Myra’s Story

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To share her perspective on the play Myra’s Story, we are pleased to share the following reflections from Jennifer Cornish,who assumes the role of Myra in the hilarious and heart-breaking one woman play. Myra’s Story chronicles the life of a homeless Irish woman who sardonically describes herself as a “wine connoisseur.”

When House of Friendship (HOF) set out to transform its women’s addiction services facilities, we also wanted to raise awareness about women and addiction as a way of reducing the stigma than can act as a barrier to recovery. Although the Under One Roof capital campaign to create a new recovery centre for women is complete, our commitment to raising awareness continues.  Myra’s Story is one way of continuing the important conversation about women and alcohol. Since Under One Roof was launched at HOF’s 2012 Annual Meeting, it seems only fitting to officially mark its end at the 2014 Annual Meeting, and to do so with a play that will provoke and inspire continued discussion.

You can meet Myra, at our upcoming Annual Meeting on Tuesday June 17.  RSVP online here, and soon, as space is very limited!  But be aware, this play doesn’t gloss over what it’s like to be in Myra’s shoes.  The play explores mature themes and contains mature language.

Jennifer Cornish as Myra in support of House of Friendship in its 75th year of service to the community

Winter 2012, I was sitting in a restaurant in Toronto waiting to rehearse my role in the one woman play Myra’s Story.

While I ate, I watched a man silently beg from passers-by. He seemed embarrassed. Countless people walked past him with their heads down. Two people in that hour dropped something into his paper cup. One of the offerings made him wince.

Up til then I’d been feeling a wee bit sorry for myself. A “starving artist”, middle-aged, wondering if it was at all remotely realistic to be trying to do this. Really, would people want to see a play about a homeless alcoholic? So, I was “broke”. Watching him, I became truly aware that I’d driven to Toronto, in my car, paid for parking, and had $8 to spend on dinner. I had a warm bed to go home to. I realized I was “rich”.

I took the beggar what was left of my dinner. I gave him my last $4 and warned him that the food was spicy. And in that moment, a vibrant human soul appeared in his eyes and he allowed me to “see” him: a real, sane beautiful human. He blessed me in broken English, his face flushed with gratitude. He asked nothing of me and wasn’t scary. Just a person in hard times. We smiled at each other. I wished him goodnight and went to rehearse Myra’s Story.

I believe Myra’s Story offers that experience to all of us. All she asks is to be seen: real, beautiful, tragic, human – warts and all. We change the world one look at a time , by finally “seeing” each other, even when our realities are different. Maybe especially so when our realities are different.

Myra’s Story has changed my life. June 2014 marks my third anniversary with Myra’s Story and is also the first anniversary of its Premiere performance. I am so deeply honoured to share this amazing piece of theatre with House of Friendship in this, its 75th year of service. Thank you!

~Jennifer Cornish

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2 Responses to “Myra’s Story”

  1. Pam M Says:

    Looking forward to seeing Jennifer in the play Myra’s story June 17 at the H of F Annual Meeting!

  2. Ron Flaming Says:

    The comment about “finally seeing each other” in Jennifer’s blog about Myra’s Story reminds me of the South African greeting translated as “I see you”.
    Here is a short internet comment if you’ve not heard of this before: http://www.phrasebase.com/archive/zulu/91-sawubona.html

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