“Trued on a Base Story” focused on boundaries, protecting children

Trued on a Base Story
Venue #10 – Planetarium, 190 Rupert Ave. Lower level.

Show of hands – life is the best teacher.

Cathartic? Confessional? Predator or pedophile? Love him or despise him? “Trued on a Base Story” is called a “cautionary tale” for a reason.

Once you get men talking there’s no stopping them. Forget therapy, send them to the Fringe. This is the year of men sharing feelings. OMG. Randy Rutherford tells all in his latest love quest, sometimes with too much information, if you get my drift.

Mike Delamont earned the love and respect of his audiences with the true story of his relationship with his addictions riddled adoptive mother. Everyone loved Cory Wojcik’s angst in “Joe Job”. And then there’s John Sadoway’s “Trued on a Base Story”.

John Sadoway, living proof truth is stranger than fiction.

The teacher in Sadoway can’t resist using power point (effectively thank goodness) and calling for raised hands to his questions. His autobiographical monologue does raise many questions about parenting, the law, manipulation and regrets.

Author Anne Lamott nailed it when she said, “If people wanted me to write nice things about them they should have behaved better.” The same holds true for Sadoway and his ex-wife.

Sadoway’s production company, The Opposite of People, presents his journey from the age of 17 when he was seduced by his high school teacher to the present day.

That affair lasted 12 years and now at 53 years of age, Sadoway is coming to terms with the brutal reality that the relationship he built his life around was a complete lie. This Fringe play is the result of a counsellor’s suggestion that he write down everything he could about his life.

The bike wheel Sadoway spins in his therapeutic hour with us is symbolic of the circles his life has taken – from no-so-innocent youth whose overwhelmed Catholic parents of eleven kids chose to look the other way, to his abandonment of children that might or might not be his. What goes around comes around.

Sadoway’s message to audiences is about the importance of professional boundaries and the protection of children. I saw many heads nod when he cited the abuse of Sheldon Kennedy (“Why Didn’t I Say Anything?”) by his hockey coach.

This is not an easy story to hear, it must be a difficult story to tell. It is tragic that someone’s personal pain has become a teaching tool but if it helps even one person who hears it, it is worth it. The lesson will lie in the ear of the beholder.

In his program Sadoway says, “Theatre allows for a greater awareness and care for the world.” He extends that invitation with confidence in his offer of a Q & A after his performance.

The set of “Trued on a Base Story”. /PHOTO: Katherine Himelblau

From the Fringe program: The Criminal Code of Canada considers it punishable by a 10-year prison term yet popular culture still treats it with raised eyebrows, knowing glances and smirks. In this autobiographical romp, teacher and former CBC reporter John Sadoway explains how one lie led to two careers, three children and countless possibilities. Neither ‘fallout’ nor ‘triumph’ can fully capture what happens when a trusted person violates a code. Time may tell, but even 25 years may not be long enough. Teachers and principals welcome.

Click here for more reviews and stories from Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival 2017

Heather Emberley / Gracie Sweetstory


Heather Emberley is a repurposed school counsellor specializing in the psycho-social infrastructure of experience, an EAL teacher, freelance writer and sidekick of Gracie Sweetstory. They are stewards of a Little Free Library and their favourite word is postantineoconceptualizationalisticism.

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