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quiver by anna chatterton

Read an excerpt from Quiver

By Playwrights Canada Press Date: January 10, 2019

Oh, to be a vulnerable teenager. In Quiver, Maddie, a shy fourteen-year-old, has had her fill of problems in a short period of time; her party-girl sister Bea scandalously ran off with their mother’s ex, and then their mother left for the comfort of another lover. Maddie is suddenly taking care of herself. Feeling abandoned, she turns to her favourite comic book superhero, Arrowette.

Playwright Anna Chatterton really nails Maddie’s voice, which is so evident in this scene in which Maddie discovers the army, thinking she will find a new family she can count on. Maddie’s turmoil hits a peak when she picks up a pair of scissors, sparking an argument with her sister.

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At the apartment. MADDIE, alone, eating dry cereal and watching Saturday morning cartoons.

MADDIE: Saturday morning I was watching TV and eating cereal without milk because there was no more left and I didn’t feel like going to buy some.

Heroic army commercial music plays. 

And I saw a commercial about the army and there were girls running in uniform. They looked strong; they looked like Arrowette. The commercial said that being in the army is being part of a family, forever. And it doesn’t matter what party nobody talked to you at, or whether you have kissed someone, or if you still read comics: you are in the army and that trumps everything. And it doesn’t matter if your mom is never home and your sister ran off with your mom’s ex-boyfriend, because you are a family with all the other soldiers, not just in Canada, but all over the world.

The music stops.

Bea doesn’t care about me. The only reason she took me to the party was because she felt guilty, and then she dumped me for her friends. She’s not on my side. I’m going to join the army. I wish I was sixteen so I could join now. I almost can’t stand it. How am I going to wait a whole other year?

The sound of scissors chopping.

Chop, chop, chop, snip, snip. Chop chop chop, snip snip chop chop chop chop snip snip!

The school hallway.

BEA: WHAT DID YOU DO? WHY DID YOU CHOP YOUR HAIR OFF?? DID YOU CUT IT YOURSELF?

MADDIE: Yes.

BEA: MADDIE! Why did you cut your hair?

MADDIE: Why do you care?

BEA: Okay, you’re obviously mad because I left you alone at the party, but, fuck, I didn’t think you’d go crazy! Ali got majorly drunk and threw up and then passed out. And then, if you can believe it, I fell asleep and missed the whole party! Was it fun? Did you talk to people?

MADDIE: No.

BEA: No one? What did you do? Just sit there?

MADDIE: I got to get to class.

BEA: Are those Dad’s bow and arrows?

MADDIE: What?

BEA: Why are you still carrying arrows in your backpack?

MADDIE: . . . I needed them . . . for a project.

BEA: What kind of project?

MADDIE: What do you care?

A locker slams. MADDIE, alone.

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Need more of this family’s drama? Get your copy of Quiver now!

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