Yesterday afternoon, I managed to catch a show by Fringe Festival regular, TJ Dawe. Dawe is a bit of a legend, having done the Canadian Fringe circuit for 10 years now, with a new one-man show each year, but this is the first time that I actually made it see him. His style is more creative monologue than play – part seminar, and part story-telling.
This year’s show is “Totem Figures” – an exploration of, as Dawe puts it “the Mount Rushmore, or Sergeant Pepper’s Album Cover of my life.” For Dawe, his totem figures included his father, Jesus, Robertson Davies, and Luke Skywalker, among others.
But the larger message, of course, is that we all have a personal mythology – we all have historical or fictional characters that speak to us, or that we identify with more than others in an ensemble work. What are mine?
When Dawe was talking about authors, the one that came to mind for me was Margaret Atwood. I have been reading her for over 15 years now. I think I’ve read every novel she’s written, and most of her poetry. I read “the Edible Woman” when I was too young to get it, and again when it made perfect sense.
Other figures that have resonated with me include U2 (from songs like With or Without You that are as haunting now as they were when I first heard them as a teenager to the electronic era and back again), Trudeau (who made Canada believe in itself, and kinda made me go to law school), and my Grandma (who has always been a curmudgeon, but has always been there, grumpily proud of what I’ve achieved).
What are yours?