Part dialogue, part narrative, part playscript, this unique book contains the award-winning play Jessica, as well as the extraordinary story of its making.
Linda Griffiths is an actress, producer, and writer. Griffiths is a founding member of 25th Street Theatre in Saskatoon. Griffiths's first major success came when she and Paul Thompson collaborated to write Maggie and Pierre, a one-person, three-character play that bases its narrative structure on events in Pierre and Margaret Trudeau's life together. Griffiths has also written O.D. in Paradise, Jessica (with Maria Campbell, The Darling Family, Brother André's Heart, and The Duchess. Between 1986 and 1988, Griffiths was co-artistic director of Theatre Passe Muraille, along with Layne Coleman and Clarke Rogers. Griffiths has received many awards for her contributions to the theatre world. She has won five Dora Mavor Moore awards, including wins for Maggie and Pierre, O.D. in Paradise, Jessica ), and Alien Creature; a Gemini award; two Chalmers Canadian Play Awards for Jessica and Alien Creature; and a Quizanne International Festival award for Jessica . She has twice been nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award. In addition to her plays, Griffiths writes fiction and poetry.
"Imagine one woman acting out another woman's life before that woman's eyes. Imagine that the woman improvising is white, and the woman watching is Metis. Imagine that the two women collaborate on a play: fight over the plays, do not speak to each other for years, and finally reconcile, recording their tempestuous journey in a book which ends with the play.
Essentially that is the process that culminated in The Book of Jessica, the work of actress (playwright) Linda Griffiths and Metis activist Maria Campbell, author of Halfbreed. The result is a fascinating study not only of the tortuous birth of a magnificent play but of the relationship of two women driven apart and bound together by a maelstrom of internal and external forces.Their book changed me for the better. The spirit lives."
"…a dense, mystical play about the spiritual journey of a young half-breed woman and about the process of change itself. After slipping into a life of prostitution and hard drugs, Jessica is rootless. She visits a native elder who creates a ceremony in which Jessica's animal spirits appear and promise to take her back through her life. Each represents an aspect of human existence. Crow is her special protector, he's unreliable and he gambles. Bear is a shaggy security blanket of strength, the Wolverine is vicious and terrifying but also has much to teach. Then a Unicorn arrives from Jessica's Celtic past, shocking the native spirits and all hell breaks loose. As the ceremony unfolds, each spirit enacts a character in Jessica's life. Bear becomes her boyfriend Sam, Unicorn, a friend from her drug days, Wolverine a lawyer who tries to own her. But Crow always remains Crow. A significant new play." —Toronto Star