITA dances like light while playing the kubing. Hundreds of impish DUWENDE flood the forest, scurrying, giggling and leaping.

DUWENDE YAY!!!
She’s back, she’s back now from her fall
Her stories, they will save us all

PHILLY This isn't happening. I’m not in a forest. I'm just in Lola's basement. I'm going to close my eyes, count to three, and then everything will be back to normal.

The DUWENDE hush.

 

One... two... three.

PHILLY opens her eyes expectantly. A beat.

DUWENDE YAY!!!

They begin to chant and dance the Maglalatik [an indigenous Filipino dance that uses the percussive sounds of coconut shells worn around the body].

Isa!
Dalawa!
Tatlo!
Nale!

 

PHILLY is caught in the middle and tries to escape multiple times but to no avail.

PHILLY What are you —

DUWENDE YAY!!
She’s back, she’s back now from her fall
Her stories, they will save us all

PHILLY Excuse me, I’m lost. Can you help me find my way home?

DUWENDE YAY!!
She’s back, she’s back now from her fall/
Her stories, they will save us all!

PHILLY Tell me who you are!

IPAKITA It doesn't matter who we are. It's who you are that's important.

DUWENDE YAY!!!
She’s back, she’s back now from her –

PHILLY Back?

IPAKITA Uh-huh. We knew you were back because the sky – it’s gold again! And now we’ve found you!

GITING Welcome back to Uwi!

PHILLY What's Uwi?

GITING What's Uwi? It “has? been a long time since you've been home.

PHILLY Tell me who you are.

IPAKITA I'm Ipakita the seeker, of the forest duwende.

PHILLY Sure. So she's Tita Pita -

IPAKITA - Ipakita -

PHILLY - and your name is?

GITING My name? My name?! I am Giting the Great, protector of the forest duwende. The fightiest, mightiest -

PHILLY - tiniest?

 

GITING Who you calling tiny? I'll show you tiny!

GITING takes out her arnis sticks and shows off her skills. The duwende ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ at her moves. IPAKITA jumps in to stop her.

IPAKITA That won't be necessary, Giting. Remember, she’s here to end the reign of the Sisters.

DUWENDE YAY!
She’s back, she’s back now from her –

GITING - Stop! Get down!

GITING grabs PHILLY and pushes her to the ground hiding her. The Duwende all hide. An EKEK flies overhead.

EKEK Ekek!

PHILLY What was that?!

GITING Quiet!

IPAKITA An Ekek, a courier for the Sisters.

GITING And their eyes over Uwi.

PHILLY What?

IPAKITA Shh...if there’s an ekek, that means...

The ground rumbles.

GITING Down!

GITING grabs PHILLY and pulls her into a duwende mound, concealing her from sight. A Tikbalang battalion led by GENERAL T enters.

GEN T Keep your eyes open and sniff for human flesh.

GENERAL T and the Tikbalang battalion exit.

GITING Clear. That was a tikbalang.

PHILLY What’s tikbalang?

GITING Demon horses.

IPAKITA And the army of the Three Sisters. That’s the third group of Tikbalang and Ekek that’s passed through since sunrise.

GITING You're lucky we found you first.

IPAKITA All of Uwi has been looking for you.

PHILLY I’m getting out of here!

GITING Keep your voice down! They'll kill you if they catch you.

PHILLY Why would anyone want to kill me?

IPAKITA You're the key.

PHILLY The key to what?

IPAKITA Freeing the creatures of Uwi. Freeing your home.

PHILLY Look, I don’t know you and this place isn’t my home. Okay, I just gotta find... I’m outta here.

PHILLY goes off in search of the way home.

GITING She’s gonna get herself caught.

IPAKITA Let’s go, we can’t mess this up.

They exit after PHILLY.

close this panel
Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers
Excerpt

The last inhale.

A 17-year-old Black boy in a hoodie appears. His body parts isolate and move in a way that is unfamiliar. He tries to control them. 

SLIMM: What just happened?

He considers his own body.

 

I’m hot. I’m wet? 

He observes the space. He feels, then sees eyes watching him.

SLIMM:GOD!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley

of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil;

For you are with me.

