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Danceland: a production record Cairns, Glen 1996

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DANCELAND. A PRODUCTION RECORD, by GLEN CAIRNS B.A., The University of Saskatchewan, 1981 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE AND FILM We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December 1995 © Glen Cairns, 1995 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date / 4 / W - / / / f f ^ - DE-6 (2/88) - i i - ABSTRACT. The thes is i s a record of the w r i t i n g and rehearsal process which led to the B r i t i s h premiere of the f u l l length Canadian p lay , Danceland, at The Old Red Lion Theatre, London, i n November of 1994. The f i r s t chapter i s a d i scuss ion of the dramatic theories and h i s t o r i c a l research which informed the i n i t i a l crea t ive w r i t i n g process . The second chapter i s the f i n a l draf t of the p lay i t s e l f . The t h i r d chapter i s a record of the rehearsal and production process, as we l l as an overview of the major dramaturgical problems which the actors , d i r e c t o r and designers encountered during rehearsals of the p lay . A f u l l cast and crew l i s t and the reviews from the B r i t i s h press are contained i n the appendices. The playwright 's "experiment" which s i t s at the heart of t h i s production record i s that A r i s t o t l e ' s idea of "place" i s e s s en t ia l to the creat ion of an indigenous, Canadian dramatic l i t e r a t u r e . The wr i t ing process, however, i s only the beginning of the t r a n s l a t i o n of drama from the page to the stage; and i t i s th i s f i n a l , rehearsal and production process which demands that a l l dramatic theory be placed within the context of be l ievable charac ter i za t ion and dramatic ac t i on . - I l l - TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract i i Table of Contents i i i Chapter One 1 The Alchemy of Playwrighting 2 A Prologue 2 The Idea of Place 8 The Genesis of The Play 12 Between Story and Backstory 19 A B r i e f Note on Language And Structure 22 Chapter Two 25 Danceland 26 Chapter Three 113 A Production Record 114 The Old Red Lion 114 Notes On The Scenic Treatment 116 Notes On Sound 118 The Rehearsal Process 120 Notes For Future Productions 125 Locating The Spine Of The Play 126 Some Thoughts On The P lay ' s Style 133 Finding A R e a l i s t i c Root For The Characters 138 Some F i n a l Thoughts On The Play 147 Appendix Reviews From The B r i t i s h Press 149 1 CHAPTER ONE. 2 THE ALCHEMY OF PLAYWRIGHTING: 1. A Prologue Saskatchewan l i e s across the northern f r o n t i e r of The Great P la ins l i k e a blanket , the place where the l a s t strands of p r a i r i e eventual ly give way to the muskeg, scrub and granite of the Canadian S h i e l d . I t i s a E u c l i d i a n landscape with a S iber ian cl imate and an often t i g h t - l i p p e d Presbyterian cu l ture , and i t i s the l a s t place i n the world I would have expected to f i n d echoes of jazz , bootleggers, and arson i s t s , the ghosts of Depression era American gangsters, rumours of community-sanctioned murder, and Danceland, one of the largest dancehalls on the continent . Danceland s i t s i n the bottom of a g l a c i a l v a l l e y that cuts l i k e a scar across the r o l l i n g h i l l s of the potash country south of Saskatoon. Dr iv ing through the countryside at dawn, you can chase the shadow of your car as i t races along ahead of you, and at dusk you can watch through your rear view mirror as i t s tretches out behind you for a mi le . In the winter , the snow takes on the colours of the sky and the sun, s i l v e r , blue, pink and mauve. In the spring the landscape i s a 3 verdant green; the heat of summer burns i t to an irredescent go ld . A person i s the t a l l e s t thing in t h i s landscape. You can see the earth curve downward, a hundred miles i n any d i r e c t i o n . The f i r s t time I dropped down into that ancient g l a c i a l v a l l e y , on a sunswept day i n ear ly February of 1987, I knew i n s t i n c t i v e l y that I had found an astonishing source of myth and h i s t o r y ; an almost e e r i l y deserted landscape which seems to beckon to me l i k e some kind of personal Manawaka, a Canadian Natchez T r a i l . Since then, the v a l l e y and i t s surrounding v i l l a g e s have become the c r u c i b l e of place i n which I set much of my recent work, inc luding my f u l l length p lay , Danceland. You f a l l four hundred metres i n a minute once your car crests the i n c l i n e d curve at the top of the v a l l e y , and then you s ight blue, blue water. L i t t l e Manitou, Saskatchewan, named for the nat ive God, Manitou, the maker of everything, s l i c e s l i k e a s c i m i t a r , a knifewound through the earth 's mantle that cradles a s a l t lake fourteen miles long and less than a mile wide, bubbling up from the depths of an immense, subterranean sea. As you rumble across the gravel 4 causeway at the lake ' s north end, the f e t i d smell of the s a l t marsh wraps around your face l i k e an unwanted l over ' s hand, invading your mouth and nose and eyes. And then you see Danceland, b u i l t on a p i e r halfway down the southern shore of the lake, i t s elegant Art Deco curves and whitewashed ex ter ior r i d i n g a s t r ide the shorel ine l i k e a swan. The lake was a sacred place of heal ing for the Ass in ibo ine and Cree nat ions . They would not f ight t h e i r wars i n the v a l l e y , but would t r a v e l beyond i t for that purpose. Legend has i t that the lake's heal ing propert ies were discovered by a party of Ass in ibo ine warr iors , who were t r a v e l l i n g north to do b a t t l e with t h e i r northern r i v a l s , The Cree, when a dozen of them were struck with an outbreak of smallpox. The Ass iniboines made a camp for t h e i r s i ck at the edge of the lake, and l e f t them with horses and suppl ies before carry ing on to war. One of the a f f l i c t e d warr iors , i n a d e l i r i u m , wandered into the s a l t lake to cool h i s fever, and then f e l l asleep, face up i n the shallow, sa l ine water. When he awoke, h i s fever had abated and he made h is way back to the camp where he proceeded to carry the other s i ck men into the lake, 5 where they, too, were cured. The legend goes on to re la t e how, healed and empowered by the lake, the Ass in ibo ine warriors proceeded to catch up to t h e i r war party and lead i t to v i c t o r y over The Cree. This story may or may not be t rue , but i t i s a compelling one. The legend was appropriated by the f i r s t homesteaders i n the area, and was used as a foundation for a b r i e f f lowering of cu l ture and commerce i n the ear ly part of the century. The book, P r a i r i e Ref lec t ions: Watrous, Venn, Manitou Beach, Renown, Amazon and D i s t r i c t s (published in 1983 by The Watrous and D i s t r i c t Hi s tory Committee), which i s based on o r a l h i s t o r i e s of the area, provides invaluable ins ight into the patterns of ear ly European settlement of the reg ion. The v a l l e y surrounding L i t t l e Lake Manitou was f i r s t homesteaded i n 1905 by John J . Maclachlan, on the west s ide , and by Edwin Evison on the east . The s treets in town are named af ter the family members, Roy Street , E l i z a b e t h Street , A lber t Street and John Street , to name a few. These s t ree t s , i n turn , are bisected by s treets named for P r a i r i e c i t i e s , Winnipeg Street , Saskatoon Street , Regina S tree t . The town does not look l i k e much, now, but i n 1910 i t was a prime 6 piece of r e a l estate , l y i n g as i t does, at the junct ion of the Grand Trunk P a c i f i c Railway from Winnipeg, and the CPR l i n e from Moose Jaw to Saskatoon and Edmonton; both of these l ines connect south, to Chicago, New York and Denver. With the CPR cann iba l i s ing the country for the benef i t of i t s grand hote ls and des t inat ion resorts at Banff and Jasper, the GTPR sensed a good business opening and offered John Maclachlan $75,000 for h i s property. Their in tent ion was to b u i l d a luxury hote l and health spa on the shores of the lake, and market i t as a des t inat ion r e s o r t . Maclachlan, being a f e i s t y Scotsman, turned them down and developed i t himself . This property became known as "the main beach", and i t was not long u n t i l h i s neighbor, Evison, s tarted up the r i v a l , "east beach" subdiv i s ion i n 1910-1911. By the 1920's what had s tarted out as a family operation of a two and a ha l f s tory bath house with twelve rooms for bathers, two l a v a t o r i e s , a wait ing room and a rea l estate o f f i c e , blossomed into a f u l l y fledged r e s o r t , the A t l a n t i c C i t y of i t s day, host ing summer retreats and par t i e s for up to four hundred and f i f t y employees of the T. Eaton Company and The Hudson's Bay, who would a r r i v e from Edmonton or 7 Winnipeg or Toronto by t r a i n . I t boasted f i v e dancehal ls , auto l i v e r i e s , seventy seven cottage homes, The Whitmore Hote l , Brown's Muskikee Wapui Sanatorium, The Maitou Hote l , Mart in ' s T o u r i s t Hote l , The Hiawatha H o t e l , two drug s tores , moving p i c t u r e shows at The Empire Theatre, E t h i e r ' s Gasoline and Service S ta t ion , a barber shop, three grocery s tores , four ice cream par lours , candy s tores , and two hot bath houses. People came by t r a i n from New York, Boston, Chicago, Ph i lade lph ia , Denver, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw, and Edmonton. The r i v a l r y between the "east beach" and "the main beach" was intense. The Hiawatha Hotel burned to the ground f ive times i n ten years . American t o u r i s t s , escaping the shackles of p r o h i b i t i o n , demanded entertainment, jazz bands, dancehal ls , and Canadian whiskey. The town roared u n t i l that black Fr iday i n 1929, when Wall Street crashed and Canada's Yankee Trader masters s tarted throwing themselves out of o f f i c e tower windows, and the gods refused to send the ra ins for ten years , and the wind swept up from the desert south of the border, s t r i p p i n g a metre of the r i c h e s t t o p s o i l on the continent o f f the face of the earth , deposi t ing i t i n the muskeg, hundreds of miles to the north . 8 Today, Danceland and the v i l l a g e of L i t t l e Manitou, stand l i k e the statue of Ozymandias, humbled at the western edge of the sky, a monument to t h i s country's c o l o n i a l obsession with American c u l t u r e . An a r c h i t e c t u r a l metaphor i f I ever saw one, Danceland stands, defying time, r e f l ec t ed i n the blue , blue lake, a winged f igure threatening to set s a i l across the eye of the gods. 2. The Idea of Place . The idea that place s i t s at the heart of f i c t i o n i s not a new one, stemming as i t does from sources as diverse as Sophocles' Athens, Chekhov's Moscow, Ibsen's Oslo , James Joyce's Dubl in , Samuel Beckett 's darkly humourous netherworld of l i g h t , shadow and emptiness; in America, the l i s t of places continues, e s p e c i a l l y i n the southern gothic t r a d i t i o n of Tennessee Wi l l iams , Truman Capote and Harper Lee; in Sam Shepard's Southern C a l i f o r n i a and i n Lou Reed's New York; i n Wi l l iam Faulkner's Yokanatawptha County and Eudora Welty's Natchez, M i s s i s s i p p i . In Canada, one thinks of Margaret Laurence's Manawaka, Michel Tremblay's Montreal , George F . Walker's East End Toronto, or 9 Judi th Thompson's Kingston. In f a c t , place as an element of f i c t i o n i s one of A r i s t o t l e ' s formative "unit ies", the other two being time and a c t i o n , so my discovery of i t should not have r a t t l e d me to the core the way i t d i d . But i t d i d . Finding a p lace , i n t h i s instance, L i t t l e Manitou, was l i k e an epiphany i n my ongoing struggle as a playwright . Place , l i k e time, gives me a s p e c i f i c , l o c a l i z e d frame i n which to set the dramatic a c t i o n . I t gives me, l i t e r a l l y , a place to s t a r t a s tory , and a place to end i t ; i t a lso t e l l s me a lo t about what happens in the middle. Who l i v e s there, what are they doing, and why? When you s t a r t w r i t i n g , you are i n v a r i a b l y t o l d by both in s t ruc tors and well-meaning fr iends to "write about what you know". This i s undoubtedly good advice , but i f I had taken i t as dogma when I s tarted working on Danceland, I might have ignored the voyages of discovery which are made poss ib le through simple acts of imagination. Most of us can imagine other worlds; we can read, we can t r a v e l , we can learn about other p laces , other things , other people. Yes, we must write about "what we know", but we must not l i m i t ourselves to a day to day, documentary accounting of existence. 10 To write i s to create , on the page, a f i c t i o n a l , yet be l i evable world which i s populated by be l i evable creatures who are engaged i n be l ievable ac t i on . This world may be c a l l e d Transy lvania , Mars or The Kingdom of Heaven, but from Kafka to Kerouac, at the very l eas t , f i c t i o n is the r e s u l t of somebody attempting to transport us to other r e a l i t i e s through the simple act of s t o r y t e l l i n g . W r i t i n g , l i k e reading and l i s t e n i n g , i s rooted i n the i n t e r a c t i o n of the s t o r y t e l l e r and h i s audience. Between us i s where we l i g h t our symbolic f i r e of myth, symbol and r i t u a l , and i t i s t h i s communal f i r e of the imagination, of dreams, poss ib le worlds, which unites us i n small groups, i n t r i b e s and in nat ions . S t o r i e s , i n short , are the bedrock of c u l t u r e . They are the veh ic l e with which we engage i n s o c i a l t r a v e l . When we wri te , when we read, when we l i s t e n , we can be transported, and when we return from these voyages of the imagination, we can be changed. To accept the act of s t o r y t e l l i n g as a foundation of cu l ture , i s to accept r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the s t o r i e s you choose to t e l l . I f s t o r y t e l l i n g r e a l l y i s the s tu f f of f i r e , then we must f ight to keep the flame a l i v e , to allow i t to warm us and penetrate the 11 darkness which surrounds us, and to avoid being p u l l e d , l i k e so many moths, into i t s flames. The words and s t o r i e s of Goethe, Mi l ton and Shakespeare are a t h i n s h i e l d from the words and s tor i e s of the dark Messiahs among us who long to unleash the dogs of war, intolerance and hatred. Yet , while the pen may be mightier than the sword, a wel l motivated swordsman can take a v i c ious whack out of an unarmed poet, and that i s probably another reason why great cu l tures owe t h e i r very existence to common myths and s t o r i e s ; common b e l i e f s are a great u n i f i e r of people, and the best way to share and uphold those b e l i e f s , whatever they might be, i s by handing down, through s tory , through h i s t o r y , the wisdom and experience of previous generations. I t a lso goes a long way toward explaining why despots l i k e S t a l i n , H i t l e r , Pinochet, and Pol Pot dedicated such fr ighten ing amounts of energy to the wholesale slaughter of poets. (The recent execution of Niger ian playwright and poet, Ken Siro-Wiwa, i s another t r a g i c example.) There i s a much more humane way to temper the s t o r y t e l l e r ' s power: the app l i ca t ion of informed c r i t i c i s m . C r i t i c s are with us for a reason. They ex i s t to c a l l our s t o r i e s , as wel l as our intent ions 12 and a b i l i t i e s as s t o r y t e l l e r s into quest ion. At best , they can guide a l l of us, s t o r y t e l l e r , reader or l i s t e n e r toward a r i c h e r understanding of the story at hand, and at t h e i r worst they operate as c y n i c a l tour guides on a decadent r i d e through consumer journal i sm. The d u l l ache of h i s t o r y may wel l be wri t ten by the v i c t o r s , but reviews are wri t ten by c r i t i c s , and they can s t i n g . To write a s tory , i n any l i t e r a r y form, be i t a nove l , a poem, an essay, a l i b r e t t o or a p lay , i s to embark on a long and per i lous journey. 3. The Genesis Of The Play . My own journey s tar ted the day a f ter I got home to Saskatoon, from that f i r s t car t r i p to L i t t l e Manitou. Three characters immediately presented themselves to me: an elegant woman i n her mid t h i r t i e s who sang at Danceland; a l i t t l e g i r l i n a flowered s k i r t and a p a i r of cast o f f boy's brogues; and an older man with s i l v e r h a i r , who sat in a wheelchair, h i s legs covered with a blanket . I d id not know how, or even i f they were re la ted to each other, but I could see them c l e a r l y in my mind's eye. The woman wanted to s ing to 13 me, the older gent regarded me with a c e r t a i n degree of cynicism and d i s t a s t e , and the l i t t l e g i r l would not speak to me at a l l . I was not sure how to s t a r t , how to begin c r a f t i n g these images into a s tory , so I d i d two th ings . I wrote a poem about the landscape at L i t t l e Manitou, and I s tar ted v i s i t i n g the l o c a l h i s t o r y room of The Saskatoon Publ ic L i b r a r y . The poem soon mushroomed into a larger ser ies of landscape poems, and my notebook f i l l e d with a wealth of d e t a i l , inc luding the curious l o c a l s tory that the Depression era American gangster, John D i l l i n g e r , had spent some time here i n the ear ly 1930's, hanging out at the dancehalls at L i t t l e Manitou, and that he was rumoured to have committed a s t i l l unsolved murder i n the nearby town of B i e n f a i t . I immediately seized on t h i s notion and went o f f again, s h u f f l i n g through the yellowed papers of the archives , searching for the t r u t h ; what I found instead was that the t ru th does not necessar i ly square with the fac t s , and facts almost never stand i n the way of a good s tory . John D i l l i n g e r may or may not have been present i n South Centra l Saskatchewan during t h i s per iod , but h i s cr imina l exp lo i t s had seized the popular imagination of people a l l across the American and the Canadian west. 14 He was s t ea l ing from the banks, which i n turn were forec los ing on small businesses and farms. By ear ly 1934, he had become a popular symbol of res is tance at a time when a s p i r i t of revo lut ion was threatening to take hold on the North American continent . Unions were mobi l i z ing , workers were marching, thousands of men were interned in labour camps and, when a union organizer at the coalmine i n B i e n f a i t , Saskatchewan, was shot dead, rumours flew that the k i l l i n g must have been the work of John D i l l i n g e r , who might have crossed the Canadian border i n search of a hideout. It i s true that the c i t y of Moose Jaw, a hundred miles to the south, had, indeed, been an operat ional centre for the American bootleg whiskey trade. Yet , a more l i k e l y explanation of the B i e n f a i t inc ident , i s that the union leader was murdered by p o l i c e at the behest of the mine owners and the rumour of D i l l i n g e r ' s involvement had been f loated as a kind of a l i b i . After a l l , i f you cannot t rus t the p o l i c e to protect you, who can you trus t? A l t ernate ly portrayed i n the popular press as e i ther an elegant l a d i e s ' man or an agent of Satan, D i l l i n g e r ' s image re fracted through the lens of urban 15 myth to become a kind of modern day Satyr , some kind of l i b i d i n o u s goat-man, a d e v i l with a twelve inch penis . Indeed, a pers i s tent urban legend, s t i l l being t o l d today, involves h i s mut i la t ion at the hands of an F . B . I , agent, who supposedly used h is pocket knife to s l i c e o f f D i l l i n g e r ' s male member jus t to make sure he was dead, and the supposed d i sp lay of D i l l i n g e r ' s posthumously honoured anatomical r e l i c , preserved i n a bo t t l e of formaldehyde, on a she l f at The Smithsonian I n s t i t u t e ' s archives i n Washington, D . C . Surely t h i s kind of mut i la t ion legend i s worthy of a r e l i g i o u s martyr l i k e Saint Sebastian; i n any case, the state hunted John D i l l i n g e r l i k e an animal. When they found him, they k i l l e d him. While i t i s quite poss ib le that he r e a l l y was just a murderous thug, i t must have been what he symbolized, the s tor i e s he i n s p i r e d , the jeer ing of the people i n the face of the s tate , that made him far more dangerous than the usual perpetrators of spectacular bank robberies and garden v a r i e t y homicides. America was, and i s , r i c h i n s tor i e s of legendary c r i m i n a l s , but few of them have insp ired as much f o l k l o r e as John D i l l i n g e r . 