The Book of Jessica
A Theatrical Transformation
- Winner, Chalmers Canadian Play Award 1996
- Winner, Quizanne International Festival Award 1996
- Winner, Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play 1996
Part dialogue, part narrative, part playscript, this unique book contains the award-winning play Jessica, as well as the extraordinary story of its making.
"Imagine one woman acting out another woman's life before that woman's eyes. Imagine that the woman improvising is white, and the woman watching is Metis. Imagine that the two women collaborate on a play: fight over the plays, do not speak to each other for years, and finally reconcile, recording their tempestuous journey in a book which ends with the play.- Janet Silman
Essentially that is the process that culminated in The Book of Jessica, the work of actress (playwright) Linda Griffiths and Metis activist Maria Campbell, author of Halfbreed. The result is a fascinating study not only of the tortuous birth of a magnificent play but of the relationship of two women driven apart and bound together by a maelstrom of internal and external forces. Their book changed me for the better. The spirit lives. "
"…a dense, mystical play about the spiritual journey of a young half-breed woman and about the process of change itself. After slipping into a life of prostitution and hard drugs, Jessica is rootless. She visits a native elder who creates a ceremony in which Jessica's animal spirits appear and promise to take her back through her life. Each represents an aspect of human existence. Crow is her special protector, he's unreliable and he gambles. Bear is a shaggy security blanket of strength, the Wolverine is vicious and terrifying but also has much to teach. Then a Unicorn arrives from Jessica's Celtic past, shocking the native spirits and all hell breaks loose. As the ceremony unfolds, each spirit enacts a character in Jessica's life. Bear becomes her boyfriend Sam, Unicorn, a friend from her drug days, Wolverine a lawyer who tries to own her. But Crow always remains Crow. A significant new play. " —Toronto Star