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A Walk with Mr. McGee

by Mitchell Reid Broughton

A Walk with Mr. McGee

A Review 

Obviously, A Theatre Company

A Walk with Mr McGee

Bytown Museum

Ottawa, ON

Performances: July 4th to 14th, 2012

Identity is a tricky subject to speak on. “A Walk with Mr. McGee” addresses it fiercely. Inspired by assassination, the play's author Talish Zafar rushes the audience into the struggle to define the Canadian identity. Yet in a land stolen from its original inhabitants and ravaged with internal struggles for dominance what definition can be true? Zafar, a child of Indian parents who lived his first four years in Ethiopia before settling in Canada, is no stranger to these questions. Set soon after confederation the play follows the idealistic Member of Parliament Thomas D'Arcy McGee in the day before his murder.

Obviously, A Theatre Company are young and they are bold. Directed by Dillon Orr “A Walk with Mr. McGee” was performed at the Bytown Museum and was put on by a company of four actors and the creative team. The original score was written by actor and composer Erin Lindsay. Based off McGee's own poetry it was sung entirely accapello which gave the performance a haunting tone. Lindsay, along with Elizabeth Mclelwain and Alexandra Janiver, played the roles of the mythical three Fates along with a myriad of political figures. They ranged from John A. Macdonald to Canada's first female newspaper columnist Faith Fenton. Each actor shifted through their roles effortlessly with howls of indignation. The painful scars formed by patriarchy and identity politics were exposed and left unresolved. It is a reflection of a pattern of violence in this country. 

Confliction was further highlighted in the composure of Thomas d'Arcy McGee, played by Jean-Nicolas Masson. Uncertain in his struggle to improve the conditions of his fellow citizens he is given a choice by the Fates. His resolve is tested. He can choose life. Yet after seeing the cost of retreat he holds firm and stands bravely. If art uses lies to tell truths then this preformance used them to capture an ideal. Those seeking justice can not fear death. They must have enough love in their hearts to continue on their path. These are those who we should celebrate. Flawed and imperfect they are reminders.  

Thomas D'Arcy McGee (April 13th, 1825 – April 7th, 1968) was an Irish Nationalist, journalist and Father of Canadian Confederation. He was assassinated by the Irish revolutionary group the Fenians due to his vocal opposition of their violent tactics.


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Topics: Arts
Tags: ottawa

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Ottawa, ON
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Another fool trying to build alternatives to a broken system.

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