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Growing up with a gay dad makes for a great one-woman show
By Laura Cudworth

Author Alison Wearing presents her Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter to a student audience of SpringWorks at Factory 163 Thursday. Some 100 students from four secondary schools were on hand for a day's worth of theatre performances, with the chance to talk to playwrights and actors between shows. (SCOTT WISHART, The Beacon Herald)
Author Alison Wearing presents her Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter to a student audience of SpringWorks at Factory163 Thursday. Some 100 students from four secondary schools were on hand for a day's worth of theatre performances, with the chance to talk to playwrights and actors between shows. (SCOTT WISHART, The Beacon Herald)

Who doesn't love a juicy confession?

Alison Wearing's Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter has all the insight and honesty a confession demands but it also has a lot of humour and love packed into a 30-page script. The one-woman show is back at the Stratford SpringWorks Festival at Factory163.

The show is about Wearing, at the age of 12, finding out her political-science-professor-father is gay. It was the early 1980s. It was taboo to be gay but unfathomable to be the daughter of a gay man in Peterborough. The show takes the audience through the discovery, the heartbreak, the lies and cover up, the comedy and the healing with skill and grace.

Wearing herself is boundlessly charming and easy to watch. The show has just the right flavour. It's like an intimate conversation with a friend.

Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter made its SpringWorks debut last season. Since then, Wearing's book of the same title has attracted much attention. It just hit bookstore shelves this month.

The show, of course, is a fraction of the size of the book. While the book tells the story from her point of view, her father's point of view and her mother's point of view—the show simply tells it from Wearing's point of view. The theatrical piece doesn't try to take on too much. Yet, it doesn't feel as if there are gaps or holes in the story.

Wearing manages a beautiful balance between the heartbreak of a divorce, the loneliness of having a gay dad in a community where no one else does and the confusion about what it all means with a little self deprecation.

There can be a lot of humour around confusion and isolation if you can find it. Wearing certainly does.

Two Christmases at two houses—one hilarious and slightly bizarre, the other traditional and a bit mundane—are highlights of the performance.

The alcohol-fuelled confession to her best friend about her father's sexual orientation, against a back drop of Bee Gees music, is another wonderful scene that truly comes alive.

Wearing's father trusted her with his personal letters and diary from the period of his coming out. He allowed her to use them without condition if it helped her with her art. It's an act of both courage and faith. His trust is well placed in Wearing.

There's a lot of love in this show and a lot to love.

A second performance of Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter runs on May 19 at 2 p.m. at Factory 163.
 

Stratford Beacon Herald

 

laura.cudworth@sunmedia.ca

Stratford Beacon Herald

 

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