Year in Review: Writing about what words cannot express – Edmonton Journal

December 25, 2021 by No Comments

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Even as COVID-19 hammers the arts, beautiful stories emerge. One is Matthew MacKenzie , the Métis playwright behind one of my favourite plays.

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While Bears has been around since 2015, I first saw it in October at the Citadel. The Indigenous story stars Sheldon Elter as an oil worker on the run and features dancers who create pictures with their bodies — of ruffed grouse, of bighorn sheep  — that achingly express what words cannot.

Bears is about the glorious complexity that is Alberta, written by a big talent from Edmonton who has worked hard to get his work out there. Now 40 and with an impressive national foothold (he’s helping create a new works department at Toronto’s Soulpepper — one of the country’s biggest regional theatres), MacKenzie is getting the attention he deserves. He has also co-produced a beautiful baby boy with his wife, actor Mariya Khomutova.

Sometimes, it all works out.

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