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Authors: Catherine Banks

Bone Cage

BOOK: Bone Cage
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To my children, Rilla and Simon, with love.

There are men of the valley

Who are that valley.

—Wallace Stevens

Bone Cage
was first produced by Forerunner Playwrights Co-op, in partnership with Ship's Company Theatre, at the Neptune Studio, Halifax, Nova Scotia, October 10–14, 2007 with the following company:

JAMIE

Michael McPhee

CHICKY

Kate Lavender*

KRISTA

Caitlin Stewart

KEVIN

John-Riley O'Handley

ROBBY

Matthew Lumley

CLARENCE

Hugo Dann*

LISSA

Sarah English

Director: Tessa Mendel

Stage Manager: Kay Robertson*

Set, Poster and Props Design: Corey Mullins

Lighting Design: Leigh Ann Vardy with associate Tom Barkley

Original Score and Sound Design: Terry Pulliam

Costumes Design: Andrea Ritchie

*appeared with permission of Canadian Actors' Equity Association

• • •

Bone Cage
was presented as a staged reading at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa, on June 16, 2005, as part of On the Verge 2005 with the following company:

JAMIE

Benjamin Meuser

CHICKY

Laura Teasdale

KRISTA

Catriona Leger

KEVIN

Mark Muntean

ROBBY

Daniel Giverin

CLARENCE

Robert Welch

LISSA

Rachel Scott-Mignon

Director: Tessa Mendel

Stage Manager: Lynn Cox

Artistic Coordinator: Lise Ann Johnson

Characters

JAMIE
, twenty-two, works a tree processor

CHICKY
, twenty-five, Jamie's half sister, works on the sod fields

KRISTA
, seventeen, Jamie's girlfriend, in high school

KEVIN
, eighteen, Krista's brother, works chainsaw

CLARENCE
, fifty-two, Jamie's father, on disability

ROBBY
, thirty, considered slow, works for Chicky's married lover

LISSA
, fourteen, Robby's sister, slow

Note about the Text

When an italized word appears in brackets it is not meant to be spoken, but rather inform the actor of the character's feeling at that moment. When one appears at the end of a line following an ellipsis “…” it is the next word the actor would have spoken.

ACT I

Scene 1

Lights up to half. JAMIE sits on the rail of a steel bridge painted industrial green.

JAMIE is stroking the body of a dead blue jay. It is early morning and he has just come off the night shift in the tree processor.

There is the sound of a huge pulp truck travelling on a village road. The sound of it approaching, then the swamped noise of it passing too fast, and too close. The engine accelerates as it struggles up a steep hill and then fades as it leaves the village.

JAMIE

Oh yeah.

Everything in its path it eats.

Yellow birch spruce fir

White maple

It picks its teeth with the alders.

Bitter taste don't matter.

Eats squirrels, porkies.

Mainly birds, lots still in the nests.

He holds up the jay looking at it carefully.

Not so safe after all.

To the tree processor

I'm the first beer of the day.

What's needed to get it started.

At the end of every shift

It pisses me out on the ground.

I saw an eastern ghost once.

A cougar, watching me in the woods.

Biologists say cougars don't exist around here.

That's funny because I saw one

And he saw me too.

I said,

“You do exist same as me.”

And he said back, “There you have it, Jamie-boy.”

When I got a kid someday

Just born and everything

I'm going to go raid that fox den

That I know where it's at

And go get a cub.

Foxes are always black when they're cubs.

And I'm going to raise the baby and that fox up together.

Fox curl up in the crib at night

Baby play out in the woods all day

'Til their hair grows orange.

And their second teeth?

Razor sharp.

JAMIE drops the dead bird off the bridge into the river.

Scene 2

Lights up.

CHICKY sits next to the river.

CHICKY

I don't know how my head gets tired mowing sod fields but it does.

It hurts all day like when I was waiting for Trav's next breath, and then the next one.

There's this elm tree on the edge of the river

I mow past fifty times a day.

It's dead, been dead for a few years like all the elms.

This tree looks exactly like a scarred, burnt-out woman.

An old woman who had twenty kids and they all died of cancer of the brain while she was at the store.

The branches are broken off 'n what's left looks like arms thrust over her head, panicked.

Where her breasts were are these two gaping holes and she's got

a bigger hole that looks like a vagina opening up, only its below her ribs like where Christ was wounded.

She's got a face too.

The peckers have been at her but she got these two eyes and the bark below them is buckled, like a mouth getting ready for a good bellow.

“I told you to stay away from the goddamn river.”

There's a lot of power in her anyway

and she's not too happy with me.

