A Room of One’s Own: TJ Dawe

A Room of One’s Own is LMPR’s photography series that showcases the beloved spaces belonging to members of Canada’s artistic scene. With a nod to Virginia Woolf’s essay by the same name, we present self-portraits from artists, arts media, and arts administrators in a room they call their own.


This week we spoke with award-winning writer, director, and performer TJ Dawe. A fixture in the Vancouver theatre scene and national Fringe circuit, TJ has created and performed 13 solo shows, including his most recent, Medicine. He has directed such works as Never Shoot a Stampede Queen and One-Man Lord of the Rings, and co-wrote the play Toothpaste & Cigars, which has been made into the movie The F Word, starring Daniel Radcliffe.


TJ is on-stage in Vancouver this week to present a new work- The Fugue Fugueas part of Boca del Lupo’s Micro Performance Series.


This is TJ’s room:

Q: Which room did you choose?

This is what I refer to as the arts district of the living room. The apartment I share with my girlfriend mostly consists a big, open, L-shaped room. This is part of it. We’re in the West End, by the way. Right near Stanley Park.


Q: What makes this room ‘yours’?

This room is mine because there are four little 3D printed versions of me on one of the shelves.


Q: Identify three items in the room that you love, and explain why they’re special to you.

The books. I’ve got more books elsewhere in the apartment, but the two bookcases immediately behind me hold the collections of some of my favourite writers, all grouped together: Margaret Atwood, Charles Bukowski, Graham Greene, Salman Rushdie, Carol Shields, Michael Chabon, Brian Michael Bendis, and many others. They’re people who’ve dedicated themselves to artistic creation. Who’ve built impressive bodies of work. Who never stopped exploring and pushing the boundaries and taking chances and finding new ways to take the audience on a ride.


Having their books in my line of sight every day reminds me of what can be done. And they also invite rereading. Rereading a book is a particular pleasure. You get so much more out of a good book the second time around. And the third. And the fifth.


The instruments. Some of them are mine. Some are my girlfriend’s. She plays more than I do. She’s a singer/songwriter. She plays around town. She’s released an album. I just play for fun. One of those guitars was a university graduation present. I took three days to choose it. It plays so easily. It even smells good.


Learning new songs is like unlocking a code. It’s solving a puzzle. It’s learning a set of secret dance steps. Not too long ago I learned the song “Something’s Wrong” by Hurray for the Riff Raff. Simple lick. But it takes a bit to get. And now that I’ve got it, I can’t stop playing it. I’ll do it at the open stage my girlfriend hosts at the Cottage Bistro one of these months.


The burgundy chair. My uncle ran a furniture consignment store called The Sellution for many years. My family got this chair from him. It’s my favourite chair. It looks good, and it’s damn comfortable, especially considering how hard it looks. It’s as comfortable as it doesn’t look, as a friend of mine once put it.


It’s great to sit and read in, with the leaves of the big plant known as Philip reaching toward me. It’s the place where stories unfold, where the magic gets released from the pages.


TJ presents a compelling new one-man show- The Fugue Fuguefrom February 13-16, 2014 at The Anderson Street Space as part of Boca del Lupo’s Micro Performance Series.


Tickets are $10 at Eventbrite.com.


Categories: MPMG