Writing with our Feet
Kevin Black and Debra Gordon, in the production of 'Writing with our Feet' at the Carnegie Mellon Showcase of Plays, Pittsburgh 1991.
A young man suffers from agoraphobia, and lives in his garage under a Montreal expressway. He understands he must eventually leave, and summons the ghost of his sister to help him. This short play is the opening scene of the full-length version of Writing with our Feet and is often performed as a stand-alone piece.
About now, or soon, and in the past, mostly after the death of JF’s parents and the recent death of his sister Sophie.
Ostensibly a garage underneath an access ramp in Montreal.
Writing with our Feet premiered at Hamilton's Theatre Terra Nova in 1990, with Nigel Hamer as Jean-Francois and Suzanne Belanger as Sophie.
My sister and I really did learn how to write with our feet. It was 1964 and the recent, unexpected death of a President was weighing heavily on our minds. If Kennedy could be bumped off so easily, what horrors awaited two youngsters living in Camelot’s northernmost suburbs? At the very least: the loss of our hands. We were not impressed by our school insurance forms, which promised us a windfall $500 for each off-lopped extremity. We knew this wouldn’t be enough. We knew we had to develop competent backup systems. The entire neighbourhood could play at being outdoors children, but my sister and I huddled in the dark, practicing our toes for an inevitable physiological Armageddon.
Nearly three decades have passed.
Neither my sister nor I have yet to lose a body part.
I’m beginning to think that footwriting in a darkened room while the rest of the world romps in the sun is some kind of metaphor.
Jean-Francois, my footwriting hero, eventually realizes his feet are best used for walking out into the world. My sister and I? We gave up footwriting and went into theatre. My sister found theatre first, but then again she was always a much better footwriter. This play is dedicated to her.
For Jan Carley