About the Author

Geneviève Billette

Geneviève Billette is a graduate of the playwriting program at the National Theatre School of Canada. Her plays produced in Quebec include Crime contre l'humanité (Crime Against Humanity), which was short-listed for the 2000 Governor General's Literary Award, Le Goûteur (The Taster), and Le Pays des genoux (The Land of Knees). Her works have also been staged in France, Mexico, Switzerland, and English Canada. Chosen as the protégée of Carole Fréchette, the recipient of the 2002 Siminovitch Prize, Ms. Billette won the 2005 Governor General's Literary Award for Le Pays des genoux. She has also translated plays by several Mexican playwrights.

Books by this Author
The Bears Sleep at Last
Excerpt

Sasha’s apartment, a few hours later. Marcus is sleeping. Sasha is working on equations in a notebook. Next to him, a cup of coffee.

Marcus: (awaking abruptly) Sasha! I dreamt I was suffocating, that my tongue went to hide at the back of my throat because the students in my class were asking what my nickname was. I couldn’t answer, I didn’t have one, and my tongue went to hide at the back of my throat forever! Sasha? Sasha?!

Sasha: I’m here, Marcus. Breathe. Please, just breathe.

Marcus: Okay.

Sasha: But do it as well.

Marcus breathes.

Marcus: I can’t go to school, Sasha. Everyone there must already have loads of nicknames.

Sasha: What are you talking about . . . It’s normal for you not to have one. To get a nickname, you must first go to school. People must get to know you first.

Marcus: I would really like for my nickname to be nice.

Sasha: It will be, it will be.

Marcus gets back into bed. Sasha sits close by and goes back to his equations.

Marcus: Aren’t you going to sleep?

Sasha: I am trying to figure out how many more blocks of ice I will need to carry per hour. Three degrees higher, that’s the forecast. I have to maintain a temperature that’s bearable for my bears . . . though it’s barely bearable . . . so to speak . . . 

. . .

Marcus: Sasha . . . the date that’s circled in red on the calendar . . . what is it?

Sasha: Now’s not the time, Marcus.

Marcus: We know each other pretty well, now. Enough to share each other’s secrets, don’t you think? And I’m really curious about it.

Sasha: I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.

Marcus: Actually, right at this moment, it’s more the red pen you used to circle the date that makes me curious. That part of the story shouldn’t be so long to tell . . .

Sasha smiles.

Sasha: Fair enough, I’ll try and find your pen for you.

Sasha digs around. Marcus is all hope.

Ah-?ha!

Marcus: You found it?

Sasha: Oh.

Marcus: What?

Sasha: I forgot to put the cap back on. I’m sorry, Marcus.

Marcus: (undone) It doesn’t matter.

. . .

Sasha: Marcus, since you’ve been here, I know I haven’t always stepped up. But if you could just wait another ten days . . . if you could just wait until that date that’s circled on the calendar . . .

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The Taster
Excerpt

"…magnificent things are howling beneath my feet…. Frescoes, harmonies, verbs…. All the art that once illuminated the tower still wails, even after being buried alive…. One day… boom! All that art is going to escape. And it's going to climb the tower, and unleash a storm of light! Love will shine furiously!" —SASHA

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