About the Author

Donna-Michelle St. Bernard

Donna-Michelle St. Bernard (aka Belladonna the Blest) is an emcee, playwright, and agitator. Works for the stage include Reaching For Starlight, Cake, Sound of the Beast, A Man A Fish, They Say He Fell, Salome's Clothes, Gas Girls, Give It Up, The Smell of Horses, and The First Stone. She is co-editor with Yvette Nolan of the Playwrights Canada Press anthologies Refractions: Solo and Refractions: Scenes, and editor of Indian Act: Residential School Plays. DM is the creator of the 54ology and artistic director of New Harlem Productions.

Books by this Author
A Man A Fish

A Man A Fish

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Gas Girls

Gas Girls

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Excerpt

Lecture -- Can I Say Indian

(There is a table stage right and a stool stage left.

On the table there is a laptop, used by the performer to control their own light and video cues.

On the stool sits a suicide vest. Also used by the performer to... you know...

The performer enters through the house.

The performer should acknowledge the traditional keepers of the land they are sharing space on. This should ideally be in keeping with the customs of the area. This should be performed off book, honest,reflexive.

The Performer puts on the suicide vest with an air of ritual. It's an invocation.

Can I say Indian? I don't mean Indian. I mean Indian Indian. You know, like, Good Indian.

 

Narrative 1

You know what a cannibal is?

Cannibal: consumer of the flesh of one's own species.

In the Caribbean, European explorers classified the Indigenous people they encountered as one of two types: Cannibal or peaceful. Carib or Arawak. Naughty or nice.

Lecture - A Bomb

 

This is a suicide vest.

I made it myself.

It's gonna off in about thirty minutes.

(A countdown clock appears, then disappears.)

The thing is, it's actually not that hard to make.

You can get most of the stuff online.

Google it.

In porn mode.

"Incognito."

Where no one can see you... except CSIS.

So -- this, for example, is what's in the vest.(Pulls something out of the vest.)

No, that's Tic Tacs.

This.

(Pulls out an explosive from the vest.)This is C3.

It's a lot like C4, only you can get it on Amazon.

With the amount I have strapped to me now --

If I were to stand back here -- (Moves all the way upstage.)

The blast radius would reach only about the lip of the stage.

(Moves all the way downstage.)

But they put my light up here, so...

So if you aren't comfortable with that...

Move back.

Not that it makes much of a difference.

People think that it's the explosion that does the most damage -- like, that kills other people --

the collateral damage.

It's not.

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Sound of the Beast
Excerpt
Slow Cruise

 

Have you ever been slow cruised?
If you have, then you know.
If you haven’t, it’s impossible to explain.
It’s like . . . like this.

The cops are always out there, making themselves known
Nothing sinister, just visibility
So when it happens . . .

It’s a thing you know for sure happened when it was happening, but when you try to say what happened, there’s no happening there to describe. This incident, which very definitely is something, becomes nothing. It is like a sentence without a verb.
They . . . blehhhh’d me.
I’m sorry, can you spell that?
No, I can’t. And I can’t draw a picture of it either, or point to it on a doll. But this thing happened . . . happens. Frequently. It is the frequency that gets under your skin. The perpetualness.

the performer follows a slowly passing car with her eyes.

Each time they pass they are saying something.
Do you see me?
I see you.
And I know what you’re about to do.
Am I gonna stop you today? Maybe . . . maybe . . .
Nah. Today I’ll keep driving.
But I could have stopped. I could have.

It’s a very grown-up game of “I’m not touching you.”
And you don’t want to get touched.

So when you see them, you suddenly think, “Act like nothing’s going on,” which is how you were acting before you saw them, because nothing, genuinely, is going on. But suddenly you can’t remember what that looked like, so you are racking your brain, trying to remember how fast you were walking before you saw them, and then you wonder, did I just speed up or slow down, and does that look suspicious, and is there a more suspicious looking person nearby I could walk past in order to become less threatening on the curve, and fair enough, I look like the type, right? Fair enough. Cuz why didn’t I wear a bow tie to the laundromat today? And all the while they are slowly cruising by.

the performer follows the slowly passing car with her eyes.

Do you know what I mean?
Have you ever been slow cruised?
If you have, then you know.
If you haven’t . . .

You may say, “Just take it cuz it all serves a purpose”
And “If you never did nothing, why you getting nervous?”
Seems knee jerk on the surface, but it goes deeper:
Sound of the beast is sound of the reaper.
Or the sleeper or the choke
It’s a taser for a toke
Grab the phone, then remember them three numbers is a joke
And you’re on your own when you hear that note
Cuz the system’s broke . . .

Have you ever been slow cruised? . . .

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Body Politic
Excerpt

Phillip: Kettle’s on. If you guys are okay here, I think I’m going to…

Steven: It was a good piece, Phillip. It caught the raw energy. The emotion. The hope.

Phillip: I agree. They were scared of it. Fucking typical.

Steven: That’s what I’m saying. It needs to be read.

Calvin: Well then, let’s get it the fuck out there.

Steven: It needs to be out there.

Phillip: You guys should really do that.

Steven: We can’t. Who’s going to publish it? No one’s going to publish this thing, it’s too…

Calvin: What?

Steven: No one is publishing this kind of thing.

Calvin: You just said that.

Steven: Someone should be.

Calvin: I think we’re on the same page here.

Steven: I could be.

Phillip: You could be.

Steven: We should be.

Phillip: Yeah, you guys should be.

Steven: No. All of us.

Phillip: I’m actually pretty busy these days.

Calvin: You’re not.

Steven: You really aren’t.

Calvin: But it’ll take more than three people.

Steven: Obviously, Calvin.

Calvin: Who?

Steven: You call Jason and Patrick.

Calvin: And Carl.

Steven: I hate Carl. Oh, ask Chaz.

Calvin: Maybe you should ask Chaz.

Steven: Oh, and Deb.

Calvin: Phillip, you have that friend at U of T.

Phillip: I think that this is more your speed, you guys.

Calvin: Okay, bye.

Steven: Phillip, I won’t listen to it. You’re in. Okay? Just say it. You’re in. Okay?

Phillip: Okay. I’m in.

Steven: Good. So let’s get started.

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