Meet Christine Rodriguez of “Dreaming in Autism”

Christine Rodriguez

Christine Rodriguez

In the weeks leading up to FemFest 2013, we asked some of the performers to write about what participating in FemFest means to them. We start this series off with Christine Rodriguez, writer and performer whose play Dreaming in Autism has placed her on the proverbial map.  The play was awarded third prize at Ottawa Little Theatre’s 72nd National One-Act Playwriting Competition. Adjudicator Garry Davey says the play is a “strongly imagined piece with a distinctive style” and that it is “both funny and heart-breaking at times.” Dreaming in Autism was also nominated for Chapters Best English Script and won the Théâtre Denise-Pelletier Fred-Barry Award for Best Production Design at the 2012 Montreal Fringe Festival. Christine’s work is largely informed by her mixed-race heritage and her multicultural environment.

Here’s what Christine had to say about being part of FemFest 2013:

“I’m very excited about bringing Dreaming in Autism to FemFest 2013.  It’s an opportunity to perform and to share my story with an entirely new audience.  I’m looking forward to exchanging thoughts and ideas with the Winnipeg theatre community, to share with fellow Canadians.  I hope that the play continues to create awareness about autism issues and reach out to people dealing with autism.  I’m interested in hearing about people’s experience with autism in Manitoba.  How different are things there compared to Québec?

Beyond the issue of autism, I think that Winnipegers will enjoy the show not only for the drama or the story about a mother dealing with a mildly autistic child, but also for the theatre, the conception, the unique and daring way Liz (director), Jody (technical director) and Logan (set designer) chose to interpret the play.  We’re very proud of our work, humbled by the opportunity to show our work at FemFest alongside other great artists and thrilled to be taking our creation beyond Montreal’s English theatre community.

Art knows no boundaries.

See you all soon!”

For more information on Christine and her play, Dreaming in Autism, please visit http://sarasvati.ca/fem-fest-showsdreaminginautism/

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FemFest Features Fabulous Talent!

Fem13 temporary web banner3

With FemFest just two months away, we are excited to start featuring some of our fabulous artists who will be performing! In order for you to get to know them a little better, we posed some interesting questions and we’ll post highlights in various blog entries in the coming weeks. Here is a few to get things started:

Kevin Anderson Kevin Anderson has appeared in several Sarasvàti works including EDEN in 2012, Ripple Effect in 2008 and some FemFest readings. This year he will be in our FemFest 2013 short-list readings:

What is your favourite play? Generous  by Michael Healey
What is your favourite word? pedantic
If you had one wish, what would it be? That the next 65 years are even better.
Fun Fact: What Kevin wants audiences to take away after viewing is work the feeling that he did his job well.

Cheryl Gensiorek

Cheryl Gensiorek was most recently seen in Wild Women, our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues, with some interesting props. She is also in our short-list readings: 

What is your favourite play? MTC – Gone With The Wind
If you had one wish, what would it be? To Always be happy/content despite challenges in life.
Fun Fact: Cheryl works as an educational assistant

Brittany Thiessen's photo (3)Brittany Thiessen was seen last year in Empty. She is a recent U of W graduate and will be presenting a devised piece in our opening cabaret and performing in Harold and Vivian Entertain Guests:

What is your favourite play? This is a very difficult question! Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov.
What is your favourite word? “Yes.”
If you had one wish, what would it be? A paid trip to travel the world for a year!
Fun Fact: Here is how Brittany would introduce herself to a stranger: “If the stranger was from Winnipeg, I would tell them my name, ask for theirs, and find out how we already know each other.”

DSC_5887David Fox is currently playing Tommy in The WHO’s TOMMY at the Winnipeg Fringe and will be making his debut with Sarasvàti Productions in Harold and Vivian.

What is your favourite play? Fat Men in Skirts by Nicky SIlver
What is your favourite word? Frisky
If you had one wish, what would it be? To lead a long life as a professional actor.
Fun Fact: David is a member of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Society and Rainbow Pride Mosaic

Alissa Watson (3)Alissa Watson was also seen in Empty last year as well as having done a couple years of our cabaret of monologues. She will be coming back from performing The Anger of Ernest and Ernestine at the Edmonton Fringe to perform in Harold and Vivian:

What is your favourite play?  Currently:  The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine by Robert Morgan, Martha Ross and Leah Cherniak
What is your favourite word? Laughter
If you had one wish, what would it be? I’d wish that every person could have the capability and courage to follow their dreams.
Fun Fact: Alissa attended Brandon University, School of Music and majored in Classical Percussion

For more information on our artists, shows, and performers, visit www.femfest.ca

Great Theatre – Fringe and FemFest

Great Theatre Begins at the Fringe But Certainly Does Not End There!

