Playwrights Canada Press

Playwrights Canada Press

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In the meantime, be sure to check out some recent author interviews and book reviews featured below.


A review of The List by Jennifer Tremblay, translated by Shelley Tepperman in the Montreal Review of Books




The Open Book: Toronto interview with Anusree Roy, author of Brothel #9 and Pyaasa & Letters to my Grandma



The Open Book: Toronto interview with Trina Davies, author of The Romeo Initiative and Shatter


Xtra! interview with Ronnie Burkett, author of Penny Plain, Billy Twinkle, 10 Days on Earth, and String Quartet.

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The Breathing Hole | Aglu “??

FRANKLIN: Welcome. TU-NGA-SU-GI... (You are welcome)
Ajjiaq returns the handshake in his fashion while, Panigayak, still uncertain, stands back. Franklin points to himself.   FRANKLIN: My name is John Franklin. I’m Commander of this Expedition. We consists of the HMS Erebus and Terror, and I am properly addressed as ‘Sir’. This is Officer James Holloway, second in command.   Holloway is not keen on shaking hands.

FRANKLIN: (pointing to Ajjiaq) You, your name uh...Ki-nau-vit.   AJJIAQ: Ajjiaq...(points to Panigayak)...Panigayak.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Ask if they have seen two bears pass here?   FRANKLIN: And what’s your business Aj-jiaq and Pa-na-ga-yak...(to Holloway) how do you say ‘what’s your business?’   HOLLOWAY: I don’t know their words.   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) Ta-ku-vi-hi Mar-ruungnik Na-nuuk Qaangiutiruuq. (Did you see two bears pass?)   FRANKLIN: I wish Morshead would get here – he picked up some of their language working with Parry in ’25 when they lost the Fury.   Enter Crew #1 carrying a tray with a porcelain teapot, cup and saucer, and sugar. He will pour a steaming cup of tea for Franklin and Holloway. Crew #2 hauls in the bulky Daguerreotype.   HOLLOWAY: Ah, tea - ‘Tea is the cup of life.’   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq, points to the Erebus in the distance) Look at that huge boat.   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) Ingna umiaaqjuaq angijuaaluk. Pigijahit? (That boat is very big. Is it your boat?)   FRANKLIN: I think that word umiaq means ‘boat’.   AJJIAQ: (to Panigayak) Maybe these men are the whalers my grandfather told stories about.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Ask him.   CARTER: They seem keen on our ship.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Let’s go to that boat!   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) You... Arvagasuttiuviit? (Are you a whaler)   CREW #1: (to Franklin) Your tea, Sir.   FRANKLIN: Thank you (to Ajjiaq) Pardon?   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) You...Arvagasuttiuviit? (Are you a whaler?)   FRANKLIN: (to Holloway) What’s he trying to say?   CREW #1: (to Franklin) Sugar, Sir.   HOLLOWAY: He’s saying ‘you’ - ‘you’ as in ‘you’.   FRANKLIN: (to Ajjiaq, points to his tea cup) Tea, gentlemen?   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) You...(pointing to their boat) Arvagasutiunut? (Is that a whaling boat)?   FRANKLIN: (to Ajjiaq) Will you have a cup of tea?   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) They don’t understand.   HOLLOWAY: (to Franklin) They don’t understand, Sir.   CREW #1: I’ll get more cups and saucers.   Exit Crew #1.   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin, making the motions of a whale swimming with his hands and body) YOU.   FRANKLIN: hands...swimming. Dear Lord – your hands swimming?
CARTER: FISH.   HOLLOWAY: Fish, yes! I think he means fish, Sir – wonders if we want to fish?   FRANKLIN: No, Aj-jiaq, my work is not fishing – my work is discovery and observation for I am at heart a scientist.   Ajjiaq reaches out and points to Franklin’s Hanoverian Order of Knighthood that hangs as a collar chain.   AJJIAQ: (in Panigayak’s direction) This is shiny.   Holloway swats Ajjiaq’s hand away.

