Banff the Beautiful

Written By: Wayne Ferguson

Synopsis: Following an exhilarating day of powder skiing on Norquay, Harry, a former downhill racer whose World Cup career ended prematurely in a crash on an Austrian race course, and Jack, a transplant from Winnipeg’s North End, who is trying to stitch his frayed dreams back together, join Timberline and Harry’s wife, Suzanne, in the King Eddy beer parlour. Timberline, a member of the Winter Festival Committee, wants to recruit Suzanne to handle the figure skating events and Harry to call the square dancing, in the upcoming Festival. Always looking for a self-aggrandizing opportunity, Harry jumps at the chance. Jack has a drug-induced crack-up. Harry and Suzanne agree to help out even while they quarrel about Harry’s overweening need to become a member of the local business and social establishment.
In scene 2, Merv, a ski instructor and ladies’ man spots Monique in the lounge at the Banff Springs Hotel, and approaches her. Rebuffing him, she is clear that she regards ski instructors the same way a fawn would a wolverine, but agrees to let him know, at some time, whether she would accept a call from him.
Determined to find the financial and social success denied him as a downhill racer, Harry devotes his time and energy to entering local politics, joining service clubs, and having affairs with helpful women. Ignoring and alienating his wife results in her dumping him: kicking him out of the house, their business, and her life. He loses everything and dies ingloriously from drinking too much. Jack, trying to find his way, wanders even further into the brambles and bushes of the 1970s chemical answer to life’s vicissitudes and is institutionalized.
Uncharacteristically smitten, Merv abandons his hedonistic lifestyle in favour of courting Monique. His persistence pays off and she accepts, albeit somewhat tentatively, his protestations of love and loyalty — until she returns to Montreal to visit her parents, and Merv, pining for her, makes the blunder of getting drunk and accepting a ride home from Suzanne. That nothing happened between them doesn’t matter as Monique’s dormant fears resurface with a vengeance. Merv, makes a heroic but futile effort to regain Monique’s love. Suzanne’s efforts to capture Merv continue to fail and she understands he has decided to save himself and ‘get outta Dodge.’ Her challenge to Monique serves as a wakeup call motivating her to tell Merv she wants to try again. Ironically, by this time, Merv has decided to leave Banff and enroll in teacher training at the University of Calgary. Monique asks him to consider weekend visits. He agrees to think about it and to let her know.

History: Unproduced

Availability: Contact playwright

Running Time (mins): 76-120

Cast: 5M / 2F

Genres: Drama