Whimsy State

By A.J. Demers

Whimsy State
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With a few drinks and some “Ayes!” three fishermen on a small island off the coast of Nova Scotia declare independence from Canada: henceforth, they shall be known as the Princes of the Principality of Outer Baldonia!

It’s 1948 when Russ, Elson, and Ron discover that the ... Read more


Overview

With a few drinks and some “Ayes!” three fishermen on a small island off the coast of Nova Scotia declare independence from Canada: henceforth, they shall be known as the Princes of the Principality of Outer Baldonia!

It’s 1948 when Russ, Elson, and Ron discover that the Canadian government plans to open their Atlantic commercial fishing rights to the Spanish, posing an overcrowding threat to business and wildlife. Russ, a vacationing American lawyer, has just purchased Outer Bald Tusket Island for $750. With a newly erected stone lodge, plenty of fish, two new friends, and just enough frustration about rules and regulations, Russ can do what he pleases, including requesting official recognition from the United Nations for his fledgling state and declaring war on the USSR.

Based on an absolutely true story, this hilarious play about friendship shows that when ordinary people set out to do extraordinary things, the possibilities are endless.

A.J. Demers

A.J. Demers is a Toronto-based award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and producer. He holds an M.F.A. from UBC in creative writing. A.J. wrote and performed one hundred episodes of The Spin (winner of the Sam Ross Award) for CityTV. His writing includes shows on Viceland, CMT, and CBC. A.J. is an alumnus of the 2018 Canadian Film Centre’s Bell Media Prime Time TV Program and the National Screen Institute’s Feature First Program. In addition to his writing, A.J. has performed in well over two thousand improvised stage shows around the world and spent three years touring with the ABBA tribute band, Bjorn Again.

Excerpt

Scene Nine: You’re Invited

Inside the castle.

Elson and Ron enter.

Elson: So tell me again, why’d ya name our money the Tunar?

Ron: T’ reflect our cultural heritage.

Elson: It sounds stupid.

Ron: I minted up coins. See, a ten Tunar piece. One OB.

Elson: I didn’t know you had artistic talent.

Ron: I don’t just fix cars.

Elson: One OB?

Ron: Instead of 1948 AD, OB for Outer Bald—?

Elson: Get it. Where’d you get the silver?

Ron: From the ladle in Ma’s silver service.

Elson: Gladys’s silver service? Oh you’re gunna get it for that.

Ron: Ah she never cooks soup anymore, not since the bisque incident.

Elson: Okay. And why does the coat of arms have a sheep on it?

Ron: Well the sheep was here first, so a tuna and the lobster flanking the sheep—? Nesbit.

Elson: What?

Ron: Nesbit.

Beat.

The sheep.

Elson: You named the sheep?

Ron: It was my grandfather’s name. It’s Old English.

Elson: Nesbit?

Ron: It’s a good name. And the little guy has been here on the island longer than us.

Russ enters.

Russ: Gentlemen.

Ron: Ahem?!

Russ: Apologies. Your lordships.

Elson: Oh regal high lord.

Russ: I have news.

Ron: Do tell your most exaltedness.

Russ: We have received a diplomatic invitation.

Elson: A what? Ron: We got a what?

Russ: An invitation to a diplomatic function. It’s our third this week.

Elson: How did we manage that?

Russ: Well I listed my office as the consulate for Baldonia in the federal registry in Washington, DC. Princess McGinnis took—?

Elson: Wait. You listed us as an embassy? Russ, that could get us in a whole lot of trouble.

Ron: Wait, wait, wait. Back right up. Princess? I thought we agreed no women.

Russ: Yeah, you see, after I listed the office, we started getting all sorts of calls—?meet and greets, formal invitations, requests for information on imports. So—?

Elson: Imports?

Russ: Yeah.

Elson: We don’t have any imports.

Russ: I know, but Florence felt a little weird saying Baldonia imported nothing so she told the man from the US Department of State that we mostly imported rum and exported empty bottles.

