Why is Tanya Pillay Looking Forward to bringing “All of Him” to FemFest?

All of Him

Tanya Pillay in All of Him

Since the beginning of workshop development (March 2009) and finally subsequent All of Him fully staged production in Toronto (SummerWorks 2010), feedback has ranged from “Everyone needs to experience this” to “this isn’t theatre”. With FemFest: On the Edge set to “push the boundaries of conventional theatre by showcasing performances that are innovative, inspirational”, I am eager to see if my unconventional approach to the subject matter and storytelling in general take root any differently in Winnipeg than I’ve observed thus far.

After one invited reading, one public reading, and 4 community-based workshops including newcomer youths, friends & family, and a personal development group, I thought I’d “heard it all” in the way of audience questions and comments I invite during the piece.

Then after our 7-show run in Summerworks, I heard still more comments and questions that I had yet to hear earlier (some of which I had never even considered). So again, I’m inclined to think ‘Surely by now I’ve heard it all!’

Expats tell me that FemFest is a well-known festival with a solid following. This with Saravati Productions’ mandate to inspire through theatre and Winnipeg’s reputation as a bustling artistic hub (yes, word has reached us all the way over here in Toronto!), I’m anticipating still more new, challenging questions and insightful comments during All of Him at FemFest 2010.

The pressure’s on, Winnipeg. You are welcome to watch in silence, but I’m ready and eager to hear what you’ve got for me…and ultimately for each other.

-Tanya Pillay

Highlights from All of Him Reviews:

Torontoist – Your Cheat Sheet to SummerWorks 2010

Writer/actor Tanya Pillay’s one-woman biographical play–cum–public dialogue…focuses on the life of Pat, her  father. It begins innocently enough, touching upon Pat’s work in the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, and his tremendous accomplishments as a husband, career microbiologist, and father. The tale moves along with pauses for such audience interactions as Q&A sessions and the passing along of artifacts from Pat’s life …when a bombshell of scandal is dropped and the tone irrevocably shifts. Pillay moves from storyteller to discussion facilitator as the audience helps mediate the narrative of her relationship with her father and his wrongdoings. This makes for an unexpectedly engaging, and rewarding, piece of interactive theatre. KK

TWISI Theatre Blog (The Way I See It Theatre Blog)


by Amanda Campbell

All of Him, a one woman show written and performed by Tanya Pillay,…is a discussion between the performer and the audience…the audience’s curiosity, their willingness to engage with Pillay and the story she is telling, and the perspectives and opinions of everyone in the room dictate the direction of the “show.”

What makes this play work so well is how warm and generous Tanya Pillay is with her audience. She lures everyone into her world with such congeniality and charisma that once it is revealed why we have been assembled in this space and why we are being taken on this journey, the audience is already invested in Tanya’s story and therefore she can draw earnest reactions, inquisitive and poignant questions from an audience who may not ordinarily feel comfortable sharing its thoughts with a bunch of strangers at the theatre. At the performance I attended, the questions that were asked were both free flowing and insightful, and Pillay answered them all with a brave openness, respect, genuine reflection and, thankfully, her natural comic instinct, which keeps the piece from plunging too deep into a dark, sombre hole.

All of Him is a very interesting mixture of theatre and reality…at the show I saw Pillay was moved to actual tears onstage, which is a very different experience than watching an actor, regardless how talented, pretend to be moved to tears within the framework of a fictional world. Still, it is clear from this performance that Tanya Pillay is an exquisite performer and one who can hold her audience entirely captivated in the palm of her hand whether she is making a terrible Jaws joke or telling a very deep, very dark and horrific secret.


NOW Magazine

ALL OF HIM Part play, part group discussion…All of Him is writer/actor Tanya Pillay’s look at her father and her feelings about him. Engaging and brave, Pillay starts with charming material but shifts to an upsetting episode that lies at the heart of the piece…Pillay’s transparent, open performance grounds the show.

Panic Manual

By Brian / Panic Manual.com

All of Him is less a play and more of a…well, to be honest, I’m not sure what to call it…The subject is Pat Pillay, the playwright/performer Tanya Pillay’s father, and the challenge is this: how do you reconcile what you know about a loving father with accusations that he’s committed a terrible crime?

There’s no real answer in All of Him, but it’s not for lack of trying. …Tanya Pillay tells the story of her father, encourages the audience to ask questions and express their opinions…

Pillay…tells her father’s story without shame, admits it took her years and a great deal of therapy to come to terms with him and the things he was accused of doing, and tries to get the audience to ask anything they can think of, no matter how unpleasant it might be.

On this night the audience seemed a bit reluctant…although it was interesting when Pillay’s mom and one of her cousins who had no idea his uncle had such a past spoke up. It’s a show that’s pretty raw…Pillay is an engaging performer…