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Drama Canadian

Wildfire & The Shoe

Two Plays

by (author) David Paquet

translated by Leanna Brodie

Playwrights Canada Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2022
Canadian, Gay & Lesbian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2022
    List Price

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  • The Shoe was first produced (in English) by the Cherry Artists’ Collective in Ithaca, NY, in September 2019.
  • Le soulier was first produced by Théâtre la Seizième in Vancouver, BC, in February 2019.
  • Wildfire was first produced (in English) by Upstream Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri, in January 2020.
  • Le brasier was first produced by l’Homme allumette in Montréal in September 2016.
  • Wildfire’s English Canadian premiere will be at Factory Theatre, Toronto, in May 2022.
  • David wrote The Shoe during a writing residency at a psychiatric hospital, and was inspired by those fighting invisible wars.

About the authors

David Paquet is a graduate in playwriting from the National Theatre School of Canada (2006) and lives in Montreal. His plays Porc-epic, 2h14, Appels entrants illimites, Les Grands-meres mortes, Le Brasier, Histoires a plumes et a poils, Le Soulier, Chansons pour le musee, Le Poids des fourmis and Papiers maches and Le Voilier (two one-man-shows of stand-up poetry he performs himself,) have gathered international praise and have been produced all over North America and Europe. David has won the Governor General's award (twice), the Michel-Tremblay award, the Sony-Labou-Tansi award (twice), the young audiences Quebec critic's choice award (twice), the Theatre d'Aujourd'hui audience choice award, a Jessie award and a Dora award. He also teaches playwriting and does dramaturg work for, among others, the National Theatre School of Canada, le Centre des Auteurs Dramatique and le Conservatoire d'Art Dramatique de Montreal.

Leanna Brodie is a writer and performer whose plays include The Vic, For Home and Country, Schoolhouse, and The Book of Esther. She is also a leading translator of contemporary Quebecois/Franco-Canadian playwrights. Recent premieres include David Paquet's Wildfire (Upstream Theater, St. Louis and Factory Theatre, Toronto: Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Best New Play, Director, and Production); Joe Jack et John's Violette (Espace Libre); Rebecca Deraspe's I Am William (Theatre le Clou and the Stratford Festival); and Fanny Britt's Benevolence (Ruby Slippers/Pacific Theatre). Published translations include Deraspe's I Am William and You Are Happy, Paquet's Wildfire and The Shoe, Louise Bombardier's My Mother Dog, and Catherine Leger's Opium_37. With co-writer Jovanni Sy, she is working on Salesman in China for the Stratford Festival. Brodie is currently Assistant Professor (Playwriting) at UBC's School of Creative Writing.

David Paquet's profile page

Leanna Brodie is an actor, writer and translator. Her plays (published by Talonbooks) include For Home and Country, The Vic and Schoolhouse, as well as CBC radio dramas Invisible City and Seeds of Our Destruction. She was the first Canadian invited to the ACT/Hedgebrook Women Playwrights’ Festival. She also translates Quebec drama into English—most recently, Louise Bombardier’s Ma mère chien and Hélène Ducharme’s Baobab. Her libretti were heard in Tapestry New Opera Works’ Opera to Go 2008; in David Ogborn’s acclaimed site-specific piece, Opera on the Rocks; and in Emergence, his song cycle featuring a singing robot. The Angle of Reflection, with New Zealand composer Anthony Young, was produced by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. This season, The Book of Esther, a love story about urban queers and rural evangelicals, premieres at the Blyth Festival. Schoolhouse has been seen by over 20, 000 Canadians in multiple sold-out runs, and is slated for further productions in 2010.

Leanna Brodie's profile page


  • Winner, Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, General Theatre Division
  • Winner, Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Production and Outstanding New Play, General Theatre Division
  • Winner, Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards Outstanding Original Script
  • Winner, Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd'hui’s People’s Choice Dramatic Author of the Year

Excerpt: Wildfire & The Shoe: Two Plays (by (author) David Paquet; translated by Leanna Brodie)

Excerpt from Wildfire:

CLAUDETTE is leaning over a crib.

MOM-MY... MOM-MY ... Come on, that’s it. Open your mouth. MOM-MY... I know you want to. Yes you do! You want to talk to your dear MOM-MY! Yes you do! Say something to Mommy, Mommy, your dear Mommy who loves, loves, loves you!

