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KEEPIN' IT RIEL - A STORY OF LOVE, POLITICS AND HOCKEY IN THREE <strike>PERIODS</strike> ACTS

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ACT ONE, SCENE ONE:

THE SCENE: JOHN A MACDONALD'S OFFICE, in OTTAWA. The FATHER OF CONFEDERATION is seated at his desk, feet propped comfortably on THE BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT. He is drinking from a FORTY POUNDER labelled JOHN A. WALKER. The bottle is nearly empty.

A KNOCK comes at the DOOR. MACDONALD leaps to his feet, searching for somewhere to hide the BOTTLE. He wrenches open his desk drawer, and FOUR EMPTY BOTTLES fall out. As he moves STAGE LEFT-BY-NORTH-LEFT to open the door, he stuffs the BOTTLE into the front of his breeches.

Two ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE and two NORTHWEST MOUNTED POLICE enter, squabbling about BEARS. They are escorting LOUIS RIEL.

RIEL is in CHAINS, which for some reason are comfortably lined with BEAVER PELT. The PELT has been dyed TORY BLUE. He wears MUKLUKS, BREECHES, a SHIRT open at the throat and an unbuttoned DEERSKIN COAT with a BEADED EMBROIDERY DESIGN COMMON AMONG THE METIS.

His hair is EXCITINGLY DISHEVELED.

Three of the POLICE have begun a bout of MANLY FISTICUFFS. The fourth has struck a NOBLE POSE and begun to recite CANADIAN BORN in a FIGHT PICKING TONE.

MACDONALD attempts to strike a pose at his DESK, misses the CORNER and falls to the floor, where he remains. The BOTTLE is uncorked, and periodically his movements cause the SCOTCH to spill out. This distresses him, and he invariably tries and fails to drag the bottle from his breeches. The effect is EROTIC IN THE EXTREME.

MACDONALD: Shall I assume you are accepting my honour, err, offer?

RIEL strikes a HEROIC, MANLY, FREEDOM-LOVING POSE. It is as if a PURE CLEAN CHINOOK blows through the CORRIDORS OF POWER.

RIEL: You may.

The three battling OFFICERS OF PEACE ORDER AND GOOD GOVERNMENT are escorted to the door by the SECOND MOUNTIE, who is still reciting:

SECOND MOUNTIE: The Dutch may have their Holland, the Spaniard have his Spain!

An ARM clad in the DISTINCTIVE UNIFORM of the NORTHWEST MOUNTED POLICE reaches back through the doorway and seizes his COLLAR. He continues in a STRANGLED VOICE as he is DRAGGED AWAY:

SECOND MOUNTIE: The Yankee to the south of us must south of us remain!

There are NOISES OFF, as of several men LIFTING A HAND against the MEN who brag that they were born in CANADA beneath the BRITISH FLAG.

RIEL and MACDONALD, ignoring the HULLABALOO, continue to gaze deeply into one another's eyes, nostrils FLARING.

MACDONALD: The French are revolting!

RIEL: INORITE? Have you even read the Manitoba Schools Act?

MACDONALD: The fate, the future, nay, the very honour of this tender sprig of Empire, this glorious Dominion is at stake!

RIEL: Bien.

MACDONALD: And you and I, Riel, are the men to stop it.

RIEL: Pourquoi l'enfer would I want to stop it?

MACDONALD: Because if you do not, I'll see you hung, you rebellious scum!

RIEL: You can see me hung anytime you want, John-A.-Boy. Your average moose in rut, he runs away from Louis Riel in shame, let me tell you what.

MACDONALD: You ungrateful idiot, I'm offering to release you from prison!

RIEL: Ottawa really does ignore everything that happens out West, doesn't it? A one-armed Amerloque could get out of that prison with a bent spoon. We used to head into town every Saturday night and stagger back after a proper Catholic Mass the next day, half of us still pissed as a pack of Prime Ministers. Nobody ever noticed.

RIEL laughs, tossing his EXCITINGLY DISHEVELED HAIR contemptuously.

RIEL: So you want me to tell you how to stop the French from storming Ottawa, burning Parliament, and drinking all the wine?

MACDONALD: Mostly the last, but yes.

RIEL: Have you considered offering them freedom of religion, the restoration of French civil law for private matters, official bilingualism and universal healthcare?

MACDONALD: ...

