April 2006

The Woman I Am | A Celebration of Dorothy Livesay and Her Poetry
Presented by Art of Time Ensemble
April 21 & 22, 2006Harbourfront Centre TheatreToronto
Classical Goes Mixed Media and Wins
by David Fujino with photos by Stanley Fefferman
In this latest programme from the Art of Time Ensemble — The Woman I Am, A Celebration of Dorothy Livesay and her Poetry — an actor, pianist, writer, and a director, combine their unique talents to tell the story of the life and times of Canadian poet, Dorothy Livesay.

For most of Act One, the onstage talent and presence of both actor Dale and pianist Burashko was undeniable.

With her respectful delivery of her lines, and a will o' the wisp sensitivity in her playing of proto-Feminist Dorothy Livesay, Jennifer Dale was very much the accomplished actor.

Pianist Burashko — the Artistic Director of the Art of Time Ensemble — programmed an eclectic and evocative 17 pieces that mirrored and framed the changing decades of Livesay's colourful 87 years.

Besides unusual material from the Mozart-Beethoven-Tchaikovsky-Brahms vaults, Burashko shared with us the music of Kurt Weill, Peter Garland, Scriabin, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Cesar Franck and Frederic Rzewski.

Jennifer Dale
Then the audience clapped untypically — albeit politely — at the end of Act One.

But in Act Two, things really heated up.

Perhaps it was the different material — the music, the poems, the monologues — from a later, more 'mature' period of Livesay's life. Who knows?

The lady from Vancouver in the next seat wasn't certain, either, but we both stood up along with everyone else and clapped for Jennifer Dale and Andrew Burashko.

It was the sheer palpable growth in power of Jennifer Dale's playing of Livesay that brought us to our feet.

Jennifer Dale was focused and strong and on point.

What a send-off home.

Jennifer Dale

Here's an Addendum

Dorothy Livesay was a committed and talented poet, an erotic adventurer, at one point a member of the Communist party, a wife twice and a mother, a newspaper writer, a supporter of labour causes, a student at the Sorbonne in Paris, a socially reponsible citizen, a post war-time correspondent from England, France and Germany in 1946 for the Toronto Daily Star, wrote the 'documentary poetry' piece, "Call My People Home" (1950), about the mistreatment of Japanese Canadians during World War II, this also was Winnipeg-born Dorothy Livesay who worked for the inclusion of the marginalized individual into society.

"Men Prefer an island / But I am mainland" (Dorothy Livesay)

Jennifer Dale, actor
Andrew Burashko, piano
Cindy Bisaillon, writer
Ted Dykstra, director
We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
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Stanley Fefferman
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