HOLLOWAY: Don’t touch!   Panigayak is inclined to take a swing at Holloway.   FRANKLIN: No need for that - enough!   AJJIAQ: (to Panigayak) Angajuk no no.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Don’t touch them.   FRANKLIN: (to Ajjiaq) This is the Hanoverian Order of Knighthood bestowed upon me in ‘33 -Carter, give these fellows some trinkets.   CARTER: Here fellas...   Carter takes a box from the trunk, flips it open and holds it out to the two hunters.   CARTER: yourselves.
AJJIAQ: (to Carter) Hungaurat. (Beads)   Ajjiaq and Panigayk are helping themselves to the trinkets in the wooden box.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Take two of everything.   CARTER: (to Panigayak) Hey - only one each!   FRANKLIN: They are worthless trinkets, Carter.   AJJIAQ: (to Panigayak) Our wives will like these – they are bright like fish eggs.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Maybe they have whales in their boat.   FRANKLIN: U-mi-ak means boat, doesn’t it. (to Ajjiaq and Panigayk) Yes, that’s an umiak – the Erebus - a Hecla-class bomb vessel built by the Royal Navy
PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Let’s go to the boat and get whale meat.   Ajjiaq and Panigayak start to leave.   FRANKLIN: Yes that’s our u-mi-aq - 370 tonnes, armed with two mortars and ten - Aj-jiaq where are you - (to Holloway) Where are they going?   HOLLOWAY: (to the hunters) Excuse me, Sir.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) I’ll get our sled.   CARTER: Whoa there buddy - (stops Ajjiaq) don’t walk away when Sir John Franklin is addressing you?   PANIGAYAK: (spies the dead seal) A seal!

AJJIAQ: Seal!   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Nuka, this is fresh, very fresh.   The two hunters kneel beside the seal as Ajjiaq uses his small bone knife to expertly slit open the abdomen, cut out a choice part and hand it to Panigayak who eats it.   FRANKLIN: A bear brought that to us as a...well, a gift - don’t mention that in your observations, Holloway – readers will think we’d a bit too much to drink.
HOLLOWAY: You’d think they’d have the decency to cook it first.   Ajjiaq offers some of the tastiest bits of the seal to everyone.   WICKERS: No thank you.
AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) Tinguit Mamaqtupanaluit (The liver is very tasty.)   BEAN: Thank you no.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) How can he resist the tastiest part!   FRANKLIN: Perhaps later.   CARTER: I’ll pass.
PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Only idiots refuse the tastiest part.   Panigayak uses a wound pin on the seal to prevent more bleeding.   HOLLOWAY: What - are they going to sew up the seal? Savages, Sir – right ungodly savages.

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Amaryllis & Little Witch

You got all the good stuff. That left all the bad for me. FEY
Curse'd be she
who betrays her family! AMARYLLIS
Oh, yeah? What if I don’t have a family no more! FEY
“What if I haven’t got a family anymore...” AMARYLLIS What? FEY
You used a double negative. AMARYLLIS
How can you be so perfect and not get it! FEY
What have I failed to grasp? AMARYLLIS
How everything got messed up when you left! Mom took off. Dad’s been a total Zombie. The only time they’re kinda with it is when they’re standing in front of the mantelpiece looking at your urn. FEY
You can’t just steal my urn A gesture most unwise!
It won’t undo the turn
of my untimely demise. AMARYLLIS
It’s all I could come up with. FEY
So, what is your plan for my ashes? AMARYLLIS
I was just going to throw you off the end of the pier. FEY
You wish to drown the dead? AMARYLLIS
Well... maybe it’s not the best idea. FEY
It’s absurd! AMARYLLIS
You got a better one? FEY
Yes! Seek assistance! AMARYLLIS
Watch Miss Perfect fall apart. FEY
I’d rather be perfect Than wicked! AMARYLLIS
I’d rather be wicked than dead! FEY
Enough, please stop. You’ve gone too far. Think being dead
Is fun—a lark?
I didn’t want
To fade away
Nor do I want
To stay this way AMARYLLIS
So why are you here? FEY
I’m hanging on by a thread. Once dead, my relieved soul fled, crossed over to the other side, where I met sad souls who tried
so desperately to find a door.
I found mine but could do no more, held back by a bit of ribbon.
I traced it here, to its origin,
my last earthly tie drawing me
to the foot of the white tree NARRATOR
At the centre of the Garden stands the Ribbon Tree. It is what is holding your sister back. Thousands of ribbons are tangled in its branches. One thread for each of the dead whose loved ones refuse to let go. AMARYLLIS
Why didn’t you untie yourself? FEY
No solution availed. Whatever I tried, failed. NARRATOR
Only the living can untie the knots. AMARYLLIS
Well, if that’s all, I’ll go do it. NARRATOR
You can’t just enter the Land of the Dead like it’s the mall. FEY
I could be your guide
But promise to be good— don’t make me nag or chide. Swear to listen as you should! AMARYLLIS
On one condition. FEY
State your terms. AMARYLLIS
No more rhymes. That’s it. I’m fed up. Starting now, you talk like everybody else. FEY
You demand too high a price for so great a sacrifice! AMARYLLIS Fine. Whatever. FEY
Wait! Okay... I’ll try. AMARYLLIS
Deal! So, which way to the Land of the Dead? FEY
To cross to the other side Simply swallow your pride Promise this hand to heed wherever it shall lead AMARYLLIS
I’m sorry, what was that? FEY
Hold my hand. AMARYLLIS
Now you’re talking. FEY takes her sister’s hand.