16 My problem, as a playwright , then, was how to t reat t h i s charismatic character , who obs t inate ly demanded to be i n my p lay . In the f i r s t draf t of Danceland, I attempted the obvious, and placed D i l l i n g e r i n the centra l r o l e . The draf t was an unmitigated f a i l u r e , reminiscent i n i t s bet ter passages of the worst dialogue i n a bad Jimmy Cagney movie. And then i t struck me that what had made D i l l i n g e r such a powerful threat i n r e a l l i f e , and such a p o t e n t i a l l y compelling dramatic hero i n my p lay , was not h i s presence, but h i s abscence and the implied v io lence of h i s imminent a r r i v a l . T e r r o r , a f ter a l l , l i v e s i n the mind of the v i c t i m . I r e a l i z e d that I was not a f ter a p o r t r a i t of the man himself; I was now more involved in an attempt to evoke h i s almost mythological s ta ture . John D i l l i n g e r was, indeed, one of the l a s t Satyrs in the world, s a c r i f i c e d on the a l t a r of the modern age. The mysterious way i n which he i n f i l t r a t e d the popular imagination of h i s day had nothing to do with documentary accounts of h is gruesome r ide through the American Midwest. Rather, i t lay i n the c o n v i v i a l , f r a t e r n a l l i e s that passed for conversation i n Chicago whorehouses, in booze cans, in the l y r i c s of dope addled jazz s ingers , and i n the whispers of r u r a l 17 fathers to t h e i r sons, "He got away again. Those goddamned bankers deserve i t " . The play d id not want an h i s t o r i c a l f igure as a centra l character , what i t wanted was a male antagonist , somebody other than D i l l i n g e r ; an almost demonic s t o r y t e l l e r ; a loquacious and charming l o c a l l i a r who could weave D i l l i n g e r ' s presence in and out of the p lay l i k e some kind of phantom, a bogeyman whose presence was so palpably dangerous that sometimes the s t o r y t e l l e r might even fr ighten himself . That i s how the character of Murray came to be born. His f i r s t words to me, long s ince excised from the text of Danceland were, "Sorry I'm l a t e , I was down in the basement; i t ' s dark down there and I mighta bumped my head on a post". At once humourous and s l y , and always rooted i n an a n i m a l i s t i c s exua l i ty , Murray flooded into the p lay , uni fy ing the act ion with h i s l i e s , and when he would get caught i n a l i e by one of the other characters he would make up a new one on the spur of the moment, even more monstrous than the one before, and a l l the time b e l i e v i n g that once a l i e i s spoken i t forms the complete and gospel t r u t h . Murray i s a chameleon, but h i s p a r t i c u l a r ta l ent l i e s in 18 changing the colour of the world to hide the unchanging nature of h is own s k i n . To Murray, l y i n g i s a s i n , and therefore , i n a world where everybody l i e s , the worst crime i s to get caught. The play became, over the next few d r a f t s , a search for t r u t h , a cry from the heart from i t s new protagonis t , the torch s inger , L i l y , whose search i s for passion in a world where men and commerce have k i l l e d the ancient gods. As I worked on the p iece , the dialogue became saturated with the rythms of the d e v i l ' s music, j a z z , and the o l d man i n the wheelchair, who had presented himself to me on my f i r s t t r i p to Danceland, became L i l y ' s husband, L loyd , a b r i l l i a n t musician, c r i p p l e d some months before the act ion of the play begins, by a gunshot from the marauding D i l l i n g e r . And the l i t t l e g i r l ? Eventual ly , she revealed that her name was Rose. She was Murray's daughter, and the reason for her s i l ence was a lso the reason for Murray's compulsive, almost psychopathic l y i n g . 19 4. Between Story and Backstory. Having discovered the i d e n t i t i e s of the characters , and the bas ic in terp lay of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s , I set about p l a c i n g them back ins ide the parameters of time and place: the play takes place over the course of one day, dawn to dusk, at L i t t l e Manitou, Saskatchewan, i n the summer of 1934. The scenes take place at Danceland and i n Lloyd and L i l y ' s cabin . Offstage, ex i s t a number of geographic markers: the lake, the h i l l s on the north s ide , the p i e r below Danceland, The Hiawatha Hote l . Together they form a u n i f i e d space, the v a l l e y i t s e l f , constantly re ferred to , but never seen. What emerged next was a ser ies of backstor ies , the s t o r i e s of what happened preceding the act ion of the play; a s tory about a woman from L i t t l e Manitou who, as a teenager, ran away from the Presbyterian constraints of home to pursue a career as a band s inger i n Chicago. Hanging out i n a l l the darkest c lubs , she was taken under the wing of a for ty year o l d l i o n of a bandleader, named Lloyd , who, no doubt hungering for sexual adventures, proceeded to teach her how to s ing . What followed for them was a tumultuous, fourteen year 20 s t re tch of road t r i p s , through Chicago, D e t r o i t , Minneapolis , Denver, Kansas C i t y and New York. My f ee l ing i s that Lloyd preferred a harder, b lacker , s t y l e of p lay ing and that t h i s personal jazz s t y l e , coupled with h i s unwil l ingness to compromise, i s what prevented them from breaking through as a popular act on rad io . So, when the Depression h i t , and those b ig touring combos of the 1920's could no longer a f ford to tour , Lloyd and L i l y ' s act would have been put under severe s tress ; Lloyd would have to adapt his s t y l e of arranging, or lose h i s career . Younger and more adaptable, L i l y ' s profess iona l ambitions are s t r a i n i n g the bonds of t h e i r marriage. In the years since they f i r s t met, Lloyd has evolved into an i r r i t a b l e , musical ideologue, a b r i l l i a n t , f i f t y year o ld white musician who has paid h i s dues, and who now wants to keep p lay ing black music with black musicians in black c lubs , and th i s i s why he i s so emotionally attached to the charts which he writes at the top of Scene Three. L i l y , on the other hand, would have been i n her la te twenties when these seismic s h i f t s i n t h e i r l i v e s took place; she i s f rus tra ted; she i s young, her career should be on the r i s e , but L loyd ' s i s f a i l i n g . L i l y wants to record, to get on the rad io , to lead her own 21 band, and she wants to do i t with or without L loyd . This has dr iven Lloyd into a sustained state of sexual and profess ional jealousy. They both fee l they have to prove themselves to each other; t h e i r t r a g i c flaw i s p r i d e . Domestic tensions between the two are running high when one of L i l y ' s adulterous assignations leads them to the edge of d i s a s t e r . Murray i s a couple of years younger than L i l y . He would have been two or three years behind her at school , and has had a l i f e l o n g , sexual obsession with her. As an adolescent, L i l y must have seemed unattainable to him; but when she suddenly returns to L i t t l e Manitou, i n the summer of 1934, h i s e r o t i c dreams become l i v i n g , breathing f l e s h . A number of other back s tor i e s emerged, but these are the ones that d i d not make i t into the f i n a l dra f t of Danceland, and I o f fer them in the hope that they may shed some l i g h t on the psychologica l pressures at work on the characters over the course of the p l a y ' s ac t i on . 22 5. A B r i e f Note on Language and Structure . The play consis ts of s ix scenes which a l ternate between Lloyd and L i l y ' s cabin at Brown's Sanatorium and the i n t e r i o r of Danceland. The f i r s t act contains four scenes and runs approximately f i f t y f ive minutes; the second act consis ts of the f i n a l two scenes and runs approximately f i f t y minutes. Danceland was o r i g i n a l l y intended to be played without an intermiss ion , but pragmatic considerat ions such as a bathroom break for the actors and audience as wel l as the des ire by theatre managements to generate revenue through intermiss ion l iquor sales d i c ta ted otherwise. Much of the dialogue i s wri t ten in a "phonetic" s t y l e . That i s , I have t r i e d to approximate the idiomatic sound of the Eng l i sh language of South Centra l Saskatchewan. This i s p a r t i c u l a r l y true of the characters of Rose and Murray, although Lloyd occas iona l ly s l i p s into a kind of Southside Chicago s lang. What I wanted to portray , more than anything e l se , was the c lass di f ferences between the two family u n i t s . 23 I f the play was to be trans la ted into Quebecois French, for instance, I would want i t to be rendered i n a mix of joual for Rose and Murray, and a kind of e levated, almost P a r i s i a n French for Lloyd and L i l y . Of the four of them, i t i s L i l y who, having forsaken her roots , possesses the most "posh" accent. For her, accent has been an important too l in her climb up the profess ional and s o c i a l ladder. The de l iberate mis spe l l ing of words i n the s c r i p t i s not meant, in any way, as a judgement of the characters ' i n t e l l e c t s ; none of them are s tup id , although two of them are quite d e f i n i t e l y uneducated. The phonetic s p e l l i n g approximations are , qui te simply, an attempt to render, on the page, the natura l sound of r u r a l , Western Canadian E n g l i s h . Like everything e lse in the p lay , the accents of the characters should spr ing from a s p e c i f i c sense of place and character . Readers of the play w i l l also not ice that the dialogue i s , i n a sense, "heightened" or even (that dreaded word), "poetic". Sandwiched as i t i s between jazz l y r i c s and the work of three great American poets, Walt Whitman, Ezra Pound and C a r l Sandburg, t h i s s t y l i z a t i o n of language seemed the most organic treatment poss ib l e . I do not intend the play to be a 24 throwback to the l y r i c a l l y b e a u t i f u l , but somehow emotionally s t e r i l e "poetic theatre" of T . S . E l i o t or Christopher F r y , but rather , I intend i t to be an extension of the kind of "naive pr imit iv i sm" which one f inds i n the work of ear ly Canadian playwrights l i k e Gwen Pharis Ringwood or Herman Voaden. I t i s intended to be the language of the land; i t i s a lso intended to be spoken r e a l i s t i c a l l y while , s imultaneously, provid ing a counterpoint to the jazz rhythms which permeate the p lay . 25 CHAPTER TWO. 26 DANCELAND. L i t t l e Manitou Beach, Saskatchewan, Late August, 1934. CHARACTERS: LILY: LLOYD: MURRAY: ROSE: S t y l i s h . T h i r t y three. A s inger . Her husband. Mid f i f t i e s . An American bandleader and c l a r i n e t i s t . A l c o h o l i c . Lloyd has of la te been confined to a wheelchair. He has been unable to veric as a musician for some time. Late twenties. Handsome. He owns and operates the boat t a x i serv ice on L i t t l e Manitou Lake. Murray's daughter. Pubescent. SET: Should be as simple as p o s s i b l e . Evocat ive , not representat ive . Light and sound are the most pervasive scenic elements. SOUND: The actor p lay ing Lloyd need not play c l a r i n e t , although a f a m i l i a r i t y with the embouchure and f inger ing patterns i s h e l p f u l . The play benef i ts from musical underscoring with solo c l a r i n e t . The songs, however, should be sung a c a p e l l a . They are more l i k e prayers or invocat ions; a continuation of the act ion of the scenes rather than musical "numbers". NOTE: The name of the town, B i e n f a i t , i s pronounced "Bean-fay". 27 SCENE ONE. L loyd ' s cabin . Brown's Sanatorium. Saturday. Dusk. Lloyd is s i t t i n g i n h i s wheelchair, l ea f ing through a worn volume of American poetry. He i s exc i ted . His hands tremble as he searches through the pages. L i l y i s changing out of beachwear, get t ing ready to go down to the dancehall for the n ight ' s g i g . LLOYD: (Finds the poem he's been looking f o r . ) Here, here, here, here, here. Here i t i s , I found i t . Ezra Pound, The River Merchant's Wife. C'mere; s iddown. . . I want to read t h i s to you. LILY: Just hold your horses. Jeez, I'm going to be l a t e . I knew I d i d n ' t have time to come down here for a swim; I should just have met you at Danceland af ter the g i g . LLOYD: (Gentle . ) Come on. Siddown. Just s i t down and close your eyes for a minute. This i s b e a u t i f u l . L i l y slams a cha ir down and then s i t s on i t . He reaches over and strokes her h a i r . LLOYD: L i s t e n . Just close your eyes and l i s t e n . I t ' s the most beaut i fu l thing i n the world. This woman, t h i s Chinese woman i s t a l k i n g . . . LILY: I 've heard i t before. LLOYD: . . . I think i t ' s supposed to be h i s g i r l f r i e n d , H i l d a . She was only about s ix teen . LILY: Oh, the nasty man. 28 LLOYD: I t ' s how she f e l t about Pound. LILY: Are you sure i t i s n ' t how he f e l t about himself? LLOYD: Don't be a c y n i c . She'd do anything for him; probably d i e . LILY: (Dry.) Lucky him. (Beat.) Read me a d i f f e r e n t one, okay? LLOYD: A l r i g h t . Here. I love th i s one, i t ' s another Pound, i t ' s c a l l e d "Alba"; i t ' s l i k e a photograph. (Reads.) "As cool as the pale wet leaves of l i l y - o f - t h e - v a l l e y She lay beside me i n the dawn." Pause. LLOYD: Nice , hunh? LILY: I t ' s a l r i g h t . (Beat.) Do they a c t u a l l y do anything, or does she jus t keep l y i n g there l i k e a plant? LLOYD: Of course. LILY: Does i t say? LLOYD: I t ' s impl ied . LILY: What's implied? LLOYD: That t h e y . . . you know. LILY: What? Cross p o l l i n a t e ? 29 She purses her l i p s together and pretends to blow some dandelion down at him. LILY: You're a hopeless romantic, L l o y d . You should get your mind out of books and back down i n the gutter where i t belongs. She gets up and resumes dress ing . LILY: Who e lse i s i n there? Anybody a l i t t l e more, oh, st imulating? LLOYD: (Leafing through.) Sure. Lots of people. Emerson. Thoreau. Some Sandburg. I l i k e Sandburg; met him i n a bar in Chicago a couple of years back. LILY: What's he l ike? LLOYD: Sandburg? He's great , a great guy. He accompanies himself on gu i tar when he reads; he's pret ty good, too. Musical but muscular; he writes rea l muscular verse . LILY: Oh, I l i k e that . LLOYD: (Moving on.) Here's a couple by Emily Dickenson. LILY: That morbid b i t c h . LLOYD: L i l y ! LILY: Wel l , she i s . A l l those tombstones; death r i d i n g past i n a horse drawn carr iage . LLOYD: She was melancholy, that ' s a l l . 30 LILY: She was crazy. Did you ever meet her? LLOYD: No. She died the year I was born. LILY: Lucky you. They laugh. LLOYD: Here., Here's some Whitman; Walt Whitman. "Give Me The Splendid S i l e n t Sun". Does that sound good? Whaddaya think? LILY: Whatever you want. LLOYD: I love you a l l to p ieces . L i l y laughs and resumes dress ing . Lloyd p icks up a b o t t l e of bourbon of f the f l oor beside him and takes a p u l l o f f i t . Then he begins to read. LLOYD: "Give me the splendid s i l e n t sun with a l l h i s beams f u l l - d a z z l i n g . Give me autumnal f r u i t r ipe and red from the orchard, Give me a f i e l d where the unmow'd grass grows, Give me an arbor, give me the t r e l l i s ' d grape, Give me fresh corn and wheat, give me serene moving animals teaching content, Give me nights p e r f e c t l y quiet as on high plateaus west of the M i s s i s s i p p i , and I looking up at the s t a r s . He looks up at L i l y for a moment, then continues r e a d i n g . . . 31 LLOYD: (Continues.) "Give me odorous at sunrise a garden f u l l of flowers where I can walk undisturbed, Give me for marriage a sweet breath'd woman of whom I should never t i r e , Give me a perfect c h i l d , give me. . ." He stops reading. His face i s streaked with tears . LILY: God, I love you. He closes the book and puts i t down. LLOYD: (Gruf f . ) Sorry . I forgot how maudlin the o ld pederast could be. (Beat.) How was your swim? LILY: Inv igorat ing . You should t r y i t . LLOYD: Are you kidding? I t ' s a goddamned swamp. LILY: L i t t l e Manitou 1 s a place of hea l ing , L l o y d . People have been coming here for years; the Ass in ibo ines , the C r e e . . . LLOYD: I t ' s a smelly, sulphourous, e v i l goddamned swamp. The water s t inks and the sand i s f u l l of f l eas , the grass i s f u l l of t i c k s and the a i r i s f u l l of mosquitoes the s i ze of goddamned roosters ! You couldn't get the clap cured i n a place l i k e this. (Beat.) Nope. I'm a c i t y guy. Gimme the s treets of Manhattan; give me D e t r o i t , Ph i lade lph ia ; give me nightclubs and E l l i n g t o n ; Satchmo. Give me Kansas C i t y at dawn. Give me New Orleans, with me and the band and you up front , howling the blues l i k e a wounded she-wolf, standing a l l alone on the jagged edge of the A t l a n t i c C i t y shore. (Beat.) I should have stayed i n Chicago and played with the band. LILY: You couldn't have played with the band. 32 LLOYD: I could! S i l ence . LLOYD: I'm a musician, L i l y . I need to p lay . (Beat.) Howzabout i t ? Tonight. Just one set . LILY: Not without a rehearsa l , L l o y d . Your s t y l e ' s too strong; y o u ' l l throw my band o f f s t r i d e . LLOYD: So f i r e the bums; w e ' l l swing that dancehall singlehanded. Whaddaya say? LILY: I t ' s not that simple, I can' t j u s t . . . (Beat.) L e t ' s give i t another week, hunh? I don't want you to push yourse l f too hard. LLOYD: You a f r a i d I ' l l embarass you? LILY: We've had a great day, L l o y d . Please don't s t a r t . LLOYD: I'm not s t a r t i n g anything. Pause. L i l y moves away to r e t r i e v e some c l o t h i n g . LLOYD: I do embarass you, don't I? LILY: I'm going to pretend I d i d n ' t hear that , okay? She s t a r t s to p u l l a loose sundress over her head. LLOYD: Where'd you get that mark? L i l y stops, mid-motion, to look down at her h i p . Lloyd wheels over and puts h i s hand on her. L i l y p l a y f u l l y s laps h i s hand away. 33 LILY: You had a l l afternoon for that; you missed your chance. Lloyd grabs at her. LLOYD: What i s i t ? A love b i te? LILY: Around here? I t ' s more l i k e a f l e a b i t e , and you know i t . Lloyd grabs hold of her hand and won't l e t go. LLOYD: What's that supposed to mean? LILY: Nothing. Just a joke. LLOYD: You disappear up the beach for hours at a time. I don't know what you're doing, or who you're w i t h . . . LILY: L loyd , we discussed t h i s before we l e f t C h i c a g o . . . LLOYD: . . .and how come you have to stay i n some fancy hote l up i n town. . . LILY: . . . L l o y d . . . qu i t kidding a r o u n d . . . LLOYD: . . .when I'm stuck way the h e l l and gone out here? LILY: . . . t h a t ' s not f u n n y . . . Let go! She breaks free . Pause. LLOYD: I f I so much a smell him on y o u . . . 34 LILY: What are y o u . . . ? D i l l i n g e r ' s dead, L l o y d . Sortie woman saw him coming out of a movie theatre i n Chicago l a s t month, the cops set up and ambush and shot him down. (Beat.) I ' d bet ter go, I'm going to be la te for work. She scoops up the l a s t of her things and heads for the door. LLOYD: Wait a minutei Wait a m i n u t e . . . where are y o u . . . don't you walk out on mel I came twelve hundred miles to t h i s goddamned swamp so that I could be with y o u . . . LILY: Then BE with me! BE WITH ME! Pause. LILY: I love you, L loyd . Bel ieve me. She moves i n to him and wraps her arms around h is chest , her face c lose to h i s ear . LILY: You're my best one; my only one. (Beat.) T e l l you what; I ' l l move my things out here from the hote l tomorrow. I can always keep the room at The Hiawatha for a getaway between sets . People I knew as a k i d keep coming backstage to gawk at me. Presbyter ians . God. I mean, what do they think? I moved to Chicago and grew horns? LLOYD: Maybe they just wanna look up your ass to see i f your hat 's on s t r a i g h t . They laugh. Then L i l y moves around and s i t s , gent ly , on Lloyd ' s lap . LLOYD: C a r e f u l . C a r e f u l . L i l y adjusts h e r s e l f . 35 LILY: Better? LLOYD: I guess. I don't know... LILY: What? Should I get off? She s tar t s to get o f f him. He stops her. LLOYD: No, no. I t ' s j u s t . . . I don't know. (Beat.) Sometimes I f ee l l i k e my bones are t r y i n g to crawl out through my s k i n . (Beat.) You're s t i l l so young . . . (Beat.) Don't leave me, hunh? I couldn't bear i t i f you ever l e f t me. She leans i n and kisses him, long and deep and hard. When they f i n i s h k i s s i n g , L i l y gets up of f L l o y d . She's c r y i n g . Lloyd reaches out and takes her hand. LLOYD: I t d i d n ' t hurt , you know. The gunshot. I t just s t a r t l e d me more than anything; that f i r s t explos ion. Then I was f a l l i n g . I f e l t heat; waves of cramp i n my b e l l y . I t a l l seemed to be happening so slow. (Beat.) I ' l l never forget the s i l ence ; the s ight of those white hotelroom curta ins hanging s t ra igh t down; no breeze. Then far away, across the c i t y , I heard the s irens s t a r t to w a i l . P o l i c e . Ambulance. (Beat.) Jazz everywhere. (Beat.) You were hovering over me l i k e an angel . (Beat.) And I f e l t hate, L i l y . I remember f e e l i n g h a t e . . . I'm a gentle man; but, h a t e . . . i t fee ls hot; l i k e a shot of Bourbon. (Beat.) I l i k e d i t , L i l y . I l i k e d the way hate f e l t . He l e t s go of her hand. Pause. LLOYD: You'd better go, you're gonna be l a t e . T h e y ' l l wait . LILY: 36 LLOYD: They won't have much choice. Lloyd p icks the bo t t l e o f f the f l oor and s tar t s to wheel away. LILY: Lloyd? He stops, but he doesn't look back. LLOYD: Yeah? Pause. LILY: Save me a shot for l a t e r . She turns to leave and almost t r i p s over l i t t l e Rose, who has appeared i n the doorway. LILY: Jesus! D idn ' t anybody teach you to knock? She takes a quick look back at Lloyd and then makes her way out the door. Rose jus t stands there, s t a r i n g at L l o y d . Pause. LLOYD: So, what are you s tar ing at? ROSE: Noth in ' . LLOYD: Wel l , beat i t then. Can't you see I'm busy? ROSE: You're not busy; you were jus t f i g h t i n ' with your wife. LLOYD: I s a i d , get l o s t . He wheels away. 37 ROSE: Are you r e a l l y a cr ipp le? Lloyd stops and turns back to her. LLOYD: Look. Why don't you go home and t e l l your mother she wants you? ROSE: Because she's dead. LLOYD: Oh. Sorry. Pause. ROSE: I f you're a c r i p p l e , how come I seen ya walkin' with them s t i c k things up the road to the east beach the other day? LLOYD: (Pointed.) What do you want? Just t e l l me and then go away. ROSE: My Daddy's comin' by i n the boat to p ick me up from v i s i t i n ' , and he t o l d me spec ia l to come an' ask yas i f ya wanted a r i d e up to Danceland for the dancin' l a t e r on, seein' as how he's goin' up there anyways an' he says i t must be awful hard for youse to get around. LLOYD: Oh. (Beat.) No. No, thanks. Maybe l a t e r . ROSE: He makes another run at n ine , but i t ' l l cost you a quarter , seein' as how i t ' s a regular run an' not a spec ia l l i k e t h i s time. LLOYD: Wel l , I think I can af ford i t . I just don't want to go yet . Rose approaches him and puts her hand on h is knee. 38 ROSE: Is i t a r t h u r i t i s ? LLOYD: (Sharp.) Don't be s i l l y ! (Beat.) I t ' s n o t . . . I t ' s . . . No, i t ' s not a disease. ROSE: I jus t thought maybe i t was a r t h u r i t i s . (Beat.) Y o u ' l l get bet ter , though. Lotsa people do. They come here an' swim i n the lake an' then go home a l l be t ter . That 's why L i t t l e Manitou's c a l l e d The Lake Of Healing Waters. A l l kindsa people come here a l l s i ck an' c r i p p l y , an' then go home bet ter . LLOYD: (Considers . ) Maybe they do. (Beat.) Maybe they do. Rose looks at him for a moment. Puzzled. ROSE: Don't be sad. She s tar t s to crawl up onto his lap . LLOYD: Careful1 C a r e f u l , c a r e f u l , you might break my bones. LLOYD: Easy. Easy. That 's a g i r l . Rose s e t t l e s down on h i s lap and wraps her arms around him. ROSE: I ' l l be your angel for the summer i f you want? Murray shouts from of f , down at the p i e r . MURRAY: Rosel Where are ya? Rose? ROSE: I gotta go. My Daddy's c a l l i n ' . ROSE: I'm be in ' as l ight an'careful as an angel . 