(to be published in 2020 by Guernica Editions)
a condition effecting property owners in trendy neighborhoods during a recession
music by Patrick Watson
Setting: Mile End, Montreal. late 2008/early 2009 (or any other recent crash)
Cast: 7 actors; 4 doubles
Tass Nazor, woman, 30ish, building owner
Rakie Ur, a little younger, handyman, East European immigrant.
Max Fishbone, 60ish, washed up music producer. Doubles as /Kevin Fishbone, slightly younger, Chicago lawyer
Damien-Marie de Beaufort, mid 30s, French, womanizer. Doubles as Lonny’s ghost.
Alisha Tate, early to mid twenties, would-be painter.
Aaron Klein, any age, Hasidic building & scholar. Doubles as Louisa Tate, Alisha’s mother.
Sgt. Germaine Tremblay, female detective, francophone. Doubles as real estate agent.
Note on accents: Rakie has a discernible but hard to place East European accent. Tass speaks Croatian but has no accent.
Tass Nazor has a big mortgage on a rundown triplex in Mile End and three maxed out credit cards due to renovations. The third-floor tenant (Max Fishbone) is staying on at a very low rent, after the sudden death of his son Lonny. On the second floor, the Français-de France Damien de Beaufort moved in temporarily when his marriage fell apart. He’s a friend of Tass’ absent boyfriend and she is reluctant to kick him out.
As the play opens, Tass and her East European handyman, Rakie Ur, concoct a series of annoyances designed to make Max leave. Tass struggles with mounting debts, including the refusal of the former owner, a Hassidim, Aaron Klein, to pay for repairs promised as part of the sale. She tries to sell the ground floor but the prospective buyer, Alisha, begins an affair with Damien and moves in with him.
Just when Tass resolves to get tough, Max dies – possibly due to Rakie’s tinkering with the wiring.
The investigating officer Sgt. Tremblay, part detective, part language cop, is led to believe the death was suicide, until Max’s brother Kevin shows up. An aggressive Chicago lawyer, Kevin undertakes a more thorough investigation, which turns up evidence that Rakie’s immigration papers are false.
Desperate to save her building and keep Rakie from deportation, Tass solicits Kevin’s help. Under his interrogation, she confesses that she was once a promising musician. Kevin offers to help financially if she will play a cello concert. She plays and is excellent. Kevin hands her an offer of purchase from a condo developer, if she agrees to concentrate on music and get out of real estate. Exit Kevin.
General despair; Tremblay returns to question Rakie, revealing his true identity. She declares Max’s death an accident. They order Indian take-out. Rebb Klein turns up with a solution to the debt crisis. The food arrives. They celebrate.
Later, Tass meets the dead Max on the rooftop. He gives her advice from beyond.
PART II : ROOFTOP EDEN
Six years later. Tass and Rakie occupy the renovated ground floor with their five-year-old, Ella. Tass’s meddling mother Dragia lives in the basement suite. Tass is preparing a memorial dinner in honour of Rebb Klein, who died suddenly. All characters from Triplex Nervosa are invited. Now an established musician facing a great challenge, she discovers she is pregnant with a second child. No one knows.
Reb Klein and Max (both dead) play chess on the rooftop terrace, a kind of limbo where they are detained by “unfinished business” on earth.
During the course of one day, Tass struggles with hospitality, big decisions amid a whirlwind of conflicting emotions and events. By dawn, a new world order is established. The dead are consoled, the living prepared to pick up their burdens and carry on.
PART III : FAMOUSLY
Six months later. Tass is heavily pregnant and on the verge of competing in an international cello competition which could bring her an international career. An ambitious young journalist has come up from New York to document her valiant attempt to have it all, at once. Everything that could go wrong does. In the ensuing mayhem, she is pushed to the brink, forced to chose between family and art.
Performance scripts and rights available from Marianne Ackerman. See contact.