Review: First Métis Man of Odesa is a timely, intimate love story

Photo credit: Matthew MacKenzie and Mariya Khomutova perform a scene from First Metis Man of Odesa during a media call at Persephone Theatre in Saskatoon, Sask. on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (Michelle Berg / Saskatoon StarPhoenix) PHOTO BY MICHELLE BERG/SASKATOON STARPHOENIX

The play shares a couple’s journey through pandemic, parenthood, war and finding meaning as an artist in a time of crisis.

In Mariya Khomutova and Matthew MacKenzie’s household, at least three languages are spoken on any given day — Khomutova’s Ukrainian, MacKenzie’s English, and the lingua franca of theatre.
It was theatre that first brought the couple together, when MacKenzie travelled from Canada to Ukraine to workshop one of his plays. Khomutova was one of the actors in that performance, and their romance blossomed between rehearsals and after shows.
So it is truly fitting to see MacKenzie and Khomutova capture their own love story on stage in First Métis Man of Odesa.

Written and performed by the couple themselves, the play shares their journey from early conversations and tentative flirtations through long-distance courtship, the COVID-19 pandemic, pregnancy, war and the struggle to find meaning as an artist in a time of crisis.


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