RIEL: Eh, nevermind. So, you want me to join forces with you to crush the revolt in its infancy?

MACDONALD: No, I want you to join forces with THEM to crush the revolt in its infancy. Maybe shoot a few people, if you think you can manage to actually hit them this time. Then I'll send Wolseley in to mop up and they'll ficher le camp like their tuques were en flambee, see if they don't.

MACDONALD rescues the BOTTLE from his breeches and takes a long swig. He offers the BOTTLE to RIEL, who declines with a SNEER.

RIEL: If you've got anything else in your breeches worth a man's attention, John-A.-Boy, now's the time to pass it over here.

MACDONALD raises a PRIME MINISTERIAL eyebrow and emits a PRIME MINISTERIAL belch.

MACDONALD: Ye understand, Riel, I come from a long line of guid scotch farmers -

(Aside to THE FOURTH WALL, on which hangs a PORTRAIT of OUR OWN DEAR QUEEN) — and if I could get the trick of farming scotch I'd be out of this damned job in a second, see if I wasn't —

And I canna be just certain that I heard ye right - did ye say a MOUSE, or did ye say a MOOSE?

RIEL: Maudit Anglais! We'll see what you have to say for yourself when I'm so far up your Northwest Passage I'll have the Hand Of Franklin copping a feel!

RIEL casts himself DRAMATICALLY to the floor atop MACDONALD and begins to REND HIS GARMENTS in the passionate manner of his FRENCH ANCESTORS.

MACDONALD enters into the activity in the spirit of a HEALTHY AND CORDIAL ALLIANCE, and soon has RIEL's breeches open.

RIEL: Not until you take off that damned-fool wig.

MACDONALD: Who do you think you're calling a damned-fool Whig, you traitor! I'm as good a Tory as you'll ever see on this green earth! My very blood runs Tory blue!

RIEL rolls his eyes and points to MACDONALD'S powdered WIG. MACDONALD looks embarrassed, but casts it aside. It lands in a puddle of SCOTCH and is never seen again.

RIEL: That's better. The only powder a man ought to smell of is gunpowder.

As RIEL begins to remove his own shirt, MACDONALD staggers to his feet, seizing RIEL'S JACKET, evades RIEL's attempt to snatch it back, weaves drunkenly to THE FOURTH WALL, and hangs the JACKET over the portrait of OUR OWN DEAR QUEEN.

MACDONALD returns to his position on the floor, and they KISS SEARCHINGLY. As the lights begin to fade he CARDS HIS FINGERS through RIEL'S EXCITINGLY DISHEVELED MANE, coming up with a PAIR OF QUEENS, and speaks:

MACDONALD: I've always said that erections are a lot like horse races, in that you know a lot more about them the next day.

RIEL: Will the Honourable Member please rise?

As the lights FADE TO BLACK a HAUNTING BARITONE is heard OFFSTAGE, singing: "WESTWARD FROM THE DAVIS STRAIT TIS THERE TWAS SAID TO LIE THE SEA-ROUTE TO THE ORIENT FOR WHICH SO MANY DIED..."

 

ACT ONE, SCENE TWO

The NEXT MORNING. MACDONALD and RIEL are asleep on the floor, SNUGGLING. MACDONALD wakes, sits up, drinks deeply from the bottle of SCOTCH and begins to bestow TENDER KISSES on RIEL's sleeping face. RIEL snorts and begins to flail, accidentally socking MACDONALD in the nose. MACDONALD's cry of pain wakes him. He is IMMENSELY APOLOGETIC.

RIEL: Mon ami, je suis desolee! I thought you were a swarm of mosquitos.

RIEL kisses MACDONALD TENDERLY.

RIEL: For you, my darling, I will betray even my deepest convictions. I will assist you in undermining this Quebec rebellion of which you speak.

MACDONALD: I - I hardly know what I was about, to ask such a thing of you. Looking at my actions now, through the eyes of love, I am appalled. And yet —

MACDONALD takes RIEL into his arms and kisses him DEEPLY. RIEL CLINGS to MACDONALD’s neck and they exchange SEARING EMBRACES. After a moment, reluctantly, they part.

MACDONALD: And yet — anybody may support me when I am right. What I want is a man that will support me when I am wrong.

RIEL: Let me be that man, John A!

MACDONALD: Oh my darling!

MACDONALD bursts into TEARS, which RIEL mops away with his DISCARDED SHIRT.