He remembers to do the sign of the cross.

(To the eyes) I haven’t been to church in a minute. I just thought I’d slip in a little insurance.

Are y’all here for Judgement Day?

Is God on Black people time?

There should be like, a step by step instruction manual.

A large book appears. 

The boy approaches the book.

(Reading) Your Journey to the Ancestors.

The book glows and inscribes itself.

(Reading) A Step by step instruction manual.

(Reading) Open me.

Mmm-mmm. 

He walks away from the book. Grandma appears.

GRANDMA: Baby, you stand on the shoulders of the ancestors who chose you to represent them in this moment. 

She points at the book.

Open it. 

SLIMM: Grandma? Aren’t you the one who used to force me to go to church? Where’s                God? And why do I have to...

GRANDMA: That sperm hit that egg and you were no mistake.

SLIMM: Did you just say sperm?

Grandma disappears.

Grandma? 

(Looking at the book) God is actually kind of savage.  (To the eyes) Have you                                 read the Old Testament? He turned a bitch into salt just for looking back.

I got another one. God is so savage…

You’re supposed to say “How savage is he?”

God is so savage…

He waits for “How savage is he?”

Um, okay, so he hollas at his homeboy and tells him to spend like two entire months building this huge ass fucking boat. Then he makes scour da whole earff, gatherin’ all the animals, like, two of each one and shit just to be like “I’M GONNA MAKE IT FLOOD” and it’s like “Dude, you had the power to make a flood but you didn’t have the power to build your own boat?”

Laughter.

God is so savage…

Waits for “How savage is he?”

So it’s like a Tuesday morning, like a couple thousand years ago, right? So…                     

God calls up his friend Abraham, right? And he’s like (To the tune of Lionel Richie) “Hello...is it me you’re lookin’ for?”

Just kidding, just kidding. That was...bad. So he’s like, “Hey, Abe. It’s me, Lord. Yeah, Nigga. What’s good? Yeah yeah, okay. How’s work? Cool…cool.  How’s your wife? Okay, cool. How’s your only son? Great. I’ma need you to sacrifice him.”

Click!

So Abraham takes his fucking kid, drags the lil nigga up a mountain, puts him on a altar or some shit, lifts up this huge ass rock and just as he’s about to smash his head into a thousand tiny pieces, God be like “JUST KIDDING…KIDDING...Kidding.”

Abraham’s just like….

God didn’t say nothin’ else.

Savage. Ancestors all the way. 

The boy approaches the book. A beat. He opens it.

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Fado

Fado

The Saddest Music in the World
edition:Paperback
More Info
WROL (Without Rule of Law)
Excerpt

THE PIT

ROBBIE, MAUREEN, SARAH and VIC are still documenting items.

VIC: Sorry. I’m not totally clear on what we’re doing.

MAUREEN:  We’re waiting for Jo.

SARAH: We’ve been trying, for years, to locate some people from nearby here who... went missing. VIC: Like, from your presentation.

(This is a win for Sarah.)

SARAH: ...yeah.

VIC: You think they’re still here?

MAUREEN: Yeah, we do.

VIC: Why?

SARAH and MAUREEN exchange a look.

SARAH: We just... have a reason.

Another look.

SARAH: ... Okay:

Like, four years ago, Josephine’s parents – they’re both psychologists, that will be relevant in a minute – they’re having this bad time, basically, in their marriage, and they move into
the house – well, where Jo lives now – and she’s eight, and she doesn’t know anyone, so she... starts talking to this (SARAH glances at MAUREEN) imaginary friend who lives in the playhouse at the back of the yard, and they – her mom and dad – think that it’s the hostile environment in the house, that she’s, like, acting out because of their issues.

So they send her to this other therapist friend of theirs, and then away, to live with relatives ... for a year. But then her dad one day goes out to the playhouse, and finds these stacks of ...bird bones. And other stuff. And so they call the police and it turns out there had been an actual homeless guy living there. In the playhouse. And when they found out that the kid – that Jo – had been talking to him, the police wanted to interview her because they thought this guy in the playhouse might have been one of the Shelton Commune people who had come back.

MAUREEN: ...or stayed behind.