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(Sounds of the Boreal Forest slowly reach a fevered crescendo. FLOYD in silhouette.)   FLOYD Dreaming of awakening from a long winter slumber... Stretching forward and back...claw and rump... Greeting the morning sun...eyes sensitive from sleep... Smelling the mountain air...the snow as it shifts...the forest as it stirs with new life... Sliding down slippery slopes with the melt...ready to meet the valley again... Buffalo shake off their winter coats...Elk search for new growth...Crocuses push their heads up out and out... Turning over boulders...digging up grubs and tubulars, bulbs and fungi...   (The CHORUS on all fours.)   Crossing mountain passes...frolicking in alpine meadows...splashing through glacial waters...passing through ancient cedar forests...swimming across swollen rivers... staring into the swells and the shallows...   (The CHORUS stand.)   Following in the footsteps of those who have come before...   (The CHORUS travel.)   Standing to meet danger... Never turning tail... Never backing down.   (Heart beat.)   Bears.   (Lights to full. FLOYD wears oil patch coveralls, boots and a hard-hat.)   CHORUS The prime suspect in a work-place accident, Floyd had to get out of town fast.   (FLOYD takes off his hard-hat.)

FLOYD He was headed west, but he wanted to avoid the cookie cutter homes and Star Bucks rush, electing instead to follow the trails along the Whitemud and Blackmud ravines, emerging like Gaddafi from a drainage pipe—but instead of finding death, finding open farmland, Prairies, which would roll into Hills, which would fold into Mountains— which of course was where Floyd was headed.   He knew a guy who flew helicopters, tailing and tranquilizing Grizzlies to track their declining numbers, and if there was one thing Floyd loved, it was Bears. Maybe he'd take in an orphaned cub, maybe he'd hunt poachers, maybe he'd make art installations out of their shellacked droppings—it didn't matter really, so long as it involved Bears.   There'd been a berry patch out back behind his du-plex growing up, Raspberries—   CHORUS Like shitloads.   FLOYD At three years of age, Floyd had guarded the patch jealously, charging out of the brambles after a feeding frenzy to chase any would be ‘Sally Samplers’ away.   His mom had named him—   MOM “Little Cub.”   FLOYD —setting a half pint daily berry limit, a rule Floyd still followed at thirty-eight years of age. There can be too much of a good thing—   CHORUS Even for Bears.   FLOYD Walking through the native grasses in the gutters to avoid the G.M crops in the fields, Floyd wondered what life would have been like for the last Grizzlies of the Plains. They dwelt in the Mountains because it was a refuge, not because they chose to be confined to the range. There was a reason Grizzlies could run at over forty klicks— they were equipped to bring down Antelope and Deer, Moose, and Elk.   (Antlers become quills.)   CHORUS “Progress.”   FLOYD Floyd scoffed, as he stepped over the bloated carcass of a Porcupine that lay decaying in the dirt.   (The call of a Prairie Dog. FLOYD hits the dirt.)

The call of a Prairie Gopher alerted Floyd to a passing patrol.   (The Prairie Dogs watch the passing patrol, then dive for cover.)