(she jumps) Oh! Yeah... That’s it... Open up... No barfing... No crying... Just say the word –




Yes! Yes!


When... I grow up... I am go-ing... to put you in... the fi-re.

Excerpt from The Shoe:

Helen, at reception, takes the top on and off a box.

Peek-a-boo! Peek-a-boo! Peek-a-boo!

She plays the game with joyful abandon. MELANIE and BENOIT enter.

Hello! Come on in...

(BENOIT sits and starts drawing. MELANIE comes over to the box. HELEN takes off the lid.)


(MELANIE can’t hide her disgust.)

Ugly, isn't he? I know he's ugly! Just look how ugly he is! You're ugly, oh yes you * are! So ugly, you're beautiful! Last week I was walking by the pet store. The window * was full of them. They were all jumping around, like: "Pick me! Pick me! See, I'm adorable!" Bleagh. Is there anything more disgusting than cuteness? I took the little * reject at the back of the cage: the one missing a paw, a lot of fur, and half an ear. I named him Hercules. He deserves to be a hero, too.

Is it a dog or a cat?

No clue! I should announce "Benoit and his mother", right? How do I know? Because you're our only appointment today.


"Benoit and his mother are here. Attention, please. Benoit and his mother are here." I see that it's your first time seeing––

(She stops suddenly, really seeing MELANIE for the first time.)

Oh... Are you all right?

Me? Fine. Why?


(indicating MELANIE's face)

Because... that.



That face of yours... Tough morning?

Not at all. I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine.

Saying things three times is never a good sign. May I offer you something to drink? Coffee? Tea? Martini? And you, Benoit? Would you like a glass of milk? Juice? Coke?

Coke? Before his check-up?

Sure! He's young, he should live a little. What'll you have, Benoit? Benoit?

Benoit, the nice receptionist is talking to you...

(No reaction.)

Sorry, he blocks out the world when he's drawing.

Look at him. Like an angel.



So, this is your first appointment with us. Let's start by opening a file for you. First question: do you have dental insurance?

I'm a custard worker at Donut Donut. I fill a doughnut with custard. Then I do it again. And again. And again.

So, no insurance?

So, no insurance. Next question.

No, that was it. You're ready for the dentist.

Shh! Don't say that word.

Dentist? Why shouldn't I say dentist?

Benoit begins to do the Hissy Deluxe.


That's why...

Wow. Is that a dance?

No. It's a meltdown. That's the Hissy Deluxe. And this is the Epileptic King Kong.

I could never get my elbows to do that. Should we move the furniture?

Nah. I've got this. Don't worry: I'm an expert. Benoit? Benoit? Would you rather have a toothache for the rest of your life?

(BENOIT nods.)

No, you wouldn't... Benoit, if we don't take care of your teeth they'll all fall out, and you'll have to eat cream of broccoli morning, noon, and night. Is that what you


(BENOIT nods.)

No, it isn't... Don't make me say You-Know-What... Forgive me, but... Dentist! Dentist! Dentist! Den––

SIMEON the dentist enters. He is partially mummified. BENOIT stops his tantrum immediately and stares at him, as if hypnotized.

Editorial Reviews

Wildfire glows with the heat of discovery, releases a kinetic energy with surprise revelations and pops with dark humor.”

Lynn Venhaus,

"Enchanting from start to finish."

A View from the Box

"Paquet has peppered his script with ironic and sometimes hilarious dialogue where seemingly idiotic pronouncements have the ring of truth, and absurdist situations become real life. That is the brilliance of Wildfire — the play literally sucks the audience into the chaos — and at this point we should mention the sparkling translation by Leanna Brodie which captures Wildfire’s inane yet serious content to perfection."

Ludwig Van

"Brodie’s translation deftly transmits Paquet’s darkly ludicrous voice while maintaining his poetic speech and intense characters."

Women Who Submit

“Fresh, original and off-the-wall . . . does what all good theatre should do: it engages the imagination.”

Jo Ledingham, Jo Ledingham Theatre Reviews

"An engaging, yet virulent, exploration of parenthood, love, loss, memory and familial distress... minimalist and mesmeric."

Broadway World

“Both tragic and hilarious, David Paquet’s ferociously original [Wildfire] is filled with brilliant and surprising insights that communicate the highly sensitive vision of the world of this young Québec playwright.”


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