Next week the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival begins! It’s been a while since Sarasvàti Productions was able to produce at the Fringe but FemFest in September makes our summer a little crazy. On the plus side it means our team get to enjoy the Fringe and see a large number of great shows. Our Artistic Director, Hope McIntyre, is excited to see work by some of her former students as well as the many talented Winnipeggers she has worked with before. Our volunteers will be out in full force distributing surveys and buttons in order to start the FemFest buzz. Look for the survey boxes at Urban Forest and the Winnipeg Free Press Café.

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There is also a large number of FemFest artists who are in the Fringe.

  • Megan Andres is directing our short piece The Exchange at FemFest and is involved with 3 Fringe shows (Offices by Ethan Coen, Kissing Sweet & Other Silliness by John Guare and Raising Roger an original play by local writer C. Jones for which she served as dramaturg)
  • Nan Fewchuk will be acting in our short-list reading series and can be seen in Dog Act at the Fringe produced by her own Nancan Boogie Productions
  • Talia Pura’s new play Perfect Love will be read at FemFest and she is performing in Rope at the Fringe.
  • Brittany Thiessen will be performing a new devised piece at our opening cabaret plus performing in Harold and Vivian Entertain Guests, see her Fringe in Quickies with Chekhov
  • Speaking of Harold and Vivian, playwright Jessy Ardern’s company The Struts and Frets Players is Fringing with The Hounds of Ulster
  • David Fox is also in Harold and Vivian and will be playing Tommy in The Who’s Tommy produced by Winnipeg Broadway Theatre
  • Melanie Dahling is doing stand-up for one of our cabarets and can be seen in her own Fringe show Dirty and True
  • Our production assistant, Jonathan Kindzierski is stage managing both Quilters and The Collectors
  • In fact almost all of our production team is also doing Fringe shows or venue tech work
  • Plus we are still confirming other actors and artists!
  • Plus dozens of past FemFest artists we can’t wait to see again!
  • Plus some of our friends will have FemFest ads in their programs including fellow WIT (Winnipeg Independent Theatre) member Theatre by the River who are producing 7 Stories!

So check out the Fringe and then save the dates of September 14-21 for FemFest!

Guest Speaker, brochure, and schedule, oh my!

Hopefully everyone has had a chance to check out our exciting FemFest 2013: Revelation & Revolution lineup. If you want to schedule your time in advance, here is the breakdown of the week’s performances, readings, and workshops. The full brochure is also now available. So many wonderful things to see! What are you the most excited for?

We are also very excited to announce our guest artist for FemFest 2013. She was off in Berlin and so was confirmed after the brochure went to print, but we couldn’t be happier to welcome Djanet Sears to Winnipeg to conduct a masterclass for playwrights, read from her work and speak at the University of Winnipeg. She is a Governor General’s Literary Award winner for Harlem Duet and one of the leading African Canadian writers for the stage. She is an award-winning director, and has several acting nominations to her credit for both stage and screen. Her own work explores the passionately complex spaces where race and gender intersect. Djanet is one of the driving forces behind the AfriCanadian Playwrights’ Conference Festival, a celebration and examination of African diasporic writing for the stage in Canada. Book the dates off in your calendar now to be sure you do not miss out! 

Guest Speaker Djanet Sears

Guest Speaker Djanet Sears

FemFest 2013 – Schedule

All events are at the University of Winnipeg Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (400 Colony Street). 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

1pm     (reading) Perfect Love by Talia Pura
3pm     (workshop presentation) Giving Voice
7pm     Opening Cabaret and Reception

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15

1pm     (workshop) Producing A Hit! Independent Theatre Production facilitated by Christine Rodriguez
3pm     Playwriting Masterclass with Djanet Sears
7pm     Harold and Vivian by Jessy Ardern
9pm     Flood Control by Marilyn Anne Campbell

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16

3pm     Playwriting Masterclass with Djanet Sears continued
7pm     (readings) Bake-Off
9pm     Harold and Vivian

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17

5pm     Djanet Sears Reading and Reception
7pm     Dreaming in Autism by Christine Rodriguez
8:15pm     Shorts
9pm     Flood Control

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18

12:30pm     The Real Thing Lecture with Djanet Sears
sponsored by The University of Winnipeg Department of Theatre and Film
2:30pm     Dreaming in Autism
7pm     Dreaming in Autism
8:15pm     Shorts
9pm     pomme is french for apple by liza paul and bahia watson

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19

2:30pm     (workshop presentation) Giving Voice
7pm     Flood Control
8:15pm     Shorts
9pm     pomme is french for apple

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

7pm     The Aftermath
8:15pm     Shorts
9pm     pomme is french for apple

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

2:30pm     (reading) Sisters Inc by Rita Deverell
4pm     Harold and Vivian
7pm     The Aftermath
8:15pm     Shorts
9pm     Closing Cabaret and Reception

For more information on FemFest 2013 go to our website www.femfest.ca