Eyeball to eyeball with a Dark-Eyed Junco, Floyd couldn’t help but recall that songbird populations on the Prairies had been off the charts when the Buffalo used to roam— Tattlers, Warblers and Thrashers feasting on the insects that fed on the vast herds’ dung.   CHORUS "Fuck progress.”   FLOYD Floyd thought, dusting himself off.   (Moving through open Prairie again.)   FLOYD Floyd didn’t know what he’d do when he encountered his first Grizzly friend, but he knew he wouldn’t play dead.   (A drill site.)   That’s what his foreman had done when a Bear had wandered through their drill site outside Fort Saskatchewan, and that nearly ended with Floyd’s foreman being dragged to kingdom come.   Grizzlies were foragers, they’d feed on a carcass just as soon as they’d feed on dandelions or truffles. If you encountered a Grizzly in the wild you either had to clear out or try and stand your ground, Floyd reaffirmed, because—   CHORUS “There’s no such thing as neutral in the Bear world.”   FLOYD Somewhere outside Edson, Floyd found his rhythm. He wasn't walkin', he wasn’t marchin', he was trompin'—trompin' to the beat of deerskin hand-drums he'd had beatin’ in his heart since he was eleven. His gait was widenin', his muscles were bulgin’—he couldn't see the Mountains yet, but ohhhhhh—   CHORUS Ohhhhhh—

FLOYD He could smell 'em.   (FLOYD scratches his back on a birch tree.)

Stopping to scratch his back on a birch tree, a guy in a jacked F-150 stopped to see if Floyd was o.k.   CHORUS "Doin' fine.”   FLOYD Floyd assured him— "I'm headed West.”   (Moose lips. Hat tip. Truck peels out.)   FLOYD Blowin' into Hinton, Floyd found his friend's hanger deserted. There were no helicopters, or their component parts, just a note with a forwarding address that read—   CHORUS "Feds cut our fundin'. Headed north.”   (Helicopter blades chop up the playing space.)

FLOYD Goin' for flapjacks at the Husky truck-stop, Floyd drowned his disappointment in a shitload of blueberry syrup.   (Blueberry syrup swamps the playing space like an oil spill.)

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Take d Milk, Nah?

Here’s the thing.
a Hindu can’t do an identity play. Cause Identity is a Hindont. Identity means that there is an identifiable divide between things - where one thing ends and another begins. And see, hinduism teaches that these divisions are an illusion, what we call Maya. That this whole existence itself is just a dream of the great cosmic consciousness. Identity is an illusion. And so this play - this whole play - this whole genre of plays - in a manner of speaking has been about nothing. Because for Hindus - true identity is.... a field. It’s just a field. We strive to sit and look at a field. And see a blade of grass and think “I am that blade of grass.” And what’s in the field? A cow. And the cow is the blade of grass. And you are the cow. Because we are all the field.
And identity just divides that field.
Property - That colonial concept - Property.
Identity is just Property.
Yours and mine.
And Identity plays are just there to map it - secure the borders. Did you come here to see an identity play?
Did you come here to watch me recolonize my thinking?
To partition it off to you in a digestible way so you too can feel assured at what the borders are between me and you?
I mean in fairness, that’s how it was marketed. So like.... our bad too. Cause I can’t do that. I won’t do that. I won’t draw those borders. Identity is a hindont because identity is an illusion. That is a core belief I hold as a Hindu. But in order to maintain that belief I need to hold onto my identity. But part of my belief says that identity is an illusion. So by that definition I also believe that I shouldn’t hold onto my identity. But if I don’t hold onto my identity then I would just get sucked into the mainstream belief system which doesn’t recognize that identity is in fact just an illusion, So I need to identify myself to identify identity as being an illusion, But identity illusion. And that is a Hindont. But I wanna be a Hin-DO! Because all I know is that we strive to look at a field and just chill. So for the rest of this show - you can enter my mind. That’s what we’re gonna do. You can enter my mind and chill the fuck out!

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The World Without
More Info

EMILY: You have your work... Anne’s work. You have more than enough to create something between the two of you.   CHARLOTTE: We can’t move forward without you.   ANNE: If she doesn’t want to be a part of it there’s no point in forcing her.   EMILY: Do you... want to be a part of it? Want to publish your-   ANNE: Yes. I’ve always wanted this.

EMILY: You’d have a better chance if I’m nowhere near it.   CHARLOTTE: That’s not true.   EMILY: It is.   CHARLOTTE: We need your work.   EMILY: If you’re in such dire need of a third ask Branwell. He’s the one with the talent.   CHARLOTTE: Oh, Emily! How can you not see it? You have a gift. Do you know how many people spend their lives searching for what you have?   EMILY: What I write is... strange. It’s not suitable... or dignified. It in no way reflects how a woman should feel... or think... or write. I know that. No one will understand it. No one will want to-   CHARLOTTE: If you were a man do you think for a moment you would choose not to pursue-   EMILY: If I were a man I wouldn’t have to choose.