They KISS, and slowly sink back into the luxurious BED OF FURS which has mysteriously appeared in the night. Acts intended to lead to ENTHUSIASTIC BUGGERY ensue, but are interrupted when THOMAS D'ARCY MCGEE bursts into the room.

MACDONALD leaps to his feet and strikes a GUILTY POSE, STARK NAKED but for a single sock.

MACDONALD: Thomas, I am ashamed! I have betrayed our love! Yet, I can explain.

MCGEE: Sean, me darlin', calm yerself. Pass me yon bottle and introduce me to this foine strappin gentleman and all's forgiven.

MACDONALD passes him the BOTTLE, and MCGEE takes a HEARTY SWIG.

RIEL, meanwhile, rises from the FURS, naked but for a COLORFUL TOQUE he has somehow acquired, and strikes an INVITING POSE. It is apparent that at least a younger or perhaps malnourished MOOSE would have some cause for embarrassment.

RIEL: Well, now, if it’s a strapping you desire, mon fils, I am certain I can oblige.

MCGEE: Sure and Begorrah, but that’s the English vice! I’m a simple man, with simple needs — a bottle ready to hand and a fine, firm bum now and then. Tell me now, sir, have you got any Irish in you?

RIEL: I have not.

MCGEE: Would ye care for some?

MACDONALD: D’Arcy, the first time my grandmother heard that one she laughed so hard she kicked the slats right out of her cradle.

RIEL: We have allowed ourselves to fall into the hands of a Government which only thinks of us to pillage us! Mais, pourquoi pas, mon ami? Always room pour un autre!

MCGEE CASTS HIMSELF DRAMATICALLY on the furs, and begins to strip, PASSIONATELY, IN THE MANNER OF HIS IRISH ANCESTORS. MACDONALD and RIEL assist him ENTHUSIASTICALLY, and as the lights begin to fade MCGEE has FISTED his hand in RIEL’s EXCITINGLY DISHEVELED HAIR.

FADE TO BLACK

The curtain rises on a table at HY’s STEAKHOUSE. MCGEE, MACDONALD and RIEL are finishing an ENORMOUS MEAL. MACDONALD and MCGEE are washing their steaks down with MORE SCOTCH.

MACDONALD: But how are we to infiltrate the damned French?

MCGEE: Eh, we’ll think of something. Later. What do you say to heading back to the Hill for another bottle or three and maybe see if your Corridor of Power can handle another Fenian Invasion?

RIEL: Look, I like a week-long orgy in the office of the Prime Minister as well as the next man —

MCGEE: I DOUBT THAT YOU DO.

RIEL: — but we need a plan, or the Quebecois will feed us to the moose.

MACDONALD: Moose are herbivores.

RIEL: To the beavers, then.

MACDONALD: Also herbivores.

RIEL: BEARS, then, Mister Fancy English Pants!

MACDONALD: Excuse me. SIR Fancy English Pants!

MCGEE: More like Sir English No-Pants, when I’m about.

MCGEE: We have a plan! Drink now, fuck soon, fight later! It’s a perfectly good plan — the Irish have been using it for centuries!

RIEL: So how’s that working out for you, eh?

MCGEE: Oh, yeah, because YOUR revolt just went SO WELL.

MCGEE and RIEL make faces at one another over dessert. Their eyes FLASH WITH PASSION. MACDONALD drinks.

MACDONALD: Gentleman! I understand your feelings!

Aside, to FOURTH WALL, or possibly BUSBOY: Believe me, I understand.

MACDONALD: but we still are no closer to a solution to our problems!

RIEL: Pirates!

MCGEE: Pirates?

MACDONALD: PIRATES?

RIEL: On the river St Lawrence!

MCGEE and MACDONALD DRINK.

RIEL: We disguise ourselves as pirates, and make our way to Montreal, where we make common cause with the rebels.

MACDONALD: I am the Prime Minister. I’m pretty recognisable.

RIEL: Eyepatch. And maybe a wooden leg.

MACDONALD: No wooden leg. I like my legs.

MCGEE: I like your legs.

RIEL: Maybe a hook, then.

MACDONALD: No hook.

RIEL: Well, FINE. I thought you wanted this to work.

MACDONALD: I AM the father of my country, you know.

MCGEE, to the FOURTH WALL or BUSBOY: Quite a lot of it, at least:

RIEL: A large eyepatch. And a parrot.

