THE NAKED WOMAN – writing a play about one word

Many years ago, I had a vivid dream about a play. It was called The Naked Woman. It starred Frances Sternhagen (a formidable Broadway actor and Cliff’s Mom on Cheers) and Richard Kind (a formidable Broadway actor and Paul Lassiter on Spin City). In my dream, it was opening night on Broadway. Sutton Foster was there. Seth Rudetsky was there. Alan Cumming was there. All the cool kids. And in my dream, I wrote the play. And I watched the play. And I really liked it. It was about Helen, an 84-year-old woman who was holed up in her apartment naked, in protest, protecting her assets after her wealthy husband’s sudden passing, and Dennis, the 56-year-old lawyer who had to make her sign some papers or Helen’s late husband’s corporation, and Dennis’job, would be lost. I’m telling you, this dream was specific! Then I woke up. I never have prophetic dreams. I never write what I’ve dreamt. But that morning, several years ago, I thought to myself, hm. Maybe I should write that play.

So here I am, several years later, writing that play. A year ago, I applied for the FemFest Bake-Off, and I was selected as one of the five participants from across Canada —all amazing, inspirational writers. The process involved each of us writing a scene within an eight hour period. The scene had to include three carefully selected words: zombie. dill pickle. maniacal laughter. Well, actually, that’s five words…I decided to use those words to write a scene from The Naked Woman, and ooo boy did that work well! The scenes were presented at last year’s FemFest. The actors were incredible. Cairn Moore, the director, was, as always, masterful. The audience voted. My scene was chosen. My prize was a full production of my full play at FemFest 2014. I was gobsmacked. And exhilarated. And hungry to write this play.

Initial casting has commenced. Oh my word, the incredible, brave, vulnerable, brilliant talent in Winnipeg (which is why I call Winnipeg home after having lived and worked in Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and New York). It is difficult to fill these ridiculous roles —a naked 84-year-old woman, who can act like the dickens, and bare her…soul. A 56-year-old man who is…Richard Kind from Spin City.

When The Naked Woman goes up at FemFest 2014: She’s Got the Power, I will have the opportunity to showcase my work. I am humbled by and grateful for this opportunity. I will get to see my work, directed by the madly inspirational Hope McIntyre, and dramaturged by the brilliant Cairn Moore. Performed in by…we shall see.

This play is about freedom. Imagine, a play about freedom called The Naked Woman. I still see opening night on Broadway, and I will fight, with every fibre of my being, to see my dream become a reality. Beyond my wildest dreams is the actuality of seeing my play premiere at FemFest. Thank you, FemFest!


Rebecca Gibson is an Actor, Wtriter, Director and Producer living in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Rebecca Gibson is an Actor, Wtriter, Director and Producer living in Winnipeg, Manitoba.


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