Already well known to Montreal audiences as an accomplished actor, director and playwright, Harry Standjofski makes his print debut with Urban Myths: Anton & No Cycle.
About the author
Harry Standjofski was born in 1959 in Outremont, Quebec. He studied theatre at Concordia University, and started the Narroway Theatre Troupe between 1980 and 1984. A founding member of the Association of Producing Artists, he produced pieces for them from his Narroway days, as well as No Cycle. In 1991 he co-founded Point of View Productions, which produced Anton in its first season.
Excerpt: Urban Myths: Anton & No Cycle (by (author) Harry Standjofski)
Nikolai: Eternal love—who believes in those old words anymore?
Maria: I like those old words, simple words. Fidelity. Work. Respect. They're easy to understand.
Nikolai: And passion?
Maria: Oh, I'm so sick of passion—I mean, everything, all the art, the movies, the...I don't know—it's always "passion, passion"—like people are only really in love if they're trying to kill each other at the same time. What about those couples that have gone quietly along for years?
Nikolai: Those couples have their passion.
Maria: I know. I don't mean...passion's important...I don't really know how to phrase it... Passion can be quiet, can't it?
Nikolai: Sometimes it's difficult to distinguish between quiet and dead.
Maria: Like when you see old couples holding hands...that's what I mean...I hate talking about this, I think... Is it really that bad with you and...oh, god—
Maria: I'm sorry, I don't know why I have such a hard time remembering her name.
Nikolai: It is dead. There is nothing worse. One should not live with the dead. Maria, how do you reconcile the lack of passion in your life?
Maria: I have my work.
Nikolai: Irina is a writer, a brilliant woman. I do not know why she insists on needing me.
Maria: Anyway, though, I can't say my relationship is totally with out passion.
Nikolai: Yes, and how is it with you? Enough talk of me.
Maria: No, really, it's fine... It's been, you know, hotter...he's busy...I'm busy...all relationships have their hills and valleys.
Nikolai: Irina and I are in the desert. No water, no camel. We lie in the heat waiting to die, screaming in each other's ears.
from No Cycle
Man: It's Christmas Eve...Christ's birthday...Christ...was a Capricorn...a goat...born of a barn stinking of donkeys... reindeer turds steaming on your roof...a scorched fat man suffocates in your chimney...it's Christmas Eve and I...am in...a mall...and I am waiting my turn at an automatic teller. It's Christmas Eve, 5:05 pm, and I have not yet bought my wife a Christmas present. I'm next at the teller...I'm next. Mistletoe dangles over the machine...the guy at the machine now looks like Santa—a fat bearded baldy in a red Kanuk...what would have happened if they nailed up old Saint Nick instead at Easter time? Santa's done, counting his cash under the mistletoe. He looks at me...no, I do not want to kiss him.
And it's my turn at the machine...what's my balance? Dick. And in the chequing account?... Not available. I'll take out cash on the credit card. And I'm adrift in the mall.
I'm in Eaton's...purses...there are many purses...I am surrounded by hanging purses...I have never seen so many purses...this is a lot of purses...does she need—no, she has a purse.
And I'm adrift up an escalator into the toy department. It's a shambles, all but empty and at my feet there's a doll half torn from her box. I try to stuff her back in...nope...the box is fucked. "Do you intend on buying that, sir?"the saleslady came from nowhere...she's glaring at me and her mouth is...pursed. "If you don't want it, that's no reason to destroy it." She snatches it from me. "No, I was trying to...the box is all..." and she walks away.
And I'm sitting at a donut stand in the middle of the mall—the donut stand is a giant donut with a bite taken out of it...to get inside the donut you have to go through a little door in the bite...I am sitting by the bite, having a very bad cup of coffee and a very bad donut. What time is it? 5:40. I remember 5:40...I remember 5:40 a year ago...I remember 5:40 a year ago, a coffee and a donut...I remember 5:40 a year ago, a coffee and a donut at the hospital cafeteria...I was watching the second hand...and she was upstairs having the abortion.
And it's 5:50—what am I going to get her? Perfume? ...bullshit. A book?...that's romantic. Another cocksucking sweater? A clock radio? What's this? That's cute: a pickled person...a little person in a jar...a pickled person...a little smiling face pressed up against the glass...no.
And it's six o'clock...the stores are dead...and I have nothing.
“ A very witty new English-language play, Anton, by Montreal writer Harry Standjofski, is an unexpected gem. The play concerns three wealthy sisters who live together because they can't agree on selling their inherited mansion. It is a takeoff on Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters, but there is nothing Russian about it except for the tongue-in-cheek title and the fact that one of the sisters meets a Russian emigré. The play is an acute psychological examination of the spiritual emptiness of Canadian society, and of the different unhappinesses of women. It is also wickedly funny and often sexy and interesting play, serious and self-mocking at the same time.”
—The Globe & Mail