blood

Blood On Steel: Two Plays

From the play:

Joyride began, appropriately enough, in a car. In late spring of 1994, I returned home from Toronto, and caught up with my best friend, Paul Beaton. We spend an evening shooting the Sydney drag in his souped-up burgundy camaro, drinking Tim Horton’s coffee, and looking around for someone on the streets that we knew. We were too old for this familiar ritual, but we didn’t have anything else to do. And we didn’t seem to find anyone. Most of our old friends had moved off the island looking for work. Nothing new in that, but the young faces that were hanging out that night seemed strange to me. There was something a little scared, a little desperate that kept occurring in the eyes. It was two years after the McDonald’s murders. But the wake wasn’t over. Maybe it never will be.

Heartspent and Black Silence started during a period when I was looking for work in Toronto, and happened to scan a Greenwood racing form. I remembered winning big at Tartan Downs one night years before when I was in my teens. Then I remembered losing big for several nights in a row afterwards. As Nova Scotia’s first casinos were being built in September 1994, Mary Vingoe encouraged me to write this script. Cape Bretoners have always been gamblers; the first of our ancestors who arrived here to stay gambled they’d make it through the winter alive. Five hundred years later, things haven’t changed much. The Island’s obsession with games of chance remains a reliable subject for farce and satire. In fact, it is frequently tragic. Gambling is a parasite, feeding on the last straws of faith. Carried to extremes, it is a glamorous deception; a “midnight express” to the darker places in the heart where nothing is sacred or tame.