MCGEE: Where are we going to get a parrot in Ottawa?

RIEL: Some sort of bird! We are river pirates. Who intend to plunder and pillage Ottawa. And desire to make common cause with the glorious revolutionaries in order to strike without warning!

MCGEE: What could possibly go wrong?

RIEL: And then, of course, are persuaded of the righteousness of their glorious cause and wish to throw in our lot with them.

MACDONALD: and then?

RIEL: … Profit!

MACDONALD: Seems legit.

MCGEE: Seems legit.

RIEL: So, first, we’re going to need a boat.

MCGEE: Ship.

RIEL: Whatever.

WILLIAM LYON MACKENZIE KING’s DOG enters, STAGE RIGHT BY NORTH RIGHT.

DOG: I feel like there are a lot of holes in this plan.

BUSBOY: I’m sorry, we don’t serve dogs here —

MCGEE: Could’ve fooled me.

BUSBOY: — you’ll have to leave.

EXIT the DOG, pursued by the BUSBOY.

The three CONSPIRATORS continue talking excitedly as we FADE TO BLACK, and a voice offstage begins to sing “OH I USED TO BE A FARMER AND I MADE A LIVIN’ FINE I HAD A LITTLE STRETCH OF LAND ALONG THE CP LINE…"

ACT TWO SCENE ONE

RIEL, MACDONALD and MCGEE are STEALTHILY crossing the ENTIRELY UNGUARDED border between Upper and Lower Canada when they happen upon A BODY. It is lying precisely on the border. As they examine it in SHOCK and ASTONISHMENT, the two ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE and the two NORTHWEST MOUNTED POLICE from earlier appear, MOUNTED, accompanied by a DEAF WOLF. They are now squabbling about BEAVERS.

FIRST MOUNTIE: Ah, there is nothing here for us! This is clearly a case for the Northwest Mounted Police!

FIRST NORTHWEST MOUNTED POLICEMAN: How do you figure that, you idiot? His head is clearly in Upper Canada!

SECOND MOUNTIE: That may be so, but his ass obviously belongs to Lower Canada!

SECOND NORTHWEST MOUNTED POLICEMAN: I’ll give you one right up the Lower Canada in a minute!

RIEL: Damn. I was going to use that one.

MACDONALD: Gentlemen, gentlemen. Let us be English or let us be French... but above all let us be Canadians!

WOLF: I feel like there are a lot of holes in this plan.

RIEL, MCGEE, and the OFFICERS OF THE LAW stare at him blankly. MACDONALD removes a BOTTLE from his coat and drinks. The MOUNTIES and NORTHWEST MOUNTED POLICE fight over the body, until it is TORN IN TWO. They EXIT, the MOUNTIES carrying the top half of the corpse and the NORTHWEST MOUNTED POLICE the lower half.

RIEL: So. That happened.

BLACKOUT.

When the lights come up we are on a STREET IN MONTREAL, outside a RUSTIC TAVERN in the FRENCH STYLE. It is lit and sounds of MUSIC and PASSIONATE DEBATE come through the windows. RIEL, MCGEE, and MACDONALD are wearing TRICORNES and VERY TALL BOOTS. RIEL’s shirt is BILLOWING in an EXTREMELY SEXY FASHION, and he has a PIGEON perched on his left shoulder. MACDONALD is wearing two eye-patches, one over his LEFT EYE and one pushed up onto his head. They are listening at one of the windows in a VERY STEALTHY MANNER.

MCGEE: I can’t understand a word they’re saying!

MACDONALD: Nor can I.

RIEL: They are speaking en Francais, you English idiots!

MCGEE: Who d’you think yer callin’ English, bhoy ?

MCGEE and RIEL engage in FISTICUFFS. The RUMPUS brings the DENIZENS of the tavern into the street.

FIRST REBEL: They have come ‘ere to spy on us! At ‘em, mes amis!

RIEL: No! We are pirates, come to join your glorious revolution!

SECOND REBEL: Je ne sais pas, Jacques, they do look comme les pirates.

FIRST REBEL: Spies, I say! Paul Revere wore a tricorne, n’est-ce-pas?

THIRD REBEL: To be fair, mon frere, so did Napoleon.

MACDONALD: AVAST!

MCGEE: Uh … Scupper me timbers!

RIEL: ARR!

SECOND REBEL: Are what?

