Seven Pieces

Author’s Note: Seven Pieces is an interdisciplinary play about hope and healing. Through physical, vocal, breath, and sound languages, as well as humour and text, Seven Pieces theatrically explores the effects of dissociation from one’s Self and Body as a result of childhood sexual abuse through the portrayal of Kate and her child self—Katie. The presence of an elephant in this story plays a key symbolic role on this journey, further illuminating the consequences of lost matriarchy, family, identity, and belonging. Throughout the play, Kate explores the many seeds of dissociation perpetuated in her childhood home, including the denial of their Métis roots, the dull, distant disconnect to their French Canadian culture, and the powerful force of religion as the shield between secrets, truths, and what we refuse to see. This is a story of courage, healing, and the reclamation of a woman with the child she was, and with her Body.

*

SCENE: BEFORE

We hear cello music.

The music morphs into the drone of voices speaking the Apostle’s Creed. “I believe in God, the father almighty….”

On a backdrop, we see a moving shadow. A projection of something large that takes up most of the backdrop. Gradually, it grows smaller and towards the end of the scene we discover it is the body of an elephant.

One by one, we see three women emerge onstage.

Mother holds a Catholic rosary which she moves through, bead by bead, with her hands as she speaks/prays.

Child Katie, seven years old, is wearing a purple towel makeshift superhero cape and has a purple stuffed elephant tied around her neck as though she is piggy-backing it.

Kate, a woman in her forties, enters carrying a backpack, holding three notebooks. She places her backpack and the books down.

Slowly, the women begin to speak, with growing intensity and pace. The prose is a chorus, a prayer, a story.

Behind them, we see the shadow moving, swaying, journeying.

KATE
Before bird songs and dreamy blue skies

CHILD KATIE
All dotty with magical puff-cloud creatures

KATE
Before crickets and sticky humidity

CHILD KATIE
On crooked cut brown bangs over green eyes on a brown body

KATE/MOTHER
Long long before

MOTHER
The pestering curiosity of skin and origins

Overlapping

KATE
The Little Indian Girl /

CHILD KATE
I’m an Indian? /

MOTHER
We’re not Indian.

KATE
The je ne c’est quoi of shushed hushed languages

MOTHER/CHILD KATIE
Kilts and bagpipes and filthy Scots and—

KATE
The jagged lines of tight lips and severed bloodlines.

MOTHER
Before the long fade out buzz of the heat bugs in the maples

KATE/CHILD KATIE
Those covers off hot Ontario nights

KATE
Before church

MOTHER
And God

KATE
And promises and

MOTHER
Kneeling to be better

KATE
And begging for

MOTHER
Forgiveness

KATE
For guidance

CHILD KATIE
For protection

KATE
For belonging—

KATE/MOTHER/CHILD KATIE
For love.

KATE/MOTHER
Before the call to mother

KATE
The reach for warm breasts

CHILD KATIE
For soft arms

KATE/MOTHER
The absence of response

MOTHER
The turn again to God

KATE
And promises

CHILD KATIE
And protection

MOTHER
And forgiveness.

CHILD KATIE
Before the sunrise promise of tomorrow and

MOTHER
The deep sleeping breath of others

CHILD KATIE
So close

KATE
Before the creak

CHILD KATIE
Of the door

MOTHER
Those slow steps in the night

KATE
The thievery of breath

CHILD KATIE
Before the black black black of dark

KATE
The white eyed search to see

MOTHER
The hot knives of

KATE
Taboo

MOTHER
Touch

CHILD KATIE
Before the whisper

KATE
Of lies

CHILD KATIE
And the pretty costumes of

MOTHER
Lovely promises

CHILD KATIE
Before covered eyes

KATE
Shut eyes

MOTHER
No eyes

CHILD KATIE
Not I—

MOTHER
Not he—

KATE
Not he—

MOTHER
Not /

KATE/CHILD KATIE
No.

KATE
Before the /

CHILD KATIE
/ Bang bang of heart

KATE (checks her pulse)
And pulse

MOTHER
And blood

CHILD KATIE
Crack of

KATE
Lungs suspended

All Inhale—suspend breath—release

MOTHER

Before the

CHILD KATIE
Not there

KATE
Not there

MOTHER
Never there

CHILD KATIE
Not here, no where

KATE
The drifting

CHILD KATIE
Plopping, plunking

KATE
Dropping pieces

CHILD KATIE
Two tiny legs, two tiny arms /

KATE
Tiny head, tiny torso /

MOTHER/KATE/CHILD KATIE (Not in synch)
Dirty dirty down down there

CHILD KATIE
Floating falling fleeting flying

KATE
Before the

MOTHER
Capture

CHILD KATIE
Before the

KATE
Taking

KATE/CHILD KATIE
There was a girl and her BODY

MOTHER
Her first land

CHILD KATIE
Her home land

KATE
Her unstolen land

Lights out except for BODY who is standing assuming a position reflected larger on the wall behind her
the shape of an Elephant.

End of Scene

***

Acknowledgements

The development of Seven Pieces was supported by Native Earth Performing Arts Animikiig Creators’ Unit and Weesageechak Begins to Dance 2018 and 2019.

Jenn Forgie acknowledges the support of: Canada Council for the Arts, short-term projects component of Creating, Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples; Native Earth Performing Arts; Cahoots Theatre; Buddies in Bad Times; and Volcano Theatre through the Ontario Arts Council Recommender Grants.

Jenn continues the interdisciplinary development of Seven Pieces with her creative senior artists: dramaturge and mentor Marjorie Chan, playwright, librettist, and Artistic Director of Theatre Passe Muraille; movement devisor/choreographer Heidi Strauss; and vocal/breath/sound devisor Fides Krucker.

Follow Jenn on Facebook Jenn Forgie, Instagram @jennforgie, Twitter @JennForgie, Website www.jennforgie.com (in development).

Jenn Forgie

About Jenn Forgie

Jenn Forgie is an interdisciplinary actor and writer of Métis, French, and Scottish descent. A lesbian and feminist, Jenn is passionate about issues around identity and belonging, with a focus on embodied-belonging first to ones' Self and Body, as is being explored in her current and first play, Seven Pieces. Jenn acknowledges the privilege she holds as someone who has dedicated years to her own healing journey to now tell this story through art as both writer and performer. A “closet writer” for most of her life, Seven Pieces is her debut as a playwright. She is honoured to have her work published in Understory Magazine and vows to continue to bring her written work into the world.

3 thoughts on “Seven Pieces

  1. AvatarBarbara Gordon

    So exciting to read this first, brave work by a brave, talented woman!

    Reply
    1. Jenn ForgieJenn Forgie

      Thank you Barbara!!

      Reply
  2. AvatarDayna Dekroon

    This is incredible!!! Wow! I can see it on stage already! Thank you for all that you are and do Jenn!!

    Reply

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