Playwriting

HEAD IN A BAG

A political dramedy. Two acts. Four women, two men.

Premiere 1992, directed by Baņuta Rubess, Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto.

Head in a Bag is a passionate response to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the crumbling of the Soviet Union.  Part One is the story of Igor Gouzenko, the Soviet spy who defected to Canada and later claimed that he began the Cold War.  (He appeared on television interviews with his head covered by a white bag.)  Part Two is a series of harshly comic scenes set in the wake of the broken Wall, inspired by the events of 1989-1991, and performed by a cast of corpses.

Part Two: Stone Age published in Inter-plays: Works and Words of Writers and Critics, eds. Rolf Althof et al., Breakwater, St. John's, 1994.  Excerpt from Head in a Bag are published in Taking the Stage:  Selections from Plays by Canadian Women, Playwrights Canada Press, Toronto,1994. Full script published by Exile Editions, Toronto, 1995.

 

Head in a Bag

 

Head in a Bag

In the photos:  actors Donald Adams and Diana Fajrjajsl play the dead Ceaucescus, former Romanian dictators;  Donald Adams plays the Prime Minister of a newly independent country, faced by an exotic delicacy, the banana.

 

Excerpt

NICOLAE and ELENA CEAUCESCU lie on the ground, their heads leaning against each other, wearing winter coats, looking up at the sky.  They are dead. Gunshots in their chests and heads.  They are covered in light snow.

ELENA:   You shoulda bribed the driver.  You shoulda bribed the pilot and the driver.

NICOLAE:  They weren't going to take it.

ELENA:  You shoulda promised them something better.

NICOLAE:  I promised them.

ELENA:  Something better.

NICOLAE:  What what what better to promise I promised!  Ten thousand Swiss francs isn't that enough?

ELENA:  Ten thousand Swiss francs, what does ten thousand Swiss francs mean to a Neanderthal?

NICOLAE:  Maybe he wanted dollars.

ELENA:  They are not like us, you know.  They are the dull, plodding sons and daughters of the soil, they need something they know what it looks like and how it's going to feel running down their leg.  You shoulda promised them something better, all the butter they can eat, exit visas for their second cousins, a year's supply of sausages, something to stop them thinking for one split second of the one thing they are thinking about all the time which is how to stab us in the back, stab us in the back, stab us, stab us, stab us in the back.

NICOLAE:  Well, now we're stabbed.

Pause.

NICOLAE:  We shoulda had a lawyer.