RIEL: ARR! METIS!

MACDONALD: Mes Freres! Nous sommes definitely pirates, je you assurez!

FIRST REBEL: Seems legit.

SECOND REBEL: Seems legit.

THIRD REBEL: Seems legit

FOURTH REBEL: Seems as legit as le rest of you knotheads.

The REBELS clasp the SOI-DISANT PIRATES to their MANLY BOSOMS. The PIGEON craps extensively on the SECOND REBEL.

MACDONALD: So, quest-ce-que le cunning plan, mes amis?

FIRST REBEL: First, we steal le train.

SECOND REBEL: And take it to Ottawa.

FIRST REBEL: Then, we take the Prime Minister hostage!

MACDONALD: Zut Alors!

RIEL: Your plan, it is of a brilliance incroyable!

SECOND REBEL: And that bastard McGee!

MCGEE eyes the second rebel and seems impressed by his MANLY PHYSIQUE.

MCGEE: J’aime this plan.

RIEL: And then you offer to trade them for the independence of Lower Canada?

THIRD REBEL: Alors! That ees une idee most brilliant! We were going to slit their throats!

PIGEON: I feel like there are a lot of holes in this plan.

FOURTH REBEL: Not as many holes as there would be in ze Prime Minister!

RIEL: Don’t let the pigeon plan the revolt!

MCGEE: So, how do we steal a train?

FIRST REBEL: Nous sommes still working on un peu petit details.

RIEL: Well, peut-etre nous pouvons etre of some assistance.

MACDONALD: Inside. Where the scotch is.

SECOND REBEL: Scotch! Mes amis, nous avons seulement le Caribou

MCGEE: Lead me to yer Caribou, mon frere; either end, no odds to me.

EXEUNT, as a voice offstage begins to sing “THERE WAS A TIME IN THIS FAIR LAND WHEN THE RAILROAD DID NOT RUN WHEN THE WILD MAJESTIC MOUNTAINS STOOD ALONE AGAINST THE SUN…"

BLACKOUT.

ACT TWO SCENE TWO

A RUSTIC FRENCH TAVERN, with a JOLLY INNKEEPER. MCGEE, MACDONALD, and THE REBELS are DISHEVELED, UNSHAVEN, somewhat DIRTY, and very DRUNK. RIEL is asleep. The PIGEON is drinking CARIBOU from MCGEE’s glass.

MACDONALD: Shiver mes timberes! Vous have debauched mon pigeon!

SECOND REBEL: Je pense eet ees a self-debauching pigeon.

PIGEON: WHO SAID THAT I WILL FIGHT YOU.

MCGEE, in an UNDERTONE: Shut up, you stupid bird! You will give us away!

The PIGEON subsides, hiccuping, into RIEL's shoulder. RIEL wakes with a start.

MCGEE and the SECOND REBEL are getting extremely friendly in a corner of the RUSTIC TAVERN. MCGEE’s shirt has vanished, and the SECOND REBEL is using his DISTINCTIVE RED SASH to bind MCGEE's wrists together.

MCGEE: Could I thrrrrrrouble vous to be puttin’ cette pipe out if ye mean to plant a kiss on mon face?

SECOND REBEL: Ah, mon petit chou, once you become accustomed to mon pipe you will enjoy it very much, non?

They EMBRACE PASSIONATELY and EXIT.

RIEL: Ah, l'amour! And yet the hour, it grows late. If we wish to catch the midnight train to Ottawa, we must go soon, non?

FIRST REBEL: Ah, oui, mon ami! There is first only the little matter of l'addition.

MACDONALD: Ah, yes, certainly. (To INNKEEPER): What is the sum, my good man?

INNKEEPER: Ah, let me see, here ... trois, quatre, sept, huit ... one thousand, eight hundred and sixty-seven dollars, monsieur.

MACDONALD: Mon Dieu! How is this possible?

INNKEEPER: Monsieur, you 'ave been here for neuf days, and in all that time you 'ave not ceased to drink. Also you informed me that the drinks of votre ami le pirate and of these four gentlemen as well were on you.

MACDONALD: I ... have not so much money on me, my good man. I must send for some. Where is the telegraph office?

INNKEEPER: Ah, I am not so fou comme to allow you to leave my sight until I am paid, monsieur. I 'ave 'ere le form pour le telegraph and will send it avec le garcon for an additional sum most reasonable.

