About the book
- Shortlisted for the City of Regina Book Award
About the author
Dianne Warren is the author of three plays, The Last Journey of Captain Harte, Serpent in the Night Sky, which was short-listed for the Governor General's Award for Drama, and Club Chernobyl, which won the City of Regina Book Award. Dianne is also the author of two books of short fiction, The Wednesday Flower Man, and Bad Luck Dog, which won the Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award. She has won both Western and National Magazine Awards for her fiction. She lives in Regina.
Harte is sitting on the edge of the hospital bed, packed and ready to go. The letter is open. Harte studies a photograph, then reads the letter. When he's partway through the nurse enters and watches him.
Harte: (Reading.) "Dear William. Or perhaps I should call you Cap. Charlie always called you Cap, short for Captain I understand, but I don't know why. There must be a story. This is a difficult letter for me to write. I know how close you and Charlie were, and I thought you would want to be informed that he passed away a week ago yesterday as the result of a farming accident. The doctors tell me he died instantly with no suffering, so that is a blessing, if there is a blessing to be found anywhere in this. You grasp at straws. Our boys, Andrew and Joel, are too young to really understand what has happened, but they'll miss Charlie and I will try to keep his memory alive for them. I don't know what else to tell you. I hope this letter reaches you. I am sending it to the last address we have for you. Perhaps we'll meet some day in happier times. All the best to you. Sincerely, Marguerite Waker." (Pause.) Charlie. Christ.
Harte folds the letter and exits.
Nurse: Now there's someone you can call.
Harte: I've been trying to call, but the lines...let's just say it's not quite the twentieth century over here.
Marguerite: Where are you calling from?
Harte: Pakistan. Karachi, Pakistan. Other side of the world. (Pause.) Marguerite? Are you still there?
Marguerite: Yes. I was just wondering... Pakistan. Imagine. Well, Charlie said you'd spend your life travelling. I guess he was right. Are you still in the merchant marine?
Harte: No. Not for years. Marguerite, the thing is, I've got an opportunity, and I made a promise to Charlie, a long time ago, I know, but would you mind...? I was wondering if you'd mind if I came for a visit. A quick visit. I wouldn't stay long.
Marguerite: A visit? Here? Come all the way from Pakistan?
Harte: This opportunity...
Marguerite: (Interrupts.) Please. Do come. It's been a long time since Charlie... I would be so glad to see you.
Harte: You would?
Marguerite: Of course. A friend of Charlie's is always welcome.
Marguerite: He talked about you often. You know, there's a photograph of you and Charlie. I'm sure of it. You and Charlie... I don't remember where, but you're standing in front of a statue. A famous statue somewhere.
Harte: No kidding.
Marguerite: I'll have to try and find that photograph. Put a face to the voice.
Harte: I don't imagine I'll look much like the man in the picture. Lot of water under the bridge.
Marguerite: Yes, well, that old devil time.
Harte: I have a photograph of you.
Marguerite: Of me?
Harte: And Charlie and the boys. The one you sent in the letter.
Harte: When Charlie passed away.
Marguerite: I enclosed a picture? It's guaranteed not to be a likeness. Not anymore.
“Dianne Warren is a major new voice in Canadian theatre.” >>
— University of Guelph
“Warren connects with the potential in all of us for disillusionment and renewal, and with the unquenchable desire to know and experience more, no matter what position we occupy on destiny's wheel.” >>
“Marguerite, the play's protagonist, has been rooted to her farm and has found strength there for the 14 years of her widowhood and is now facing the recent death of one of her two sons. In Marguerite, Warren has created…” >>
— NeWest Review
“Dianne Warren is a welcome addition to the long list of talented prairie writers.” >>
— The Globe & Mail