Alison Wearing performs her one-women show Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter during the 20th annual Lakefield Literary Festival on Saturday, July 12, 2014 at Lakefield College School. Clifford Skarstedt/Peterborough Examiner/QMI Agency
JBNBlog is extending a day late congratulations to Stratford impresario/actor/writer/performer Alison Wearing for a terrific performance of her one-woman work Confessions Of A Fairy’s Daughter . . . my colleagues on the King’s centre for creativity board & our allies at The Write Place did a great job in getting Alison a crowd on a miserable night . . . thanks to the audience … yay for all of us sharing such an event . . . & also to social media allies at the Words fest & elsewhere who got the Confessions word out. It’s a treat to be a small cog in such a mighty wheel. Great Canadian culture for free — that’s a mission statement right there.
Alison’s play & book of the same title about growing up with a gay dad share a major character, her father Joe Wearing … he was a political studies prof of mine at Trent in the early 1970s.
A few more thoughts which have rippling up & down since Wednesday at the lovely Kenny Theatre at King’s:
It may that Alison’s parents met at Western’s old music school … & it would have been on what is now the south King’s campus (south off Epworth), wouldn’t it? If so, Alison would have been performing just metres & a G&S chorus away from where her parents began their epic/somewhattragi/muchcomic/liberationanthem/familydrama story …. need to check this.
Good friend to JBNBlog Bruce Flowers reminded me Alison had performed a shorter version of Confessions at Pride’s literary event about three years … Wednesday was the fully-staged, full-length treatment
The script & perhaps a multi-media image mention The Body Politic, which “ played a prominent role in the development of the LGBT community in Canada” (Wikipedia). Joe Wearing’s personal/universal journey is partly about the movement from studying Canadian politics (as an acclaimed academic) to changing the Canadian body politic. Yay.
A final nod of deep appreciation to Alison Wearing’s partner world/folk artist Jarmo Jalava who did an amazing job stepping in as tech ace for a complicated, intricate presentation when Wednesday’s weather kept the regular tech wizard at home.
Here’s Alison on Facebook:
Thank you to Therese Khimasia, King’s University College, The Write Place, and The Creativity Centre, for such a warm and delightful reception last night, despite the weather! And special thanks to the young man who approached me after the show and said, “it’s thanks to people like your dad that I’m able to live so freely as a gay man today. Please tell him how grateful I am.” That’s you, Joseph Wearing.
Here’s some background from our QMI Agency ally the Peterborough Examiner:
Alison grew up in Peterborough, happy and well loved in her musical and academic family until her father moved to Toronto when she was twelve and began living openly as a gay man while continuing to commute to Trent to teach. Central to her father Joe’s decision to embrace his true nature was an equally strong conviction to remain a devoted father. What followed for Alison was weekends spent at her father’s new home in Toronto, socializing with other gay fathers and their families, and school and home life in Peterborough with her mother. That sentence can be written in a matter of fact manner now, but in the early 1980s, as Alison says, there was not even a vocabulary to begin to describe family behaviour out of the closet. While she was living this life in Toronto, she was being evasive about it with her friends here in Peterborough.
Alison went on to become a multi-talented artist combining writing, music, dance and theatre in her repertoire. Her work is noted for its great humour, candour, tenderness and warmth. A few years ago she began to reflect on her complex teen years and to write up notes about various memorable experiences and how she had reacted to them at the time. In a conversation with her father, he rose from his chair and disappeared, returning with a box. It contained his own writings about the time when he first acknowledged his homosexuality and began living it. With both her own and her father’s writing about those years, Alison had the seeds of her one-woman stage play.
She has also written a book about those years, also titled Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter.
I did not see her performance last year but I already have my tickets for this July 12. How can I not, with reviews like the following?
“Occasionally, one encounters a fringe festival show that succeeds absolutely. Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter is such a show… [It] works beautifully on all levels. Wearing is a skilled actress who commands our attention. Her script is tightly written, cleverly constructed and highly literate ~ Times Colonist
“I would have sobbed loudly, but I’m too damn manly, so I just grunted and choked… ~ Georgia Straight
“This is an extraordinarily moving story, well-crafted and compassionately told. See it now before it sells out.” ~ CBC