Ron: I thought we said no women?

Russ: After I listed in Washington the calls started to come into the office and Florence was complaining about the extra work. “I’m not answering these calls,” “This is silly,” “I want a raise,” so I made her a princess and that seemed to make her happy.

Ron: But the constitution—?

Russ: She’s not allowed on the island, but the charter does not say that there can’t be female citizens and therefore princesses.

Ron: Point taken.

Elson: So you had Princess McGinnis lie to the American government?

Russ: No, she did that on her own. She’s quite a self-?starter.

Elson: Great. They’re gunna arrest the whole lot of us.

Russ: Anyway, this whole week we have been getting calls at the embassy and invites to all sorts of stuff. We had two calls from the National Geographic Society, one from the American Board on Geographic names, and a letter from Rand McNally.

Ron: The map company?

Russ: In response to my letter where I royally commanded them to identify Outer Baldonia on all future maps of North America.

Elson: You commanded them?

Russ: Well I figured that royalty does not request. You should see the letterhead I sent it on.

Ron: So what’d they say?

Russ: They’ll get back to us.

Elson: Get to this invitation?

Russ: Soon. I’m saving the best for last. We had three calls from various embassies and even a telegram from the government of Canada saying that it was undecided about whether to recognize us as a new state and potential neighbouring kingdom, but they were happy that we had recognized them.

Elson: Ottawa couldn’t recognize a fist if it hit them in the face.

Russ: Oh and the Halifax chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous granted all Outer Baldonians complimentary memberships.

Elson: I didn’t think that they had members.

Russ: They don’t, but according to their letter those at the meeting felt that in the spirit of Baldonia they had better create an honorary membership for all of us.

Ron: Well I don’t think we need AA memberships, but I’ll drink to the offer.

Elson: Get to the invitation?

Russ: Okay. Yesterday we received an invitation to a ball for prospective members of the new UN.

Ron: What’s a UN?

Russ: The United Nations. It’s like the League of Nations but more potluck and with a kid’s table. Outer Baldonia has been invited to apply for membership.

Elson: You can’t go.

Russ: I have to go.

Ron: He has to go.

Elson: You can’t.

Russ: I have to.

Ron: He has to. He’s the head of state.

Elson: He’s not a real leader.

Russ: I RSVP’d.

Elson: What does that have to do with anything?

Ron: It’d be rude to miss.

Russ: Yes. Bad form.

Ron: Yes. People’d look down on Baldonia.

Elson: Look down on Baldonia? Look down on Baldonia? They’ll throw you out or worse.

Ron: They might.

Russ: They won’t. They can’t touch me.

Elson: And why not?

Russ: Because I have diplomatic immunity.

Elson: Diplomatic immunity? I think we are taking this all a bit too far. I mean, it’s been fun to play around with, but this is getting out of hand.

Russ: Out of hand? Elson! This is just getting fun.

Elson: Jail isn’t fun. And that’s where they send people who commit fraud.

Russ: Ah, but it isn’t fraud. Because we’ve declared independence, we aren’t committing fraud. We are freedom fighters struggling against an oppressive and cruel regime.

Elson: Canada? Oppressive and cruel?

Russ: You’ve always said that Ottawa should get off the backs of the little people.

Ron: (to Elson, inhaling affirmatively) Yah! Less government and more freedom.

Russ: We can stand up and show the world.

Ron: Yeah, show ’em how it’s done.

Elson: Well . . .

Russ: Elson?

Elson: All right. On one condition. That you don’t get into any trouble and you don’t do anything to makes us look foolish.

Ron: That’s two conditions.

Russ: (to Elson) Agreed.

Elson: The Prince of Princes shall attend.

Russ: That’s my Elson.

Reviews

“Amazingly fascinating, the comedy hits the right pitch.” 

“A briskly paced, intelligently drawn parable about big ideas and ideals in a very small world.” 

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