SARAH: Right. Or stayed behind when they all... when whatever happened to them happened.

VIC: Why did they think that’s who he was?

SARAH: We aren’t sure, exactly, but according to Jo they were suddenly really interested in finding him.

ROBBIE: Well, yeah.

VIC: And you think he’s still here?

SARAH: We didn’t know. Before now.

MAUREEN: Robbie saw him.

ROBBIE: (suddenly regretting all his life choices) I – whoa – I saw a guy, at a distance, at night who might have been this guy.

VIC: Where?

ROBBIE: On the road. Geoff and I followed him up here.

VIC: Here? Like…in here? You saw him come in here?

ROBBIE: Yeah

Pause.

ROBBIE: I think so.

The room gets a few degrees chillier.

SARAH: You think so?

ROBBIE: It was dark.

VIC: Well, someone is living here.

SARAH: You didn’t actually see him come in here?

ROBBIE: OH MY GOD SARAH. We were following him from a responsible distance because we didn’t know what – like – he could have been the frigging Tully Turnpike Man –

VIC: Who?

ROBBIE: People have seen him at night, by the Tully Turnpike, by the gas station, and the story is that he just kind of hangs out there by the road, waiting for you to drive by. And when you look in your rear- view mirror you’ll see him, except he’s now in the middle of the road and he’s on all fours smiling and crawling towards you and even as you accelerate he gets faster – keeping up with your vehicle –

VIC: And then what?

ROBBIE: What?

VIC: He chases you down, he catches you, and then what?

ROBBIE: (Unsure) Something really bad, probably.

SARAH: It’s an urban legend Robbie.

ROBBIE: Geoff’s brother Keith said the Tulley Turnpike Man cuts out people’s eyes and tongues and keeps them in pickle jars.

VIC: Is that what we are looking for, then? Jars of tongues and eyeballs?

SARAH and MAUREEN laugh.

MAUREEN: (With sudden urgency) Oh my god!

Everyone freezes.

MAUREEN: I think I found one.

She squats down and carefully picks something up.

MAUREEN: Here, quick, Robbie, CATCH!

She throws an empty can of Beef-a-Roni at him. He turns away at the last second and it bounces off his back.

ROBBIE: DON’T. MAUREEN.

He picks up another can and lobs it back at her. She ducks, and it hits the utility closet. He Picks up another empty can. SARAH intercedes.

SARAH: Okay, okay, guys, stop. You’re messing up the integrity of the site. I think it would be best to not disturb things. More.

The ‘cataloguing’ resumes.

VIC: Is the Tully...Man... Turnpike

ROBBIE: Right, the Tully Turnpike Man, is he connected to the Shelton Commune, or...

SARAH: No, not really, but people have kind of blended it, tenuously, that story, because it’s about something creepy happening nearby so it must have something to do with the commune, right?

There are a lot of stories and none of them are, in any way, provably true

VIC: Except Jo’s

SARAH: Well, yeah

MAUREEN: And the Lisa Trilby thing, probably.

Pause.

close this panel
A Perfect Bowl of Pho
Excerpt

(The beginnings of a dope beat play in the background. TEACHER enters with a classroom full of students, ready to be victimized by JEN.)

TEACHER

Alright, class, remember that tomorrow is World Cultures Day, so I hope you’re all ready to set up your country’s booths with your yummy, yummy foods!

(The students cheer. JEN emerges from them, screaming.)

JEN

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

TEACHER

Jen? Jen, I – Jen! I appreciate your enthusiasm, but –

JEN

Brap brap brap brap!

(The dope beat goes ham. JEN raps with terrifying aggression; the classroom is destroyed in the process.)

JEN

YO, THERE’S A SHARK IN THE WATER, OUGHTTA GET OUTTA THE POOL

VIET DAUGHTER ‘BOUTTA BRING THE HOTTEST STAND TO THE SCHOOL

I TELL YA, OTHER BITCHES’ BOOTHS HAD BEST PREPARE FOR A BEATING

BECAUSE IT AIN’T WORLD CULTURES DAY UNTIL SOMEBODY IS BLEEDING

BEST PREPARE FOR MEAT-EATING, IT DON’T BEAR NO REPEATING

I’M SPEEDING DOWN THE LIST OF REASONS WHY MY FEAST IS LEADING

JEN / ENSEMBLE

GOT SOME CHICKEN / WHAT!

