The Queen of the Shuswap

ACT ONE, Scene One

Late spring, 1954.  Shuswap, BC.  Bored TEENAGERS: CANDICE, DODIE, BLONDIE, AL and BUD lounge around in Pop’s Café while members of the community parade past the building performing the tedious business of the day.

TEENAGERS: (Singing) NOTHING EVER HAPPENS IN THE SHUSWAP

Nothing ever happens in the Shuswap:
Every day is just another boring day;
Nothing every happens in the Shuswap,
And we can hardly wait to move away.

Summer’s fun in other places;
They’ve drive in movies and stock car races;
But nothing every happens in the Shuswap.
Penticton boasts of Queens and peaches,
And summer nights on silver beaches,
But nothing ever changes in the Shuswap

Oh, nothing ever happens in the Shuswap;
the weather’s always cold and dreary.
The politics just bland and scary;
How we wish that we could move away.

No harbour dreams or inner visions,
Just duplex schemes and bad decisions–
That’s all that happens in the Shuswap.
No nature walks or in-town beaches,
Just muddy bays and old wharf leeches
Nothing ever happens in the Shuswap,

Oh, nothing ever happens in the Shuswap;
The roads are always rough and hairy,
No fun guys/girls you’d want to marry;
How we wish that we could move away.

Song ends.  CANDICE flops on a stool behind the counter.  DODIE sulks in her soda. BLONDIE and the GUYS exit. . . .

 ACT ONE, Scene Two

The Mayor of the Shuswap and the members of the local Chamber of Commerce meet at Pop’s Café to “spit-ball” a few ideas at on how to bring tourists to the area.

MANNY:            Imagination, enterprise and a small outlay of cash will go a long way in developing a community’s reputation and get it on the map!

AL:                     A Roots and Blues Festival would be awesome.

ARVID:              Coloured boys like Oscar Peterson would never come to the Shuswap.

CANDICE:          What about a stampede?

HAWKES:          Falkland already has one.

ROSELAND:       A Grebe Festival could be fun—

ARVID:              Not my idea of a good time.  What is a grebe, anyway?

IDA:                    How about a salmon run celebration?  “Come to the Shuswap: 20 million sockeye can’t be wrong!”

ROSELAND:       I don’t think we want anything that smells like fish, dear.

                                          (Ida gets up and returns dirty dishes to the counter.) 

IDA:                    Yada, yada, yada!

MANNY:            What did you say, Ida?  Regatta?

ARVID:              Regatta.

HAWKES:          Regatta!  Well, I’ll be darned.  Now there is a good idea.

                                          (IDA and CANDICE exchange glances.)

MANNY:            How about a Tri-City Regatta?  Invite Vernon and Kamloops.

ARVID:              Have boat races at Sandy Point.

MANNY:            Appoint a commodore—

ROSELAND:       Organise a parade—

MANNY:            A big parade with dozens of floats, marching bands, and dignitaries from all over the Province—

CANDICE:          And a Queen of the Shuswap Pageant!  We could hold it here.  Right, Ma?

MANNY:            And a Queen Pageant . . ..

 (AL jeers as Candice balances The Power of Positive Thinking on her head and offers an arm to CONSTABLE HAWKES.  ARVID sings The Most Beautiful Girl in the World as the couple tours the room followed by tumultuous applause.)

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