39 Rose s l i p s o f f L l o y d ' s lap and s t a r t s to go. Stops. Turns back to L l o y d . ROSE: Can I? Wouldja l i k e that , i f I was your angel for the summer? MURRAY: (Off . ) Angel?! Rose?! ROSE: I could do s t u f f for ya? LLOYD: I don't know, sweetheart. You better go. ROSE: Please? LLOYD: W e l l . . . (Beat.) Whatever you want. Rose i s e la ted . ROSE: Real ly? I can help you l i k e an angel? LLOYD: Sure. But the next time you come over, you knock. Understand? ROSE: Oh, yes! LLOYD: Now beat i t . She spins on her heels and heads out the door, y e l l i n g at the top of her l u n g s . . . ROSE: Daddy! Daddy! I got somebody to he lp , jus t l i k e an angel! I got somebody to help! I got somebody to help! Lloyd watches her go. Smiles. Then wheels across the room. 40 There i s thunder, low and rumbling i n the dis tance . Fade out a s . . . A smokey jazz r i f f p lays . 41 SCENE TWO. Fade i n . The i n t e r i o r of Danceland. E a r l y Sunday morning. Dawn i s breaking through a s ing le pane window. A dusty white cur ta in b i l lows on a gentle breeze. L i l y walks through the deserted dancehal l , smoking a c i g a r e t t e . Her s i l k dress ing gown flows out behind her. LILY: (Sings to h e r s e l f . ) Weatherman Once the skies were blue Now each day's co ld and gray Won't you chase the clouds away? I can't endure the temperature. Weatherman I depend on you. In my heart there 's a c h i l l Where there used to be a t h r i l l . I need my man Weatherman. The winds are blowin' I shake and shiver My thoughts are goin' Down to the r i v e r . . . The doors to Danceland swing open. Sunl ight slashes into the space. L i l y i s s t a r t l e d . She stops s inging abrupt ly . A man i s standing i n the doorway, framed by the l i g h t . L i l y can' t make out who he i s . MURRAY: ( L a c o n i c a l l y . ) Knock, knock. S i l ence . LILY: Murray? 42 MURRAY: Yup. LILY: You gave me quite a s t a r t . MURRAY: Sorry, Miss . I never thought. LILY: What are you doing here at t h i s hour, shouldn't you be get t ing ready for church? MURRAY: No, Miss . We don't attend. LILY: (Dry.) Smart. Rose comes burst ing i n from the shadows behind Murray. ROSE: LILY: We used to go, Jesus! but Daddy l o s t b e l i e f . MURRAY: No, I never. You hush, Rose. I 've got my own ways. (Beat.) Sorry, Miss . We d i d n ' t mean to s t a r t l e ya . LILY: I t ' s a l r i g h t . I ju s t wasn't expecting anyone. The guys i n the band c lear out pret ty qu ick ly af ter the l a s t set , but sometimes I l i k e to stay and watch the sun come up. MURRAY: ROSE: I know. That 's the best way to say h e l l o to God, i sn ' t i t? LILY: Yes. Yes, i t i s . I never thought of i t that way. ROSE: He l i v e s i n the lake, doesn't He, Daddy? MURRAY: So they say. 43 ROSE: He l i v e s i n everything. In every l i v i n g t h i n g . That 's why we don't have to go to church; we can t a l k to God without a preacher. Rose holds out a wi ldf lower. ROSE: This i s for you. L i l y takes the flower. LILY: Where d id you f ind th i s? ROSE: Growing along the road by the lake. LILY: I t ' s b e a u t i f u l . Thank you. (Beat.) How d id you know I ' d be here to give i t to? Rose blushes and looks to Murray. ROSE: The god i n the lake t o l d me t o . . . MURRAY: ( In terrupts . ) We were goin' down to the p i er to s t a r t the boat for the mornin' run up the lake to Brown's when I seen yer husband, L loyd , s i t t i n g down there on h is wheelchair. LILY: Lloyd? (Beat.) Oh, Jesus, he was supposed to wait at home. She goes to the window and looks down to the p i e r . MURRAY: Sure. He's been s i t t i n ' down there ever s ince I brung him up the lake , about nine o 'c lock l a s t n ight . I wouldn't worry about him, though; I've been keepin' an eye on him; I even went down a couple times l a s t night and asked him why he d i d n ' t just come on ins ide l i k e everybody else? 44 MURRAY: (Cont inues . . . ) (Beat.) He's been d r i n k i n ' a l o t , eh? C u r s i n ' and d r i n k i n ' an' p l a y i n ' along with you on h is c l a r i n e t ; he never missed a song, a l l n ight . (Beat.) Crazy, eh? LILY: Something l i k e that . I ' d bet ter scoot. L i l y s t a r t s to go. MURRAY: Oh, I ' d leave him out there to sober up; I ' d l e t him cool down a b i t i f I was you. W e ' l l take him i n the boat with us when we go; t e l l him how great you were l a s t night; how me an' Rose walked ya home alone to The Hiawatha r i g h t af ter the show. (Beat.) I hate people when they're a c t i n ' crazy; the scare the bejesus outta me. Pause. ROSE: I'm named af ter you. LILY: Is that so? MURRAY: (Embarassed. ) W e l l , ya both got the name of f lowers. L i l y laughs. ROSE: An' we were watchin' you through the crack i n the door 'cause I wanted to see the lady I'm named a f t e r , an' Daddy sa id we could , but only t h i s once, but he bumped the door an' made a noise , so we hadta open i t . MURRAY: We were not s p y i n ' . You qui t l y i n ' , Rose. ROSE: I'm not l y i n ' . 45 MURRAY: Yes, ya are . Now you go on down to the boat an' s t a r t b a i l i n ' . R O S E : But, Daddy. . . MURRAY: I s a i d , g i t goin' or I ' l l send ya home an' never br ing ya out for the mornin' run up the lake again. ROSE: But I n e v e r . . . MURRAY: Rose, I mean i t . God says l y i n ' s a s i n , an' you l i e d . Now get. Rose runs out the door. I t creaks and slams shut behind her . MURRAY: K i d s , eh? Pause. LILY: Thanks. MURRAY: For what? LILY: The advice . No sense in upsett ing him any f a r t h e r . What's a l i t t l e white l i e ? MURRAY: A l i t t l e white l i e . They both laugh. In the d is tance , L loyd , down on the p i e r , s tar t s to p lay "It's A Sin To T e l l A L i e " . L i l y laughs and begins to s ing along with the c l a r i n e t , teasing Murray. 46 LILY: Be sure i t ' s true When you say I love you. I t ' s a s in to t e l l a l i e . M i l l i o n s of hearts have been broken Just because these words were spoken "I love you. Yes, I do. I love you". I f you break my heart I ' l l d i e . So be sure that i t ' s true When you say I love you I t ' s a s i n to t e l l a l i e . She sprawls out on the f l o o r in front of him l i k e a b ig cat , laughing at her own joke. Pause. MURRAY: I remember you from school up at Watrous, before you went away to be a s inger . (Beat.) I remember when ya l e f t here. Boy, d id people t a l k . (He laughs.) I t ' s no wonder ya stayed away so long. You couldn' ta come back i f ya wanted. At least not u n t i l ya got famous enought ta rub i t i n t h e i r noses. LILY: Rub t h e i r noses i n i t . MURRAY: Whatever. Pause. LILY: I d i d n ' t , you know. MURRAY: What? LILY: Come back to rub t h e i r noses i n i t . MURRAY: I know. LILY: What do you know? 47 MURRAY: Why you come back. LILY: You do, do you? MURRAY: Yeah. I do. (Beat.) Ya come back because ya couldn' t stay away. LILY: I came back because my husband i s i l l . MURRAY: An' ya knew that ya could br ing him back here an' the lake would help him get be t ter . L i t t l e Manitou's a sanctuary; maybe i t doesn't look l i k e Eden i n The B i b l e , but i t ' s an Eden just the same. Where e lse could ya see a blade a grass throw a shadow f ive feet long? LILY: I know. MURRAY: I know ya know. That 's why ya come back. LILY: I know. MURRAY: Told ya, d i d n ' t I? LILY: Yes, you d i d . I suppose you d i d , yes. She gets up and goes to the window overlooking the lake . LILY: I t ' s so b e a u t i f u l . The lake . So blue against the brown of the h i l l s . (Beat.) I t ' s funny how smooth they look. MURRAY: They're not, ya know. 48 LILY: I know. Lloyd and I took the t r a i n out from Chicago. I t ' s a l o t slower than coming out by car , but i t ' s eas ier for him to t r a v e l that way now. We used to dr ive everywhere. . . St . Loui s . New Orleans. New York. Once we even drove a l l the way to Mexico C i t y , just l i k e a couple of outlaws, then a l l the way back home to Chicago. But you know what's funny? On a l l those car t r i p s I never once saw the land as c l e a r l y as I saw i t from the t r a i n . And you know what? It scared me. I t scared the l i v i n g dayl ights out of me to see how the h i l l s are covered with rose bushes and t h i s t l e and l i t t l e b i t s of shattered rock, and how everything i s d r i e d up, stunted, twisted out of shape because the sky i s l y i n g r i g h t on top of i t . MURRAY: (Entranced.) I l i k e d r i v i n ' over the p r a i r i e in a car . I t makes ya f ee l r e a l smal l , l i k e a mouse runnin' over a t u r t l e ' s back. Pause. MURRAY: I . . . I . . . I should be headin' out soon. LILY: Don't hurry away on my account. MURRAY: I'm not. I t ' s j u s t . . . what a b o u t . . . ? He nods toward Rose and Lloyd , down at the p i e r . LILY: I t ' s a l r i g h t . Rose i s probably teaching him how to skip rocks. Pause. MURRAY: I better go. Pause. 49 MURRAY: I never been anyplace e lse l i k e you have. Wel l , nowhere spec ia l l i k e Chicago or New York C i t y . But I can t e l l ya that th i s place i s s p e c i a l , too, an 1 tha t ' s why ya can fee l the sky l y i n ' r i g h t on top of ya. But i t ' s a good l y i n ' on top of ya, l i k e at night when ya were a k id an' ya'd scare y e r s e l f an' then pray ta Jesus an' He'd come an' cover ya a l l over with a warm blanket of love. LILY: I see. MURRAY: I know ya do, Miss . LILY: L i l y . MURRAY: A l r i g h t . L i l y . I l i k e that . L i l y . (Beat.) L i l y . (Beat.) I never knew anybody famous. (Beat.) But you don't count, do ya , 'cause I already knew ya before. Wel l , sor t of . I seen ya around here anyway, when we were k i d s . Up at school , or down at the east beach, or smokin' c igaret tes with the o lder guys down under the l a t t i c e work below here at Danceland. (Beat.) An' la te one night when I was about twelve, I seen ya l y i n ' a l l alone on the p i e r an' I thought to myself that a l l the soundsa the dancin' an' the music f l o a t i n ' outta here i n Danceland was jus t a dream an' here we were, the only two souls i n the universe an' both of us hear in ' the same things , jus t l i k e Adam an' Eve. LILY: Nothing but s i l ence mixing with the music of the spheres. S i l ence . MURRAY: Was i t hear in ' the music that made ya want to be a dancehall s inger , or d i d j a always want ta be one? LILY: Always. She p u l l s out a pack of smokes. 50 LILY: Want one? MURRAY: Oh, no. Thank you, M i s s . . . L i l y . LILY: Oh, come on. You smoke. I've seen you lo t s of times. Have a smoke with me, then you can take Lloyd on up to Brown's with you. Pause. Murray takes a c igare t t e . MURRAY: Thanks. Pause. L i l y l i g h t s t h e i r smokes. MURRAY: Did you r e a l l y see me lo t s of times? LILY: Sure. You're always d r i v i n g past me i n your boat. MURRAY: I know. I always see you walkin' along the shore. LILY: Then you should wave, s i l l y . MURRAY: I wanted to a coupla times, but you always looked l i k e you wanted to be alone, so I never. LILY: Wel l , next time wave. Pause. MURRAY: Where else d i d j a see me? LILY: I don't know. Lots of p laces . 51 MURRAY: Like where? LILY: A l l over. At the t r a i n s ta t ion i n Watrous. MURRAY: Where else? LILY: What's th i s? MURRAY: Just t e l l me where ya seen me l i k e I t o l d where I seen you. LILY: A l r i g h t . I've seen you d r i v i n g down the lake i n your boat; I 've seen you p i c k i n g up passengers with your car at the t r a i n s ta t ion; and la te l a s t night I saw you out i n the middle of the lake, d i v i n g naked o f f your boat and p lay ing l i k e a dolphin i n the moonlight. MURRAY: I know. I seen ya watchin' me. I wanted ta swim over to ya an' t a l k , but I was too embarassed, so I just stayed i n the lake, swimmin' an' p l a y i n ' , u n t i l ya l e f t an' went back in ta here, i n Danceland. LILY: I knew you'd seen me. That 's why I stayed so long. (Beat.) You surpr ise me. MURRAY: Do I? LILY: Oh, yes. Oh, yes, you do. She moves away from him. Pause. MURRAY: So, we're even, eh? LILY: How so? 52 MURRAY: You were watchin' me jus t l i k e I watched you that night when I was twelve. LILY: I suppose so. But we're not ch i ldren anymore, are we? Pause. MURRAY: Do ya l i k e watchin' people? LILY: Sometimes. MURRAY: Me, too. Pause. MURRAY: Didja ever see yerse l f? Like turn around an' see y e r s e l f comin' up behind ya? LILY: I don't think so, no. MURRAY: I d i d . Once when I was twenty four . An' i t sure d i d surpr i se me 'cause mostly I jus t keep an eye out for what others are d o i n ' , eh? L i l y laughs. Murray catches her by the jaw. MURRAY: No. Rea l ly . Don't laugh. He releases her. MURRAY: One night I couldn't s leep, an' then just before dawn I got up an' went for a walk. Just ta see the sun comin' up an' to hear the b i rds s t a r t ta s i n g i n ' . An' I walked along here by the lake, an' nobody else was around, just l i k e t h i s mornin' . An' I walked an' walked, an' sa id a l i t t l e prayer ta The Lord ta thank him for a l l the beauty an' such around me, an' then I sat down on t h i s b ig 53 MURRAY: (Cont inues . . . ) rock beside the lake, just l ook in ' at the sun comin' up an 1 at the water movin' by, an' then I jus t kinda f e l l asleep but my eyes were open an 1 I could see everything but I was asleep, s i t t i n ' there lookin ' out at nature, when a l l of a sudden t h i s snake s l i t h e r s outta the grass r i g h t i n fronta me. I t was jus t a garter snake, r i g h t . That ' s the only kind we got here, so i t never scared me or n o t h i n ' , i t just got my at tent ion r e a l quick. So I looked up, an' there I was, walkin' down the path toward myself. (Beat.) I guess that snake s t a r t l e d me an' my body woke up before my sould could get back into i t . An' i t ' s a lucky th ing , too, i t was a snake I seen, an' not a person, 'cause i f a person crosses yer path while yer sou l ' s outta yer body they can snap the l i t t l e thread that keeps i t connected, an' then yer sould can' t f ind ya, an' i t hasta spend a l l e t e r n i t y roamin' around, lookin ' for ya , so i t can get back into ya through yer eyebal l s , which i s where i t come out. (Beat.) So that made me s t a r t t h i n k i n ' about havin' a sou l , an' be in' one a God's c h i l d r e n , but s t i l l be in' a part of the animal world, too, an' how sometimes things mean th ings . I mean, they can' t happen a l l by themselves, can they? LILY: No. They can ' t . Pause. LILY: How o l d ' s your daughter? MURRAY: Twelve. LILY: Where's her mother? MURRAY: I dunno. Up north , p r o b ' l y , I don't know. LILY: Why d i d n ' t she take the ch i ld? 54 MURRAY: She d i d . Sort of . For a while , anyway. Then she brought i t back home an' took back of f with some guy from B a t t l e f o r d , who works at The Sask. (Beat.) Crazy, hunh? (Beat.) She was an Indian. (Beat.) So a f ter that , I hadta look af ter Rose. An 1 my Mom sa id she'd help; that yer l i f e i s yer l i f e , an' yer c h i l d i s yer c h i l d , an' shouldn't be made ta be brought up i n the ways of s trangers . (Beat.) That 's why we don't go to church anymore. (Beat.) 'Cause of a l l the gossip goes on. (Beat.) So, I'm not r e a l l y married anymore. Wel l , I am, but just sor ta . He moves to L i l y . Pause. MURRAY: You're the one who's married. LILY: Sort of . S i l ence . MURRAY: Look. The sky's t u r n i n ' ins ide out. LILY: Yes. Dawn. Murray moves i n behind her. They both gaze out the window. MURRAY: The whole sky looks l i k e i t ' s turned ins ide out, an' yer lookin ' down at i s lands i n the ocean. LILY: How do you know what the ocean looks l ike? MURRAY: I don' t . But I can imagine. LILY: I ' l l bet you can. 55 MURRAY: I love imaginin'. It's ray f a v o u r i t e t h i n g t a do; besides watchin' people. An' every day, winter an' summer, a l l year long, year a f t e r year, ya can look at the sky an' imagine i t ' s . . . a very b e a u t i f u l woman. Pause. He begins to n i b b l e on her neck and fondle her b r e a s t s . Pause. L i l y moves away from him and stubs out her c i g a r e t t e . LILY: I've been watching you. MURRAY: I know. I seen ya doin' i t . LILY: I know. I 've seen you see me. She moves i n t o h i s arms and they begin to make love as they dance. MURRAY: When I see my arms goin' around your shoulder blades I f e e l l i k e I'm h o l d i n ' b i r d bones. My arms look bigger than they r e a l l y are, an' my veins s t i c k out a l l blue an' muscley the way I always t h i n k a man's arms Should look an' mine never do. LILY: Ssssssshhhhhh! Don't t a l k . She pushes h i s s h i r t up o f f h i s chest and nuzzles on h i s n i p p l e s and b e l l y . MURRAY: Mmmmmmmmm. So s o f t . So s o f t . He l i f t s her face to h i s , and they exchange long, deep k i s s e s . He undoes her dr e s s i n g gown and s t a r t s to k i s s her bre a s t s . 56 The door swings open and Rose comes running into the dancehal l . ROSE: Mr. Lloyd says t o . . . She stops dead i n her t racks , turns and heads back to the door. MURRAY: (Bellows.) Rose! You get back here. You s i t . He points to the ground at h i s feet . Rose heels l i k e an obedient dog. MURRAY: Now you stay put. What d i d you see? ROSE: N o t h i n ' . MURRAY: Were you spyin'? ROSE: No. MURRAY: Don't l i e , Rose. Were you spyin'? LILY: I t ' s a l r i g h t , Murray. She wasn't spying, were you Rose? ROSE: No, Miss . MURRAY: Are ya sure? Are ya sure ya never seen us neckin'? ROSE: No. MURRAY: Good. Or e lse I ' l l take ya out an leave ya at the s ide a the road f e r , fer that that American f e l l a , unh, unh, D i l l i n g e r , yeah, D i l l i n g e r , ta g i t . 57 ROSE: ( T e r r i f i e d . ) Don't , Daddy. Don't . MURRAY: H e ' s . . . he's h i d i n ' up at B i e n f a i t . I . . . I seen him myself. A l i t t l e guy i n a hat an' g lasses . An American f e l l a . An' he comes up here l ook in ' fer l i t t l e g i r l s who spy, an' he p icks them up of f the side a the road an' takes them away ta feed to his dogs. ROSE: I wasn't s p y i n ' . Honest. LILY: You're scar ing her, Murray, so stop i t . I t ' s a l r i g h t honey, your Daddy d i d n ' t mean to scare you, d id you Murray? MURRAY: No. But i f yer l y i n ' , Rose, yer gonna g i t such a h i d i n 1 . . . ROSE: You're the l i a r , Daddy! You're the l i a r ! MURRAY: Ohhh. I am not. I am not. He s tar t s to move i n on Rose. LILY: Murray, D i l l i n g e r ' s dead and you know i t . Some woman saw him coming out of a movie theatre in Chicago l a s t month and c a l l e d the cops. They set up an ambush and shot him down. MURRAY: An' he had h i s face changed, so how do you know i t was r e a l l y him that they shot down? Oh, come on. LILY: 58 MURRAY: An 1 how come the Mounties been around, l o o k i n 1 for an American f e l l a they say d id the k i l l i n ' up in B i e n f a i t l a s t week? Why'd anybody except D i l l i n g e r wanna come a l l the way up here just ta do a k i l l i n ' when there's plenty ta do r i g h t at home i n The States? No. No, i t was him I seen. I know i t . He's here. He's here h i d i n ' out again, jus t l i k e he does every summer, an' h e ' l l g i t ya Rose i f ya don't come over here r i g h t now an' take a good l i c k i n ' . Rose shrieks and c l ings to L i l y for safety . ROSE: Nooooooooooooooooo ! LILY: Don't fr ighten the c h i l d . MURRAY: Don't t e l l me how ta ra i se my daughter. LILY: I'm not t e l l i n g you how t o . . . MURRAY: You don't even have one, so how would you know how to ra i se i t ? LILY: Because I remember what i t f e l t l i k e to be one! MURRAY: Rose! G i t over here r ight now, I'm gonna tan yer hide for disobedience! Rose c l ings harder to L i l y . ROSE: Nooooooooooooooooo! MURRAY: I s a i d , g i t over here! He grabs Rose from L i l y , and throws the c h i l d across the f l o o r . L i l y and Rose scream t o g e t h e r . . . 59 LILY/ROSE: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo1 The c h i l d h i t s the f l o o r , and Murray p u l l s h i s b e l t out of h is be l t loops i n a s ing le motion. L i l y lunges at him and grabs h i s upraised arm. Murray stops dead. Surprised by her s trength . LILY: I ' l l t e l l you something, Murray. D i l l i n g e r ' s not dead. I l i e d . He d id have h is face changed. Then he drove twelve hundred miles up here with the F . B . I , on h is t a i l , because he's a f r i end of mine and he knew I ' d help him out. That 's h is white Chevy convert ib le tha t ' s been parked out behind The Hiawatha Hotel a l l week. He hides out i n my dressing room. So i f you lay so much as one f inger on that c h i l d , or mention so much as one word about what went on i n here t h i s morning, I'm going to whisper i n h i s ear what a dangerous son of a b i t c h you r e a l l y are , and h e ' l l hunt you down and put a b u l l e t through your bra in jus t l i k e he d id to that poor bastard of a union man up in B i e n f a i t l a s t week. S i l ence . MURRAY: C'mon, Rose. We gotta go. He hois ts Rose up o f f the f l oor and hurr ies to the door. As he gets there, he turns back to L i l y . MURRAY: W e ' l l take yer husband, L loyd , with us, too. There's no point i n his wa i t in ' around a l l mornin' for an adulteress . Murray and Rose plunge through the doors and run down to the p i e r . Sunl ight b las t s past them u n t i l the double doors slam shut. 60 L i l y i s i n a state of shock. LILY: (Quie t ly . ) Jesus C h r i s t ! Fade Out. 61 SCENE THREE. Fade i n . L loyd ' s cabin . E a r l y afternoon. Sunday. It i s extremely hot. Lloyd i s alone, sharing a couple of s t i f f c o c k t a i l s with himself and working on some new arrangements. He hums a few notes, then t r i e s to write them down. He's not being too successful and i s get t ing f r u s t r a t e d . He snaps h i s p e n c i l i n ha l f and slams back a couple b e l t s of rye . LLOYD: Jazz . C h r i s t . What a l i f e . He tosses h i s sheet music into the a i r . I t f a l l s down around him l i k e snowflakes. He hears footsteps approaching. LILY: (Off . ) Lloyd? Lloyd wheels away into a dark corner. We hear the pers i s tent drone of f l i e s . L i l y enters , carry ing a couple of small su i tcases . LILY: Lloyd? S i l ence . She puts the suitcases down, then s tar t s to p ick up the sheafs of sheet music. LLOYD: (From the shadows.) Looking for something? LILY: Lloyd!? 