JEN / ENSEMBLE

PORK / WHAT!

JEN

AND YOU KNOW THAT I’M BEEFING

AND ‘EM SPRING ROLLS READY

WITH A BIT OF REHEATING

PICKLED VEGGIES ON THE SIDE, AND MILKY COFFEE ON THE ICE

TRY SOME RICE, FRIED OR WHITE AT NO ADDITIONAL PRICE

NOT ONLY THAT, GOT A BURNER STOVE AND CANS OF GAS

SO YOU CAN SLURP A BOWL OF PHO WHEN I’M THROUGH KICKING YO ASS

HO! SO, YOU MIGHT AS WELL NOT SHOW

LEAVE YOUR DUMBASS PIEROGIES AT HOME

I DUNNO HOW THE FUCK YOU BURNED NACHOS

BUT YOU DID IT, NOW YOU’RE FINISHED ‘CAUSE THE DISHES I MADE ON MY OWN

With my mom's help.

She did the cooking.

I rolled the spring rolls.

Bitch.

VIETNAM PIMPIN’, YO, STOP YO BITCHIN’

I’M DISHING OUT THE DISHES AND YOU’RE RIPE FOR THE PICKIN’

WE ARE READY STEADY GO, TO GO INTERNATIONAL

AND WE’RE NEVER GOING SLOW, WE’RE VIETNAM PIMPIN’

(Jump to after school. JEN’S MOM is driving JEN home.)

JEN’S MOM

So tell me how you got detention.

JEN

Ms. Jones says I “destroyed” “the classroom” “with enthusiasm.” And “made gratuitous use of the B-word.”

JEN’S MOM

(stern) Jenny.

JEN

But it’s okay! She let me keep my booth for World Cultures Day! And tomorrow, we’ll see who’s giving who detention.

JEN’S MOM

That’s not how that works.

JEN

Did you start the ch? giò?

(Projection: “in case you didn’t know: ch? giò; a Vietnamese fried spring roll, usually pork”)

JEN’S MOM

(sigh) Yes, I finished them this morning.

JEN

Finished? But that means they won’t be fresh tomorrow. They’ll be in the fridge all night.

JEN’S MOM

Huh?

JEN

Whatever. It’s fine. What about the pickled vegetables?

JEN’S MOM

You want those too? Honey, that’s gonna take a whole day at least.

JEN

Why didn’t you start earlier?!

JEN’S MOM

I have work, Jenny!

JEN

At least tell me I’ll have the pho.

(Projection: “in case you didn’t know: ph?; a Vietnamese soup consisting of broth, rice noodles called bánh ph?, a few herbs, and meat, primarily made with either beef (ph? bò) or chicken (ph? gà)”)

JEN’S MOM

Of course! (gestures to grocery bag beside driver’s seat) I just came from the supermarket.

(JEN pulls a bag of broth powder from the bag.)

JEN

... instant... broth powder? I told everyone I was going to have authentic, slave-away-over-a-stove-for-eight-hours broth!

JEN’S MOM

It tastes the same.

JEN

No it doesn’t! You ruin everything, mom!

(JEN throws a tantrum. JEN’S MOM tries to calm her down.)

JEN’S MOM

Jen! Jennifer! I think you’re taking World Cultures Day a little too seriously. What do you even get from it?

JEN

The satisfaction of crushing my enemies. And a twenty-dollar gift card to McDonald’s.

JEN’S MOM

Jenny. I’ll take you to McDonald’s myself if that’s what you really want.

JEN

But that’s not it. The other kids make fun of me at lunchtime. They see me with leftover noodles, and they all have... Lunchables.

(Projection: “in case you didn’t know: Lunchables; how your parents tell you that they don’t love you”)

JEN’S MOM

(grimaces) Lunchables.

JEN

I just wanted to show them that our food is the best.

close this panel
Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer

Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer

A Satirical Land Claim Fable
edition:Paperback
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