ANNE: Then just pretend you’re a man and be done with it.   EMILY: I can’t pretend to be something I’m not.

ANNE: Why not?

EMILY: Because it... it’s not-

ANNE: Because it’s not what?   CHARLOTTE: You can. You can.   She takes paper and a quill and writes.   CHARLOTTE: We could keep our initials... keep the first letters for each of our names. The rest can be whatever we like....   She holds the page up for them to see.   ANNE: Currer, Ellis, Aaron Bell.   CHARLOTTE: If they think we’re men they’ll focus on what we write... not who we are. We can send our work out without being afraid of anyone knowing. We can write what we like... how we like.   ANNE: Why Bell? Why can’t we use our last name?   CHARLOTTE: People know there’s only one son in our family.   ANNE: How many people know that?   CHARLOTTE: Enough.   ANNE: Can’t we submit anonymously?   CHARLOTTE: No. Our work could be stolen. And we would have no way to prove it was ours.   EMILY: Work with a name is respected far more than anything written anonymously.   ANNE looks at the page.   ANNE: Currer, Ellis, Aaron. Mine doesn’t sound nearly as intriguing as yours. Aaron... it’s so plain.   CHARLOTTE: What then?

ANNE: Adam, Abram, Andrew, Arthur, Alfred-   EMILY: Acton.

ANNE: Oh... Acton. Yes. Currer, Ellis, Acton Bell.   CHARLOTTE writes the names out again. She holds it up for them to see.   ANNE: So... no one would know it was us?

CHARLOTTE: No one would know it was us.
ANNE: What about Papa? We would have to tell him.   CHARLOTTE: Papa would go mad knowing we were trying to be published. He would get too invested. He would want to change everything we wrote.   EMILY: He would edit every poem until he was satisfied.   CHARLOTTE: Until he felt it was up to his standards.   EMILY: And if it weren’t a resounding success... he would never forgive us.   CHARLOTTE: No. We don’t tell him. We don’t tell Branwell. It stays between the three of us.   ANNE: Then... what’s the point?

EMILY: I won’t do it if we tell people. That’s the point.   CHARLOTTE: But if we don’t tell people? Then you’ll...   EMILY looks at the page with their proposed names on it.   EMILY: We shouldn’t have to disguise who we are.   CHARLOTTE: Oh, Emily... does it really matter? It would be a few published copies of a poetry collection. That’s it. That’s all it is.   Beat.   EMILY: I don’t know.
CHARLOTTE: Emily. Can’t you at least try to-
ANNE: Just say yes, Emily! For goodness’ sake!   EMILY looks at the paper with their names on it. Then looks at her sisters.   INTERLUDE

CHARLOTTE, EMILY and ANNE grab a small stack of blank pages and a quill. They sit at the table. They write. As they do, they hand each other their pages. They read one another’s work. They make notes on the pages. They hand the pages back to the author. They sit and write.

Again, they hand each other their pages. They read one another’s work. Makes notes. Hand the pages back to each other. Sit. Write.

Again, they hand each other their pages. They read one another’s work. Makes notes. They start to form a pile in the middle of the table.

They write. Review. Stack. The stack of paper grows. These are the pages of their poetry collection. CHARLOTTE gently picks up the pages. Leaves the room.

EMILY and ANNE grab another small stack of blank pages. Again they start to write. They share their work with each other. They each begin a stack of their own.

CHARLOTTE enters with a small book in hand – a printed copy of their poetry collection. EMILY and ANNE gather beside CHARLOTTE. They look at it together. Smile. Place it on their bookshelf. Get back to work.

CHARLOTTE grabs another small stack of blank pages. They write. They share their work with each other.

The stack of paper grows. These are the pages of their novels.

CHARLOTTE collects the pages from EMILY and ANNE. Together they tie the piles with twine. Fold an envelope out of a large sheet of paper. Seal it shut. CHARLOTTE takes the envelope and leaves.

EMILY removes books from the shelf. Leaves the room. ANNE tidies. EMILY enters in a housedress. ANNE looks at EMILY. Hands her a book. Leaves the room.

EMILY goes to the windowsill. Sits. Opens the book. And reads.

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It's All TRU

KURT. Well I suppose i should thank you for...being honest with me... (pause) I suppose. So have you taken PEP?