62 LLOYD: Surpr i se , s u r p r i s e . LILY: You're here. LLOYD: I l i v e in t h i s hovel , you're the one has to stay i n a fancy h o t e l . LILY: Nice to see you, too. You're i n a good mood. LLOYD: I don't have moods. LILY: Good. Neither do I . (Beat.) Are these your new arrangements? I t o l d the boys i n the band I ' d work with them l a t e r today. LLOYD: Oh, you d i d , d i d you? And where do I f i t into these plans? LILY: W e l l . . . you don' t . I t ' s my band. LLOYD: And they're my arrangements. LILY: I know, but i t ' s our night o f f and we've been p lay ing the same tunes for two weeks now, we need some new m a t e r i a l . I just thought I ' d take them down to Danceland and run through them a couple of times. LLOYD: Wel l , think again, Missy. Think again. LILY: But you wrote them for me. 63 LLOYD: I wrote them for me. They're my t i c k e t out of here and I'm not g iv ing them to anybody unless I get to see a subs tant ia l part of the a c t i o n . Those clowns i n your band can' t even read. You think I want people hearing farmers play my arrangements? LILY: They're not farmers. They're from Saskatoon. LLOYD: Same d i f f erence . They're so white they're almost b lue . Who the h e l l do you think you are, leaving me stranded on a p i e r . . . LILY: LLOYD: I d i d n ' t leave you stranded . . . i n the middle of on a p i e r . . . I d i d n ' t even h e l l ' s h a l f acre a l l know you were there 1 night and then come waltz ing i n here to s t ea l my arrangements as i f n o t h i n g happened LILY: I wasn't s t e a l i n g your arrangements; I was jus t going to borrow them! LLOYD: Borrow! Is that what you c a l l i t ? Borrow? Right . And teach them to a bunch of th iev ing musicians; the next thing I know I'm hearing my tunes on the radio and haven't got a penny to show for i t . Six months work spread around as free and easy as a case of crabs. LILY: Don't be so vulgar . LLOYD: Oh, I forgot . You regained your v i r g i n i t y when we crossed the border. LILY: Stop i t , L loyd , I'm s i ck of i t . You throw a jealous conniption f i t at least twice a day! I do not! LLOYD: 64 LILY: Yes, you do. You haven't l e t up on me s ince we got here. Two whole weeks. LLOYD: And I've got seven more weeks to go; day af ter day cooped up i n t h i s Hades hot cabin l i s t e n i n g to the goddamned f l i e s r icochet o f f the screens while you stay up i n town screwing around with the l o c a l playboys. LILY: I am not screwing around with the l o c a l . . . LLOYD: Murray t o l d me he saw some man h id ing i n your dress ing room t h i s morning. LILY: That ' s s tup id , L l o y d . How could Murray see somebody who wasn't there? LLOYD: Maybe he's c l a i r v o y a n t . LILY: That 's a laugh. LLOYD: I f that sucker had h a l f a bra in i t ' d be lone ly , but he doesn't have any reason to l i e to me. He came running out of Danceland t h i s morning as i f he'd seen the D e v i l himself . He p r a c t i c a l l y kidnapped me o f f the p i e r . I wanted to stay and spend the morning at the hote l with you, but he wouldn't l e t me. He was s t u t t e r i n g away and h i s daughter was cry ing ; they drove me up the lake l i k e a bat out of h e l l and dumped me out on the beach. I had to crawl up for help to push th i s goddamned wheelchair through the sand and I want to know where the h e l l you've been! LILY: Packing! Gett ing ready to move out here with you, a l r i g h t ? ! 65 LLOYD: Murray says D i l l i n g e r ' s here and The Mounties are looking for him. That 's why you stayed up at Danceland a l l night i s n ' t i t ? The papers say he had h i s face changed. LILY: For God's sake, calm down. LLOYD: I AM NOT HYSTERICAL! I took a b u l l e t i n the b e l l y from that son of a b i t c h , and I am not h y s t e r i c a l ! LILY: WE WERE SHOOTING COCAINE, WE WERE NOT SCREWING! I t ' s not my f a u l t you came busing into a pr iva te hotelroom. He thought you were a cop. Jealousy, Lloyd! One of these days i t ' s going to k i l l you. (Beat.) I was at the h o t e l . Packing. A l r i g h t ? E i t h e r accept my word on i t or I ' l l pack your waxy o l d carcass back onto the t r a i n to Chicago. LLOYD: You wouldn't dare. LILY: Just watch me. (Beat.) I don't know why I d i d n ' t dump you years ago. LLOYD: Because you needed my ta lent ; you s t i l l do! LILY: I don't be l ieve t h i s . LLOYD: I made you who you are and now that I'm a c r i p p l e , you jus t shuck me o f f onto the f l o o r l i k e a used rubber. H e l l , the maid'11 be around i n the morning to p ick me up. (Beat.) You sucked my ta l ent l i k e a vampire. Sometimes when we'd make love, your hands f e l t l i k e claws i n my back, and I ' d hear your tongue so loud i n my ear, sucking and sucking, t r y i n g to suck the music r i g h t out of my b r a i n , and I ' d know you needed me and I 'd know you hated me for i t . LILY: D i l l i n g e r ? ! For the l a s t time, L loyd , D i l l i n g e r ' s dead! You're h y s t e r i c a l 66 LILY: You're wrong about when I s tar ted to hate you. (Beat.) I t d i d n ' t s t a r t i n bed. I might have needed you, and God knows I worshipped your t a l e n t , worshipped i t to the point where I d i d n ' t think I had any myself. LLOYD: Oh, come o n . . . LILY: I s tarted to hate you. . . I s tarted to hate you the moment you walked into that hotelroom i n Chicago. LLOYD: So what was I supposed to do? LILY: The look on your f a c e . . . LLOYD: Keep on p lay ing b l a c k j a c k . . . LILY: You were purple with r a g e . . . LLOYD: . . .down i n the bar? LILY: JEALOUSY, LLOYD! JEALOUSY! LLOYD: YOU WERE MY WIFE! LILY: You were s h o u t i n g . . . LLOYD: I LOVED YOU! LILY: You were s h o u t i n g . . . LLOYD: I loved you! LILY: You took away my choice! 67 LLOYD: I loved you. LILY: You destroyed my freedom. (Beat.) You have no idea what you walked i n on. The freedom. The p o s s i b i l i t i e s . To be i n that room with that man. To be s i t t i n g there with John D i l l i n g e r , the most dangerous man i n the w o r l d . . . I was f l y i n g . I was free . Maybe jus t for a minute. Maybe jus t for a couple of hours, but Jesus C h r i s t , I could have been free and i f a person can' t be free i n th i s l i f e , even i f i t ' s only for long enough to fee l an assass in's b u l l e t i n your b r a i n , then i t sure as h e l l i s n ' t worth l i v i n g . (Beat.) You're not the man I married. You've become unbel ievably c r u e l . I d id not suck your t a l e n t . You were t h i r t y four when we met; I was only s ixteen, what d i d I know? I ' d run away from home. I 'd only been i n Chicago for ten days 1 LLOYD: Exact ly my po in t . LILY: What. LLOYD: Who ever heard of a singer being from Saskatchewan? Nobody. That 's who. U n t i l I picked you up and made you who you are . LILY: I am who I am because of me, not because of you, so don't patronize me, you bastard. LLOYD: (Mimmicks.) Don't patronize me, you bastard. Just fuck me and make me famous. LILY: (Beat.) You s e l f p i t y i n g p a r a s i t e . I f you'd just stop f ee l ing sorry for yourse l f you might make something of yourse l f again. But, oh, no. You'd rather c r i p p l e around i n your wheelchair, whining and complaining. 6 ® LLOYD: I DO NOT WHINE! LILY: Yes, you do. YOU WHINE! You do nothing but whine and b i t c h and f ee l sorry for yourse l f . You're an emotional c r i p p l e , L loyd , and I'm not going to take i t . You l i k e being s i c k . You l i k e being a c r i p p l e . You l i k e i t because i t makes you fee l as i f you have contro l over me again, jus t l i k e when we f i r s t met. LLOYD: Contro l?! Contro l?! Nobody could contro l you. You screwed every musician and c r i m i n a l i n the midwest! LILY: SO?! (Beat.) You know something, Lloyd? You're r i g h t . I have needs. Sexual needs. Remember? LLOYD: Who cares? LILY: I care! And so should you! LLOYD: A l r i g h t ! So why don't you just d iddle me and get i t over with; jus t qu i t a l l th i s y i p , y i p , y i p ! LILY: (To h e r s e l f . ) C h r i s t . S i l ence . LLOYD: (Lost . ) I don't know what I ' d do without you, a l r i g h t ? Pause. LILY: You'd manage. LLOYD: Probably. But I wouldn't l i k e i t . 69 LILY: Why not? Nobody to boss around? LLOYD: Naah. Nobody to dance with . (Beat.) You're a swell dancer. Pause. LLOYD: (Subdued.) I'm sorry . LILY: (Beat.) Just be stronger, a l r i g h t ? LLOYD: A l r i g h t . I promise. (Beat.) I treasure you. LILY: Don't treasure me, L loyd . Just love me. (Beat.) Just love me the way you used to . Pause. LLOYD: I love you, L i l y . I r e a l l y do. S i l ence . LLOYD: C'mon. (Beat.) Dance with me. LILY: You're k idding . LLOYD: I never k i d about dancing. Pause. L loyd , very slowly and with considerable pa in , draws himself up onto h i s feet . He stands for a moment, unsure i f he can support himself . Then he gains h i s foot ing and reaches out to her. 70 LLOYD: C'mon. Just once. For o ld t ime's sake. She goes to him and takes h i s hands, supporting h is weight. LLOYD: (Beat.) We had some times, hunh? They s t a r t to dance; a slow, close waltz . Af ter awhile, Lloyd begins to s ing very s o f t l y to her. LLOYD: Just when romance got i t s s t a r t You decided i t was time to part How could ya? L i l y jo ins h i m . . . LLOYD/LILY: 'Cause i t was on a night l i k e t h i s You l e f t me and d i d n ' t leave a k iss How could ya? Oh, oh, how could ya? You know that love i s just l i k e apple p ie I t ' s e i ther sweet or t a r t . You could be the apple of my eye, But you, you, you upset the apple c a r t . I was lookin ' forward to A l l those l i t t l e things you d i d n ' t do How could ya, could ya, could ya break my heart? By the time they f i n i s h , they are laughing and k i s s i n g . The laughter subsides. S i l ence . LLOYD: Oh, baby, I've gotta siddown. L i l y slowly lowers him back down into his wheelchair. LILY: You're get t ing bet ter , L loyd . Come on, l e t ' s spend some time i n the lake, take a mudbath down on the shore. 71 LLOYD: Don't be r i d i c u l o u s . No goddamned magic mud i s going to get me another band l i k e The Dawn P a t r o l Boys. LILY: (Beat.) The mud i s n ' t magic. I t ' s got minerals i n i t . LLOYD: Who cares, i t ' s s t i l l mud. LILY: I know, but i t ' s spec ia l mud. Like at Karlsbad, in Germany. LLOYD: Maybe the idea of a mudbath sounds better i n Kraut . LILY: Maybe i t does. (Beat.) Look. I t ' s simple. You cover yourse l f i n mud and then l e t the sun bake i t onto your sk in ; i t p u l l s a l l the poisons out of you. Then you go for a long, s a l t y swim i n the lake and wash i t o f f , and then you do i t again and again, a l l day long, a l l summer long. LLOYD: I know. I ju s t f e e l r e a l l y s tup id s i t t i n g around a l l covered with mud i n a wheelchair at the beach. LILY: W e l l , don't take the wheelchair, s i l l y . Use your crutches. (Beat.) C'mon, l e t ' s go. I ' l l l imp, so that when we get there you can say the crutches are mine. She goes to get some towels and t h e i r swimwear. LILY: When I was walking out here I found some long s a l t c r y s t a l s down on the beach. They must have been s ix or seven inches long. I was going to br ing them to you, but I was a f r a i d they'd turn to dust i n my pocket. She hands him his trunks and a towel, then s tar t s to undress him. 72 LILY: L i t t l e Manitou's a sanctuary; an Eden. I t ' s where I grew up; where I'm from. (Beat.) When we were kids we'd come out here on winter evenings and toboggan down the ravine over by Winnipeg Street , or go skating out on the lake. And afterwards, a l l the fami l i e s would gather at the h o t e l . Not The Hiawatha. The other one. The o l d one. I forget what i t was c a l l e d . I t burnt down. (Beat.) The hotels at the lake are always burning down. Lloyd i s naked now. LLOYD: God, you're something. Pause. He crawls into his trunks. LILY: I t ' s even more beaut i fu l here i n the winter than i n the summer. Everything takes on the colour of the sky and the sun; everything turns mauve and pink and blue , every shade of blue; except the h i l l s . The wind blows a l l the snow down into d r i f t s on the lake and the h i l l s stay as bare and brown i n the winter as they do i n the summer. I t sweeps the snow back of f t h e i r brows l i k e my mother used to sweep the ha ir back o f f my forehead. (Pause.) I remember winter nights when the boys would come down from Watrous to play hockey. We'd a l l t e l l our Moms we were coming down to prac t i ce f igure skat ing , but we weren't. We were coming down to watch the boys get rough with each other. And sometimes, af ter they'd played for awhile, we'd snuggle down with them i n the snowdrifts under the l a t t i c e work at Danceland and smoke c igaret tes ; and maybe one of the older boys, one of the tough ones, would neck with you. She hands Lloyd h i s crutches. He takes them from her, then lowers them down onto the f l o o r . He reaches out and gently carresses her. 73 LILY: I t ' s funny, you know. I remember one night; a f ter chores; a f ter supper, i n the dark; a f ter the boys had come down and shovel led the snow of f the i ce , they brought down t h i s can of gasol ine and poured i t out, a l l over t h e i r hockey r i n k . Then they had everybody stand back and one of them, one of the o lder guys, I forget h i s name, he was a great k i s s e r , he's a farmer now, l i t a match and tossed i t out onto the i c e . The whole lake seemed to explode. The flames must have been ten feet high, and they burned l i k e h e l l for about a minute and a h a l f ; they a c t u a l l y set the ice on f i r e and scorched the snowdrifts at the s ide of the r i n k . I ' l l never forget i t . They a c t u a l l y burned the snow. And we a l l jus t stood and watched, h o r r i f i e d , but fasc inated , because we knew the f i r e couldn' t go anywhere; i t was so hot and contained that i t had to burn i t s e l f out. And when i t was over, except for a few patches of flame, l i n g e r i n g i n the corners , the lake ice was covered with a t h i n f i l m of water. And we watched as i t froze; i t only took about another minute; i t ' s so co ld here i n the winter. And then, when i t was frozen, mirror per fec t , you could see the s tars re f l ec ted i n i t , the boys rushed out onto the ice and s tar ted gouging and chipping away at i t with the heels of t h e i r skateblades. And I jumped out, too. Not to wreck i t , but to protect i t ; to keep i t perfec t ; jus t one t iney corner of the ice r i n k . And when the boys would swoop past me on t h e i r skates, I ' d slam my elbow into t h e i r r i b s ; I learned that from watching them play hockey; and they'd f a l l down and then get up and g l i d e to t h e i r buddies; and i t happened again and again, a h a l f dozen times, u n t i l they formed a gang and came sweeping down the ice toward me, and I s tarted jumping up and down, doing i t myself, gouging and chipping away with the heel of my skateblade, better than any one of them could have done. (Beat.) I never understood why I d i d that . I guess, I jus t f e l t that i f something perfect was going to be destroyed, I ' d rather do i t myself. (Beat.) There's a power here; i n t h i s v a l l e y . Where e lse could you see a blade of grass throw a shadow f ive feet long? I don't know. LLOYD: 74 LILY: Neither do I . LLOYD: (Beat.) C'mon. I'm just about ready for that mudbath. LILY: Good. L e t ' s go, then. She reaches up and gently carresses h i s face. LILY: When i t gets dark, I ' l l show you how the sky turns ins ide out. She puts her arms around him and they head for the door. Fade out. 75 SCENE FOUR. Danceland. Dusk. Sunday. Deep mauve l i g h t s p i l l s i n through the c u r t a i n s . Gold l i g h t flows i n under the doors. Rose i s wearing L i l y ' s dress ing gown. She i s enter ta in ing Murray. The two of them are convulsed with laughter. As t h e i r laughter subsides, Murray speaks . . . MURRAY: Do i t again, Rose. ROSE: Nooooo, Daddy. MURRAY: R o s e . . . C'mon, be L i l y again. ROSE: No, Daddy. MURRAY: C'mon, Rose, you do her so good. (Beat.) Ro-ose. (Beat.) Be L i l y again. ROSE: Don't be monkeynuts, Daddy. I t ' s g e t t i n ' dark out an' people'11 be comin'. MURRAY: Please. I ' l l watch the door, Rose. Please. ROSE: I am too named af ter her. MURRAY: I know that . Jeez. (He sings s o f t l y . . . ) Weatherman, Weatherman... ROSE: (Beat.) A l r i g h t . But jus t one more time. 76 MURRAY: Okay. Then w e ' l l put her n ight ie thing back i n her dress ing room. ROSE: (Reluctant . ) A l r i g h t . MURRAY: Good g i r l . He gives her a k i s s . Then she s tar t s to s ing . ROSE: Weatherman Once the skies were blue Now each day's co ld and gray Won't you chase the clouds away? Murray sings along, l o s t i n h i s own fantasy world. ROSE/MURRAY: I need my man Weatherman. Murray stops s ing ing . Rose continues. ROSE: The winds are blowin' I shake and shiver My thoughts are goin' Down to the r i v e r . . . Murray looses a hideous growl and chases Rose, both of them screaming with laughter, through the deserted dancehal l . He catches her from behind, hois ts her up into the a i r above him, laughing and growling. He s t r i p s the dress ing gown of f her and then pretends to eat her a l i v e . They co l lapse into a jumble of arms, legs , laughter and tears . Eventual ly they both calm down a b i t . ROSE: I love you, Daddy. MURRAY: I love you, too, Rose. 77 Pause. Then Rose t r i e s to p u l l the dress ing gown away from him. Murray grabs at at . It r i p s . S i l e n c e . MURRAY: Oh, no. No. You ripped i t . You ripped her n ight i e th ing . Pause. MURRAY: Oh, she's gonna know. She's gonna think I r ipped i t . You see what you did? ROSE: We could take i t away with us and then s h e ' l l think somebody s to le i t . MURRAY: Oh, that ' s bad. That 's bad. That 's s t e a l i n ' . Rea l ly . Don't you ever s t e a l . No. I'm gonna hafta say I ripped i t . I'm gonna hafta l i e for ya , and there's a worse punishment for l y i n ' than there i s for s t e a l i n * . YOU SEE WHAT YOU DID?! Murray growls and lunges at Rose. She cur l s up i n a l i t t l e b a l l . ROSE: Mmmmooooomnimmmmeeeeeee! Murray stops dead i n his t racks . He picks up the dress ing gown and disappears into L i l y ' s dressing room. S i l ence . ROSE: (Whimpers.) Mommy? Mommy? S i l ence . Rose looks up. She i s alone. 78 Daddy? (Beat.) are you? ROSE: Daddy? (Beat.) Daddy, where S i l ence . ROSE: Daddy, where are you? Pause. C mon, Daddy. I ROSE: know you're there . S i l ence . ROSE: I d i d n ' t mean to do i t , so come on out, Daddy. (Beat.) I'm goin' home, Daddy. (Beat.) Daddy, I'm goin' home now. S i l ence . ROSE: (Shr ieks . ) Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaadddddeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! She runs out of the dancehal l . The doors slam shut behind her. S i l ence . Murray enters from the gloom of the dress ing room, s t i l l holding L i l y ' s s i l k dress ing gown. He c a l l s a f ter R o s e . . . S i l ence . ROSE: Daddy? MURRAY: Scaredycat! S i l ence . Murray i s l o s t i n thought. 79 He runs h i s hand over the dress ing gown, enjoying the smooth fee l of the s i l k . Then he l i f t s i t to his face and inhales deeply. MURRAY: Mmmmmm. So good. Perfume and talcum powder and flower pe ta l s . He inhales i t s fragrance again. MURRAY: So pre t ty . Aren ' t you the pret ty one? P r e t t i e r even than when I used to watch you up at school i n Watrous. He goes to the window and peers out. Nobody's there . Then he crosses to the door and qu ick ly peeks out through the keyhole. Again, nobody's there. Murray undoes the buttons on h is s h i r t and gently rubs the s i l k across h i s chest . Eventual ly , he takes h i s s h i r t r i g h t o f f and stops to inhale L i l y ' s scent. MURRAY: Mmmmm. I can smell ya . Yes, I can. I can smell ya . (Beat.) Can you smell me? Can ya smell my sweat? Can ya? I can smell yours. Your not so c lean. Not so pre t ty that you don't sweat, too. Ya sweat just l i k e me, don'tcha? (Pause.) Does yer husband l i k e the smell of yer sweat? I bet he doesn't . I bet he hasn't smelled ya fer a long time. A long, long time. An' I bet ya miss i t . Miss be in ' sn i f f ed an' l i c k e d the way I could s n i f f an' l i c k ya . Oh, yes. Oh, yes, you do. (Beat.) I'm gonna get ya from him. Yes, I am. I'm gonna get you for my own. Even i f I hafta l i e for ya; oh, yeah, I 'd l i e for ya . Yes, I would. I ' d l i e ta make you my own. He kicks o f f h i s shoes, then undoes the buttons on h i s pants and pushes them down around h i s ankles, a l l the time rubbing the s i l k dressing gown on h i s chest, h i s stomach, h i s th ighs . He s traddles the dress ing gown and then l i e s down on top of i t , slowly making love to an imaginary L i l y . 