Miss N Me – The Directors!

You’ve learned about the amazing cast of Miss N Me and now it’s time for our directing duo to take the spotlight.

Missyrehearsal (1)We are very excited to continue our tradition of mentoring emerging artists – thanks to the Winnipeg Arts Council this year we welcome Angie St. Mars as Assistant Director working in conjunction with our Artistic Director Hope McIntyre. Although rehearsals just began, Hope has been talking shop about the script with playwright Catherine Banks for over a year.

Hope McIntyre

What is your favourite play? It’s always the play that I am currently immersed in, so definitely Miss N Me. I’m also a big fan of Catherine’s play Bone Cage and of course an all-time favourite is Fefu and Her Friends, which I finally got to direct last year.

What job would you most like to do if you weren’t working in theatre? I used to want to be a veterinarian, but now I think I’d want something more stress-free. Would someone hire me to read, paint and play with animals?

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off? Sleep. Bake. Play with animals.

Where would you love to travel? Ireland, particularly the Hebrides from where part of my family hails.

If you had to sing one song on American Idol, what would it be? Definitely something from the ‘80s – Never Surrender by Corey Hart or Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper.

What would you do if you won a million dollars? Put it in to the Sarasvàti endowment fund so that the company will last forever!

If you were on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be? A toothbrush, a journal and music!

Angie St. Mars

What is your favourite play? Bahh! Let me pick my top five.
Favourite…
First play I read, and blew my mind: Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.
First play that made me want to make theatre : Ginny Collins’ The Good Daughter.
New play: Hannah Moscovitch’s This Is War.
Local play: Debbie Patterson’s Sargent & Victor & Me.
I will always love Three Sisters, and I love it more every time I get to see another awesome adaptation. I just read Catherine’s It Is Solved By Walking, so that’s a new favourite.

What job would you most like to do if you weren’t working in theatre? Television (hahaha)

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off? Read and write and see plays. All day every day.

Where would you love to travel? I want to hike the Fundy Trail in New Brunswick. All of Canada’s East coast.

If you had to sing one song on American Idol, what would it be? It would be Shoop by Salt n’ Pepa.

What would you do if you won a million dollars? I would apply to one of the best universities in the U.S. and I’d move there (temporarily, of course)

If you were on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be? Electricity, the internet, and my laptop.

Now check out the promo video by the amazing Jordan Popowich –

Miss N Me from Jordan Popowich on Vimeo.

Wow!  Now that you’ve had a sneak peek, you need to get your tickets!

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The Super Ladies of Miss N Me!

Last week we shared details about the guys in Miss N Me and now we have answers to our philosophical questions from the fabulous Alissa Watson and Melanie Whyte.  You have likely seen both of them on Winnipeg stages in the past, but how well do you really know them?

 

Alissa Watson

Alissa Watson

Alissa Watson

What is your favourite play? There are so many – I like witty, smart scripts that stay ahead of the audience.  Recently I read “Seminar” by Theresa Rebeck and “Butcher” by Nicolas Billon and really enjoyed them.

What role would you love to play one day? I would LOVE to play the role of an actor for a living; anything on the stage suits me fine!

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off? Sleep in without setting an alarm, hang around the house, have a visit with my friends and make a new recipe for dinner. 

Where would you love to travel? Australia and New Zealand. I’ve also heard incredible things about Costa Rica. 

If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be? My go to Karaoke songs are The Beatles’ “Come Together” and Tom Cochrane’s “Life is a Highway” – it would be a toss up!  But it would probably come down to “Mr. Jones” by the Counting Crows. 

What would you do if you won a million dollars? Pay my folks back for my university tuition, buy a little house, donate to an arts organization, sponsor some kids to go to school, put a tiny bit into my TFSA and take my best friend and my partner on a trip around the world. 

If you were on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be? Is it tropical or arctic? Is there civilization on this island? I guess I would bring someone who knew how to catch/prepare/cook the local natural cuisine (someone really outdoorsy) and this person also knows how to build me a shelter (if not I will need someone to do that too).  My goose-down jacket would be good if it was a cold island.  I think I know enough to build a fire in the wild so I would also need a pair of sunglasses and a keg filled with an adult beverage to get me through the experience.

