Margaret and Deirdre
written, produced and directed by Gretchen Kelbaugh
The screenplay for Margaret and Deirdre won the CBC Producers' Showcase in 1999.
Margaret St Amand, prim, proper and proud, is a respected science teacher. Deirdre Cowan, kicked out of every high school in Saint John, becomes her newest private student.
One listens to classical music, the other, to alternative.
One grows geraniums; the other grows pot.
While Margaret swears by rules, Deirdre swears at them.
And while one studies the Bible and one mocks the Bible, they both live in hell.
Needless to say, in their teaching sessions together, Margaret and Deirdre don’t see eye to eye. In fact, this duo makes Professor Higgins and Eliza Doolittle seem like best buddies.
As Margaret racks her brains for innovative ways to reach the troubled girl, Deirdre feels compelled to irk her tutor, to seek chinks in the armour of the person on whom her very freedom depends. It works. Through explosive session after session, Deirdre manages to pry into the dark recesses of Margaret’s mind, stimulating repressed memories of a touching first love and its terrible consequences.
Meanwhile, Margaret discovers that her delinquent student has a brilliant and creative mind. But just as the young Deirdre seems ready to open up to her tutor, she attacks her stepfather with a knife and lands in the Psychiatric Ward.
For the first time in her life, Margaret shuns convention. She makes the simple decision to stick by Deirdre, forsaking family and reputation and risking the one thing she loves -- her teaching career. The trouble is, how can you save someone when you’re the one who’s drowning?
Margaret and Deirdre. So far apart, they’re bound to collide. <TOP>
Margaret & Deirdre marks Suzanne Short’s first leading film role. This layered and intelligent screenplay offered her the opportunity to experiment and grow while establishing herself as an actor of skill and sensitivity.
Margaret & Deirdre launched the film career of Saint John’s Vanessa Furlong, and since then she has been in 8 other screen projects both for tv and film.
director of photography
Norean started video production work with Fang Froid Studios, in Manhattan. She developed her talent by archiving political and historical events, including those of September 11th, and is a Final Cut Pro Certified Trainer and Editor.
In Canada, Norean Goldston edited for HIT! Media, was artist-in-residence for P.R.U.D.E., co-chaired Continental Drift International Shorts Film Festival and founded Saint John One Film Festival.
We shot MAD, as we call it, on most weekends over five months, working around the other jobs of the key people. With such a drawn-out shoot, “continuity” was one of our biggest problems. Nobody was allowed to change their hair or grow any taller. Our continuity man, Fred Rowe, our wardrobe mistress, Celine Chiasson, and the actors and I always had long discussions about who was wearing what months before. We kept copious notes and photographs of the clothing for each ‘story day’.
May 9, 2004
…Then it was down to the train tracks at the foot of Queen Street by the harbour. Norean volunteered to climb up the ladder to the top of one of the train cars to get the downward angle (which we never did use), and by the time she got down, the cops had arrived. Two cars...
Assuming they were CN Security Guards, we ignored them and kept filming, as if we owned the place. Lucky for us, Carl (stills photographer) knew the man who approached, and he cranked up his good buddy BS into top gear. All I did was go over to Carl and Cops and ask them to quiet down for a minute so we could record the ambient sound. Then Norean, Vanessa and I noticed his gun. Not CN Security then.
By now this Constable Greg Lenihan was intrigued and shook hands all around. I told him we'd like to shoot the arrest-of-Deirdre scene next Sunday and might he ask around for a volunteer police officer? He left (telling us not to scoot under the train cars, which is the way we got there), then reappeared, finding us filming at the Loyalist Burial Ground. He said he'd love to be the officer used next Sunday! The power of a camera to turn people around.
June 14. Saturday we spent the longest time yet on one scene, one of the emotional highlights: the incapable-of-affection-Margaret touches Deirdre, separated only by a cinnamon roll. Norean and I wanted it to be right. Two things went against us: the sloping rocky ground on the beach and the 1-minute sun/1-minute shade brought on by the clouds. Norean was in a state of flux, hidden (thankfully) beneath her black shroud of material and looking like a cross between the Grim Reaper and a Peeping Tom. The black shroud blocks the sun from her eyes as she shoots. She lurched among huge slippery rocks, bent over like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, blind and tripping beneath her black cape, with nothing protruding but the lens. It was a scary sight.
Kelly, makeup (and slate) and Fred, continuity
Point of View: Sewage Pipe
Director pushes DOP to new heights.
Constable Lenihan investigates us....
... then joins the cast, ticketing Margaret. Notice Norean under the blanket. Low budget filmmaking at its lowest.
art director Peggy
only lost one crew member
art director Carol as an extra (listens to director)
Norean, Shawna and G do bathroom cubicle scene
Gretchen as Bag Lady
Phil and Nathan
Marc edits audio
actors Richard Roy, Jen McVicar
Amy, Carol and Nathan make pot
Nathan, Fred, Vanessa, G and Mack
Brad in Cowan's kitchen
Suzy records ADR
Don, Norean, actor Diane Fleming
students at Saint John HS
Cara does Helene Ovesen's hair
David Cook plays Deirdre's stepdad, Billy
Helene Ovesen plays Margaret's mother, Mrs St Amand
Elizabeth Chase plays Deirdre's mom, Mrs Cowan
Diane Fleming plays Deirdre's Guidance Counselor, Beatrice