Rolling up the sod, taking up a layer of soil every time.

I tell her it's a job so I can stay.

She tells me it's my soul.

My soul, I tell her, isn't worth anything.

She knows that because I've told her everything in the last three years as I've mowed past her.

I've showed her all my
(pause)
warts, let's just say.

But still she waves those old arms at me

tells me I'm peeling away my only hope of
redemption

thin layer by thin layer.

The lights expand to show KRISTA, standing behind CHICKY, fumbling with a tightly rolled square of paper. JAMIE and KEVIN are sitting up on the bridge. The distance is suggested by the fact KRISTA and CHICKY must shout up to the boys to be heard.

This is their summer hangout. They know this place like they know their own bodies. It is Saturday just before noon.

KRISTA

(reading)
“Love…

Is patient and kind: love is not

Jealous, or conceited, or proud,

Or provoked; love does not keep

A record of wrongs; love is not

Happy with evil, but is pleased

With the truth…”

CHICKY

Krista what is that?

KRISTA

It's our scroll.

(reading)
“Love never gives

Up: its faith, hope and patience never fail.

Thank you for sharing with us every

Precious moment of this day.

Jamie and Krista.”

It'll be rolled up by the plate and have a fuchsia ribbon tied onto it.

CHICKY

Do we always have to talk about the wedding?

KRISTA

Excuse me for wanting a perfect wedding day.

(pause)
My guts are tender. I must be ovulating.

CHICKY

Krista if you aren't having your period or PMS then you're

ovulating, or you got break-through bleeding.

KRISTA

Doctor can't find no reason for it.

The doctor told me to go off the pill soon as I can.

CHICKY

You said you didn't want kids 'til you build.

KRISTA

When we're married we can use something else.

CHICKY

What difference will
being married
make?

KRISTA

It will is all.

CHICKY

Yeah right. You hear anything about Carol from anybody?

KRISTA

No. Like what?

CHICKY

Nothing. Nothing I said.

KRISTA

You got some dances in last night.

CHICKY

Two fast ones.

KRISTA

Reg's not going to slow dance you with Carol standing right there.

CHICKY

Reg slow dances Carol with me standing right there.

KRISTA

Even if they don't have sex anymore, she is his wife.

CHICKY laughs.

What?

CHICKY

You are going to be just like all the rest you know.

Soon as you're a wife I'll be the enemy.

KRISTA

I told ya I won't be. You won't be.

CHICKY

Okay. You going for a swim?

KRISTA

No, I think I'm ovulating.

CHICKY

(Jesus.)

KEVIN sits to the left of JAMIE. He has his arm hooked around the side rail of the bridge. He is unable to unhook his arm for any reason, as he is afraid of heights. JAMIE is the ultimate cool to KEVIN'S excitement.

KEVIN

God that was fucking hilarious last night.

(What?)

Stealing Dolores's flower box and dragging it to the diner.

Jesus were the sparks flying.

Practically tore the fucking bumper off the car remember?

(No?)

Duh-your-ass, Dolores?
(Remember?)
Duh your assssss.

Fuck.

Funniest idea you ever had.
(FUCK.)

Hey Chicky… skinny dip… skinny dip skinny dip.

JAMIE

Is that all you think about – getting girls to take their clothes off?

KEVIN

Yeah.

Wouldn't mind seeing Chicky skinny dip.

JAMIE

She's too old for you, Kev. I saw Lissa at the store, she's getting some nice apples on her.

KEVIN

She's like fourteen.

JAMIE

Get them young, while they're fresh.

KEVIN

Chicky and me got some excellent dances in last night. Slow ones.

She asked me.

JAMIE

You're frigging eighteen, she's twenty-five.

KEVIN

That means we are both at our sexual peak.

JAMIE

Shit. Anyway, old Reggie's got his finger in her pie.

Stole her cherry when she was fifteen.

KEVIN

She's your sister, for Chrissake.

JAMIE

She's my half sister. What's she to you?
(pause)

Hey chicky chicky chicky, Kev's got a hard-on for you.

KEVIN

Shut up.

JAMIE

She can't hear me. Hey Chicky.
Chicky
.

CHICKY

What?

JAMIE

Kevin wants a date, don't you, Kev?

Well, he's too fucking shy to ask but he does.

CHICKY

Fuzzy, lay off him.

JAMIE makes kissing noises back at her.

How's your head, anyway?

JAMIE toasts her by opening a new beer.

JAMIE

My head is just fine.

CHICKY

Jesus. Do you see what you're marrying?

KRISTA

He looks some handsome in his tux, wait 'til you see him.

