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Drama Canadian


A Demolition in Two Acts

by (author) Rick Chafe

Playwrights Canada Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2019
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2019
    List Price

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Put away the knives because tensions are rising in this kitchen renovation.

What could help patch up a marriage better than a home renovation? Wayne thinks he’s doing his wife Julie a favour by hiring a young couple to help redo the kitchen (at a fraction of the cost she’d hoped for). But Julie has higher standards in mind. John and Maggie think they’ve found a way to make some quick money to pay off the land John bought. John just proposed, but Maggie hasn’t given her answer yet. With both couples on edge amongst themselves and with each other, everything from kitchen cabinets and coffee makers to generational differences and life choices are cause for ridicule, making a play that’s hilarious and relatable.

About the author

Rick Chafe’s plays have been seen across Canada and include Marriage: A Demolition in Two Acts, Shakespeare’s Dog (adapted from Leon Rooke’s Governor General’s Literary Award–winning novel), The Odyssey, and the Governor General’s Literary Award finalist The Secret Mask. Rick's first movie, Strike! adapted with co-writer Danny Schur from their stage musical, will premiere in 2019. Rick lives in Winnipeg with his wife and daughter.

Rick Chafe's profile page

Excerpt: Marriage: A Demolition in Two Acts (by (author) Rick Chafe)

Julie: (blurting) We need a marriage counsellor!

Wayne: What?

Julie: Marriage counselling. We’re the reason it exists. We need it.

Wayne: Why? We’re fine.

Julie: My god, Wayne, we’re not fine! We survived the kids for what, to kill each other? I want to live again. I want to go out more than once a month; I want to do all the travelling we planned on; I want to buy things without an argument; I want to quit my job—I am so sick of my job. I might want to retire early, Wayne, like any second now.

Wayne: If you retire, we are seriously screwed.

Julie: You see? You’d be happy with the way things are for the rest of your life and I can’t stand the way things are for one more second and I don’t think we can even talk about it without a professional.

Wayne: We don’t need a professional. We can do this—we are capable of compromise.

Julie: I am compromising, Wayne. I wanted so much more out of this marriage than this, my list was very very long. This kitchen is my compromise. That’s what I’m settling for. You promised me a kitchen; this is my release valve to let the pressure off. Give me my kitchen or I am going to blow. I can feel it and it won’t be pretty.

Wayne: Okay, calm now—

Julie: Not calming, not calming at all. I can’t stand what we’ve become. Is this all you expected to be, Wayne? Is this really us?

Wayne: No, it is not.

Julie: We’re good people, we worked hard our whole lives. Is this what we deserved?

Wayne: No.

Julie: This isn’t good enough, but our lives are not over. We still have good years together. Right?

Wayne: Do we?

Julie: What?

Wayne: What if? Just think about it. What if?

Julie: What is this? Just say it.

Wayne: If we went broke. Would we still be together if we didn’t have any money?

Julie: Wayne— Sweetheart . . . Is that what you’re worried about?

Wayne: Only at night. And then in the day.

Julie: Sweetheart, we’ll be okay.

Wayne: I just don’t know anymore. What is there we can really count on?

Julie: On us, sweetheart. We can count on us. We’ve made it thirty years and, after everything, we’re still together. And we have savings, we have investments, we have my job, and even if disaster ever struck, we could sell the house and be fine, right?

Wayne: Right . . .

Julie: So can we please take this one little risk?


Wayne: Can you do this kitchen without going crazy?

Julie: I can do the most reasonable and thrifty kitchen humanly possible. Can you hold back from adding the cost of every screw on a calculator?

Wayne: I believe I can do that.

Julie: Okay.

Wayne: Okay.

Editorial Reviews

“Chafe has a great ear for dialogue.”

Joff Schmidt, CBC

“After each zesty one-liner gets hammered home you quickly realized how universal home renovation comedy is for all couples.”

Mike Green, Only in the Peg