April 2005

Your Dream Was Mine
by Shirley Cheechoo and Greta Cheecho
April 21 – May 8, 2005 Artword Theatre Toronto

Susan and Dawn are two sisters driving along the highway to Dawn's wedding. Their sisterly banter slides easily back and forth, but the conversation quickly gets personal.

Then the car starts to drift, Dawn grabs the steering wheel, the car shoots off the highway, and they crash.

Shirley Cheechoo, Gregory Odjig and Greta Cheechoo

As the sisters stagger free from the car, they find themselves deep in Northern Ontario bush. They're certain they'll get help, but as they keep walking around and around in circles, dressed in their satiny wedding dresses, digging away at each other, they realize they're definitely lost.

From this dramatic premise, the play properly begins. We find out that Susan (Shirley Cheechoo) is the older daughter, the 'success' in the family since she's become a writer and runs a store with her partner, Adam. Dawn (Greta Cheechoo), the pregnant bride-to-be, is eagerly seeking a new life of wedded bliss with Joey. If only they could get to the wedding.

But the sisters are stuck in the bush — a place like the magical forest in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream — where people are isolated from the constraints of society and their uncensored thoughts and desires freely emerge.

Flitting about in the bush is Woodpecker (Gregory Odjig), a trickster figure who gets quite a kick out of these foolish mortals. When Woodpecker's not doing magic tricks, he steals cigarettes and a purse from Susan, he finds wood to make a fire, constructs a canopy to shelter the two women, and starts and stops the rain, just because he can.

But there's one thing Woodpecker never does: "I never play with life and death."

In this earthy, sexual, and humorous play, we admire the two real-life Cheechoo sisters and their relaxed and naturalistic acting — so naturalistic, in fact, that I often forgot I was watching a rehearsed play. As for Gregory Odjig's Woodpecker, this character part was played — with all of its opportunities for highly energized acting turns, in a simple and unaffected way as well.

I won't give away the ending.

Let's just say I came home from Your Dream Was Mine and I saw the final scene in my head. I understood the poignancy of the title, and most importantly, I understood sister Dawn's observation that, "Love taps can sometimes be very bloody."

We welcome your comments and feedback
• • • • • •
Report by David Fujino
• •
for The Live Music Report

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