80 MURRAY: I love ya, L i l y . Yes, I do. I love ya . An' ya want me. Yeah. Ya do. I know i t . Oh, yeah, ya needed me so bad t h i s mornin' . I could fee l ya pressed up against me, throbbin' an' achin' jus t l i k e me. An' I needed ta f i l l ya up, f i l l ya up a l l creamy, an' then fee l myself runnin' s t i c k y back down outta ya , on your thighs an' on mine, an' know that when we f in i shed we'd got each other 's shape stored up i n our bodies an' souls , an 1 we'd always become each other ' s shape, whenever we made love, even to other people, 'cause our love would ho ld , as pure an' strong as s t e e l . I t was. I t was when I was smel l in ' your h a i r , an 1 f e e l i n ' your sk in an' hear in ' your breath in ' so close to the surface that I could t e l l what you were t h i n k i n ' . Oh, yeah, I could hear your t h i n k i n ' through your b r e a t h i n ' . Yes, I could . I could hear your t h i n k i n ' jus t as loud as my own. A shadow passes over the window, s t a r t l i n g Murray. MURRAY: S h i t . Oh, s h i t . S h i t . He f r a n t i c a l l y attempts to simultaneously disentangle himself from the dress ing gown and p u l l h i s pants and s h i r t back on. Having accomplished most of t h i s , he now doesn't know what to do with the dress ing gown, so he jus t chucks i t on the floor-. He thinks better of t h i s , runs to i t , p icks i t up and tosses i t o f f into L i l y ' s dressing room. S i l ence . Somebody r a t t l e s the door from the outs ide . MURRAY: Who's there? Is that you, honey? Is that you? He goes to the door and opens i t . MURRAY: Rose? Rose? Hon? S i l ence . 81 Murray panicks . He slams the door and bo l t s i t . S i l ence . MURRAY: D i l l i n g e r . S h i t . He's l ook in ' for a place ta h ide . The door r a t t l e s again. Murray hunches down onto the f l oor and begins to crawl toward L i l y ' s dress ing room. He stops dead. MURRAY: S h i t . He inches back to his shoes, gathers them up and resumes h is journey across the f l o o r . MURRAY: He's comin' i n . . . . he's comin' i n . . . he's comin' i n . . . Ooooooooh, s h i t , he's comin' i n h e r e . . . he's c o m i n ' . . . he 1 s comin". . . he ' s comin". . . A door opens and bangs shut at the back of the dancehal l . Murray crouches into a t i g h t l i t t l e b a l l . His whimpering punctuates the s i l e n c e . A l i g h t goes on i n L i l y ' s dressing room. S i l ence . Murray cowers on the f l o o r . The l i g h t goes out. The door at the back opens and bangs shut. S i l e n c e . In the dis tance , a couple of large dogs bark. MURRAY: Jesus mercy, Jesus mercy, Jesus mercy . . . 82 Pause. He gets up and looks out the window. Nobody there. He caut ious ly ex i t s into L i l y ' s dress ing room. S i l ence . Moonlight streams i n through the window. The c u r t a i b i l l ow gently on the breeze. MURRAY: (Off . ) I t ' s gone. He took i t . S i l ence . Murray re -enters . MURRAY: Why'd D i l l i n g e r wanna take her n ight i e thing? (Beat.) S h i t . I bet he's gonna k i l l her for screwin' around with another guy; tha t ' s what I ' d do. I ' l l bet he's gonna k i l l her for screwin' around w i t h . . . me. He gathers h i s courage and moves to the door. Assured that nobody i s there, he takes a large breath and then i n one movement, unlocks the door and dives headlong into the moonlight. MURRAY: L l l l i i i i i i i i i i i i i i l l l l l l l l l l l e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e ! His voice echoes across the v a l l e y . The door at the back creaks open and then bangs shut. Rose enters from the shadows, carry ing L i l y ' s dress ing gown. ROSE: Scaredycat. Fade out. (INTERMISSION.) 83 ACT TWO. SCENE ONE. The cabin . Late evening. Sunday. There's a near empty bo t t l e of bourbon s i t t i n g on the kitchen tab le . L loyd i s i n h i s wheelchair, h i s book of poetry on his lap . LLOYD: (Muttering.) Sandburg, Sandburg, Sandburg. Where the h e l l i s Sandburg? He leafs through the book u n t i l he f inds Sandburg. LLOYD: Here i t i s , here i t i s . "Limited". He l i f t s the bo t t l e o f f the table and takes a long p u l l o f f i t . LLOYD: (Pleased as h e l l . ) Poetry. Jesus. Nothin' l i k e a b i t of poetry for a lonely o ld bastard who's had too much to dr ink . He takes another p u l l o f f the bo t t l e and commences to read aloud to himself . He i s having a wonderful, maudlin time. LLOYD: I am r i d i n g on a l i m i t e d express, one of the crack t r a i n s of the nat ion . H u r t l i n g across the p r a i r i e into blue haze and dark a i r go f i f t e e n a l l - s t e e l coaches holding a thousand people. ( A l l the coaches s h a l l be scrap and rust and a l l the men and women laughing i n the diners and sleepers s h a l l pass to ashes.) I ask a man in the smoker where he's going and he answers: "Omaha". Pause. 84 Lloyd wipes a tear or two from his cheek, c loses the book and takes another p u l l o f f the b o t t l e . Then he slams i t down onto the tab le . He wheels over to the window and looks out into the n ight . Af ter a moment, he l i f t s h i s face up to the moon and begins to howl l i k e a lonely wolf, over and over u n t i l he s tar t s to laugh. His laughter f i l l s the cabin before i t begins to f a l t e r and Lloyd s tar t s to sob. After awhile, h i s sobbing subsides and he becomes very s t i l l . The moonlight flows i n through the window. Pause. Murray comes burs t ing into the cab in . MURRAY: L i l y i L i l y ! Lloyd?! Hide! Hide! He's comin'! He's comin'! LLOYD: Who's coming? MURRAY: D i l l i n g e r ! LLOYD: (Angry.) Says who?! MURRAY: Me! Me. I seen him. I seen him myself. LLOYD: That 's what you t o l d me t h i s morning; don't l i e to me. I hate l i a r s ! MURRAY: L loyd! L loyd , ya gotta be l ieve me; I got no reason to l i e to you; I don't l i e ! I seen him. Seen him myself; jus t now; down at Dance land . . . I . . . I . . . I was down there p l a y i n ' with R o s e . . . my daughter R o s e . . . an' we were p l a y i n ' hide an' seek an' games an' s t u f f an' then she got scared one time when I 85 MURRAY: (Continues.) h id too long an' run home ta my Mom; an' t h a t ' s when I seen him. (Beat.) Ohohohoh, I seen h is shadow on the window, then I heard him r a t t l i n ' on the door. LLOYD: A l r i g h t , Murray, just calm down. Just calm down, now. Pause. Murray takes a couple of deep breaths; then he swallows hard as he remembers why he came. MURRAY: Where's L i l y ? LLOYD: She's up in town. She sa id she had a band p r a c t i c e ; and she forgot her makeup or some damn thing i n her o l d room at The Hiawatha. MURRAY: But I checked The Hiawatha, she's not i n her room. LLOYD: (Beat.) I could use another dr ink . MURRAY: Me, too, L l o y d . Me, too. LLOYD: There's a fresh b o t t l e of Bourbon and a couple of shot glasses i n my boot; i n the k i tchen . Murray goes out to pick up the shotglasses and the b o t t l e . LLOYD: (Mutters.) D i l l i n g e r . In a p i g ' s eye. Murray h i g h t a i l s i t back out of the shadows, bo t t l e and shotglasses i n hand. 86 LLOYD: You d i d r i g h t to come, Murray. So you jus t s i t yourse l f down here. We're going to drink some whiskey and you're going to t e l l me exact ly what you saw. Murray s i t s . Lloyd pours him a shot of whiskey and watches while he knocks i t back. Then Lloyd pours him another. Murray knocks that one back, too. Lloyd pours himself a shot, downs i t , then pours out two more. LLOYD: You're a l r i g h t now. You d id r i g h t to come. (Beat.) So t e l l me what you saw. MURRAY: I was down i n Danceland an' i t was g e t t i n ' dark. An' I seen him pass by the window. That American f e l l a . The one The Mounties been look in ' f o r , d i d the k i l l i n ' up i n B i e n f a i t l a s t week. The same one I seen t h i s mornin' , sneer in' at me from the shadows i n . . . in yer wife , L i l y ' s , dres s in ' room. I seen him around here a coupla times before, too. LLOYD: D i l l i n g e r ? MURRAY: D i l l i n g e r . LLOYD: (Beat.) John D i l l i n g e r . Pause. Lloyd i s undergoing a strange t r a n s i t i o n . His voice i s f i l l e d with a c o l d , s tee ly anger. He i s calm and focussed; he suddenly seems dead sober. LLOYD: (Cold. ) So you saw him through the window. 87 MURRAY: Then he t r i e d ta get i n through the door, only i t was locked 'cause I got scared myself a f ter my l i t t l e g i r l run away. LLOYD: Is your l i t t l e g i r l a l r i g h t ? Is she safe? MURRAY: Jesus. I don't know. I sure hope so. Jesus. Jesus, I hope so. LLOYD: A l r i g h t , a l r i g h t . I t ' s a l r i g h t , Murray. She's probably safe at home. MURRAY: She must be. Yeah. She must be, 'cause she was gone about ten minutes before I seen him look in ' i n at me through the window. (Beat.) Oh, God, I hope so. LLOYD: So, then what happened? How do you know for sure i t was D i l l i n g e r ? MURRAY: 'Cause then he come i n through the back door, an' went in ta h e r . . . yer wife, L i l y ' s . . . dres s in ' room, an' turned on the l i g h t . LLOYD: Did you see him then? Did you get a look at h is face? MURRAY: Yeah. Yeah. He was wearin' a hat . LLOYD: Was he t a l l or short? MURRAY: U n h . . . u n h . . . T a l l ! LLOYD: L i a r ! Murray reaches over and grabs Lloyd by the knee. 88 MURRAY: No! No! Short! Lloyd r e c o i l s from Murray's grasp. LLOYD: Don't! Don't touch my legs! MURRAY: Sorry! Sorry! LLOYD: Nobody touches my legs! MURRAY: Sorry! LLOYD: Just be c a r e f u l , a l r i g h t ? ! MURRAY: A l r i g h t . LLOYD: A l r i g h t . MURRAY: Sorry . LLOYD: Stop apologiz ing! MURRAY: I sa id I was sorry! LLOYD: And 1 s a i d , shut up! MURRAY: I am shut up! Jeez, you're not my mom, you know Lloyd cracks him across the s k u l l . Pause. MURRAY: I'm r e a l sorry , L l o y d . I won't touch you no mor< okay? 89 LLOYD: Never mind. (Beat.) So then what d id he do? MURRAY: H e . . . H e . . . He picked up her n ight i e thing and, oh, God, L loyd , he was so ug ly . His face i s a l l scars where they s t i t ched i t back on, and h e . . . h e . . . he was rubbin' her n ight i e thing on himself . To get the smel l . L ike a . . . l i k e a . . . l i k e an animal. S n i f f i n 1 i t an 1 then rubbin' i t on himself . LLOYD: (Quiet . ) I'm going to k i l l the bastard. Pause. MURRAY: I hope ya do k i l l him, L loyd . I hope an' pray ya do k i l l him. He's an animal. Just l i k e an animal. K i l l i n ' people an' s t e a l i n ' t h e i r money. An' what he done ta yer w i f e . . . t a h e r . . . her n ight i e th ing . H e ' s . . . he's jus t l i k e an animal. LLOYD: (Very c o l d . ) Shut up and drink your whiskey, Murray. Murray does. Pause. LLOYD: Then what d id he do? MURRAY: H e . . . H e . . . He turned out the l i g h t an' h e . . . an' h e . . . he l e f t ! (Beat.) I seen i t a l l ; I seen h is gun. I thought fer sure he was comin' out here i n h i s car , that white Chevy they say he dr ives ; the one's been parked out back of The Hiawatha Hotel a l l week; comin' out here ta k i l l her for l o c k i n ' outta h i s h i d i n ' p lace . (Beat.) Oh, God, L l o y d , I hope I'm wrong. LLOYD: Did you see his car when you came in? The Chevy? Did you? 90 MURRAY: No, L loyd , I never. An* I sure was l o o k i n ' . LLOYD: You came out by boat, d i d n ' t you? MURRAY: Yeah, I . . . LLOYD: I f he was coming out by car he'd have got here before you, wouldn't he? MURRAY: Unless he's h i d i n ' i n the bushes. LLOYD: No. He's not h id ing i n the bushes, Murray. I know D i l l i n g e r . MURRAY: Ya do? LLOYD: I do. (Beat.) Hotel rooms, Murray. He hides i n hote l rooms. MURRAY: He does? LLOYD: He does. Which room d i d you check? MURRAY: U n h . . . top f l o o r . LLOYD: Did you knock? MURRAY: Nope. I peeked i n through the keyhole. LLOYD: Good move. Never knock on D i l l i n g e r ' s door, the bastard's fas t as a rat t lesnake . He i s? MURRAY: 91 LLOYD: He i s . MURRAY: So, where i s he? LLOYD: He's at The Hiawatha Hote l , Murray. MURRAY: But I checked The Hiawatha. . . LLOYD: You d i d n ' t check hard enough! (Beat.) Nope. He's at The Hiawatha Hotel i n the view room on the top f l o o r at the front with my goddamned whore of a wife . (Beat.) She's gonna d i e , too. MURRAY: Oh, no, L l o y d . Don't k i l l yer wife . Don't . Just don' t , eh? LLOYD: I'm not gonna, Murray. (Beat.) You are. He wheels away from Murray. MURRAY: Oh, no. No, no. No, no, no, no, n o . . . Pause. Lloyd motions for Murray to come to him. Murray does. Lloyd pours a couple b ig slugs of the rye into t h e i r g lasses , then tucks the b o t t l e into the s ide pocket on h is wheelchair. LLOYD: Now you l i s t e n , and you l i s t e n good. I'm only going to t e l l you t h i s once. You get i t wrong, you're a dead man. You understand? MURRAY: (Nods.) Sure, L loyd . Sure. Whatever you want. 92 LLOYD: Good. This what we're gonna do. We're gonna take t h i s bo t t l e and get back i n your boat. We're gonna f i l l i t with gasol ine and s t u f f a rag i n the top. Then we're gonna get o f f your boat at the p i e r below Danceland, jus t l i k e i t ' s a regular n ight . Then I'm gonna hide out ins ide and you're gonna go over to The Hiawatha, l i g h t the rag on f i r e and toss i t through the window on the top f l o o r at the front where the sinners are s leeping . (Beat.) H e l l f i r e , Murray. You're gonna f lush 'em out with H e l l f i r e . And then you're gonna come back over to Danceland to help me. You're gonna help sad o ld Job turn h i s pain to joy . We're gonna wait i n the shadows and ambush John D i l l i n g e r and h i s s c a r l e t whore of Babylon. Pause. MURRAY: So ya think t h e y ' l l come? LLOYD: Where else are they gonna go? MURRAY: (Beat.) Okay. Okay, L l o y d . I ' l l do i t . LLOYD: You're a good man, Murray. Lloyd reaches down and gives Murray's shoulder a squeeze LLOYD: Prodigals always come home. (Beat.) Cheers. MURRAY: Cheers. They c l i n k glasses and shoot back t h e i r d r i n k s . Lloyd hands Murray the other, empty b o t t l e of Bourbon. Murray gets to his feet . He's nervous, but w i l l i n g . MURRAY: (Beat.) What i f yer wrong, and he's h i d i n ' on the boat? 93 LLOYD: Then w e ' l l know where he i s , won't we? Here. Wait a minute. I ' l l need you to wheel me up from the p i e r once we get there . Lloyd wheels over to h i s crutches, ho i s t s himself up onto them and r o l l s the wheelchair across the f l o o r . The empty wheelchair stops i n front of Murray: he just stares Pause. LLOYD: Just push i t for C h r i s t ' s sake. MURRAY: I know. I know. Jeez. Murray s t i c k s his hand i n his pocket and makes a mock gun, which he points at L loyd . MURRAY: Bang, bang, yer dead. LLOYD: For C h r i s t ' s sake, Murray, just s t a r t the boat, I 've got you covered. MURRAY: Sure, L l o y d . Sure. I was jus t scared, that ' s a l l . Murray pushes the wheelchair out through the door and watches i t s slow progress through the darkness. Then he bo l t s out af ter i t . Lloyd watches Murray go. Then he looks around the room. He hobbles over to the darkened k i tchen, opens a drawer and p u l l s a p i s t o l out . He tucks i t into h i s b e l t and heads for the door. On h is way out, he passes h i s c l a r i n e t . Stops. Picks i t up. LLOYD: Better not forget you. Who knows, I might even want to play a l i t t l e serenade. He hobbles out the door, c l a r i n e t i n hand. Fade out. Danceland. Midnight . Sunday. In b l a c k . . . A lonesome, bluesy c l a r i n e t wa i l s . A perfect r i f f . Smokey j a z z . The sound i s coming across the water, from Lloyd , who i s approaching i n Murray's boat. Fade i n . Rose, alone i n the dancehal l . She i s applying l i b e r a l amounts of L i l y ' s white makeup to her face . She stops, and s tar t s to pray. ROSE: The Lord i s my shepherd, I s h a l l not want. He leadeth me beside the s t i l l waters He maketh me to l i e down i n green pastures . She slowly l i e s down. Then s i t s back up again. She puts on some eyeshadow - her face i s beginning to look l i k e a Kabuki mask. ROSE: He maketh me to l i e down i n green pastures. She slowly lowers herse l f to the ground again, then continues the prayer . ROSE: And Yea, though I walk through the v a l l e y of the shadow of death, I s h a l l fear no e v i l , for The Lord i s my shepherd I s h a l l not want. No I She s i t s back up again, f rus trated because she can't remember the r i g h t words . . . She adds a p a i r of huge red l i p s to her face mask. ROSE: Thy rod and thy s t a f f , they comfort me? Yes. They rod and thy s t a f f , they comfort me. She stands up and begins to s ing i n a lewd, bluesy s t y l e . . . emulating L i l y ' s most provocative stage moves. 95 ROSE: Jesus loves me, t h i s I know For The B ib le t e l l s me so. L i t t l e ones to him belong, He i s weak.. . I am weak, but He i s s trong. Yes, Jesus loves me Yes, Jesus loves me Yes, Jesus loves me. The B i b l e t o l d me so. Rose f in i shes the song, then resumes her prayers . ROSE: God bless me. God love me. Bless the lake and the flowers and a l l the l i t t l e animals, too. And God? Bless a l l the l i t t l e s tarv ing babies . And, God? And, please, God? I f I be good as an angel , l e t my Mom come home from l i v i n 1 i n your bosom forever and ever. Amen. Her mouth drops open jus t as L loyd , o f f i n the approaching boat, l e t s loose another long, mournful c l a r i n e t w a i l . Rose i s surpr i sed , de l ighted . As i f the sound had come from her. ROSE: (Awestruck.) Gawd. She l i f t s her fact to the sky and opens her mouth wide. The c l a r i n e t wai ls again, high and loud. ROSE: (Start ing to s p i n . ) I'm an angel . An animal angel . I'm an angel , I'm an angel , I'm an angel . The door at the back of the dancehall creaks open and then bangs shut. Rose stops dead. Then she scoops up the makeup and disappears into the shadows. L i l y enters from the dress ing room. 96 LILY: (Mutters.) Makeup.. . makeup... where the h e l l d id I leave my makeup? She stops and takes a long, deep breath. S i l ence . LILY: (Low.) C h r i s t i t ' s lonely here. (Beat.) Where's o l d long dong D i l l i n g e r when you r e a l l y need him? ROSE: (From the shadows.) He's dead, Miss . Just l i k e . . . LILY: Jesus! What are you doing here? ROSE: Nothin*. LILY: (Sees Roses face . ) You l i t t l e t h i e f . You're the one who took my makeup. ROSE: No. LILY: Don't l i e to me. ROSE: I'm not . (Beat.) I'm be in ' a l o s t Ass in ibo ine Pr incess , crawl in ' toward the lake through the fevery n ight . Rose gets down on the f l oor to demonstrate what that might look l i k e . She crawls to L i l y and then stops at her feet . ROSE: Except for me, there 's just white people l i v i n ' here now. Presbyter ians . 97 LILY: Oh. Them. ROSE: (Beat.) I want to be l i k e you. LILY: Oh. (Beat.) No. No, you don' t . ROSE: Yes, I do. LILY: Whatever for? ROSE: Because you're l i k e an angel . L i l y gently l i f t s Rose up of f the f l o o r . LILY: So are you, sweetheart. So are you. ROSE: I know. That 's why I l i k e you. We're both angels. Animal angels, c r y i n ' for the s tars at n ight . LILY: Animal angels. Right . Voodoo vixens i s more l i k e i t . Now l e t ' s get you cleaned up and send you home before your Daddy. . . ROSE: NO! She jumps back from L i l y . LILY: Rose? What's the matter? ROSE: I'm not g o i n ' . I'm s tay in ' here with you. LILY: But, honey, i t ' s l a t e . . . ROSE: I'm an angel; we're both angels, an' I'm s tay in ' here with you. 98 LILY: But people w i l l be worried, about you. ROSE: People should be worried about you. LILY: What are you t a l k i n g about? ROSE: You're a l l alone, an' you shouldn't be. (Beat.) Things are comin', I can hear 'em. LILY: What things? ROSE: Old th ings . From the lake . I can hear 'em howling l i k e a pack of coyotes p u l l i n ' down a deer i n a snowdrift . LILY: Now you're being s i l l y ; you're f r ighten ing me. ROSE: But you're an angel , too. Can't you hear 'em? LILY: No, Rose, I can ' t . There's nothing to hear; now l e t ' s wipe o f f that makeup and get you home before your Daddy. . . ROSE: NO! Rose crouches low and her mouth drops open. She i s having a se izure . L i l y watches as Rose struggles to l e t her pain out. Then, from the depths of Rose's b e l l y comes a cry , low, sraokey, bluesy, almost l i k e a c l a r i n e t w a i l . Rose subsides onto the f l o o r . L i l y goes to Rose and takes her i n her arms. Rose i s sobbing. 99 Eventual ly Rose becomes very quiet and very s t i l l , slumped i n L i l y ' s arms. Pause. ROSE: (Quiet . ) L i t t l e Manitou was made from angel t ears . That ' s why the lake ' s so sa l ty ; i t ' s made from angel tears jus t l i k e mine. I t ' s a magic p lace , and nobody ever drowned here except for one beaut i fu l Ass in iboine Princess who could hear the animal angel cry ins ide her so loud she had to l e t i t out. And her husband heard i t and was so scared he beat her up to make i t stop. And i t d i d . But then the Princess was so lonely that she wanted to d i e . Then one night she heard her animal angel again, far away i n the d is tance , jus t l i k e a lonely coyote cry ing for the s tars at n ight . But the angel was a f r a i d to come close on account of i t d i d n ' t want the Princess to get beat up again. So the Princess decided to run away to be with the angel again. And my Daddy sa id the god i n the lake heard her footsteps running across the lake i c e , and he couldn' t stand for her to leave the v a l l e y and him be l e f t l i v i n ' a l l alone, so he reached up through the ice and p u l l e d her down to l i v e i n h i s bosom forever and ever at the bottom of the lake. (Beat.) Don't leave me. Mama, don't leave me. Mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, don't leave me. L i l y p u l l s Rose c lose i n to her bosom. Rose begins to calm down. LILY: I t ' s a l r i g h t . I won't leave you. I ' l l protect you. I won't ever leave you. ROSE: (Hard.) Yes, you w i l l . And I ' l l f ind you i n the springtime, jus t l i k e my Mommy. S t a r i n ' up at me through the lake i c e , with your hands a l l tangled up i n f i s h i n g l i n e . S i l ence . The doors to Danceland explode open and Lloyd , i n h i s wheelchair, comes careening into the space. 100 Rose bo l t s through the shadows, out the back door of the dancehal l . The front and back doors squeak and bang shut simultaneously. LILY: Lloyd?! Lloyd wheels around, s t a r t l e d . He p u l l s the gun on her. LLOYD: Where the h e l l i s he? LILY: Who, Lloyd? Who? LLOYD: D i l l i n g e r . That ' s who. LILY: L l o y d , put the gun down before you hurt yourse l f . Nobody's here. LLOYD: Then who the h e l l just went s c u t t l i n g out the back l i k e a shithouse rat? LILY: Nobody. Rose. (Beat.) D i l l i n g e r ' s dead, L l o y d . I t o l d you. Some woman saw him coming out of a movie t h e a t r e . . . LLOYD: Don't l i e to me. LILY: . . . i n Chicago l a s t month. LLOYD: Don't you l i e to me. LILY: They set up an ambush and shot him down. LLOYD: Don't you ever l i e to me! 101 LILY: I'm not l y i n g . Why would I D i l l i n g e r ' s dead. Gone. Bur ied . Don't you even read the papers?! S i l ence . LLOYD: (Low. B r u t a l . ) Dance with me. LILY: You're drunk, Lloyd; imagining things; h a l l u c i n a t i n g . LLOYD: SHUT UP! Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up! Lloyd draws himself up onto his feet , a l l the time brandishing the gun i n her d i r e c t i o n . He stands for a moment, unsure i f he can support himself . Then he f inds h i s balance and slowly, with great assurance, points the gun at L i l y ' s head. LLOYD: (Cold . ) I s a i d , dance with me. L i l y goes to him. He takes her i n h i s arms, the p i s t o l pointed to the back of her neck. They dance i n s i l e n c e . LLOYD: What happened to us, L i l y ? LILY: I f e e l o l d when I sleep with you. Lloyd crumples to the f l o o r . S i l ence . Rose appears i n the doorway of L i l y ' s dress ing room. l i e ? (Beat.) Kaput. 102 LILY: There's your John D i l l i n g e r , L l o y d . Are you s a t i s f i e d , now? LLOYD: Oh, C h r i s t . S i l ence . LILY: C'mon, Rose. We'd better go. L i l y takes Rose by the hand and they head out. S i l ence . LLOYD: Oh, C h r i s t , L i l y , come back. Come back, hey? Come back; L i l y , I love you. Come back, hey? I love you. I love you, L i l y . Come back, hey? (Beat.) You're the c r i p p l e . You're the emotional c r i p p l e , L i l y . He sees the bo t t l e of Bourbon s t i c k i n g out of the s ide pocket of h i s wheelchair. He crawls over to i t and takes a couple of b ig s lugs . LLOYD: I taught you how to backphrase! I taught you how to s e l l a tune! (Beat.) B i t c h . You weren't so innocent when we f i r s t met. He takes a couple more p u l l s o f f the b o t t l e . LLOYD: You're the c r i p p l e , L i l y . You're the emotional c r i p p l e . (Beat.) Come back, hey? Come back and l e t ' s make love. (Beat.) Can't love your man anymore. Can't love the man who loves you because he can't love you because he's a f r a i d h i s bones might break. (Beat.) But I could k i s s you. I could k iss you, and hold you, and stroke your h a i r . And i f you were r e a l gentle we could make love, and i n our heads i t would be just the same as i t was before. Just l i k e before, when you loved me. S i l ence . The door at the back creaks open. 103 Murray s i d l e s i n through the shadows. MURRAY: Lloyd? S i l ence . MURRAY: I done i t , L l o y d . I torched t h e . . . LLOYD: Go to h e l l . MURRAY: But, L l o y d , I jus t torched t h e . . . LLOYD: Get out of here! MURRAY: What's wrong, L l o y d , should we t a l k about i t ? LLOYD: I s a i d , get out of here! MURRAY: Okay. A l r i g h t . Jeez, whatever ya say, L l o y d . Pause. MURRAY: Aren ' t ya happy now, Lloyd? I thought t o r c h i n ' The Hiawatha would make o l d Job happy. Pause. MURRAY: Lloyd? LLOYD: (Snar l s . ) What? MURRAY: L l o y d , I think ya should know.. . LLOYD: What? 104 MURRAY: Fer yer own g o o d . . . LLOYD: WHAT?! MURRAY: W e l l . . . w e l l , people are t a l k i n ' , L loyd . People are t a l k i n 1 . LLOYD: About what? MURRAY: About you, L loyd . About you. LLOYD: Why would people be t a l k i n ' about me, Murray? MURRAY: I dunno, L l o y d , but I heard 'em. Heard 'em myself. LLOYD: That ' s b u l l s h i t , Murray, and you know i t . MURRAY: No. No, L l o y d . I t ' s not b u l l . I'm not l y i n ' . I was s tandin' there watchin' the flames l i c k i n ' up the ins ide a the curta ins on the top f l oor at the f ront , where I tossed the gasol ine , when th i s woman come up, sa id she heard glass b r e a k i n ' , an' I s a i d , yeah, there's a f i r e goin' on. An' she says, d i d anybody t e l l the people i n The Hiawatha or c a l l the f i r e brigade, an' I says no, so she run o f f ta do i t h e r s e l f . She run o f f , an' I jus t stood there s t a r i n ' at the flames. I couldn' t look away. The Flames A H e l l , ya sa id ; tha t ' s where s ins get purged. An' I ju s t kept s t a r i n ' at 'em t h i n k i n ' , The Flames A H e l l , tha t ' s what they must look l i k e when they're l i c k i n ' up ta roast ya . Then the woman comes back an' says, "what're you s t a r i n ' at?", an' I jus t sa id , The Flames A H e l l . An' she says, yer f u l l a hooey, tha t ' s just an ordinary hote l f i r e , we got 'em around here a l l the time. An' I says, no, no. Look. Just look. Ya can see the Dev i l i n there, laughin' i n the flames. He's jus t laughin' an' l a u g h i n ' . Laughin' at Lloyd an' h i s wife , L i l y , but e s p e c i a l l y laughin' at L loyd ' s wife, L i l y , fer f a l l i n ' down from Grace by s l eep in ' in there with 105 MURRAY: (Continues.) that American f e l l a , D i l l i n g e r , d id the k i l l i n ' up at B i e n f a i t l a s t week. (Beat.) So I t o l d her that , an 1 then I turned around an* h i g h t a i l e d i t back here, jus t l i k e ya s a i d to . (Beat.) Do ya think they 1 re gonna come? LLOYD: Just l i k e the prodiga l son? MURRAY: Yeah. Are we gonna k i l l 'em when they do? LLOYD: Yeah. That 's r i g h t . MURRAY: I t ' s a l r i g h t ta k i l l 'em, L l o y d . . . LLOYD: I know. MURRAY: I t ' s a l r i g h t ta k i l l 'em 'cause t h e i r souls are already i n H e l l . LLOYD: That 's r i g h t , Murray. Lloyd motions for Murray to lean c lose . Murray does. Lloyd grabs Murray by the neck and s tar t s to s trangle him. Murray grabs Lloyd by the arms and p u l l s back, l i f t i n g Lloyd out of h i s wheelchair. The men appear to be dancing as they f i g h t . The ir motion sets the dancehal l ' s mirror b a l l spinning. LLOYD: You l i e d to me, Murray. You l i e d about L i l y . I hate l i a r s . . . You l i e d about D i l l i n g e r ; I hate l i a r s , I jus t hate them! Lloyd i s out of c o n t r o l . So i s Murray. 106 LLOYD: MURRAY: You l i a r ! You l i a r ! L l o y d ! L loyd! Stop i t ! You l i e d to me; you Stop i t ! Yer go in 1 crazy! l i e d to me; don't Stop i t ! Yer h u r t i n ' me! ever l i e to me; I Stop i t ! I'm yer f r i e n d ! hate l i a r s . I ju s t Stop i t , L l o y d , I'm yer hate 'em! f r i e n d ! Murray has Lloyd by the throat now, s t rang l ing him. Murray takes hold of L loyd ' s head with both hands and gives i t a sharp twis t . He breaks L loyd ' s neck. Lloyd col lapses onto Murray. Murray slowly lowers Lloyd to the f l o o r . S i l ence . Lloyd l i e s very s t i l l . Murray prods him with h i s foot . MURRAY: Lloyd? Pause. MURRAY: Lloyd? Pause. MURRAY: Jesus C h r i s t , he's dead. Oh, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Jesus, he's dead, an' I k i l l e d him. (Beat.) Oh, s h i t . Oh, God. I k i l l e d him. Murray bo l t s over to the double doors and throws them open. He i s engulfed in blackness. MURRAY: C h r i i i i i i i i i i i i i s t ! (Beat.) Oh, C h r i s t , I k i l l e d him, an' what am I gonna do? Pause. Murray takes out h i s handkerchief and begins to wipe h i s f i n g e r p r i n t s o f f anything he might have touched. 107 In the course of wiping h i s p r i n t s o f f th ings , he p icks up L loyd ' s unf inished b o t t l e of Bourbon. Pause. MURRAY: We. . . we . . . we drank t h i s bo t t l e already tonight . I took i t away an' f i l l e d i t with gasol ine jus t l i k e ya s a i d , L loyd . What are ya d o i n ' , b r i n g i n ' i t back l i k e that? What are ya doin'? (Beat.) Quit l ook in ' at me. Quit l ook in ' at me, L loyd . I done what, ya s a i d , so you got no c a l l l ook in ' at me. (Beat.) Lloyd? Lloyd? Murray goes over to Lloyd and, once again, prods him with h i s foot . Lloyd r o l l s over. Murray screams and jumps away, as i f he'd jus t stepped on a rat t lesnake . MURRAY: C h r i i i i i i i i i i i s s s s s t ! He stops on contact with the f loor on the other s ide of the dancehal l . Pause. MURRAY: God loves me. (Beat.) Jesus loves me. He loves me, a n ' . . . an' He fergives me fer what I done, so you qui t l ook in ' at me with them Dev i l eyes, L l o y d . You q u i t l ook in ' at me with them D e v i l eyes. Pause. The f i r s t rays of dawn, gold and lavender, begin to creep i n through the window. Murray gets an idea . He slowly and d e l i b e r a t e l y goes to the wheelchair and t i p s i t over. Then he drags L loyd ' s body over to the wheelchair, and savagely smashes h i s head against the f l oor a couple of times. Then he places L loyd ' s gun beside h i s corpse. 108 MURRAY: I t was your idea ta torch The Hiawatha, L l o y d . I t was your f a u l t . You were the one act i n ' vengeance, not me. I was jus t doin' as I was t o l d . I t was your idea, L l o y d , not mine. An' now yer reapin' what ya sowed. Pause. MURRAY: Ya t r i c k e d me, L l o y d . Ya t r i c k e d me, but now yer with the D e v i l , where ya belong. (Beat.) L y i n ' s bad, L loyd , an' you l i e d . I never. I just d id as I was t o l d . Murray picks up the b o t t l e of Bourbon, uncorks i t , takes a b i g p u l l o f f i t , then empties the remainder over L l o y d . MURRAY: Here, L loyd , have a dr ink . Have a dr ink , you l i a r . Murray takes a box of wooden matches from h i s pocket, s t r i k e s one and throws i t at L loyd . He r e c o i l s , expecting an explos ion. The Bourbon f a i l s to i g n i t e . Murray t r i e s again. Nothing happens. MURRAY: Oh, w e l l . Y o u ' l l be burnin ' soon enough. He takes h i s hankie and wipes the b o t t l e , then wraps i t up and puts i t in h i s jacket pocket. MURRAY: You made me take t h i s bo t t l e away once already tonight , L l o y d . So now I'm gonna take i t an' put i t back i n the H e l l f i r e across ta The Hiawatha, so's i t doesn't fol low me around l i k e a t a i l for the Dev i l ta catch hold on. (Beat.) He sure caught yours, L l o y d . He sure caught yours. The front doors swing open. Murray turns qu ick ly to see who i s there. 109 LILY: (Enter ing . ) Lloyd] Lloyd? The ho te l ' s on f i r e . Lloyd? Pause. She sees "the accident". LILY: Oh, God. She goes to Lloyd and t r i e s to revive him. MURRAY: I . . . I . . . I was pass in ' b y . . . u n h . . . u n h . . . pass in ' by i n my boat an' I , an' I , an' I , I heard a shot. L i l y i s too concerned with Lloyd to pay Murray much a t t en t ion . MURRAY: T h e . . . t h e . . . the b u l l e t musta missed a n ' . . . a n ' . . . an' Lloyd musta f a l l e n a n ' . . . (Beat.) I was jus t d r i v i n ' by i n my boat, goin' out swimmin', an' I heard a shot so I come i n . I thought ya mighta been i n trouble , or Lloyd was, was doin' somethin' c r a z y . . . y e a h . . . people heard the two of yas h o l l e r i n ' at each other a l l day; an' then I seen the f i r e an' got r e a l l y scared, an' then I seen him; seen that D i l l i n g e r f e l l a take out h i s gun an' take a shot at L l o y d . I musta s t a r t l e d him or somethin', 'cause he took o f f outta here l i k e a swallow outta h i s nest, swoopin' an' d i v i n ' ; an' then I seen Lloyd f a l l . (Beat.) I'm sorry , Miss L i l y . I'm r e a l sorry . LILY: Quit l y i n g , Murray. MURRAY: I ' m . . . I'm not l y i n ' , L i l y . I don't l i e . I . . . I heard i t . Seen i t . L i l y can't bear to look at Murray. LILY: Which way was he po in t ing the gun, Murray? 110 MURRAY: U n h . . . u n h . . . towards L l o y d . (Beat.) I never k i l l e d him, L i l y . I never k i l l e d nobody. (Beat.) I t was an accident . I never meant to do i t . (Beat.) They only hang ya i f ya meant ta do i t , don't they? (Beat.) I was jus t comin' by in my b o a t . . . comin' by ta t e l l L loyd , for h i s own good, what people were say in ' about h i m . . . an' he lo s t h i s temper an' s tarted chokin' me, c a l l i n ' me a l i a r , an' I . . . an' I . . . I pushed him of fa me an' he f e l l an' h i t h i s head, an' musta broke h is neck. (Beat.) That 's not a murder, i s i t L i l y ? (Beat.) Oh, Jesus, I'm scared, L i l y . I'm scared. I never meant ta do i t . LILY: (Moans.) You're gonna hang, Murray. MURRAY: I love ya , L i l y . I do. I always loved ya. Even before ya run away from here ta be a s inger . (Beat.) Come away with me. We could run away together. You an' me an' Rose. LILY: Where we gonna go, Murray? Saskatoon? MURRAY: No, no. Mexico C i t y . Just l i k e a buncha outlaws. Or, or New York. Yeah. We could dr ive ta New York C i t y . An' everything close up'11 be whizzin' by so fast i t ' s jus t a b l u r , an' the sky an' clouds'11 be so b ig an' so far away t h e y ' l l look l i k e they're hardly movin' at a l l , an' w e ' l l f e e l r e a l smal l , l i k e three l i t t l e mice runnin' over a t u r t l e ' s back. LILY: Sure, Murray. L e t ' s get l o s t . She picks L loyd ' s gun o f f the f l o o r and points i t at Murray. LILY: How does i t f e e l , Murray? How does i t f ee l to know you've k i l l e d a l i t t l e piece of Jesus? Offstage, in the shadows, Rose s tar t s to s ing "Jesus Loves Me". I l l Murray hears her. MURRAY: Rose?! I need a witness! Angel! L i l y struggles to p u l l the t r i g g e r . Murray cowers on the f l o o r . L i l y can' t do i t ; she l e t s the gun f a l l , un f i red , into her lap . Pause. MURRAY: T e l l ya what. T e l l ya what . . . I ' m . . . I ' m . . . I'm gonna go get the R . C . ' s . I'm gonna go get the R . C . M . P . up i n Watrous. There's been a k i l l i n ' here, an' I'm gonna go an' get The Mounties. (Beat.) Are ya comin'? I could say Rose an' me was g i v i n ' you a r i d e out here an' you were with us the whole time. (Beat.) Are ya comin'? LILY: I ' d rather be set on f i r e . MURRAY: Okay. A l r i g h t . I t ' s your l i f e . Ya gotta make yer own road. LILY: You're goddamned r i g h t . Pause. MURRAY: I love you, L i l y . (Beat.) We'da made a good couple, jus t l i k e Adam an' Eve. LILY: Gooooooooooo!!! Murray turns and f lees the dancehal l . L i l y cradles L l o y d . After a moment, Rose enters from the shadows. 112 ROSE: He's gone. (Beat.) He took the boat. Pause. Rose moves to L i l y and. L l o y d . Then, with her hands, she makes a slow c i r c l e over L loyd ' s corpse, gathering h is soul into the palm of her hand, and then re leas ing i t heavenward l i k e so much dandelion down. Then she crouches down to L i l y . ROSE: I t ' s a l r i g h t . I t ' s a l r i g h t to c r y . (Beat.) We're angels. LILY: That 's r i g h t . Animal angels, cry ing for the s tars at n ight . L i l y ' s jaw drops open i s a s i l e n t scream of anguish. A c l a r i n e t wai l s , high and loud, as i f i t i s emanating from the depths of her s o u l . Fade out. 113 CHAPTER THREE: 114 A PRODUCTION RECORD. 1. The Old Red L i o n . The London production of Danceland came about, as independent productions often do, through a combination of personal re la t ionsh ips and serend ip i ty . I gave a copy of an ear ly draf t of the play to my f r i e n d , DeNica Fairman, i n the summer of 1992. At the time, DeNica had been working as an actor with The RSC for several years, and was f ee l ing f rus tra ted by the a r t i s t i c constra ints of working for a large , i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d theatre company. She read the p lay , f e l l i n love with the character of L i l y , and bought a one year option on the B r i t i s h performance r i g h t s . At the end of that year, having exhausted herse l f pursuing commercial producers, name d i r e c t o r s and s tar actors i n various unsuccessful attempts to "package" the p lay , she telephoned me i n Vancouver with the r a d i c a l proposal that we should jus t do i t ourselves . On the face of i t , se l f -producing i s a r e l a t i v e l y straightforward concept, but the r e a l i t y i s that i t takes an inordinate amount of a r t i s t i c commitment and a healthy bank account. Commitment was a q u a l i t y we 115 shared; f inding the money was a problem. By the summer of 1993, DeNica was able to ra i s e one thousand, seven hundred and f i f t y pounds from The Canadian High Commission i n London, f i ve hundred pounds from S i r Anthony Hopkins, to whom she had offered the part of L loyd , f ive hundred pounds from her f r i e n d , Br ian Hughes, and another thousand pounds from a "friend" of the product ion, whose name, I discovered l a t e r , was Joan Plowright . With t h i s much cash on hand, DeNica then remortgaged her house to finance the rest of the product ion. She then contacted our mutual f r i e n d , the Glasgow born Canadian d i r e c t o r , Tom Kerr , and asked him to d i r e c t the p lay . A Fellow of T r i n i t y Col lege , London, and t ra ined as a d i r e c t o r by Tyrone Guthrie , Tom brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the f l e d g l i n g Red River Productions. He a lso demanded, and got, a major rewrite before he agreed to d i r e c t Danceland. Over the next few months, DeNica and Tom organized the company and managed to locate and book a su i tab le venue. The Old Red Lion Theatre seats s i x t y people i n three L-shaped rows along one s ide and the end of a twenty by t h i r t y foot black box. Located above a pub, 116 two blocks east of Angel tube s ta t ion on the I s l ington High Road, the stage i s approximately fourteen feet wide by twenty four feet long; a thrust of sor t s , with two doors going offs tage , one up centre and the other down l e f t . The c e i l i n g i s twelve feet high, so the l i g h t s , a l l fourteen of them, have to be yoked up above the g r i d to a t t a i n any kind of playable atmosphere. My f i r s t react ion upon seeing the space was one of sheer panic: i t was so smal l . Admittedly, I wrote the play with a bare stage i n mind, but I had always imagined i t as a BIG bare stage. The set and costume designer, L i s a Robinson, and the l i g h t i n g designer, L i z z Poul ter , are used to working i n t i n y performance spaces, and at our f i r s t meeting to view the theatre , they latched f eroc ious ly onto my d e s c r i p t i o n of the set as being "evocative, not representat ive". I know what I meant by that , but what d i d they mean by i t ? I t was a sobering moment. 2. Notes On The Scenic Treatment. L i s a , L i z z , the p l a y ' s d i r e c t o r , Tom Kerr , and I had a number of t a lks about a scenic treatment for the p lay , and we a l l agreed that what i t needed was a kind 117 of s tr ipped down minimalism which i s not that e a s i l y achieved. Every piece had to be absolute ly prec i se , part of a cohesive, s t y l i s t i c whole. The other u n i t i n g p r i n c i p l e we agreed on was that the se t t ings needed to act , p r i m a r i l y , as neutral palet tes and that co lour , when required , should be achieved through l i g h t . Tom was anxious to create a dynamic flow of movement through the space, and he, with L i s a , decided that the best way to anchor the design concept was to root i t i n the harsh r e a l i t i e s of the theatre 's e x i s t i n g arch i t ec ture ; rather than b u i l d i n g wal ls and doors, they chose to integrate the e x i s t i n g walls and doors of the theatre into the set . In fac t , they decided to create an environment rather than a set . I had made some panoramic, 35mm shots in Saskatchewan that past summer, mostly of endless skies and r o l l i n g wheatf ie lds , and when I showed them to L i s a she became exc i ted . She decided to pa int three walls of the theatre as a p r a i r i e sky, with the doors painted l i k e sky, too. L i s a ' s image for the play was that people would walk through the sky out onto a wooden dance f l o o r , as i f they were dancing i n the clouds; and a sect ion of the f l oor would be hinged, a l i t t l e above centre, and hoisted up and down by means of a p u l l e y , 118 to form the back wal l of the cabin . L i s a ' s v i s i o n was, to my mind, d e f i n i t i v e . She found a van load of o l d wood at a construct ion s i t e , and used i t to b u i l d the f l o o r . Then, offstage, through the doors up centre and down l e f t , she b u i l t the i n t e r i o r s of the back entrance to the Danceland, and L i l y ' s dress ing room. She l e f t small sect ions out of the f loor to create a f l o a t i n g sensat ion. Then she painted the exposed f l oor in a shiny, r e f l e c t i v e gray, and then L i z z bounced l i g h t o f f i t to create the e f f ec t of water. Then she c losed the doors and painted her g i g a n t i c , three walled sky. The only pieces of furn i ture were a coat rack which l i v e d a l t e r n a t e l y in L i l y ' s dressing room during the Danceland scenes, and then was moved into the cabin to f a c i l i t a t e L i l y ' s onstage changes of c l o t h i n g : a l i t t l e table for Lloyd to put things on, and a small s too l for Murray to use i n the second act . A l l i n a l l , i t was simple, elegant and u n i f i e d , a b e a u t i f u l rendering of a t h e a t r i c a l idea; three spaces in one. 3 . Notes on Sound. Sound i s an important element i n the p lay , and Mark S c h o l f i e l d , the composer for the London 119 product ion, i n i t i a l l y thought that the play should be scored l i k e a f i l m , but then he changed h is mind. He decided that solo c l a r i n e t and s i l ence should be the cen tra l motifs i n the score, and that the solo c l a r i n e t r i f f s should always emanate, as r e a l i s t i c cues, from L l o y d . The "musical s i lence" he was looking for was much harder to achieve. In the end, what he decided to do was to f i l l the scene changes with loud, vintage recordings of noisy Dix ie land jazz ; the cuts he chose were from a recording of Duke E l l i n g t o n ' s sidemen, and t h i s choice of music served as a contrast to the p l a y ' s many s i l ences , creat ing sonic shadows. The joyous noise of E l l i n g t o n ' s jazz provided a rythmic underpinning to the flow of the p lay , as wel l as emotional contrast to the scenes. The only other recorded cues were a stereo pan of Murray's boat, both leaving and approaching the space; and some very f a i n t loon c a l l s . A l l of the other sound e f f ec t s , except one, were performed l i v e by the actors; the sole exception being the barking dog i n the fourth scene, which was performed from the l i g h t i n g booth by the Ass i s tant Stage Manager, Rob Payne, who s tar ted doing i t as a joke during rehearsals and ended up stuck with i t . 