MACDONALD looks affronted, but take the TELEGRAPH FORM and writes. He folds it twice and hands it to the INNKEEPER'S BOY, who enters from STAGE LEFT BY SOUTH LEFT to accept it, but fumbles it and drops it at the feet of the THIRD REBEL.

THIRD REBEL: Un moment, mon fils!

He picks up, unfolds, and EXAMINES the form; the PIGEON is sitting on his shoulder, reading along. It FLEES THROUGH THE OPEN WINDOW and is not seen again.

THIRD REBEL: Betrayed! Comrades! We have been foully betrayed!

The FIRST and FOURTH REBELS SPRING from their chairs and SEIZE MACDONALD and RIEL; they resist MANFULLY but are soon subdued. The SECOND REBEL enters STAGE RIGHT BY SOUTH RIGHT, wearing only his UNBUTTONED TROUSERS. He is accompanied by MCGEE, wearing only the SECOND REBEL's DISTINCTIVELY PATTERNED RED SCARF. They view the developing scene with ALARM.

THIRD REBEL: The telegraph our friend here has written — it is to the president of the CPR!

The SECOND and FOURTH REBEL are AGHAST. MCGEE rolls his EYES.

THIRD REBEL: And it is signed —

The THIRD REBEL pauses for effect and strikes a HEROIC POSE

THIRD REBEL: — Sir John A. Macdonald!

The REBELS break into an EXCITED HUBBUB. RIEL and MCGEE exchange SPEAKING GLANCES. MACDONALD strikes a pose as NOBLE AS POSSIBLE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

FIRST REBEL: So, you have come ‘ere to spy on us, to learn our plans, and to confound our intentions to make ourselves maitres chez nous!

MACDONALD: I have no accord with the desire expressed in some quarters that by any mode whatever there should be an attempt made to oppress the one language or to render it inferior to the other - I believe that would be impossible if it were tried, and it would be foolish and wicked if it were possible.

FIRST REBEL: I feel comme nous avons deja heard cette merde.

SECOND REBEL: And you other gentlemen are?

RIEL: Confrere, I am Louis Riel, Metis revolutionary!

MCGEE: And I am Thomas D’Arcy McGee, Member of Parliament for Montreal West and secret Fenian.

THIRD REBEL: And you’re sneaking around with the Prime Minister of Canada, dressed as pirates, pourquoi, exactly?

RIEL: We have allowed ourselves to fall into the hands of a Government which only thinks of us to pillage us. Mes amis, c’est l’amour!

ALL THREE REBELS eye MACDONALD sceptically. MACDONALD attempts to resemble the object of a hopeless passion, then shrugs. The REBELS turn to MCGEE.

MCGEE: Whiskey. Reasonable odds of a fight. And surprisingly good blowjobs. Plus, have you ever been in Ottawa at this time of year? Anything’s better.

(Note to director: this line need not be adjusted to reflect the seasons, as road removal and snow repair are equally filthy)

THIRD REBEL: Confreres, they will betray our plans, and destroy our movement!

MCGEE: You have plans?

MACDONALD: I’m the Prime Minister, who am I going to tell?

RIEL: There must surely be a way to settle this without bloodshed, mes amis!

MCGEE: We have talked together, we have drunk together, we have embraced as true comrades —

The SECOND REBEL pulls MCGEE into his arms and they KISS, passionately but BRIEFLY —

MCGEE: Surely we can settle our differences as men of honour!

FIRST REBEL: What is it that you propose, then, monsieur? A duel?

RIEL: I will fight you if you so decree, though it goes to my own heart, and keenly, to seek the life of so brave a man.

MACDONALD: I forbid it!

MCGEE: A bonspiel!

ALL: A bonspiel?

RIEL: No, mes amis, a lacrosse match!

ALL: A lacrosse match?

THIRD REBEL: Non, mon ami! If we play for the future of the glorious nation of Quebec —

MACDONALD: — Lower Canada —

ALL REBELS: Quebec.

THIRD REBEL: then there is only one game to play. We play for the future of our nation —

MACDONALD - our glorious Confederation —

THIRD REBEL: We play hockey.

RIEL: Une bonne idee!

MCGEE: Tres bien!

The GHOST of LOUIS-JOSEPH PAPINEAU appears, drifting into view from the FLIES above. Neither the REBELS nor our HEROES take any notice of him.

