Fefu Has Everybody Talking!

It’s been an amazing run so far for Fefu and Her Friends with several sold out performances. a few thunder storms adding an ominous sound track and reviews raving about the performances! Here are a few of our favourite quotes pulled from last week’s reviews:

CBC’s Joff Schmidt on the use of a site specific venue: “the overall effect is intriguing – truth, and reality, become subjective here.”

“It’s The [Feminist] Breakfast Club for grown-ups, and you should go see this play.” -The Winnipeg Review’s Chandra Mayor.

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On the content:
“And it may seem the play’s central themes are something we’re long past – surely we no longer consider women lesser or ‘loathsome’ creatures. And yet we still live in a country where a woman earns 87 cents for every dollar a man does, in a province that has never elected a woman as premier, and a nation that has had a female prime minister for less than 20 weeks of its near 147-year history.”- CBC’s Joff Schmidt.

“the play as a whole is concerned with the tensions and relationships between individuality and collectivity, and this structure highlights these dynamics, encouraging the audience to each have a slightly different experience of the play…It all makes sense the way that a dream makes stubborn, innate sense while you’re dreaming it.” – The Winnipeg Review’s Chandra Mayor.

On the performances:
“Kelci Stephenson is outstanding as Julia…Tracey Nepinak shines as the theatrical Emma, and Tracy Penner’s laugh lights up the room.” – The Winnipeg Review’s Chandra Mayor.

“Reliable Megan McArton superbly communicates Fefu’s feminine strength while offering glimpses of her brazen masculine desires. The other major character is the tortured, wheelchair-bound Julia, paralyzed from the waist down… or maybe not. In one of the second-act scenes in her bedroom, she suffers from harrowing hallucinations that involve judges and being forced to repeat that women are not human beings. Kelci Stephenson, who spent time in a wheelchair during a provincial tour of a Munsch play for Prairie Theatre Exchange earlier this year, is forcefully convincing in conveying the way Julia’s inner demons have left her more psychologically crippled then physically disabled…Emma is the dreamer and optimist, giving the impressive Tracey Nepinak plenty of space to create a provocative drama queen. In her second-act scene in the backyard lawn with Fefu, Emma provides a rare humorous interlude by admitting she thinks of genitals all the time. Using veggies as phallic props, she speculates that heaven is populated with divine lovers, while hell houses the sexual duds. The audience regroups in the living for the third act, when confident Emma again grabs the spotlight to makes Fornes’ point that, “Life is theatre. Theatre is life.” – Kevin Prokosh, The Winnipeg Free Press

There are only 4 performances left and very few tickets to be had! Book now or give us a call at 204-586-2236 to be added to the waiting list for any of the sold out performances. There are often reservations who do not show up so it’s still worth trying to get a ticket at the door.

The Wait for Fefu Is Over!

It’s finally here: the Winnipeg premiere of Fefu and Her Friends by Maria Irene Fornes. We’re so happy to be able to bring you this exciting story that has been a theatrical dream of Sarasvàti Productions for years. And the excitement isn’t contained within the massive walls of Ralph Connor House, the play’s venue. We’ve received wonderful coverage from Winnipeg media over the past week.

Check out the previews:

CTV Morning Live

The Uniter – Thank You For Being a Friend

Winnipeg Free Press – Ladies of the House

If that isn’t enough to peak your interest, here are the Top 10 reasons why you shouldn’t miss Fefu:

  1. A story set in 1935, written in in 1977, and performed by Sarasvàti Productions in 2014: When else will you get to enjoy three eras for the price of one?
  2. For those of you interested in a Winnipeg history lesson every now and then, you can get your double dose of culture and story with Fefu and Her Friends, as the venue of the play is a Manitoba Heritage Building.
  3. Fefu and Her Friends is performed by 8 of Winnipeg’s most talented female performers, it’s directed by one of Winnipeg’s most talented directors and it was written by a world famous female playwright. What better way to experience so much female talent in 1 (okay, 4) rooms.
  4. You know when you’re watching a play and despite the fact that it’s very entertaining you feel a little restless from sitting in the same place for too long. Audience members will actually get to move around the venue, 54 West Gate, with the play.
  5. And to push the sensory experiences even further, audience members will be entertained by water and ice cube fights contained within the story of the play.
  6. For those of you who like to sneak a musical or two into your theatre schedule every year, Fefu and Her Friends doesn’t hold back from belting out a note here and there.
  7. We all secretly enjoy the sighting of a vegetable or a fruit that looks alarmingly like certain parts of the human anatomy—Fefu and Her Friends also don’t shy away from indulging in humour of all shapes and sizes.
  8. To add to the intimate nature of the play’s story, every showing of Fefu and Her Friends includes only 60 audience members.
  9. The first couple of shows are already sold out, don’t be left out of seeing this unique production.
  10. As Emma says in the play “Life is theatre. Theatre is life. If we’re showing what life is, can be, we must do theatre.”
Fefu Ensemble

Fefu Ensemble

Get your tickets before it’s too late!

