Disclaimer: this reviewer believes all jobs have value and dignity. Even teaching.
Venue #19, Fools and Horses Coffee Shop, 379 Broadway at Edmonton St. $12.00 Tickets available from www.winnipegfringe.com
“All school clocks look alike.” Isn’t that the truth! For both students and teachers it seems in this well executed true to life snapshot of those who dwell in the house of knowledge.
There are 15,000+ teachers in Manitoba. How many like Joe take their jobs home with them every night? How many worry about their students and beat themselves up over the ones they failed? How many of their marriages end because of their job?
Oh the things they don’t teach in the Faculty of Education. Joe Job played to a sold out audience opening night and offered many lessons.
Playwright Cory Wojeck, plays Joe, a teacher on leave from his career, his marriage, his life. Ava Darrach-Gagnon plays Samantha, his former student, now his supervisor at the coffee shop where he works.
Joe was an English teacher who needed to do his math homework and Sam represents every teacher’s worst nightmare. Little fireball Mariam Bernstein of MTC and PTE fame is the Director. Seeing her name on the playbill is a spoiler alert that it’s going to be good.
Another tip off: the number of teachers and students in the audience who laughed heartily and shed a tear; proof the writer got it right.
Themes include a crash course in responsibility, mentorship, lost souls, getting stuck and moving on with compassion and decency as electives.
The setting for this play is an actual coffee shop where Fringers can imbibe before and after the 60 minute play. Besides lattes and floats and teas, there is beer and wine on tap. Seating is limited to 50 and the ambiance is bright and aesthetically pleasing.
Many things resonated personally for me. That one line in the play about the guidance counsellor. So true. So true.
Another is from the handbill, “To the teachers of the world, who go into the classroom day in and day out, who love their careers, who love our kids, I say thank you.” Be like Joe.
For further insight into what teachers face these days might I suggest a book that should be required reading for every educator, administrator and Minister of Education, namely, “The Glass Castle” by Jeanette Walterson. Those kids are in your classes now.
Dedicated to Miss Isobel Grierson, History Teacher, who taught this reviewer a thing or two about life.