120 4. THE REHEARSAL PROCESS. Danceland i s a love s tory , and I hope that I have constructed i t in a way which demands that the ac tor ' s words and act ions be p u l l e d prominently forward i n terms of the d i r e c t o r i a l mix. With Tom's guidance on the f i n a l rewrites , I balanced the through l ines of the characters by p lac ing L i l y at the centre; we chose to emphasize her as the protagonis t . She begins the play and she ends i t . I t i s the story of her r e l a t i o n s h i p with L loyd , not the s tory of her a f f a i r with Murray. The part of Murray i s infused with t h e a t r i c a l i t y , and i t i s tempting to l e t the actor p lay ing him run rampant across the s t o r y l i n e . Yet i f he i s not reigned i n , he threatens to overwhelm the b e l i e v a b i l i t y of the ac t i on . Tom's so lut ion was to treat Murray as r e a l i s t i c a l l y as poss ib le ; what makes Murray so dangerous i s that he ac tua l ly be l ieves every word he says, and he i s such a good l i a r that he should make everybody else be l ieve him, too. Lloyd and Rose act as ca ta lys t s to the a c t i o n , but have very independent dramatic l i v e s of t h e i r own. They both achieve t h e i r ult imate object ives ; L loyd ' s jealousy consumes him, and Rose's b e l i e f in angels 121 frees her. Murray i s destroyed by h is compulsive l y i n g , and L i l y i s changed i rrevocably by the end of the p lay . She gets what she wants, too. Freedom. A p a i n f u l embrace from l i f e . The act ing company assembled for the production consisted of DeNica Fairman as L i l y , Peter Marinker as L loyd , Kevin Howarth as Murray, and Catherine Holman as Rose. Each of them brought commitment, t a l en t , and a uniquely i n d i v i d u a l s ty l e of act ing to the p r o j e c t . Tom's challenge, as a d i r e c t o r , was to blend t h e i r d i s t i n c t i v e energies into a u n i f i e d performance s t y l e . The rehearsal arrangement between Tom and I was that I was responsible for making any changes to the text which might be necessary to f a c i l i t a t e or c l a r i f y the act ion of the p lay , and that he would do everything i n h i s power to stage the play as I had wri t ten i t . He was determined that the rehearsal per iod should not deter iorate into a workshop of the play; and he was also determined to give the actors as be l i evable a set of dramatic act ions as poss ib l e . What I discovered through t h i s process i s that "place", which had been my key in the wr i t ing process, can be an u t t e r l y j meaningless idea to actors . What actors need, more than anything, i s to be able to fol low the dramatic 122 act ion of the s t o r y l i n e by exploring the re la t ionsh ips between the characters . "Place" i n production ex i s t s i n design, i n l i g h t , i n sound, i n expos i t ional dialogue; i t cannot, by i t s e l f , dr ive the narra t ive of a p lay , but the actors in the London production became so fasc inated with the idea that there were times when I wished I had never thought of i t . Eventual ly I brought i n several hand drawn maps of the area, o u t l i n i n g the locat ion of every b u i l d i n g , every town, every r a i l l i n e and every c i t y between Denver and Prince A l b e r t . One day, exasperated by t h e i r seemingly endless quest ioning about Saskatchewan, I launched into a long monologue about the type of f i s h which l i v e in L i t t l e Manitou Lake (brine shrimp). This put the "place" issue pret ty much to r e s t , although on several occasions when rehearsals were get t ing tense, one of the actors would i n e v i t a b l y ask, "Now, what about t h i s p ier? Where i s i t?" We had f ive weeks of rehearsa l , and while the rehearsal plan often bumped up against the sometimes uncomfortable concept of rehearsal r e a l i t y , Tom and I managed to spend the f i r s t two days with the actors reading and d iscuss ing the text . He then wanted to put the play on i t s feet; to do a rough block so we could 123 have another look at the p lay . We t r i e d to e s tab l i sh a pattern of rehearsals i n which we would a l ternate our object ives as wri ter and d i r e c t o r (to complete the f i n a l rewrite and to get the play staged). We d e l i b e r a t e l y created "overlaps" i n which I could get caught up on rewrites while he kept the production as a whole moving forward. The pattern that emerged was: two days reading and d i scuss ion , three days rough b locking; followed by a day of reading and d i scuss ion . The scenes we were not happy with at the outset of rehearsals were the ones I tackled on the f i r s t weekend. I brought my new material in on the Monday, and we integrated i t into the p lay . The second week was then spent p r i m a r i l y on exploratory scene work and improvisat ions; the t h i r d was spent p o l i s h i n g scenes and re s tor ing l i n e trims which had been requested by the actors in the f i r s t two weeks; the fourth was spent working up to a ser ies of runs. The f i f t h week was taken up with the actual move into the theatre and technica l rehearsa ls . I t was also the week i n which I found a key flaw i n the p l a y ' s s t ruc ture . I had one night to f i x i t ; the crew had four hours to re-cue the show. Tom and the actors had four hours to rehearse i t before the f i r s t of three previews. 124 I had been bothered for some time by the opening sequence of the p lay . As o r i g i n a l l y wr i t ten , i t was a kind of poet ic prologue i n which Rose was alone on stage pray ing . I t was a mysterious scene, and I knew I wanted to create a sense of mystery at the top of the p lay , but in watching the runs of the p lay in the rehearsal h a l l I found i t confusing: i t had no context. It was simply a t h e a t r i c a l gesture, i t was an e f f ec t , not a scene. The so lu t ion was to integrate the prologue into the top of the f i n a l scene of the play and, in t h i s way, give i t a through l i n e of dramatic a c t i o n . I c a l l e d Tom i n the middle of the night to explain t h i s to him and was greeted by a long pause, followed by the words, "the crew i s going to hate you, but you're r i g h t . Do i t . Just don't t e l l anybody before I get a chance to set i t up". E a r l y the next morning he got on the phone and worked a small miracle of d i r e c t o r i a l diplomacy; I got to make my s t r u c t u r a l change. I br ing th i s up as way of i l l u s t r a t i n g the spec ia l nature of rehearsing a new p lay . I t i s v i r t u a l l y impossible for me to f i n i s h w r i t i n g a play before I get to see i t i n "runs". For me, the rehearsal process i s an i n t e g r a l part of my f i n a l wr i t ing process; I need to 125 hear the words out loud, and I need to see the act ions played through i n sequence. I t i s only then, when the whole play i s l i v i n g and breathing i n front of me, that I can f ine tune s t r u c t u r a l elements. 5. NOTES FOR FUTURE DIRECTORS. The rehearsal and f i n a l rewri t ing process of Danceland was f i l l e d with the joy of d iscovery. Every day brought a new challenge; on some days there were even some highly enterta in ing creat ive brawls. In the end, however, I have come to bel ieve that the f i n a l draf t of the play as well as the London production i t s e l f , were d e f i n i t i v e renderings of my personal creat ive v i s i o n . Neither process would have been complete had i t not been symbiot i ca l ly connected to the other. I o f f er the fo l lowing b r i e f notes on the major s t r u c t u r a l and character d i scover ies which we made in London, i n the hope that c r i t i c s , d i r e c t o r s , actors and designers of future productions might bet ter understand my personal v i s i o n of the p lay . 126 5a. Locating The Spine Of The Play . The spine of the ac t ion emerges best when L i l y ' s character arc i s placed in the centre of the dramatic construct . The other characters ' arcs flow o f f , through and around L i l y ' s , l i k e the framework of a gothic b u i l d i n g , and the way for a d i r e c t o r to keep t h i s s tructure flowing i s to keep i n mind the primary object ive of the other three characters - they a l l want the same th ing: L i l y . In t h e i r own way, each of them wishes to possess her. She i s the p r i z e at the end of the game. She i s o b j e c t i f i e d by a l l three of them, and that i s why I have chosen to place her onstage, undressing, at the top of the p lay . Her beauty i s , i n a way, the curse of her l i f e . The e f fec t of the opening moment should be intense ly e r o t i c . Every eye in the house, male or female, should be glued to her f l e s h . The erot ic i sm of the moment should be followed by the rapid r e a l i z a t i o n that something t e r r i b l y wrong i s about to happen. The purpose of her i n i t i a l o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n by the other three characters i s that i t sets up the ending, when L i l y i s f i n a l l y freed. When, through the tragedy of what has happened to her, she becomes f u l l y human. 127 I f the actress plays the opening scene with an intense b e l i e f i n her primary object ive (to get out of the cabin q u i c k l y , e a s i l y and without having a quarre l with L loyd) , then the scene w i l l f l y . L loyd , on the other hand, wants to keep her there, and he i s being as cooperative as a "rattlesnake i n a s leeping bag". The s l i g h t e s t move could set him of f , and L i l y knows i t . She is not a f r a i d of him, and she can give as good as she can take, but foremost in her mind i s putt ing Lloyd in a good mood, and then get t ing back to the excitement of her increas ing ly separate l i f e . She wants peaceful independence. The i n i t i a l inc ident occurs wi th in the f i r s t s i x or seven minutes of the p lay , when Lloyd spots a l i t t l e bruise on L i l y ' s h i p . He grabs her and demands an explanation. She has nothing to h ide , and brushes i t of f as "a f l e a b i te" , and i n doing so, unwit t ingly emasculates L loyd . He f ights back, "what's that supposed to mean". This ac t ion leads the audience, through a kind of narrat ive f e i n t , d i r e c t l y into the f i r s t key piece of backstory, Lloyd and L i l y ' s personal h i s t o r y with John D i l l i n g e r . This piece of exposi t ion must be bel ieved by the audience i f the rest of the s tory i s to work; the expos i t ional nature of the scene 128 needs to be simultaneously rooted in and disguised by, r e a l i s t i c , be l i evable ac t ion , and s u r e f i r e changes of tone, pace, tempo and objec t ive . I t i s a t r i c k y movement, and i t s t r i c k i n e s s i s compounded by the fac t that i t has two d i s t i n c t halves . The f i r s t , driven by L i l y , should be l i k e a r o l l e r coaster r i d e ; the second, dr iven by Rose, i s more laconic i n tone. I t i s a chance for the audience to absorb more expos i t ion about the place i t s e l f , and to e s tab l i sh the sense of the v a l l e y being an almost supernatural p lace . I t a lso does something else - i t gives the audience a chance to get to know Lloyd , to see his v u l n e r a b i l i t y , h is innocence in the presence of a c h i l d . This i s L loyd ' s f i r s t and best chance to get the audience to l i k e him; he i s increas ing ly paranoid af ter t h i s scene. The actor p lay ing Lloyd needs to be very charismatic , and i t does not hurt i f , l i k e Peter Marinker in the London product ion, he i s a handsome o l d dog as w e l l . Lloyd may be a bent and broken man, but i t i s v i t a l to see his v i r i l i t y trapped ins ide h i s enfeebled body; the root of h i s jealousy i s sexual , and the actor p lay ing him should be endowed with the l i b i d o of a sa tyr . Sex i s not something you can act; actors e i ther have the sexual charisma or they do not. 129 Murray makes h i s f i r s t "appearance", as i t were, of fs tage . This was a de l iberate choice on my par t , as I wanted to e s t a b l i s h , as be l i evab ly as poss ib le , both the r e a l i t y of the offstage world (the lake, the v a l l e y , the boat) and the mythic paradigm for the p lay . Murray i s one of the argonauts, forever f e r r y i n g passengers across the River Styx, a s s i s t i n g people on t h e i r journey to H e l l . What i s Murray's object ive i n the scene? To use Rose as a f o i l , so that he can get c lose to L i l y . My sense of Murray i n th i s scene revolves around the image of spying; he i s most l i k e l y hidden away, jus t outside the cabin , l i s t e n i n g i n t e n t l y to the ent ire scene i n exact ly the same manner that he and Rose spy on L i l y at the top of scene two. When L i l y s tar t s to leave the cabin , Murray pushes Rose ins ide , with ins truc t ions to o f fer her a r i d e . This i s why Rose i s so o f f balance when she enters the scene: she has l i t e r a l l y been pushed into the room by Murray. Another thing that i s important for the actress p lay ing Rose to remember i s that , no matter how s ick her re la t ionsh ip with Murray may be, she i s unaware of i t s inherent s ickness . I t i s absolute ly e s sent ia l that , at the beginning of the p lay , Rose loves Murray, 130 and Murray loves Rose; Rose becomes aware of the danger Murray poses to her while she i s offstage, spying on him during the f i n a l dancehall scene i n the f i r s t ac t . The actors must not pass moral judgements on the characters; they must embrace the idea that the two characters love each other, because the existence of t h e i r love gives them a t r a g i c height from which to f a l l . L i l y ' s songs, e s p e c i a l l y the f i r s t two, can be problematic , and i n grappl ing with them from both a conceptual and a pragmatic, rehearsal perspect ive , what I have come to understand i s that L i l y sings for the simple reason that she loves s ing ing . Her mind is brimming with song l y r i c s ; she re la tes her l i f e to songs. This came up a l o t i n rehearsal with DeNica, who, af ter a l l , was the person who was going to have to stand up i n front of an audience and s ing them every n ight , and who wanted, r i g h t l y , to know exact ly WHY L i l y would s ing i n the f i r s t p lace . I t was a d i f f i c u l t act ing quest ion, and Tom wanted an answer, too. My i n i t i a l response to DeNica's question was that , i n w r i t i n g the play I had always assumed that L i l y i s a beaut i fu l s inger , and that when she s ings , she keeps s t i l l . While t h i s might be an adequate response to 131 another w r i t e r , to an actor i t i s the kind of response which makes no sense; i t i s not a reason, i t i s an e f fect and, to DeNica, i t f e l t l i k e an a r b i t r a r y choice, an example of a wri ter imposing his w i l l on a character . She r e s i s t e d p lay ing t h i s p a r t i c u l a r character t r a i t u n t i l I f i n a l l y convinced her to "at least t r y i t " . When she d i d , she found an emotional s t i l l n e s s at the heart of the character , and from that sense of s t i l l n e s s she was able to f ind other moments of emotional repose wi th in the p lay . Danceland i s very dark in tone, and i t s centra l ac t ion i s rooted i n the characters ' s truggles for t h e i r very s u r v i v a l . In order to of fset t h i s darkness, I have given each of the four characters "something extraordinary" to do. Lloyd r e c i t e s poetry, Rose bel ieves i n angels, Murray i s , i n his own twisted way, an e r o t i c a l l y charged poet of the land, and L i l y i s an extraordinary s inger . I t i s simply wrong, a mis in terpre ta t ion of the text , i f an actress assumes that because L i l y l i v e s her l i f e on the t h i n edge of v io lence and add ic t ion , that she moves around l i k e a rock s inger and sings with a throat f u l l of g r a v e l . In my view, t h i s destroys the notion of her as a "great jazz singer", i t diminishes her stature and, i n doing 132 so, diminishes the tragedy of her f a l l . Having her s ing l i k e Grace S l i c k or Janis J o p l i n a l so destroys the period and s ty l e of the p iece . I gave her songs to s ing because I wanted her to have moments of transcendent beauty which provide a stark contrast to her amoral (but never immoral) love for rough sex, a lcohol and drugs. To disregard the p i t c h and melody and i n t r i c a t e jazz phrasings of the songs on the lame pretense that she i s a "hard" woman, turns L i l y into a bawling f i shwife or a h a r l o t , and that has never been my in tent . L i l y i s a s inger , an a r t i s t , and that , by d e f i n i t i o n , implies that she i s adept at a r t i f i c e . The other mistake an actress can make with the songs i s to "turn them out" to the audience, to turn them into l i t t l e mini musical theatre numbers. T h i s , too, would be a f a t a l mistake. She sings when she sings because, to her mind, that i s the best , and most n a t u r a l , way for her to communicate - her s inging i s both a character t r a i t and a continuation of the dramatic ac t ion of the scenes. 133 5b. Some Thoughts On The P lay ' s S t y l e . Scene two, L i l y and. Murray's "seduction" scene, i s about twenty minutes long, and i t i s very treacherous t e r r i t o r y for the ac tors . What we discovered i n rehearsal was that i t helps to think of the scene as four separate movements which blend together i n a larger sweep of ac t i on . I t moves from the s t i l l n e s s and p u r i t y of L i l y ' s song (prayer) i n which she s ings , "I need my man, Weatherman", through the entrance of Rose and Murray, to Rose's subsequent e x i t from the dancehal l . These two sect ions are p r i m a r i l y expos i t iona l and, hopeful ly , I have achieved my own standards of a r t i f i c e and buried the exposi t ion deeply enough ins ide a s p e c i f i c set of act ions to carry the s tory forward. I think the key to making t h i s part of the scene work, metaphorical ly speaking, i s to think of the exposi t ion as a s a i l , and the act ions of the characters as the wind - i t i s the f r i c t i o n between them that generates the energy which moves the boat of the s tory forward. The movement of the "seduction" scene, i s fraught with s t y l i s t i c p e r i l . I t needs to be an intensely 134 e r o t i c scene, but i t must never sink to the l eve l of pornography. While i t i s a scene conceived i n ce lebrat ion of animal l u s t , i t more about e r o t i c p o s s i b i l i t i e s than e r o t i c i n e v i t a b l i t i e s . This movement of the scene brings up a l a r g e r , aesthet ic question, and i t i s one which the d i r e c t o r and actors of t h i s play must deal with, because i f the treatment of e ro t i c i sm i s mishandled, the production w i l l s tray from tragedy to b r u t a l i t y . The play i s , f rankly , meant to be e r o t i c , and i t ra i ses many of the same e t h i c a l questions as e r o t i c l i t e r a t u r e i n general . S p e c i f i c a l l y , how to make something d e l i b e r a t l y e r o t i c without exp lo i t ing the characters , the actors or the audience. How does an a r t i s t demarcate the l i n e between e r o t i c a and pornography? It i s a press ing question for modern w r i t e r s , and while some people maintain that i t simply cannot be done, I s teadfas t ly maintain that the dogmatic foes of e r o t i c a are wrong. From a modern ac tor ' s point of view, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to susta in a b e l i e f i n the prolonged foreplay of the scene. Actors , in the productions I have been associated with, always want to touch too soon. And once the characters touch, nothing, i s going to keep those two characters from engaging i n ferocious sex 135 r i g h t there on the dance f l oor and i n p l a i n view of anybody who cares to i n t e r r u p t . Once they touch, the scene i s over. The point of the scene i s seduction, not conquest. I t i s d i f f i c u l t for a r t i s t s of my age to imagine a time when the sexual act was bound up in a proscr ibed r i t u a l of manners, courtship and seduction, but i f t h i s scene i s to work, we must engage our imagination. The f i n a l movement of th i s second scene i s a crescendo of ac t ion , a l l of i t complicated by the fact that for every ac t ion there i s a witness; a s i t u a t i o n which demands, from the point of view of personal ego, i f nothing e lse , a continuing struggle for the highest character s tatus . The moment a witness i s present, domestic s i tua t ions which would be normal for Medea or even June Cleaver , need to be j u s t i f i e d in order that the witness not see us for what we r e a l l y are . Consider the s i t u a t i o n of a policeman who intervenes i n a domestic dispute; the v i c t i m i n v a r i a b l y turns v i o l e n t upon the intervenor, and t h i s i s the essence of the f i n a l movement of the scene. The actors i n the London product ion, unsure of the s o c i a l graces of South Centra l Saskatchewan i n the mid 1930's, would occas iona l ly ask me "what would I fee l 136 in t h i s s i tuat ion?" when they would have been better asking, "what would the character do i n th i s s i tuat ion?" . I t i s impossible to know the answer to that f i r s t quest ion. What would any of us f ee l i f we were suddenly transported to another time, another p lace , i n which the customs of the day seemed very foreign? The second quest ion, "what would the character do?" can be r e a d i l y answered because i t can be re la ted back to the concrete evidence which contained i n the text; i t has a frame of reference. In my view, act ing i s doing, and that , paradox ica l ly , includes doing nothing. Act ing i s about be l i ev ing in the given circumstances, i t i s about watching with an unprejudiced eye, about act ive l i s t e n i n g , and about responding t r u t h f u l l y within the s t y l i s t i c constra ints of the play as we l l as i n the psychological r e a l i t i e s of the characters . S ty l e , l i k e accent or gesture, i s derived from the s p e c i f i c character demands of l i v i n g ins ide c e r t a i n kinds of c lothes , c e r t a i n kinds of environments and c e r t a i n s o c i a l values , but s t y l e , for many younger actors , has become a past iche of c l i c h e and gesture, rather than something which beats at the l i v i n g heart of a character . Try to imagine Oscar Wilde without 137 s t y l e , t r y to imagine Sarah Bernhardt or Noel Coward; t r y to imagine Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski without conjuring up a d e f i n i t i v e sense of s t y l e . S ty l e , i n my view, i s an organic component of the a c t o r ' s c r a f t , and to act any of the parts i n Danceland requires a sense of s t y l e . The actors must root t h e i r characters within the parameters of 1930's s o c i a l values, and then express them t r u t h f u l l y within the s ty l e d ic ta ted by the s c r i p t which was described, accurate ly , I th ink , by Hugh C r u t t w e l l , a former p r i n c i p a l of R . A . D . A . and a champion of the London product ion, as "poetic melodrama with a p r i m i t i v e f ee l to i t " . Hugh's use of the word melodrama made me cr inge , but s ince he of fered h i s c r i t i q u e on the understanding that the producer wanted a quote to help her ra i se money for the product ion, I have to conclude that he wrote that dreaded word, melodrama, a f ter a good deal of cons iderat ion . As Ibsen sa id in An Enemy of The People, the only th ing we have i n t h i s l i f e i s our reputat ion . Or, as my great f r i end and sometime c o l l a b o r a t o r , Cape Breton playwright Bryden Macdonald once put i t , "the only thing I own i s a bad reputat ion , and somebody e lse gave i t to me". I suspect that when 138 an a r t i s t of Hugh C r u t t w e l l ' s a b i l i t y puts pen to paper at the behest of a f r i e n d who i s proposing to produce and s tar i n a new Canadian play and hoping to ra i s e money from his profess iona l contacts and acquaintances on the bas is of h i s considered opinion about i t s p o t e n t i a l q u a l i t y , h i s i n s t i n c t would be to cover his r i s k s and write an honest assessment of the text . Maybe I think too h ighly of people, but my honest react ion to Hugh's quote was that he obviously meant i t , and I took i t to heart in the f i n a l d r a f t . 