YOUR DREAM WAS MINE written and performed by Shirley Cheechoo and Greta Cheechoo, directed by Kate Lushington, also with Gregory Odjig. Presented by Finding Your Voice and The Pookster Productions with Native Earth Performing Arts at Artword Theatre (75 Portland). Runs to May 8, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Wednesday 1 pm, Sunday 2:30 pm. $18-$25, Sunday pwyc. 416-366-7723 ext 290. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Your dream was mine, a semi-auto-biographical comic piece about life, death and the passage between the two, leaves a lasting impression - but not an entirely positive one.
The play starts strongly with a well-executed multimedia sequence drawing on Shirley Cheechoo 's award-winning film work to depict the inner monologues of sisters Dawn ( Greta Cheechoo ) and Susan (Shirley Cheechoo) en route to Dawn's wedding.
Lost in the woods after a traumatic crash, they encounter the Woodpecker ( Gregory Odjig ). He, being a shit-disturber as well as a spirit guide, manipulates them into revealing their most damning secrets. He's also there to take one sister back to the spirit world with him and return the other to life.
As they're drawn deeper into the Woodpecker's world, Astrid Janson 's set of stumps and leaves takes on an otherworldly quality under the blues and oranges of Chris Clifford 's lighting design - all good choices on director and dramaturge Kate Lushington 's part. Her touch could be stronger in terms of blocking but is otherwise graceful.
The production's weakest element is Greta Cheechoo's memory. Both actors possess creamy alto voices and lilting intonation, but Greta stumbles on her lines and slows the pace to a crawl, leaving Shirley to keep them both on track.
Line problems aside, the play would benefit from more consistent energy from both actors to sustain the less dramatic moments.
What's best are their monologues about the past and their realization that they won't be together forever. These moments are haunting, funny and honest.