For Godly and Divinia / Godly's Divinia (A Love Story)
An aboriginal adaptation of Romeo and Juliet by the well-known Canadian actor and playwright Billy Merasty, the play is more commonly known as Godly's Divinia (A Love Story). In an interview Merasty states that the play "is a kind of 'native Romeo and Juliet, based on the story of my brother and his girlfriend, who both died very tragically.' He's hoping to have the play produced in Toronto in the next year or two." (click here for the full article/interview). In June 2000 the play was given a staged reading at the Factory Studio Cafe in Toronto. The staged reading of Merasty's play-in-development about a pair of star-struck Cree lovers featured Tamara Podemski, Darrell Dennis, Tim Hill, Bossy Ducharmes and Ryan McMahon. Jun 20 at 8 pm, Jun 21 at 4 and 8 pm at the Factory Studio Cafe.
"Manitoba-born actor and writer Billy Merasty comes from a distinguished line of First Nations artists. His uncles, the late ballet dancer Renee Highway and the writer Tomson Highway provided gay-positive role models for the young Two-Spirited man growing up in a homophobic small town in northern Manitoba. Merasty's involvement with Toronto's Native Earth Performing Arts Incorporated provided him with an artistic context in which he was accepted as a gay artist by other Aboriginal people" (qtd. from http://www.clga.ca/About/NPC/MerastyB-151.htm).
Excerpt from For Godly and Divinia
HAPPY Godly! There you are. I thought I lost you or that you might have taken off on me, here. look at this. (shows him his bunch of flowers) Ever notice all these different kinds of wild, wild flowers that we have around here? Eewa? You wanna know why I picked this bunch?. flowers for the slain, for the kill, for the duck I killed and. for the Loon you . because, because we had to kill them to eat. flowers for these two beautiful creatures. Flowers for forgiveness. (Happy finally sees Divinia) Ohh.
GODLY Awinuk oom keetha? (Who are you?).
DIVINIA Divinia Oopaline.
GODLY You look like a Fullblood, are you perhaps Grandville Oogooma'oo Fullblood's daughter?
DIVINIA Yes, I am.
DIVINIA (Laughs a sly laugh) Keetha maga? (and you?)
GODLY Godly. Godly Mee'goo
DIVINIA Godly Mee'goo Lightskin na?
GODLY Umm, yeah. igwa my brother Happy.
HAPPY Tansi Divinia?
DIVINIA Tansi Keesta Happy? Nice name.
HAPPY Thanks, hey, you have six older brothers, huh?
HAPPY Tapwe meecheet, are you ah, first born daughter?
DIVINIA Yes, I am.
HAPPY Oh. Our parents are Ch'Pierre Daniel Lightskin igwa Illuminella Muskee'gi.
DIVINIA I know.
GODLY Divinia, you're. so far away from your home? I mean, you r family lives on the reserve side, way on the other side from here. What are you doing here, all by yourself. Divinia Oopaline Fullblood?.
DIVINIA I was. I was following this loon, saw him fly by and I followed his call.
GODLY Oh. I shot it.
HAPPY He it with only one shot too.
GODLY But its head was. blown off by the impact of the bullet.
HAPPY Yeah and I got this duck at the same time too. Yeah! We shot them both together. Yeah. Together. After 'our signal,' then Aim, 2, 3, BANG!
(DIVINIA screams and drops her pail. The berries spill out. Happy screams too.)
DIVINIA (Laughing) Neee. my berries.
HAPPY My fault, I'm sorry.
GODLY Here, I'll help pick them up. (He begins to do so)
HAPPY Here, me too!
DIVINIA No, no, it's okay. They're spilt already.
GODLY Yeah, but you can still save some of them. (still trying to pick them up)
DIVINIA Please! DON'T! (Saying it with such conviction that Godly and Happy stop their actions and turn to look at Divinia, who then says to Godly). I came to see you.
DIVINIA Yeah. I came to see you. I, I wanted to see for myself, who, who this. who this young man was, this Godly Mee'goo Lightskin. who's been making quite the commotion with my father and my brothers. this 'impure mongrel pup.'
GODLY 'Impure mongrel pup' na? (They smile at each other and then laugh together.) Well, you wanna chain me up now and take me home? (Laughs again)
Merasty, Billy. For Godly and Divinia. ts. Native Earth Performing Arts Archives. L. W.
Conolly Theatre Archives. U of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, 1990. 11-13.