PAPINEAU: I feel like there are a lot of holes in this plan.

PAPINEAU is whisked back into the FLIES, abruptly.

MACDONALD: Have I any alternative?

SECOND REBEL: We could revisit the notion of shooting you down as a damned spy who welshes on his bar bill.

MACDONALD: I’ll play goal.

FIRST REBEL: First, Prime Minister, we set terms. If our team - which we will call Les Habitants - wins, you will acknowledge Quebec as a distinct society and permit us to conduct business, worship, and educate our children en Francais.

MACDONALD: I will even throw in signage with the French bigger than the English. But should the Confederation team win, you in turn will acknowledge that whether this country was conquered or ceded, we have a constitution now under which all British subjects are in a position of absolute equality, having equal rights of every kind - of language, of religion, of property and of person. There is no paramount race in this country; we are all British subjects, and those who are not English are none the less British subjects on that account.

All four REBELS look APPALLED, but nod, grudgingly.

FIRST REBEL: We will leave you now, gentlemen. Tomorrow, our fate is decided!

The REBELS exit, leaving our HEROES and the INNKEEPER, who picks up the crumpled telegraph from the floor and waves it under MACDONALD’s nose.

INNKEEPER: And what about my money, eh?

EXEUNT, SQUABBLING; as the sound of their dispute dies away a voice is heard singing offstage: “HELLO OUT THERE WE’RE ON THE AIR IT’S HOCKEY NIGHT TONIGHT TENSION GROWS THE WHISTLE BLOWS AND THE PUCK GOES DOWN THE ICE…"

BLACKOUT

INTROMISSION.

ACT THREE SCENE ONE:

A HOCKEY RINK.

RIEL, MCGEE, MACDONALD, The HONOURABLE GEORGE BROWN, SIR JAMES COCKBURN, and GENERAL SIR WILLIAM DILLON OTTER are WARMING UP on one end of the RINK. The FOUR REBELS, accompanied by TWO MORE REBELS, are at the other, and TWO MOUNTIES in LINESMAN’S shirts are conferring with THE GHOST OF THE MOTHER OF WILLIAM LYON MACKENZIE KING, who is the REFEREE. MACKENZIE-KING’S MOTHER’S GHOST is wearing the 2015 MISS CANADA’S COSTUME for NO GOOD REASON.

As MACKENZIE KING’S MOTHER drops the puck and PLAY begins we see RIEL fouled by the THIRD REBEL, and the WHISTLE blows. Both are sent to the PENALTY BOX, where they sit POINTEDLY IGNORING one another. THE FIFTH REBEL scores, and MACDONALD DRINKS from a FLASK he has concealed in his RUSTIC GOALIE PADS.

Play continues and MCGEE is called for HIGH-STICKING. The HABITANTS take advantage of the power-play to score once again, and MACDONALD again drinks, shaking his head in DISGUST.

As the CONFEDERATION win the faceoff and MCGEE returns to the ICE it can be seen that the FIRST AND FOURTH REBEL are TAG-TEAMING RIEL, who is attempting to move THE PUCK towards the BLUE LINE. Frustrated, RIEL resorts to SHOVING and a FIGHT breaks out between RIEL and the FOURTH REBEL. The MOUNTIE LINESMEN immediately separate them, and MACKENZIE KING’S MOTHER gives them each a PENALTY for FIGHTING. They skate to the SIN BIN, still arguing, but once seated begin to CONVERSE INTENTLY, arms about one another’s MANLY SHOULDERS.

The FENIANS invade, from stage RIGHT-BY-SOUTH-RIGHT, and break into an IRISH DANCE ROUTINE.

MACKENZIE-KING’S MOTHER’s GHOST blows her WHISTLE.

FIRST FENIAN: Alright, me bhoys, let’s show these English what we’re made of!

MCGEE: English?

RIEL: English?

FIRST, SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH, FIFTH, AND SIXTH REBELS: ANGLAIS?

The REBELS begin to AGGRESSIVELY PERFORM a TRADITIONAL QUEBECOIS DANCE on the unoccupied end of the RINK.

MACKENZIE-KING’S MOTHER’s GHOST blows her WHISTLE to the tune of WAKE UP.

MACDONALD DRINKS.

MCGEE: As MP for Montreal-West I protest this intrusion upon my riding! What is the meaning of this outrage?

