I am proud to announce that my mother the playwright, Marjorie Hooper Dalziel, is making her second Fringe Festival appearance this summer with her play “I Am What I Am”. This is a one-woman show based on the true story of a Labrador woman, Lydia. (with the male voice of our very own Deer God, Mr. Mike Wedge who has been cajoled into providing his perfect God voice)
Last summer in the midst of the chaos that was my life pre-Africa I had the pleasure and challenge of producing and directing mom’s play “Circle of Stone” in the inaugural 2012 Island Fringe Festival. Directing and producing a production of 8 cast members in an outside venue (park in the middle of downtown Charlottetown) was certainly a challenge that came with an incredible sense of accomplishment once over and done with. There are some great pictures of the show available on the Island Fringe Festival website http://iff2012.tumblr.com/
So my Mom enjoyed the experience so much she decided to enter another one of plays in the Fringe lottery, which is not surprising as it as won awards in the past. I love all of my mother’s plays but “I Am What I Am” is my absolute favorite of all that she has written. Why it is my favorite is based on many different reasons beginning with it is Lydia’s, a Labrador Metis, actual story spoken in her words.
“I Am What I Am” is part of the Labrador Trilogy which was written by Mom following her time living in Labrador. While living there she spent many happy hours volunteering at Them Days Magazine and Archives in Happy Valley. She became very good friends with Doris Saunders, Editor and Administrator of Them Days, which was a quarterly magazine compiling the oral histories of people from Labrador. Doris’ historical work on behalf of the people of Labrador was recognized when she was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1986 and received an honorary doctorate from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1994. Mom and Doris became such good friends that Doris decided to share her own family journals, a multitude of resource material and wonderful stories so Mom could work her writing magic and capture the strength and courage of Doris’ ancestors through the Labrador Trilogy of plays.
The first time I read a draft of the play (as Mom’s editor) I fell in love with Lydia. Her character spoke to me in a way that just can’t be described. That is the secret of Mom’s ability as a playwright. She brings amazing characters to life with her words. This play in particular is truly magical as it is simply Lydia telling her story in a spellbinding way that captures your attention and holds it until the very end of the play.
Through this play, Lydia speaks to you as a master story teller telling her story as a Metis woman in the north in her own words. Her story is equal parts courage and humor and clearly reflects the challenges and joys of living in an arctic environment. Not only did she need to battle nature to survive but also learn to navigate her ever changing world as the result of colonization of the new World. I can promise you that if you attend a performance you will be mesmerized by Lydia and her story of life in Labrador.
While I won’t be there to direct and produce this year’s performance I will still be actively supporting from a distance including do as much public relations as I can. Once we have the performance times I will certainly be posting them here on my blog. In the mean time, all of the information about this year’s Fringe Festival and line of shows can be viewed via this link:
So reserve some time on the weekend of August 30 to September 1st for some more wonderful theater in Boulder Park.