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Drama Canadian

a million billion pieces

by (author) David James Brock

by (composer) Gareth Williams

Playwrights Canada Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2022
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2022
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 15 to 18
  • Grade: 10 to 12


It’s time to make every moment count.

Sixteen-year-olds Pria and Theo—or as they know each other online, the aspiring opera singer PriaSoprano and outer-space aficionado Eagle19—have decided to have sex. There’s just one catch… they both have life-threatening genetic disorders that may cause them to explode from one another’s touch. But they won’t know what will happen until they try. Sick of being told what to do their whole lives, they rebel against their reality and meet at a motel. But while Pria is more or less accepting of her fate, Theo has hopes for the future, and what was planned as a simple meeting becomes much more intimate as they open up about their experiences. The fate of their lives comes down to one decision…

This teen romance space opera explores our willingness to live, what it means to belong, and the necessity of emotional and physical relationships.

About the authors

David James Brock is a playwright, poet, and librettist whose work has been performed in cities across Canada, the US, and the UK. He is a past winner of the Herman Voaden Canadian National Playwriting Award for his play Wet. Brock is the author of two poetry collections, Everyone is CO2 and Ten-Headed Alien (Wolsak & Wynn). For Scottish Opera, Brock co-created Breath Cycle, a multimedia operatic song cycle developed with cystic fibrosis patients, which was nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. With Mike Haliechuk, he co-wrote the opera Year of the Horse. He lives in Toronto.

David James Brock's profile page

Northern Irish composer Gareth Williams lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he makes work that seeks to find new participants, collaborators, and audiences for opera and music theatre to shed light on stories and communities that have been overlooked, and to explore ideas of vulnerability in vocal writing. His music is often site-specific and responsive, with performances happening in lighthouses, whisky distilleries, nuclear bunkers, and libraries. From 2015 to 2018, Williams collaborated with Oliver Emanuel to create the critically acclaimed 306 Trilogy, a collection of music theatre works telling the story of the British soldiers shot for cowardice during WWI, produced by the National Theatre of Scotland. The album from the trilogy, Lost Light: Music from the 306, was released in 2020. Rocking Horse Winner, produced by Tapestry Opera, was nominated for nine Dora Mavor Moore Awards in 2017, winning five, including Outstanding Musical Production. The opera was recorded and released in 2020 by Tapestry Opera. Currently, Gareth lectures in composition at the University of Edinburgh, and is working on new operas and musicals, as well as a new album as a singer-songwriter.

Gareth Williams' profile page

Excerpt: a million billion pieces (by (author) David James Brock; by (composer) Gareth Williams)

PRIA: Where’d you get that? This... suit?

THEO: Hazmat suit. Hazardous materials.

PRIA: I’m hazardous, eh bubba?

THEO: We both are.

PRIA: Sexy...

THEO: Huh?

PRIA: Get it off, and get on in.

THEO doesn’t move.

THEO: We’re still cool for this?

PRIA: You’ve been cautious your whole life, right? Avoiding people like ourselves because of a theory... our whole lives... leading up to this moment have been mired in precautions.

THEO: Informed by precautions.

PRIA: Mired.

THEO: Sure, mired. Mired.

PRIA: And where’s that got us?

THEO: Here.

PRIA: Right.

THEO: Livin’.

PRIA: Whoopdee for Livin’.

THEO: Still breathin’.

PRIA: Livin’ the dream. Breathin’.

THEO: In one piece.

PRIA starts to disrobe a bit.

PRIA: Take that off and get in. Feel like I’m about to lose my virginity to a robot.

THEO: Just... slow down.

PRIA: What, you’re not horny anymore?

THEO enters but still does not take off the suit.

PRIA: The suit.

THEO doesn’t take off the suit.

You don’t think in your entire... you’ve never accidentally been in an elevator or a grocery store or something with someone like us...

THEO: Probs. I don’t know.

PRIA: And did you explode then? In the elevator? In the dairy aisle? Just by being close?

THEO: Obviously not.

PRIA: So you’re not gonna explode just by being in the room. Our superbugs aren’t laser beams, right?

THEO: No, but—

PRIA: And if we’re gonna cause each other to explode into a million billion pieces, we can at least have some fun on our last night on the planet, heh?

THEO: This is some real shit.

PRIA: What did you expect?

THEO: I got no imagination.

PRIA: This was about not being fragile dolls on a glass shelf, right?

THEO: Right.

PRIA: This was the idea... this moment. Rebels. Together. Right?

THEO: Together.

PRIA: So let’s get at it, stud.

Editorial Reviews

“Operatic voices woven into a teen-focused play is not what you would expect, right? But if you consider the emotions of loneliness, sadness, hope, and excitement involved, the style seems very fitting.”

Sonya Davidson, Toronto Guardian

“This show uniquely captures the intensity and anticipation of teenage relationships.”

Sarah Siddiqui, Mooney on Theatre

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