Last Dog will have its day

TPM’s The Last Dog of War brings the personal side of battle

Performer Linda Griffiths brings a personal story with her Last Dog of War.

The Last Dog of War,  a one-woman show written and performed by Montreal-born playwright Linda Griffiths, will be running Nov. 5-14 at the Costume Museum of Canada on Pacific Avenue, courtesy of the Theatre Projects of Manitoba.

It’s a true, personal retelling of one fateful trip Griffiths took with her father to a Royal Air Force reunion, and how the two were subsequently kicked out of the gathering.

Griffiths called it “remembrance day with (an) edge.”

Inspired to write about this experience, which took place four years ago, Griffiths said she had a desire to learn more about her father’s experience in the Second World War.

“[The play is] the story of a relationship between a father and a daughter and war.”

Griffiths took a rather unconventional approach in working out the play, performing for her premiere audience before a script had been written.

“I did it the first time, which was this huge scary experience for me, in front of an audience with just the ideas of the show in my head. No rehearsal, right off the plane basically,” Griffiths said.

She has performed Last Dog of War several times now, in Calgary, Toronto, and at UBC, but never consecutively.

Griffiths will have nine performances in a row to look forward to when she begins at the Costume Museum this week.

“This will be the longest run so far of the piece,” said Griffiths. “I have just self-produced all of these little one-offs because it’s how I wanted to do it. But, I’m really glad to settle in and just stick with it and work with the audience in Winnipeg. It’s going to be great.”

Performing at the Costume Museum of Canada gives Griffith’s show an extra bit of background, as the museum will have a special costume exhibit set up for the show.

“The costume museum I think is a really great idea,” said Griffiths. “It’s in a good area and also creates a little different atmosphere than the theatre.

“[This show is] not about the past. It’s not about a sentimental journey through the past,” Griffiths warned.

Published in Volume 64, Number 10 of The Uniter (November 5, 2009)

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