ROBBY enters wheeling a bike. Stands looking over the side of the bridge.

CHICKY

Hey, Robby.

ROBBY

Hi, Chic-ky

KEVIN

(mimics)
Hi, Chic-ky.

JAMIE

If it isn't a member of the social gimp family.

CHICKY

Shut up.

JAMIE

What? Being a social gimp is a good thing isn't it, Kev?

CHICKY

You two shut up.

You haying for Reg next week, Robby?

ROBBY

Driving the John Deere tractor.

JAMIE

Didn't Reg tell you, RobBob, he's using oxen this year!

ROBBY

No he ain't.

CHICKY

Don't be so goddamn mean.

JAMIE

RobBob knows I'm jokin' with him, don't ya, RobBob?

ROBBY

Someone took Mom's flower box last night – dragged it way down to the diner.

JAMIE

Oh my God, is that right
?

ROBBY

Left it at the diner.

JAMIE

Who did that
?

ROBBY

I know.

JAMIE

Oh you
think
you know, do you?

KEVIN

Tell us.

ROBBY

I know who did. I'm not telling.

JAMIE

Good thing.

ROBBY

I know who did it.

Woke Mom up.

Woke Lissa up.

Yelled at us.

Break the porch light.

Take Mom's flower box. I know it.

JAMIE

But you're not telling right?

ROBBY

Gonna do something if they don't stop.

JAMIE

I bet they're scared, whoever they are.

ROBBY

Make them sorry. Make them be sorry.

ROBBY turns and rides off.

JAMIE

Well, I'm shaking, what about you, Kev?

CHICKY

You guys!

JAMIE

Did he say it was us?

CHICKY

If it wasn't the two of you, who was it?

JAMIE

How the hell should I know?

CHICKY

Leave them alone. They don't hurt anybody.

JAMIE

Jesus, how many times have I got to say it wasn't us!

CHICKY

Kev, you take it back today.

JAMIE

Yes, Kev, you do that.

KEVIN

I think it might be pretty hard on the bumper, Jamie.

JAMIE

Hell, I'll take the tractor and charge Robbie's old man twenty bucks.

CHICKY

Fuzzy!

JAMIE

I'm funnin' ya. I'll build them a goddamn new flower box, how's that?

CHICKY

You should!

KRISTA

Maybe it wasn't Jamie and Kev.

CHICKY

Krista, look at them.

KRISTA

I'm just saying, Robbie could be confused.

CHICKY

He isn't retarded and
he
wouldn't hurt a fly. Lissa is sweet and good. Dolores's house is the cleanest in the village. They run a farm. They're good workers.

KRISTA

Well, they're not too bright.

CHICKY

How in the hell would anyone in this place know? The most

intelligent person in the world could live next to them and they wouldn't know it. A saint could move into the village and no one would give a shit. Mother Theresa could rise from the dead, go to

a dance at the firehall to bless the goddamn works of them, and

I bet all Jamie would do is crack jokes about her tits.

JAMIE starts walking along the bridge rail.

KRISTA

Why are you so down on him? To me, too.

I'm marrying him in six days you know.

CHICKY

It's not too late to change your mind.

KRISTA notices JAMIE.

KRISTA

Sit down, Jamie.

CHICKY

You know he's going to do it if you watch him.

KRISTA

Well I told him when we're married he ain't jumping off the high no more.

CHICKY

When you two are married it will be you up there doing the death dance.

Hey, Kev!

Kevin. Hey!

JAMIE

Hey, Kev, she wants you, man.

CHICKY

Throw me a smoke.

JAMIE sits down. KEVIN takes out a smoke without letting go of the bridge.

There is the sound of a car engine wide open squealing through the village.

JAMIE

F'ing Merv asshole.

A-HOLE!

KEVIN

They asked me up to their camp tonight.

JAMIE

Merv did?

KEVIN

Not just Merv, there's a bunch of them.

JAMIE

That's one place you don't want to go.

KEVIN

Just a bunch playing cards.

JAMIE

They're looking for someone to get ugly at.

CHICKY

Kev, my smoke.

KEVIN

It's coming.

He throws one but CHICKY steps on it by mistake.

Shit.

They just drink and play cards.

He throws down the package with the lighter tucked inside.

JAMIE

Don't go.

KEVIN

You go.

JAMIE

Yeah but I'm me and you're you.

You go up there and you'll come home one sorry ass.

KEVIN

I'm not going to fight nobody.

JAMIE

You go up there and I'll beat the crap out of you myself.

BOOK: Bone Cage
8.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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