SECOND FENIAN: We will annex your riding and hold it until the Queen agrees to return Ireland to the Irish!

THIRD FENIAN: What is a “riding"?

MACKENZIE-KING’S MOTHER’s GHOST: I feel like there are a lot of holes in this plan.

FOURTH FENIAN: What do you know about foreign policy anyway?

MACKENZIE-KING’S MOTHER’s GHOST: A surprising amount, actually.

MACDONALD: I’m afraid you gentlemen will have to wait. We are in the middle of a very important hockey game.

THIRD FENIAN: What is “hockey"?

MCGEE: Like hurling, on ice, with more fighting.

FIRST FENIAN: This I have to see.

The FENIANS find seats near CENTRE ICE and MACKENZIE-KING’S MOTHER’S GHOST blows her WHISTLE.

As play resumes it can be seen that RIEL has ASSUMED THE JERSEY of the HABITANTS.

MACDONALD rushes toward RIEL and falls flat on his face as he leaves the CREASE.

MACDONALD: But id ber meaning ob dis?

RIEL: Sorry, John-A-Boy. Rebels gonna reb.

MACDONALD: I am betrayed!

MCGEE: I feel like you’re probably used to that by now.

MACKENZIE KING’S MOTHER’S GHOST blows her whistle.

MACKENZIE KING’S MOTHER’S GHOST: MACDONALD, you ought to be in goal.

MACDONALD: And this traitor ought to be in gaol!

As play resumes the SCOREBOARD shows a TIE. The TEAMS are arranged for a SHOOTOUT. RIEL has the puck for the HABITANTS while MACDONALD is in goal.

MCGEE is narrating the action to the FENIANS.

MCGEE: RIEL’s got the puck and here he comes over the line, he’s coming right down the centre, MACDONALD getting ready, RIEL shoots, HE SCORES and it’s THE HABITANTS!

The TEAMS line up on ice for a HANDSHAKE. As RIEL and MACDONALD meet they eye one another dubiously, then skate aside to CONVERSE SERIOUSLY.

The lights FADE TO BLACK and a voice OFFSTAGE begins to sing “YOU GET UP EVERY MORNING FROM THE ALARM CLOCK’S WARNING TAKE THE 8:15 INTO THE CITY THERE’S A WHISTLE UP ABOVE AND PEOPLE PUSHIN’ PEOPLE SHOVIN’...

ACT THREE SCENE TWO

MACDONALD’S OFFICE, in OTTAWA. RIEL, MCGEE and MACDONALD are DOLEFULLY NIBBLING at a MAPLE-SUGAR MODEL of the PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY.

RIEL: So. That happened.

MACDONALD and MCGEE DRINK.

MCGEE: Hell of a game, though.

RIEL and MACDONALD NOD.

RIEL: And the Quebecois rebellion has been quelled.

MACDONALD: Because we gave in to their demands.

MCGEE: To be fair, they were pretty reasonable demands.

MACDONALD: I suppose. But we can’t afford for that sort of thing to catch on.

RIEL: We who, white man?

MACDONALD and RIEL glare at one another for a moment, then relax.

MACDONALD: You may have a point. MAY.

RIEL: I have always been one to aim at the practical result.

MACDONALD: I noticed.

RIEL: But mon cher, did you not tell me you wished me to join their rebellion to ensure its failure? Had they lost the game, their unrest and anger would only have festered, to erupt at some less suitable time.

MACDONALD: That … that is actually brilliant.

MCGEE: Gentlemen, I propose we celebrate this victory in a suitable fashion. Immediately. Upon this comfortable carpet.

RIEL: I feel like there are a lot of holes in this plan.

MCGEE: Exactly.

MACDONALD, MCGEE, and RIEL begin to DISROBE ENTHUSIASTICALLY.

MCGEE: Damn! We totally forgot about the Fenians!

RIEL: So we did. They’re probably still occupying the arena.

MACDONALD: Oh, well.

BLACKOUT. OFFSTAGE, to the accompaniment of a WAILING GUITAR, a voice begins to sing “HE PLAYED IN THE MINORS HE WAS A PUCK STOP ONE DAY HE DROVE INTO THIS TRUCK STOP WHEN HE SAW HER ABOVE THE CROWD AND THE DIN AND HIS HEART MADE A NOISE LIKE A TRUCK YOU FORGOT TO PLUG IN …"

THE END.