Fefu – A Labour of Love

A Labour of Love by Hope McIntyre, Director

Julia and Fefu (2)“Fight!…I need you to fight.” Watching our initial run-throughs of Fefu and Her Friends, this is what stands out – the need to fight against the things that stop us from being fully alive. The need to deal with the injustice we see in the world. The need to keep struggling to improve the world we live in. A message many of us need to hear when we feel that we’ve been fighting the same battles for too long. It is a powerful and inspiring moment in the play. Of course there is so much more than this rallying cry though. The moments of great pain are immediately turned to moments of silliness, laughter and games. In her typical way, Maria Irene Fornes has confronted us with fear and allowed us to see the pleasure in the world all at once.

The performers have struggled in their own way with the deeply layered script, with the sharp changes in tone, with the magical elements that won’t line up with logical approaches. They have also found beautiful moments of connection, of longing and of course fun. With eight women in the cast, our female stage management team and a female assistant director; there is a real sense of community in the room and a lot of laughter. Emma and Julia

“Intimacy, pleasure, truthfulness, and innocence willing to be taken by surprise. These are all crucial attributes of Fornes’ theater.” – Scott Cummings

Yesterday Fornes turned 84, yet she has given us a gift with this beautiful script that we cannot wait to share with our audiences. After waiting many years to direct the play, I can truly say that I have the ideal cast, ideal venue in the beautiful Ralph Connor House and have loved immersing myself in the world of Fefu. We are one week away from opening and we want to welcome you to a different kind of theatre, one that allows for laughter and pain, struggle and discovery…Ultimately Fornes believed she showed things as they are and it was up to the audience to find ways to improve the world as a result, but her writing is also filled with moments of mischievous celebration and joy.


Buy your tickets for this unique experience!

From Page To Stage

First Week of Rehearsals – Rachel Smith, Assistant Director

The first week of rehearsals is always exciting. The script is suddenly brought to life. The characters now have faces, bodies and voices. When the scenes are put up on the stage, the characters interact with each other, the props and their surroundings.

When reading the script it is easy to forget about the meaning created by props. One of the scenes begins with one of the characters writing on a piece of paper. When reading the script it is easy to forget about the paper but once it is on the stage the paper suddenly becomes a focal point.

In another rehearsal we had fun discovering how many ways a turnip (and other vegetables) can be used to represent genitals. The conversation takes part in the script but suddenly when there are props to play with it becomes so much more fun.

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The dynamic created by such a large cast is one thing that I find especially exciting about the show. I am fascinated by how the actors have begun to develop their characters. The characters different personalities that exist in the script are on the surface but once they become breathing, living beings they are no longer just characters, they are people; they have histories, personalities and relationships.

I am excited to see what the next two weeks of rehearsals will bring and am especially excited to see it in the Ralph Connor House. Working on Fefu and Her Friends so far has been a great experience and a lot of fun. The remaining rehearsals can only get better.

Just two weeks until opening – get your tickets now!

The Fefu Journey Begins

After much preparation, rehearsals for Fefu and Her Friends began this week. What a joy and challenge to tackle this multi-layered and rich script by Maria Irene Fornes and to do so with such an amazing team of artists!

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“If art is to inspire us, we must not be too eager to understand. If we understand too readily, our understanding will, most likely, be meaningless. It will have no consequences. We must be patient with ourselves.” – Maria Irene Fornes

Fornes is a provocateur and Fefu and Her Friends is no exception as one of the first site specific plays in the US canon. The mischief and delight that Fornes shows in her theatricality translates in to the play with shifts between playful and delving in to the depths of human experience. As the team has explored the script in the last few days it is clear that Fornes is a powerful writer. Her use of magical realism is captivating, yet despite writing over 50 works, winning 8 Obie’s including the 1982 sustained achievement award “for the wit, imagination, and social outrage she has brought to off-Broadway for twenty years” she is not a well-known writer. Her work challenges artists and audiences. Sugarcoating is not part of Fornes’ recipe, but her plays do not preach rather they ask us to look at things anew. We find moments of joy and tap in to a deeper level of consciousness.

“If you have imagination, you can write about things with imagination. I am so amazed when people say – and they say over and over and over – that in spite of the fact that I didn’t seem to be following any of the rules, my play was very moving. What do they think the theatre is? A baseball game? I don’t even know what rules they are talking about. I think that if I had known those rules, I may have never written a play.” – Maria Irene Fornes

This is an experience you do not want to miss. With the wonderful cast, a beautiful heritage house setting and an opportunity to encounter the work of one of theatre’s most unique voices…plus only 60 seats per performance. Get your tickets now!