5c. Finding A R e a l i s t i c Root For The Characters . The play i s i n constant danger of b o i l i n g over, e s p e c i a l l y i f a d i r e c t o r l e t s the emotions of the moment get overheated to the detriment of the b e l i e v a b i l i t y of dramatic ac t ion . The play burns hot, emotionally, but no matter how f a n t a s t i c the character ' s s i tua t ions become, i t needs to be constantly grounded through the prism of be l ievable act ion and objec t ive . In short , i f i t gets overheated, i t de ter iorates into melodrama. These characters e x i s t ins ide a c laustrophobic , almost mythical world, and the reason they get so crazy i s that they keep t r y i n g to 139 make r a t i o n a l sense out of the constantly s h i f t i n g contruct they form on the basis of t h e i r b e l i e f i n Murray's l i e s . P o l i t i c s may be the a r t of the poss ib le , but my p lay , i n my opin ion , must occur within the realm of the probable, and that i s the p l a y ' s primary challenge to ac tors , d i r e c t o r s and designers - to make i t r ea l without trapping i t ins ide the mundanities of day to day r e a l i t y ; to be brave and act out, t r u t h f u l l y , the act ions of a myth, the fantasies of an unrepentant l i a r , an exaggerator, a t e l l e r of t a l l t a l e s . In h i s d i r e c t o r i a l approach, Tom recognized from the outset that the p lay , through i t s poet ic language, i t s s t r u c t u r a l antecedents and i t s mythical paradigm, represents a kind of heightened r e a l i t y . He also recognized, from the e a r l i e s t stages of h i s dramaturgical work on the text , that the only way an audience can gain access to the mythical world of the play i s i f the w r i t e r , d i r e c t o r and actors provide a recognizable , r e a l i s t i c frame of reference. Like the best s u r r e a l i s t pa in t ings , the play had to be rooted i n everyday r e a l i t y and be dr iven by a prec i se sense of l o g i c . 140 For example, there i s a short dialogue sect ion i n the t h i r d scene, L i l y and Lloyd's b ig f ight and r e c o n c i l i a t i o n scene, which makes a glancing reference to t h e i r emotional s ta te . When Lloyd accuses L i l y of having sex with John D i l l i n g e r , she re tor t s that they were "shooting cocaine. Not screwing". I t ' s a b r i e f moment, but i t has consequences which were i n i t i a l l y missed by the actors (I guess t h i s was my f a u l t for not pa in t ing Lloyd and L i l y ' s addic t ive p e r s o n a l i t i e s more broadly) . I t jus t seems to me that i f L i l y was shooting cocaine, a c t u a l l y using needles, not more than nine months before the s t a r t of the p lay , that she, and i n a l l l i k e l i h o o d , L loyd , were regular users . I f they had crossed the border into Canada, t h e i r supply of cocaine would more than l i k e l y have been cut o f f , and even i f they managed to scrape together enough time and money to score before they l e f t Chicago, undoubtedly, two weeks into t h e i r stay at L i t t l e Manitou, they have run out of cocaine. They are i n the throes of k ick ing t h e i r addic t ion - not jus t i n th i s scene, but from the very beginning of the p lay . I t i s not a pre t ty thought, but i t goes a long way toward expla in ing the manic r i s e and f a l l of t h e i r emotional states i n the scene. When the dope runs out there i s 141 h e l l to pay; i t i s always somebody e l s e ' s f a u l t that the s i tuation, has become so desperate, and the l a s t thing an addict w i l l admit i s that he or she i s t e r r i f i e d of going into withdrawal; "I'm not an add ic t . What are you t a l k i n g about? Of course I don't need another f ix" , i s the standard speech when, of course, that i s exact ly what an addict needs. Denial i s a cen tra l part of add ic t ion , and that i s why the characters i n the play never acknowledge that they are junkies , even though, i n t h e i r dramatic r e a l i t y , that i s what they are. In the stratosphere of junkies , a l c o h o l i c s l i v e at the bottom; they take an i n f e r i o r drug, and that i s why, i n her desperat ion, L i l y accuses Lloyd of r e l y i n g too heavi ly on the b o t t l e . She does not a c t u a l l y care that he i s an a l c o h o l i c , for she i s an a l c o h o l i c herse l f ; her admonishment to Lloyd about h i s alcoholism i s a cry for help as much as i t i s a moral judgement. L i l y i s deal ing with her enforced detox period better than Lloyd for the simple reason that she has something meaningful, the band and the dancehal l , with which to occupy her time. But i n the end, there i s nothing L i l y can do to calm the chemical inferno that i s raging through L loyd ' s body, except to t e l l a s tory 142 about winter, a s tory about the b i t t e r c o l d , a story about the extraordinary beauty of the landscape; a s tory t o l d in defiance of the unbearable heat of the day; a fantas t i c s tory , almost a l l true , which calms the f i r e in h i s nerve endings. She subdues Lloyd with a barrage of language, the s tory of the night the l o c a l boys set the ice of the lake on f i r e . By the end of the scene, L i l y and Lloyd have achieved peace together for the f i r s t time i n the p lay . The f i r s t act ends with Rose and Murray, p lay ing together i n the dancehal l . Murray has brought Rose there to make up with her, a f ter t h e i r t e r r i b l e encounter e a r l i e r i n the act . That i s why he has dressed her up i n L i l y ' s c lo thes , and why he i s encouraging her to make fun of L i l y . Murray i s l i k e a c h i l d i n th i s regard; he i s jealous of Rose's a t t r a c t i o n to L i l y . I t i s my b e l i e f that the sexual tension which ar i ses between Murray and Rose i n the course of the scene i s a new experience for both of them. I do not be l ieve that Murray makes a habit of sexual ly abusing h i s daughter. It i s just that in t h i s one instance, t h e i r phys ica l contact , coupled with the smooth fee l of L i l y ' s s i l k dressing gown and h i s sudden awareness of Rose's budding sexual i ty , arouses him. 143 This disgusts him, and that i s why he reacts so v i o l e n t l y when Rose a c c i d e n t a l l y tears the dress ing gown. He dr ives her from the dancehall because he f inds himself in a state of such arousal that he i s a f r a i d he w i l l be unable to contro l himself . I t i s a lso important for the actor p lay ing Murray to remember that Murray has probably not had sex s ince the night he murdered his wife, f i ve or s i x years ago; that h i s sexual i ty i s bound up with a profound sense of g u i l t ; and that h i s sense of g u i l t has been grea t ly inf luenced by the harsh Protestant morals of the community. His f e t i sh i sm, then, i s a d i r e c t r e s u l t of years of sexual repress ion . The d i r e c t o r i a l and dramaturgical key to the scene, as Tom Kerr so a d r o i t l y discovered i n the London product ion, i s that Rose, offstage, i s watching Murray masturbate - t h i s t e r r i f i e s her because she sees, for the f i r s t time, what he might have done to her. So, even though Rose leaves the stage, i t i s absolute ly e s sen t ia l to "stage", as Tom d i d , her offstage ac t ions . Every knock at the door, every shadow that crosses a window, i s created by Rose and subsequently mis interpreted by Murray. By the time Rose re -enters , at the end of the scene, for her "Scardeycat" l i n e , she 144 has decided two things: she hates Murray, and she i s never going to l e t him touch her again. The s t r u c t u r a l antecedents to the scene, slamming doors, acce lerat ing ac t ion and the d i s s o l u t i o n of i d e n t i t y are pure farce , although the intent remains t r a g i c , and th i s f a r c i c a l sub-structure comes to the fore in the opening scene of the second act , when Murray and Lloyd are p l o t t i n g revenge out at L loyd ' s cabin . As a dramatic gambit, the technique of twis t ing an e s s e n t i a l l y t r a g i c s tory through some judic ious thefts from Feydeau, has some b u i l t - i n dangers, not the least of which i s that i f the phys i ca l comedy gets too far out of hand, i t becomes impossible for Lloyd to be l ieve Murray's e v i l s tory about John D i l l i n g e r masturbating with L i l y ' s dressing gown. L loyd ' s being convinced by Murray's " incontrovert ib le evidence" of L i l y ' s missing dress ing gown i s as p i v o t a l to the p l o t of Danceland as Iago's masterful dece i t with Desdemona's handkerchief i s to Othe l lo . The f i n a l scene of the play i s a lso the longest, c locking in at about t h i r t y minutes and, l i k e the long scene ear ly in act one, i s best handled by th inking of i t as a ser ies of movements within an orches tra l whole. The f i r s t two movements (Rose alone and then Rose with 145 L i l y ) lead to Rose's release of her long suppressed memories of the night Murray murdered her mother. I be l ieve that Rose witnessed the murder and that Murray, suspecting t h i s , has turned the inc ident into a kind of mythical event which he often t e l l s her, as a kind of macabre bedtime s tory . And i t i s h i s repeated t e l l i n g of the s tory to Rose which has convinced her that some kind of fearsome, p r i m i t i v e god l i v e s at the bottom of the lake. Rose i s not possessed of supernatural powers, although, over the years, she has come to be l ieve that she has them. Her long "c lar ine t wai l" i s an actual cry from her heart , a voca l i zed response to the pa in fu l unlocking of a t e r r i f y i n g childhood memory. This i s the f i n a l b i t of expos i t ion i n the p lay , and af ter t h i s , the act ion should be spurred forward with a mounting rhythm to the p l a y ' s climax, which i s L loyd ' s discovery that he has been duped by Murray and h i s r e a l i z a t i o n that Murray has caused him to destroy the l a s t hopes for h i s marriage. The murder of Lloyd i s extremely t h e a t r i c a l , and L i z z Poul ter , the l i g h t i n g designer i n the London product ion, used t h i s opportunity for the show's f i r s t n o n - r e a l i s t i c cue: she faded i n the l i g h t from a spinning mirror b a l l as the men began t h e i r dance of 146 death, and then faded i t back out as Murray r e a l i z e s what he has jus t done. This moment, however, for a l l i t s innate t h e a t r i c a l i t y i s the ant i -c l imax of the p lay , and Tom's d i r e c t i o n stressed t h i s f ac t . Again, Murray i s such a powerful presence i n the play that he can unbalance the arc of the s tory , and p u l l i t o f f - centre , away from the tragedy of L i l y and L loyd ' s doomed r e l a t i o n s h i p . The key to keeping the play on track here i s to underplay Murray's craziness i n t h i s scene. The ac tor ' s object ive should be "to stay calm" in the face of impossible pressures. Another key to the successful staging of the scene i s to place Lloyd's body just above centre stage; by p lac ing him here, he remains present i n the ac t ion and, in f a c t , continues to dr ive i t even af ter h i s death. On a more pragmatic note, L loyd ' s f i n a l p o s i t i o n i s the same p o s i t i o n from which L i l y must end the p lay . Her presence beside L l o y d ' s i n e r t form i s d i c t a t e d by her r e l a t i o n s h i p to him; she cannot leave him. Once she sees L loyd , she must go to him. Her object ives are to help him, to revive him, to love him, and to protect him. She must concentrate on Lloyd with every f i b r e of her being. Murray i s not as important to her as Lloyd i s . In fac t , she would probably be r e l i e v e d i f Murray 147 k i l l e d her, too. This i s important, because i f the actress focussed too s trongly on Murray's predicament, she would diminish her own; i f she decided, for instance, to p ick up the gun and chase Murray around the room in pursui t of revenge, t h i s f i n a l scene would deter iorate into melodrama. I have seen that choice t r i e d i n a number of rehearsals , and i t does not work. 5d. Some F i n a l Thoughts On The Play . Every a r t i s t who approaches Danceland w i l l br ing a unique, i n d i v i d u a l v i s i o n to the p lay , and I welcome t h i s . I t i s the fusion of our a r t i s t i c energy which s i t s at the heart of th i s c o l l a b o r a t i v e process we have come to c a l l "Theatre". I do, however, want to request one thing from the d i r e c t o r s , designers and actors who w i l l be engaged in future productions of the p lay . Be mindful of one th ing: the audience. They have come to "hear a play"; they have come to witness the be l ievable unfolding of a s tory , and a l l of us, myself inc luded, are responsible for that . We must allow the audience to enter the world of the p lay , and we must allow them to empathize with the characters . We must share the play with them. 148 Having completed the p lay , my journey as a playwright has come f u l l c i r c l e ; I must move on to other plays and other p laces . For me, the text of Danceland is an a r t i f a c t , a map of my creat ive journey to t h i s point i n time. I f the play i s "about" anything, i t i s about breaking a l i f e l o n g embrace of addic t ion and death. L i l y ' s tragedy i s that she, l i k e a l l of us, must l i v e ; her triumph i s that she manages to do i t at a l l . 149 150 THE TIMES November 22, 1994 HOT TIP FROM AN ICY ZONE Another cracker from Canada. Toronto-based Glen Cairns should be added to the l i s t of hot wri ters emerging from the i cy zones north of the United States . C a i r n s ' s poe t i c , f i e r c e l y sexual play Danceland, set i n smalltown Saskatchewan i n the 1930 ! s, i n L i t t l e Manitou where the heal ing powers of the lake cannot quench lus t and jealousy, i s the best work I have seen at the Old Red Lion (EC1). I t i s an exceptional fr inge product ion. A r r e s t i n g l y d irected by Tom Kerr , Danceland i s an a l l egory of angels and s inners . I t i s a lso the story of shattered marriage, f rus trated and f e t i s h i s t i c ero t i c i sm, and of an intense ly dis turbed c h i l d . DeNica Fairman i s outstanding as L i l y , the torch singer who has f l e d Chicago's underworld. L i l y , h ighly sexed but far from a c l i c h e d s c a r l e t woman, has returned home i n the hope of curing Lloyd , her saxophonist husband, c r i p p l i n g l y wounded i n the thigh by one of her gangland int imates . Fairman performs with acuteness and ease and has a s u l t r y bloom on her s inging vo ice . She i s s trongly supported by Kevin Howarth's intense Murray, the dangerous l o c a l man she becomes involved with, and Peter Marinker's possessive L loyd , a goat-eyed C l i n t Eastwood. Catherine Holman, bare-legged in her flowery frock, looks u n s e t t l i n g l y l i k e a n ine -year -o ld as Rose who, af ter the drowning of her Native American mother, i s in the sporad ica l l y threatening care of Murray, her father . Holman i s profoundly d i s t u r b i n g , screaming with the g r i e f of an i n a r t i c u l a t e animal, or powdering her face a ghostly white as she repeats Psalm 23 l i k e an incantat ion and lays herse l f down, l i k e a frozen corpse. - Kate Bassett (p.34) 151 WHAT'S ON IN LONDON November 16 - 23, 1994 DANCELAND. Just t r y to imagine the mul t i - l ayered drama enacted i n t h i s London premiere by Toronto-based wr i t er , d i r e c t o r and filmmaker Glen Cairns as being l i k e a cross between a '30's gangster movie, Twin Peaks and a f i l m no ir t h r i l l e r , and you might get some idea of i t s powerful, edgy and mesmeric q u a l i t i e s . But i t seems unfa i r to make such comparisons, because Cairns i s c l e a r l y a dramatist with a unique t h e a t r i c a l v i s i o n , and I for one look forward to seeing more of h i s work staged here. Jazz , booze, drugs, sex, mythology, r e l i g i o n and a good-versus-ev i l theme are a l l ingeniously woven together i n th i s haunting cautionary t a l e . At f i r s t , the s tory seems simple. L i l y , a torch s inger , and Lloyd , her wounded bandleader husband, are on the run from John D i l l i n g e r , America's "Public Enemy Number One." They end up i n L i l y ' s b i r t h p l a c e - L i t t l e Manitou, Saskatchewan. The town was once a sacred place of heal ing for the indigenous Indians, l a t e r becoming a b u s t l i n g Roaring Twenties spa resort ; but post-Wall Street Crash i t has begun to d i e . In t h e i r safe haven th i s fractured couple hope that the l o c a l magic mudbath and the m i n e r a l - r i c h lake w i l l cure t h e i r sulphourous swamp of a marriage. The ac t ion veers mainly between Danceland, one of the l o c a l dance h a l l s , and the hote l room where jealous older husband Lloyd fumes from h i s wheelchair, knocks back the dr ink and spouts poetry. But when L i l y encounters l o c a l boat-man and brooding f e t i s h i s t Murray and h is twelve year o l d daughter Rose, the scene i s set for a complex explorat ion of human f o l l y and cooped-up l u s t , a l l i e d with the des truct ive power of myth and legend. A l l th i s may appear rather forb idding , 152 and some of Ca irns ' ideas do seem to be overstated - not least the second act scenes invo lv ing the l i t t l e g i r l and her cosmic connections. But the p lay i s burst ing with highly-charged moments, and o v e r a l l i s a thoroughly absorbing and haunting piece of theatre . C r e d i t i s due to Tom K e r r ' s c o n t r o l l e d d i r e c t i o n , L i s a Robinson's e f f ec t ive p l a i n wood s e t t i n g , L i z z P o u l t e r ' s atmospheric l i g h t i n g and some e n t h r a l l i n g act ing from a cast of four: DeNica Fairman as the sensual L i l y torn between too many men; Peter Marinker as the doomed Lloyd; Catherine Holman as Rose, the "animal-angel" who c r i e s tears for the s tars at n ight ; and Kevin Howarth as the monstrous Murray who discovers that i t r e a l l y i s a s in to t e l l a l i e . - Roger Foss (page 56) 153 TIME OUT November 16 - 23, 1994. Danceland. In L i t t l e Manitou, Saskatchewan, John D i l l i n g e r , "America's Most Wanted", may or may not be dead. L i l y , a dancehall hostess, L loyd , her cr ipp led jazz-music ian husband, Murray, her would-be lover and h is small daughter, Rose, wait for the great man to appear. L i l y i s convinced that he i s dead, she's read i t i n the papers, but l i k e the others she waits for a redemption that never comes. "Danceland" i s b i l l e d as "a new Canadian play", but when the author's notes are more i n t e r e s t i n g than the play i t s e l f , we know that the w r i t i n g i s i n deep trouble . There are some stunning word p ic tures through which we can f e e l and see the wide expanses of Western Canada. But unl ike Sam Shepard, for instance, who tackles the same emotional t e r r i t o r y , Ca irns ' w r i t i n g i s e s s e n t i a l l y prose. I t simply l i e s there with i t s great leaden beauty and does not budge, reducing d i r e c t o r Tom K e r r ' s very f ine work and L i s a Robinson's g r a c e f u l l y evocative set to the i l l u s t r a t i o n of a Book at Bedtime. The powerhouse cast are l e f t to go r i g h t over the top, but they also manage to f ind moments of quiet s trength. They are a l l extraordinary , but i t i s the sublime Catherine Holman as Rose, the l i t t l e c h i l d , who burrows deep into the heart of t h i s t a l e , r i p p i n g i t open to reveal the cry of a nat ion trapped i n i t s past and fr ightened of i t s future . - Bonnie Greer (page 134). 154 DANCELAND received i t s B r i t i s h premiere at The Old Red Lion Theatre i n I s l i n g t o n , North London on November 11, 1994. Playwright .Glen Cairns D irec tor Tom Kerr Set/Costume Design L i s a Robinson Light ing Design L i z z Poulter Composer Mark S c h o l f i e d / (The Brother Jonathan) Cast: L i l y . . DeNica Fairman L l o y d . Peter Markinker Murray Kevin Howarth Rose Catherine Holman For Red River Productions: Company/Stage Manager . . . .He len Dolan Ass i s tant Stage Manager..Rob Payne F i n a n c i a l Consultant Wendy Abel P u b l i c i t y Sue Hyman Associates

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