TRAVIS. I told you I have the prescription but —   KURT. No not PREP. PEP.   TRAVIS. Oh, you mean the   KURT. Yes PEP, the after one.   TRAVIS. Oh that’s right...PREP is before...   KURT. Which would have been much better to take but since you haven’t then you should go to the hospital emergency and have them give you PEP right away. Has it been more than 72 hours?   TRAVIS. Just.   KURT. Well that’s what you should do then. Go to emergency tonight.   TRAVIS. Okay, I will.   KURT. I should say so. (He clears his plate to the counter) So, are we finished?   TRAVIS. With —   KURT. With this discussion?   TRAVIS. Yes. I guess so. I just wanted you to know.   KURT. As long as you take the PEP then we’ll consider the matter over. After all, there’s nothing we can do about it. And then start taking the TRUVADA. You WILL start taking the Truvada?
TRAVIS. Of course I will.   KURT. Good. (He moves to go.)   TRAVIS. Where are you going?   KURT. I’m going to my study.   TRAVIS. Oh. (pause) You don’t want any....dessert?   KURT (pause). I’m not in the mood right now. (pause) Maybe later. (He makes a move to go)   TRAVIS. Kurt.   KURT. What.   TRAVIS. Are you mad at me?   KURT. Not exactly. I’m perturbed. But I’ll get over it.   TRAVIS. You will?   KURT. Of course I will. I love you. (pause) Do you want to go to emergency with you?   TRAVIS. No I think I can go myself. (pause) I love you too, and ....I’m sorry.   KURT. Yes, I know you are. See you later. (He leaves the kitchen, TRAVIS starts to clean things up as the lights dim. Music.)

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Acha Bacha

ZAYA: Hey pretty woman. Hey...   MA: [Opens her eyes and slaps ZAYA’s hand away.] Hey hey ka bacha, salaam karne bul gaye?   ZAYA: Oh my god ma I was just saying hi.   MA: Tho phir salaam karo.   ZAYA: Assalaam’olaikum.   MA: Good. Walekum’assalaam. [Beat.] Kaise aayo?   ZAYA: My friend drove me.   MA: Kaun?   ZAYA: Salim. The teacher? Remember? The one who asks for your biryani recipe / every time -   MA: Oh. Haan, haan.   ZAYA: Yeah they’re just – Salim’s just waiting downstairs... So I can’t stay too long I’m sorry.   MA: Kyun?   ZAYA: Well I need a ride back home.   MA: Laila dey sakti hai.   ZAYA:  No she can’t, she can only get here on her lunch break.   MA: Tho phir wait karo. Mere saath.   ZAYA:  I can’t. I’ve got things to do today.   MA:  Work hai?   ZAYA: No but I –   MA: Tho phir kya?   ZAYA: Well Salim’s leaving tonight and – Salim needs to finish packing. And I wanna help, so...   MA: Uske paas koi aur friends nahi hai jo –   ZAYA: Ma I want to help.   MA: Tho phir yahan kyun aayo?   ZAYA: I want to see you I just can’t stay too long.   MA: Faida kya hai?   ZAYA: Ma, come on, I’ll see you in two days for Eid.   MA: Nahi nahi, tum jao. Agar tum jaana hai tho jao, aur meh yahan akheley mar jaaongi. Teekh hai?   ZAYA: Oh my god you’re not gonna die.   MA: Tumko kaise patha?   ZAYA: I spoke to the doctor as soon as I got here. She said you have to be more careful especially at your age. And take your pain relief every day. You’ve gotta listen to her, ma.   MA: Haan haan, mujhe patha hai.   ZAYA: Ma, seriously.   MA: Kya seriously? Meh serious hoon.   ZAYA: [Beat.] How did it happen? How did you fall?   MA: Haan.   ZAYA: No how?   MA: Oh meh... Meh trip hui. Mera shawl floor pey tha aur –   ZAYA: Why was your shawl on the floor?   MA: Mujhe kaise patha?   ZAYA: Where was Laila?   MA: Sleeping.   ZAYA:  You weren’t sleeping again?   MA: Nahi. Tum so rahey ho?   ZAYA: We’re not talking about me. Are you taking your sleeping pills?   MA: Haan.   ZAYA: [Beat.] I’m sorry you fell, ma. [Beat.] You look good. [Beat.] Pretty. Like Preity Zinta. [Beat. Singing.] Pretty woman, dekho dekho na, pretty woman... Pretty woman, tum bhi kaho na...   [ZAYA nudges at MA, she gives in, laughs, and sings along.]   ZAYA & MA: Pretty woman, dekho dekho na, pretty –   [SALIM, wearing a jacket and makeup removed, enters with flowers. MA looks at SALIM once and chooses not to look at them again.]   SALIM: Assalam’olaikum aunty.   ZAYA: Salim what are you...   SALIM: Yeh aapke liye, aunty.   [SALIM gives the flowers to MA. She takes them and still does not look.]   ZAYA: Salim I was just about to –   SALIM: Aap kaisi hain? [To ZAYA.] Is she doing ok?   ZAYA: Ma I’ll be right back we’re just gonna be in –   SALIM: Aunty you like the flowers?   ZAYA: Okay can we talk outside.   SALIM: I thought she liked pink roses. You said –   ZAYA: She does. Ma, can you say thank you? It’s very nice of them – of Salim.   MA: Beta meh ab bahothi tired hoon tho I need to sleep. [Turns, facing away, in bed.]   SALIM: Aunty, aap mujhse / baat nahi karna hai?   ZAYA: Salim she’s tired. SALIM: Aunty I’m right here. Can you look at me?   ZAYA: Okay you need to go. Please. [Starts to pull SALIM away.] I’ll / talk to you as –   SALIM: No, I’d like to talk to her, Zaya.   ZAYA: Are you just doing this because we had to have sehri at Tim Hortons?   SALIM: Yes. Yes, that’s exactly why I’m doing this.   ZAYA: Salim. Please. She doesn’t wanna talk to you right now okay?   SALIM: Well I’m asking her –   ZAYA: Ma can you just tell Salim you don’t wanna talk right now?   [Beat. MA sits up in the bed and looks in SALIM’s direction, not at them.]

