‘Invisible Child’ play wins Alberta Literary Award

leilani-and-cast-from-invisible-child-august-2012

Cast and friends: Linda Grass, Sandra Anderson, Leilani O’Malley, Jenny McKillop, Randy Brososky

I was shocked and very happy to hear last Saturday that our Fringe play won the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for drama, at the annual Alberta Literary Award banquet.

Thanks and congratulations to the talented David Cheoros, who wrote this wonderful play. Thank you also to Lou for helping me write my story and bring it to David. And to Jenny, Linda, Randy and Vincent, for this labour of love.

Thank you to each and every one of you.

> Read the Edmonton Journal story
> See the award banquet photos

A night at the Fringe

Taking a bow after Saturday night’s production of Invisible Child, with actors Linda Grass, Jenny McKillop and Randy Brososky.

Last night I saw Invisible Child: Leilani Muir and the Alberta Eugenics Board, at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. The play was written by Dave Cheoros and directed by Vincent Forcier.

I was flabbergasted. I can’t believe how well they all did, and I am so glad I gave Dave permission to do the play.

When the project first started, I was very nervous. I thought, ‘What did I get myself into?’ Then, when I watched the play yesterday, I knew Dave couldn’t have picked better people to do the job.

I never dreamed this would happen. Thank you, Dave.

 

Child Play

Last week Dave Cheoros arranged a photo call for the cast of Invisible Child: Leilani Muir and the Alberta Eugenics Board: —Linda Grass, Jenny McKillop and Randy Brososky—at the old McKay Avenue School.

I enjoyed watching the shoot, and even had a few pictures taken with Jenny. We had such a good time together, we couldn’t stop laughing! Jenny is such a good person and a talented actor. I’ll bet her parents are very proud of her.

A reading of my Fringe play

In May, my friend David Cheoros invited me to a reading of the play he’s written about my life, for the Edmonton 2012 Fringe Festival. David really has pulled together a great crew!

At the reading, I met director Vincent Forcier. Actors Jenny McKillop (who plays me), Linda Grass and Randy Brososky were there too.

The three actors stood in front of us and read from the script. In the audience were a few of my friends, Moyra Lang (CURA administrator) and Lou Morin (editor/writer), among them.

After the reading, we all sat together and talked about what worked and what didn’t work. Jenny and the others did a fantastic job, and I’m excited to see the final production.

Before I left, I had a few minutes to talk with Jenny. I gave her a red rosary to hang on to during the play. I asked her if she could hold it all the time she’s playing me; I had held a rosary in my hand during my entire trial.

The play premiers on Friday, August 17th at the Strathcona Library.

Visit my blog for more details as we get closer. I hope you can make it!

Telling life stories in Montreal

Montreal Life Stories calendar

Image credit: Montreal Life Stories

This week I’m visiting the beautiful city of Montreal for the first time. I’ve been invited to be part of a round table discussion at the Montreal Life Stories (MLS) Conference, Beyond Testimony and Trauma: Oral History in the Aftermath of Mass Violence. Our presentation is called Survivorship for the Subhuman: Testimony, Narrative, and Memory in the Context of Canadian Eugenics. My team members, Rob Wilson, Moyra Lang, Nicola Fairbrother, Kathryn Harvey and Anne Pasek, will be there. I’m a little anxious and scared at the same time!

> Montreal Life Stories conference details

Crossing the bridge with Kay Burns

Back in October 2011 I attended events for Alberta Eugenics Awareness Week, hosted by the Living Archives project. One event was very close to my heart. It was a talk called “Perambulate” given by Kay Burns on October 22nd at Enterprise Square. Kay is an artist whose work has been shown across the world. She was an art curator at the Muttart Gallery in Calgary, and taught at the University of Calgary and Alberta College of Art and Design. Today Kate lives in Lewisporte, Newfoundland.

Last summer, Kay presented a “participational performance walk” called Perambulate: Louise McKinney Park, for the Works Art and Design Festival in Edmonton. On the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council website, Kay says why she chose to focus on Louise McKinney. At each end of the footbridge, Kay attached a brass plaque engraved with the words Leilani Muir Footbridge. During the walk, she led a group of people from one end of the bridge to the other, stopping to look at the plaques.

Crossing together
One day, about a month after the art walk took place, I heard from a friend that there was a footbridge named after me in the river valley! I was very surprised, and wanted to find out more. I learned that the bridge was dedicated to me in an unofficial way as part of Kay’s performance. I never imagined I’d have a chance to walk across the footbridge with the artist herself. But I did just that on the day of her lecture in Enterprise Square. After the talk, a group of university students, researchers and friends piled into cars and drove with me to Louise McKinney Park.

It was a beautiful, warm fall day. We often have snow on the ground in Edmonton at the end of October, but not that day. My friends Judy and I each stopped to admire the roses in the park, on our walk down to the river. We finally reached the others, who were waiting at the opposite end of the bridge. Someone took out a piece of paper, and Kay made a pencil rubbing of the brass plaque. We laughed and talked together, and shared a very special moment. I came a long way to cross that bridge, and was so grateful to make it to the other side.