“First Métis Man of Odesa” dominated the independent theatre division at the 2023 Dora Mavor Moore Awards June 27, winning the top three out of nine awards.
The autobiographical play about a romance between a Canadian and a Ukrainian set against the backdrop of both the Covid pandemic and the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia, was named outstanding production, while its married co-writers and stars, Matthew MacKenzie and Mariya Khomutova, shared the award for outstanding new play, while Lianna Makuch took the awards for outstanding direction.
“These awards mean so much to me and to all of us involved,” she told New Pathway – Ukrainian News.
“The opportunity to tell this story right now and to be able to offer Ukraine a platform for this level of recognition is so meaningful. It was a fabulous night of celebrating!”
In her acceptance speech, Makuch thanked the writers, producer Sheiny Satanove, Punctuate! Theatre, the Theatre Centre, the Doras Committee, her partner-in-life Patrick Lundeen “my parents and grandparents who raised me in the Ukrainian culture”, as well as “the many veterans and artists who I have had the fortune to meet in Ukraine, who I am proud to call friends, and who have supported our ventures. Many of them have laid their lives on the line in defense of their values. They are the most inspiring people I have met.”
“Today is the 489th day of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and Ukraine’s unbreakable spirit. Our story is a love story, and Matt and Mariya’s son, Ivan — the First Métis Man of Odesa — is a reminder of this unbreakable spirit and the kind of future we are fighting for. “Щиро вам дякую. Слава Україні. Героям Слава,” she concluded.
Considered Canada’s equivalent of Broadway’s Tony Awards, the Dora Mavor Moore Awards (also known as the Dora Awards or the Doras) are presented annually by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA).
Awards are given in major divisions: General Theatre (Drama/Comedy/Play, budget over $100,000 and over 150 seats), Musical Theatre (Musical/Revue/Cabaret), Independent Theatre (budget under $100,000 and/or under 150 seats), Dance, Opera, Theatre for Young Audiences, and Touring.
“First Métis Man of Odesa”, from Edmonton’s Punctuate! Theatre, was produced in Toronto in association with the Theatre Centre and resumes touring in the fall, with stops planned for Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Barrie, Ont.