Sex, music, hockey. In Disco Goalie, an early contender for the year's best title, Jane Miller combines our favourite pastimes in one show.The autobiographical piece follows Miller's journey from junior high school loser to butch hockey-loving teen to young woman wondering if she's addicted to sex. Oh, and did I mention there's disco music?
Miller reminds me by breaking into a bluesy a cappella version of Don't Leave Me This Way in a Queen West cafe, her long Rosanna Arquette neck throbbing with passion.
"Disco is high drama," she says, back on earth but seemingly unaware of the amused looks she's received. "It's totally in the moment, either tragedy or everything's totally excellent, More, More, More."
I wait for her to sing this other song she's just evoked. She doesn't. Instead, she flips the record and plays selected highlights from her life story.
Born in North York, she began hockey at 11 and immediately wanted to play goalie. She felt empowered by the bulk of her equipment but wasn't yet conscious of the subtle sexual metaphors of that particular position.
"Playing goalie has its own gender metaphors. It's a feminine position. You don't initiate. You can only receive and deflect. You're supposed to play coy and not let anything come in. Think of the goalie expressions. "Cut down the angles. Don't commit. Keep your legs together. Guard your five hole.'"
Add the fact that Miller's liberal mom ran the girls' hockey team, and this psychosexual look at sports and gender gets a few minutes for emotional high-sticking.
In the play, underscored by the author's unique renditions of disco tunes, Miller looks at the differences between her own and her mom's sexual history. Miller's mom remained faithful to her husband, even after he died when Miller was 17. Miller, meanwhile, was anything but chaste. The legs, she says, didn't stay together.
"I think in the end what I wound up doing was keeping anyone from getting in my heart," says the Dora-nominated actor (Shaking The Foundations) about that time. "That's the net they didn't score on. That's what I've been protecting all the time."GSDISCO GOALIE written and performed by Jane Miller, directed by Brian Quirt. Presented by splode and Artword Theatre (75 Portland). Previews Wednesday and Thursday (January 10 and 11), opens January 12 and runs to January 28, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $15, stu/srs $12, Sunday pwyc. 408-2783.