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Creepin' (The Happiest Guy in Toronto)
Theatre from the streets

A series of mini-dramas based on public conversations, as overheard and rewritten by local playwright/director Aurora Stewart de Peña.

Overheard at the Barn Diner (Queen and Bathurst)

Jonah, in his early fifties, is wearing a loose plaid shirt over pleated khaki pants. He sits on a stool at the counter. Natalya, a waitress, is 18 years old and extremely fit. She has meticulously plucked eyebrows and a t-shirt with the words “baby phat” scrawled across the chest in delicate script.

She opens a Coors Light and places it in front of Jonah, who stares out the window.

He laughs to himself, shaking his head a little. He looks out the window.

Jonah: You see her there?

Natalya: No.



Jonah: You know who I’m talking about.

Across the street.

Natalya looks across the street. Leaning against the window of the Tim Hortons is a blonde woman in her fifties. She has many wrinkles. She smokes a cigarette. The pack is tucked into the top of her jeans.

Jonah: She won’t talk to me anymore.

Won’t even look at me.

Jonah waves through the window. The blonde woman appears not to see him.

She’s a bitch, I’ll tell you that much. I don’t know what it is about women, but as soon as you tell them you love them, that’s when they grow horns and a tail.

Jonah waves his arm behind his tailbone. He curls the first two fingers of each hand on either side of his head.

Jonah: Horns and a tail. Now you, Natalya, you might go about your business being a nice girl to everyone you meet, and I think you’re nice, don’t get me wrong, always saying “Hello” and “Goodbye” every day because we’re friends, but I would never make a move on you and do you know why?

Natalya stares at Jonah.

Natalya: No.


Jonah: It would ruin your beauty.

Jonah makes a circling motion in front of Natalya’s face, as though he’s erasing it.

Jonah: There’s something about love that makes women ugly.

And I asked her to marry me, and she said yes, and I thought, believe me, I thought that I was going to be the happiest guy in Toronto, because that’s what every man dreams of, a beautiful wife and a loving home.

The blonde woman across the street finishes her cigarette and crushes it with the heel of her athletic sneaker.

Jonah: But she sucked me dry like a vampire, she wanted this, she wanted that, she wanted me to meet her mother. She wanted money, she wanted cheese. Oh, that woman could eat so much cheese!

Jonah shakes his head, he smiles at the counter, then bangs his fist against it.

Natalya: And that’s her across the street?

Jonah: No, but it really looks like her.

The blonde woman across the street goes into the doughnut shop.


Aurora Stewart de Peña is half of the theatre company Birdtown & Swanville (the other half is Nika Mistruzzi). You can follow her on Twitter at @Aurorahhh.

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