Anything else you’d like to add: “I want to be cutting-edge.”  – Missy Elliott

Melanie Whyte

Melanie Whyte

Melanie Whyte

What is your favourite play?  Hmm. August Osage County is a play I was hugely attracted to when I read it.  I didn’t have the opportunity to play in it at MTC, but the production was stellar!

What role would you love to play one day? I want to play Margaret in The Light in the Piazza again.

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off?  Cycle!  With my family.

Where would you love to travel?  England and Ireland (my people). Cuba.  For the music.

If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?  Yikes.  I don’t think that theatre tunes are the deal on that show.  Meadowlark from The Baker’s Wife.

What would you do if you won a million dollars? There is so much work needing doing that I can only hope I would funnel money towards social change somehow.  I would pay off my debts too.

If you were on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be? I hope it would be my homeland of Vancouver Island.  I would want my piano I think, having just bought one that I am enjoying, and also a journal and a pen with endless ink.

Anything else you’d like to add: I am coming up on my 25th anniversary and my 50th birthday.  My kids are growing up.  I will NOT be squeezing myself into my wedding dress or hiring an anniversary planner but I will celebrate my life with my partner when the time comes.

 

In next week’s edition of the blog we will be sharing the amazing promo video we just shot with extraordinary videographer Jordan Popowich – there will be clowns, bling and pie! In the meantime, get your tickets to see the whole cast on stage!

Hidden Secrets of the Miss N Me Men!

Here’s your chance to get to know the guys who you will see on stage for Miss N Me! We’ve already put their bios out there, but here’s some things you might not already know about them.

 

Colin Connor

Colin Connor

Colin Connor

What is your favourite play? The Pitchfork Disney by Phillip Ridley.

What role would you love to play one day? Arlecchino in a Commedia Dell’ Arte performance.

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off? Cruise around the city with Francesca, my partner, listening to the Hotline Miami 2 soundtrack, drinking fine coffee, and eating fine Ramen.

Where would you love to travel? Japan is big on my list. There are a couple itches left to scratch in Italy, though.

If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be? “Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin.

What would you do if you won a million dollars? Put it towards an apprenticeship at a Piadina stand in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. I would love to learn how to make only the best Piadina with only the best ingredients from someone who knows their craft. I would then take this knowledge and ingredients and open a Piadina stand with Francesca. Possibly called Franlin Industries Piadina.

If you were on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be? Francesca, Pens and Paper (so we can write scripts together), and a deck of Scopa Cards.

Anything else you’d like to add: I’m very excited to be working with Sarasvati again! Every show I do offers so many wonderful experiences and challenges. 

Kevin Gabel

Kevin Gabel

Kevin P. Gabel

What is your favourite play? I can’t pick an absolute favourite, but some of my top picks are August: Osage County, Angels in America, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Lion in the Streets and Hamlet.

What role would you love to play one day? Brick in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off? Sleep in after a night out with friends.

Where would you love to travel? The Caribbean.

If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be? “Lady Madonna” by The Beatles.

What would you do if you won a million dollars?  Try my luck in New York or Los Angeles. Also dress better.

If you were on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be?  Assuming that technology wouldn’t work, it’d be sunscreen, rum, and a giant book of scripts.

Anything else you’d like to add: I’m very excited to be working with Sarasvàti Productions again and to be bringing this brand-new play out into the world! 

Tune in next week to learn all the secrets of the gals in the cast! Even better – get your tickets to see the whole cast on stage!

You can also check out a wonderful event by our colleagues at Theatre by the River on May 1st!
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Why We Do What We Do

A Pitch From Our Artistic Director, Hope McIntyre

It is time to brag, boast, crow and show some swagger! I’ll admit it, I don’t always do the best job of tooting the company’s horn. When I was a kid it was a bad thing to be a show off. So, I keep my head down and do the work. The work gets done but not everyone knows about it and not everyone knows how amazing what we do is.