MA: Why you are here.   SALIM: Aunty meh sirf aapse baat kar... I, I wanted to make sure you’re doing okay. And I want you to know you’re in my prayers.   MA: Hm. You need prayer more than me.   ZAYA: Ma.   SALIM: [Beat.] Okay. [Starts to leave now.]   MA: [Looks toward SALIM.] You know my son do very bad thing?   SALIM: What.   ZAYA: What?   MA: He never tell you?   ZAYA: Salim maybe you / should just –   SALIM: What is she talking about?   ZAYA: I don’t know.   SALIM: You don’t know. ZAYA: I don’t know!   MA: [Lies back down in bed.] Zaya I need to sleep now.   ZAYA: Can you just go wait in the lobby? I’ll be there in a minute. [Beat.] Please.   [SALIM leaves. ZAYA looks at MA.]   ZAYA: Get up. I know you’re not tired.   MA: Kab shaadi karogey?   ZAYA: We’re not talking about that.   MA: / Kyun nahi?   ZAYA: Why did you do that?   MA: Kya? Kya kiya meh ne?   ZAYA: Why did you say that about me?   MA: Kya? You do bad thing? Such hai.   ZAYA: What bad thing are you talking about?   MA: You don’t pray, you don’t fast, you don’t give charity...   ZAYA: Why didn’t you look at Salim?   MA: Tumse matlab?   ZAYA: Salim’s my friend ma.   MA: Tho? Prime Minister nahi hai.   ZAYA: You can’t treat people like that.   MA: I can do what I want.   ZAYA: Would it have killed you to look at Salim?   MA: [Beat.] Uskey nails bahothi barey thay. Aur painted too.   ZAYA: Are you serious?   MA: Nakhun dekhao.   ZAYA: What? No!
[MA grabs ZAYA’s hand and looks at his nails.]

