Playwright’s Notes: My One and Only


My One And Only is a fictional account of the time Marilyn Monroe spent in Banff and Jasper shooting the film The River Of No Return in 1953. I have taken great liberties with the facts surrounding the shooting of the film. While it is true that Marilyn shot the film in Canada, in both Banff and Jasper National Parks, everything else in the play is pure fiction.

Audiences and readers alike should be warned that the facts tend to get in the way and diminish one’s enjoyment of the story.

Marilyn Monroe is a modern icon — as powerful and pervasive to us as images of the goddess were to cultures in ages past. Even those who take little interest in her life cannot escape her pervasive influence. This play is not by any means a biography of Marilyn Monroe, even though a Marilyn impersonation is critical to its telling. While she figures largely in the story, the Marilyn of this play is her own creature, as much a fictional creation as the other characters. The figure of Marilyn and the details of her visit to Canada are the starting point, not the facts of the case.

It is partly the story of our culture’s fascination with Marilyn Monroe, and partly a variation on that stalwart of Canadian literature — the coming of age story. Ultimately, it is a play about the trials of becoming a man.

It is my belief that a script is only a blueprint for production, and that it is an error to mistake the text for the play. Directors and actors are therefore invited to give free reign to their imaginations and to discover inventive ways to stage the episodic scenes.

Dialogue from the film The River Of No Return has been quoted in the text. Directors may feel free to make as much — or as little — use of the film in other ways as they see fit. While the script may suggest the inclusion of images in one form or another, these choices are left to the director’s discretion. One director might include video projections while another may prefer still images; one director may choose to use images from the film, while another may seek to include voice-overs; still others may wish to allow the text to speak for itself. I encourage all of these options.

Reverend Clark
Photographer 1
Photographer 2

The play is set in both 1953 and 1962 in both Banff and Los Angeles.

Several locations are required, including a hotel room, a car, a movie theatre, the porch of a house and a mountain-side. Rather than being literal, a design should be poetic, allowing for easy and instantaneous transition from one location to another. Many of these transitions might be best accomplished through the use of light, sound or imagination.

“Those who genuinely loved her never fell out of love with her – in spite of everything.”
-Neil Synard, biographer

“The past didn’t go anywhere.”
-Utah Phillips, storyteller

These thanks must be reproduced in the program of any production of the play:

My One And Only premiered at the Enbridge playRites Festival of New Canadian Plays in 2004, produced by Alberta Theatre Projects.

My One And Only was developed with the assistance of The Alberta Playwrights’ Network (which receives funding support from Theatre Alberta), Workshop West Theatre and the Springboards New Play Festival and the 2002 & 2003 Banff playRites Colony (which is a partnership between the Canada Council for the Arts, The Banff Centre for the Arts, and Alberta Theatre Projects).

Ken Cameron is a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada.

Special thanks to: Ron Jenkins, Bob White, Vanessa Porteous, Eddie Hunter, Dave Lange, Allister & Carolyn Cameron and Rita Bozi.”

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