GeNie and kids

Why is Sarasvàti Productions unique? This year alone we opened the eyes to almost 4,500 youth and teachers to the reality of what youth in care experience. To have a young person stand up and say “thank you for helping my peers understand what I have been through” means the world to us. We have had dozens of emerging artists attend our workshop series and access important information to launch their careers as artists. I’ve gotten to see a child who was too shy to say his name become a potato on stage. I’ve sat in a room with 15 women, all but one was sexually abused as a child, and listened to them share their stories. Then being able to laugh with them as we play theatre games. We’ve brought to the stage dozens of stories that would not otherwise be told. What makes us unique is that we are using the arts in a very important, powerful and special way. We believe that the arts have the ability to empower, to teach, to inspire and to allow everyone to have a voice.

SNA BB session 8 (3)Over the last 17 years there have been lots of sacrifices because of the belief that the work we are doing is important. This has been proven to me time and time again when I see the direct impact. However, the reality is that for 17 years we’ve struggled for funding. Our unique position as a theatre company working in the community and dedicated to social change sometimes puts us at a disadvantage when competing for funding that is awarded based on artistic excellence. We combine professional artists with emerging artists and even with community members. On average only about 30% of our revenue comes from public sources and only 5% is for operating costs with multi-year stability. This reality is not the norm for a theatre company operating a full season and having done so for so many years. It may not be sustainable forever, but we have never posted a debt, we stretch every dollar and we now have an endowment fund to work towards long-term stability.

MNM buttonOkay, enough of the reality check – back to bragging! Miss N Me is our next production and it is a crazy, wonderful and empowering journey. The playwright is one of a few two-time Governor General Award winners. We have a fabulous team of local artists including our amazing cast of Colin Connor, Kevin P. Gabel, Alissa Watson and Melanie Whyte. Our design team of Brenda McLean, James Jansen and Dean Cowieson have an awesome challenge with a complex show and a tight budget. They are all miracle workers. Our Assistant Director Angie St. Mars is a powerhouse and Missy Elliott’s biggest fan! The show is worth seeing and it is worth supporting. We’ve just launched our donation campaign for this world premiere and it is a chance for the community to show that they do want this type of wonderful theatre to exist in Winnipeg!

Click here to give and get great donor benefits! We know not everyone can support us in this way so show your support by purchasing tickets here. If money is not an option then contact us to volunteer. If we’ve really won you over we are also recruiting for our Board of Directors and committees.

The Power of Story

SNA BB session7There have been tears, inspiration and a lot of laughter. It’s been an amazing few months working with the community. We’ve conducted theatre workshops with Spence Neighbourhood Association’s Building Belonging program and learned that kids love to play potatoes. In fact they’ve requested that the potato be a character in the play we are creating! We’ve also done two workshops with Girls Night through SNA. We have facilitator Spenser Payne working to edit together a film they created in our screen acting session last week. There was a soccer injury, a craving for chicken, zombies and dancing. We can’t wait to see what Spenser comes up with to show the girls next week.

SNA BB session

Then there have been the powerful storytelling workshops in partnership with West Central Women’s Resource Centre. As part of an Intergenerational Indigenous Storytelling Project, we’ve been honoured to work with an amazing group of adult women. They have jumped right in as actors, relishing the opportunity to play, opening up to share very personal stories and proving that all good theatre comes down to a powerful story. We only wish we had more than six weeks to spend with these wonderful women. In addition, we’ve been working with youth to hear their perspective. We’ve met youth who have it all figured out and others who are struggling and not quite able to look ahead towards a future. Yet, they all demonstrate amazing creativity.

On April 27th at the West End Cultural Centre we will be presenting the work from the Intergenerational Indigenous Storytelling Project for the public. Doors will open at 7pm for a 7:30pm start time. The presentation will include music, visual art and theatrical presentations compiling the stories of women and youth.  What are the lessons that these women have learned in their lives? What advice do they have for the next generation? What are the questions youth have about their future? What do they wish they knew about their lives? Come and see these questions explored in a powerful and real way.

As artists this work is a reminder of how important it is for everyone to tell their story and be heard!