Canada’s top playwright takes on teen pregnancy in two comic dramas for young people. Moss Park and Tough! collects two plays by George F. Walker – the iconic Tough!, which first premiered more than twenty years ago, and its sequel, Moss Park, which picks up two years after the first left off.
Bobby and Tina are the young, on-again-off-again couple dealing with their first pregnancy. Jill is Tina’s stalwart and fearsome friend. The three meet in a city park one evening to go over their options. (In fact, Moss Park is one of Toronto’s toughest inner-city neighbourhoods – historically working-class – and it’s where Walker himself grew up.) Both plays are funny and charming, but bitingly realistic and disarming. Both plays are about young people but for everyone. And both plays seethe with righteous anger about the gap between the wealthy and the poor.
Now, both plays are available in one volume for $19.95. Below, read part of the opening scene from Moss Park, from pages 69–72.
TINA and BOBBY walk on.
BOBBY: Only thing he says is, “You have to answer yes to all these questions or you don’t get the job. Do you have a licence? Do you have a safe driving record? Can you drive a standard shift? Can you sew?”
TINA: Can you what?
BOBBY: Sew. Because when I’m not delivering the carpets I’m supposed to be sewing binding around all these leftover pieces to make little mats. So yeah, I tell him I can sew.
TINA: You lie.
BOBBY: Right. Because what’s one more lie?
TINA: You lied about something else?
BOBBY: Yeah. About the standard shift. Man, I was sure that was going to be the deal breaker.
TINA: Oh. But not the sewing.
BOBBY: Before I even got to the sewing, it was the stick shift I had to worry about. I mean, how was I gonna fake that, right? I’m pretty good at faking things but –
TINA: What? No, you’re not.
BOBBY: I faked my way all the way through high school, Tina.
TINA: Is that what you think?
BOBBY: It’s the truth.
TINA: No, it’s bullshit. You think you tricked those teachers or something? Most of them passed you outta pity.
BOBBY: Pity? Whatya talking about?
TINA: They felt sorry for you, Bobby.
TINA: For the same reason a lot of people do.
BOBBY: Yeah, and what’s that?
TINA: I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure that out. Anyway it was pity and nothing else that got you through school.
BOBBY: That’s your opinion.
TINA: That’s everyone’s opinion.
BOBBY: Everyone’s? Come on. Okay. My dad’s for sure but he’s just –
TINA: What happened?
TINA: When you tried to drive the store’s car.
BOBBY: It wasn’t a car. You can’t deliver carpets in a freakin’ car. It was a shitty old VW van, which I taught myself how to drive in an hour in the parking lot.
BOBBY: Well good enough to get the thing moving and start my deliveries. And I had like twelve of them, right? So that’s twelve times carrying these monster freakin’ carpets up three, four sometimes five flights of stairs because none of the buildings around here have elevators for some reason.
TINA: Well most of them are public housing. And they didn’t put fancy things like elevators in them.
BOBBY: Right. So what are people in public housing doing buying carpets anyway?
TINA: Why shouldn’t they have carpets?
BOBBY: I’m not saying they shouldn’t have them. I’m saying why do they need them.
TINA: That store’s merchandise is cheap shit. They shouldn’t even have cheap, shitty carpets on their floors? Is that what you’re saying? Only people who live in buildings with elevators should have carpets, so you wouldn’t have to carry them up the stairs … I’m probably going to wind up in public housing.
BOBBY: No fucking way.
TINA: Yeah. Probably. And if I do, I might like a carpet for our child to play on instead of that stupid parquet crap. But forget about me. You just keep complaining.
BOBBY: I wasn’t complaining. I was just telling you something.
TINA: It sounded like you were complaining.
BOBBY: Well I wasn’t. Not that I couldn’t after what happened.
TINA: Which was what?
BOBBY: I threw out my back.
TINA : Really?
BOBBY: Yeah, and I was in a lot of pain from it too.
TINA: Really. And this is from carrying carpets …
BOBBY: Yeah. And carrying them up five flights of stairs. So it was bad.
TINA: How bad? I mean, could you walk?
BOBBY: I could walk. But it hurt. So you know, I thought I’d better lie down for a while, right?
TINA: Yeah. Lie down where?
BOBBY: In the van. You know, in the back. So I did that. And I guess I fell asleep.
TINA: You guess?
BOBBY: Not really.
TINA: So you did fall asleep. In the middle of the day, while you were supposed to be working … you had a nap.
BOBBY: Yeah. But just because of my back.
TINA: Right. And when you woke up?
BOBBY: It was kinda late.
TINA: Whatya mean by “kinda late”?
BOBBY: Kinda … dark.
TINA: Dark. You mean like it gets at night.
BOBBY: Yeah. And … when I got back to the store the boss was just about to close up. And guess what he tells me? He tells me he called the cops because he thought I’d stolen the van.
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