MA: Itne barey ho gaye? Meh kat thi hoon.   ZAYA: No ma I can cut them on my own!   MA: Bet jao.   ZAYA: No I’m not going to –   MA: Sit down Zaya!   [ZAYA gives in and sits down. MA takes out a nail clipper from her purse and begins to clip his nails. This takes time. Silence. The light focuses on both ZAYA and MA’s hands together. Then MA speaks after they’ve both cooled down.]   Ab bathao. Kab shaadi karogey?   ZAYA: I don’t wanna talk about this.   MA: Kyun nahi? Baat karo. / Mujhse baat karo.   ZAYA: I told you before I’m not ready.   MA: Kab ready ho gay? You are twenty seven.   ZAYA: So what?   MA: Tho jab mein yahan se nik lungi, meh Pakistan jaongi aur tumhara pretty woman ko ley kar aaongi here. Bas.   ZAYA: No, thank you.   MA: No thank you ka bacha, tum kaun si type ki ladki pasand karte ho? Bathao na. Bathao na beta!   ZAYA: Okay! Okay. [Beat.] I like naughty girls I guess.   MA: Teekh hai. I find naughty girl for you.   ZAYA: Good.   MA: Yeh joke nahi hai.   ZAYA: I’m not joking either.
[ZAYA and MA laugh together. MA has finished clipping ZAYA’s nails.]   I should go.   MA: Tumko kya hua, beta?   ZAYA: What?   MA: Mujhe patha hai ke something happen. Something happen to you. You change. Itne saalon se tum... You don’t talk, na tum properly eat ya sleep karte ho, tumhare paas driver’s license nahi hai, na wife ya bache, na acha sa job ya home... You have nothing. Kya hua tumhare saath? Mujhe bathao.   ZAYA: I don’t know, nothing... I mean I’m trying. My job isn’t that bad.   MA: You fold clothes Zaya.   ZAYA: I’m the store manager.   MA: You fold clothes.   ZAYA: Okay. I should go check on Salim. I’ll be back. [Starts to leave.]   MA: Oh beta! Mera change of clothes kahan hai?   ZAYA: What change of clothes?   MA: Bul gaye?   ZAYA: What are you talking about?   MA: Laila tumse kaha na, ke I need / change of clothes.   ZAYA: No she didn’t, she never / said that.   MA: Haan, usney kaha. Meh uski saath thi jab she call you. You don’t listen too! ZAYA: Shit. Okay. I, um, I’ll... I’ll get them for you. [Starts to leave again.]   MA: Beta! Shayad Prime Minister tumko help kar sakta hai?   [ZAYA walks out of the hospital room and enters the lobby. The light focuses on SALIM’s face, as they re-apply their make-up. Then, the light expands to the audience. ZAYA takes a step toward SALIM but looks at the audience.]   ZAYA: They’re watching you...   SALIM: Well I hope they’re enjoying the show.   ZAYA: You can see them?   SALIM: No one’s actually looking at me, Zaya. We’re in a hospital lobby. No one cares.   [ZAYA tries to focus on SALIM now, the lights on audience fades out.]   ZAYA: You... You shouldn’t have gone up there.   SALIM: Alright.   ZAYA: Alright? That’s it?   SALIM: Kya chahiye tumko.   ZAYA: You couldn’t have just waited down here?   SALIM: I wanted to see how she was doing.   ZAYA: Your nails are painted.   SALIM: What?   ZAYA: They’re fucking bright red, Salim.   [SALIM looks down at their nails.]
What were you trying to do?   SALIM: I, I wasn’t...   ZAYA: You know how she is.   SALIM: Why would I wipe my whole face and keep my nails on? I just forgot. I had to get the flowers and I, I don’t even know why you’d - if I wanted to make a statement, I can really make a statement, Zaya. / Yeh tumko patha hai.   ZAYA: Okay okay. I just... Look, I’m sorry about what she said to you. It’s just, I’m worried about her, you know she’s always been saying she’s gonna die soon, but I think she actually believes it now, so... So, it’s not good when she gets stressed out.   SALIM: Okay?   ZAYA: And you’ve changed a lot - in a few years - so...   SALIM: Tho kya kehne cha rahey ho?   ZAYA: It’s just... different now. I don’t know. I’m sorry. [Beat.] Um. Can I ask you a favour?

[SALIM looks at ZAYA.]
I was supposed to bring a change of clothes for ma, and I didn’t, so...   SALIM: Sooo...   ZAYA: Her place is just like a five minute drive from here.   SALIM: I know where it is.   ZAYA: Please.   SALIM: [Beat.] I just can’t believe this is how we’re spending our last day together.   ZAYA: I know I’m sorry.   SALIM: Zaya you keep saying sorry.   ZAYA: I know I’m sor - fuck I’ll make it up to you. I’ll make iftaari, whatever you wanna eat. Gol guppay?   SALIM: You’re gonna make gol guppay?   ZAYA: It’s not that hard. I’ve seen you do it a bunch of times. And, and we don’t have to watch another episode of Koffee With Karan. We can watch one of your feminist Bollywood movies. I’ll make it up to you, I promise.   SALIM: [Beat.] When are we getting out of here? ZAYA: As soon as I drop off the clothes, we can go.   SALIM: You sure about that?

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