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For Godly and Divinia / Godly's Divinia (A Love Story)

Billy Merasty

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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.

Billy Merasty
Billy Merasty

"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.

GODLY   Divinia?

DIVINIA   Divinia Oopaline.

GODLY   You look like a Fullblood, are you perhaps Grandville Oogooma'oo Fullblood's daughter?

DIVINIA   Yes, I am.

GODLY   Wow.

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?

DIVINIA   Yes.

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.

HAPPY   Oh.

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.)

GODLY   Whoa!!

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.

GODLY   Me?.

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.

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