Review: The First Metis Man of Odessa

by Lynn on April 8, 2021

in The Passionate Playgoer

Part of the Factory Theatre free Satellite Season, Audio Drama series called You Can’t Get There From Here.

Written by Matthew Mackenzie

Directed by Nina Lee Aquino

Cast: Christine Horne

Craig Lauzon

The First Métis Man of Odessa by Matthew MacKenzie, is the second audio drama from Factory Theatre’s audio dramas series called You Can’t Get There From Here. Three more audio dramas will play over the next three weeks; five dramas in five weeks all together.

After hearing Sisters by Anusree Roy last week, and The First Métis Man of Odessa this week, it’s clear that the line, “You Can’t Get There From Here” must appear in each of the five audio dramas. The lines seem innocuous but then they become vivid when you hear them in their different contexts.

The First Métis Man of Odessa is about Matt, a Canadian playwright who is in Ukraine for a project and meets Masha, an actress who is involved in the project. Sparks fly. There is an attraction. They spend a lot of time together along with the rest of the cast while he is in Ukraine, But Matt and Masha always seem to end up talking long after their colleagues leave. When the project is over Matt has to return to Canada. Matt and Masha keep in touch. She comes to visit him in Tkaronto—Toronto and they get closer.This is a year ago in March. When she returns home she realizes she’s pregnant. Matt is determined to marry Masha but then COVID happens and they are separated.

This audio drama illuminates the absolute determination, hilarity and frustration of a modern romance in COVID times. How can this be hilarious? This is Matthew MacKenzie writing. He’s got a sly sense of humour and a quirky way of looking at the world. Please reference his other plays: Bears, After the Fire and The Particulars for evidence of the man’s gifts.

So while he leaves you breathless with all the complications of getting flights to Ukraine, hoping the papers are in order, not being stopped by COVID, getting the papers to marry Masha, getting Masha’s papers in order to bring her to Canada to give birth, and getting her health card before the baby is born, he is funny and sweet and cheerful in meeting every single complication.

And it’s a true story.

It’s about Matthew MacKenzie’s adventures in Ukraine where he met his future wife (he changed the name to Masha for the purposes of this piece). As an audio drama it starts leisurely enough, and then goes like the wind.

Craig Lauzon plays Matt. Christine Horne plays Masha. They alternate lines so that each gives their own perspective on the story.

Nina Lee Aquino directs this with meticulous attention and a swift pace as matters become more and more fraught—will Masha be allowed in the country—will she be allowed in the hospital—the emergency door seems to be locked.

It’s a sweet story of love and determination. And to find out what happens give a listen…..

The First Métis Man of Odessa plays on Apple podcasts or Spotify,

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