Mmmmarvelous Miss N Me!

Will the bubble wrap pop? Will the mermaid tail fall to pieces? Will the cast get sick of pecan pie? We are more than halfway through our run of Catherine Banks’ Miss N Me and people can’t stop talking about this show. And what they’re saying has affirmed that it’s weird, wonderful and well worth it.

Despite the surrealist elements Miss N Me is about a journey of self-discovery; it has a message for everyone. Another treat for the Manitoban audience for this world premiere is the playwright’s signature style of Atlantic Gothic. “I really believe theatre works best when it is about a very particular place and then it becomes universal,” says Banks.

In an interview with CityTV, actor Melanie Whyte and director Hope McIntyre discussed the poignancy of Banks’ writing, beneath the absurd antics. “Catherine has written a very wise play. It’s poetic and if you dig deeply into the script, you discover a lot of truth that I will use in my life from here on out.” says Whyte, who plays protagonist Dawna.

“There’s this really beautiful use of language, poetry, imagery and metaphor. In this play there’s rap, there’s dance, there’s waltzing, there’s clowns. She [Banks] really brings so many elements into her pieces and in all of her plays, they touch something really deep in all of us.” says McIntyre.

You won’t find theatre like this anywhere else! The uniqueness of of this production is apparent in the musical stylings of local artist Tiffany Ponce, who infuses this message of being true to herself in all of her original songs. The underscoring music was created by Winnipeg youth from Just TV at Broadway Neighbourhood Centre. Listen here.

We spoke with some audience members after seeing the performance and the consensus seems to be that this play is a griping ride.

“Very engaging from start to finish. It kept my attention. The variety of different aspects of Dawna’s journey- comedic, her imagination, the ups and downs of the journey. You laugh, the next moment your heart is touched. It’s so inspirational. I was ushering, and I was so engaged in the play I almost forgot I was supposed to usher! I loved it.” -Cheryl, volunteer

“Menopausal madness! You never know what was going to happen next!” -Cheryl, audience

“Just wonderful. High energy, innovative, and extremely well done. Everybody should see it!” -Maureen, audience

“I was smiling from start to finish. I loved the hidden meanings and imagination.” – Judi, audience

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And finally, our actors who have taken on the formidable task of bringing these characters to life have received some glowing reviews:

It also bravely embraces that weirdness, thanks particularly to fantastic comic performances from Alissa Watson and Colin Connor, taking on a huge range of roles as the curious characters Dawna encounters on her route… it pays off with a story that’s funny, moving, and miles from ordinary. – Joff Schmidt, CBC review

Winnipeg stage veteran Melanie Whyte literally drives the show as Dawna and does an admirable job of presenting an array of emotional states experienced by a woman in crisis. She takes advantage of her everywoman quality to create a sympathetic character worthy of audience attention. Whyte is ably backed by a trio of young actors, headed by Alissa Watson, who exhibits great versatility by portraying a sexy mermaid and a red-nosed clown, as well as a fortune-telling terrorist and overzealous anniversary planner. Colin Connor has a similar challenge inhabiting the likes of a randy fat man, Shakespearean lover and Elvis-impersonating Adonis. – Kevin Prokosh, Winnipeg Free Press

Just 4 more shows so don’t miss out, get your tickets here.

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5 Reasons Not to Miss Miss N’ Me

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It’s been a wild ride to put up the world premiere of Catherine Banks’ hilarious play Miss N’ Me, but the plumbing van is raring to go tonight and here are several reasons why you should hitch a ride:

  1. Clowns, Mermaids and Shakespearean Lovers: If nothing else, this play has a fascinating, fantastical group of characters who are full of some very sound advice.
  2. Missy Style: Whether you’ve been following our promo contests or not, you won’t be able to stop yourself from getting down to the hip hop grooves. Like our playwright Catherine Banks realized while creating this script: “What is it with Missy Elliott and 50-year-old white women?” Missy Elliot has something to offer to everyone plus the play incorporates music by Just TV and local songstress Tiffany Ponce.
  3. It’s the final show of another spectacular Sarasvàti season: if you enjoyed FemFest 2014, the International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues and the tour of Giving Voice, come see the last show on our schedule. And if you’ve missed them all, what are you waiting for??
  4. World Premiere! The cool cachet of being the first audience to watch this play by a two-time Governor General’s Award winner – need we say more?
  5. Self-discovery: Behind the absurdist elements of this script, there is a message that we can all relate to about finding our truest self. Watching Dawna’s journey to meet her idol Missy Elliot may be just the encouragement you need to start your own road trip.

Miss N Me runs May 21-31 at the U of W Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (400 Colony Street). Tickets are $20 for adults and just $15 for students and seniors. Book now so you don’t miss out!

Welcome to the Team!

This week, we are excited to welcome our two summer students who will be busy preparing for the 13th annual FemFest! Alexei Hiebert is our new Production Assistant and Erica Hoiss is the Community Outreach Assistant. They’ve hit the ground running and we’re eager to see the great work they will bring to our next season! 

Erica is a graduate student in Peace and Conflict Studies at University of Manitoba. Originally from Red Deer, Alberta, she is an actor and Forum Theatre facilitator and is doing her thesis research in participatory theatre for peacebuilding. Erica recently volunteered to organize the 10th annual Winnipeg International Storytelling Festival and will be performing in the Fringe this summer in A Beautiful View with Snakeskin Jacket. 

Alexei is currently studying Theatre at the University of Winnipeg and is so excited to be working with Sarasvati Productions for the summer. Exploring as many different fields of theatre as they can, Alexei has a special love for production. They have worked on such shows as UofW’s Enchanted April, Semi-Monde, and The Cassilis Engagement. In addition to theatre, Alexei is a book worm and an aspiring visual artist. They have been featured in the Kelowna Art Gallery in British Columbia three times in the past. 

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And tech week for Miss N Me is upon us! We’ve moved in to the theatre today and finally get to climb into the plumbers van. If you want to see how we’ve managed to get a van onstage, get your tickets now! Just one week until opening! 

Have you checked out all of the MNM Lip Sync Battle videos yet? Stayed tuned for the announcement of the winners!

Behind the Scenes of Miss N Me!

They may work behind the scenes, but we could not do it without our fabulous designers and production team. Learn more about our Miss N Me stage manager who has been keeping rehearsals running smoothly, as well as our lighting and sound designers who have been given a huge challenge with a complex script.

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Ainza Bellefeuille, Stage Manager

What is your favourite play? Wicked

What job would you most like to do if you weren’t working in theatre? Electrician

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off? Being outside BBQing and reading a book.

Where would you love to travel? The moon. But realistically, I would love to back pack through Europe.

If you had to sing one song on American Idol, what would it be? Without Love from the musical Hairspray.

What would you do if you won a million dollars? Buy myself a house and invest the rest.

If you were on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be? A machete, blanket and pot with lid.

James Jansen, Sound Designer

What is your favourite play? Fancymud by Le Frenchword (Seattle)

What job would you most like to do if you weren’t working in theatre? Well theatre is only a small part of what I do.  When I’m not working in theatre, I’m working in dance, film, music or sound.

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off? Catch up on work.

Where would you love to travel? Japan and Iceland.

If you had to sing one song on American Idol, what would it be? My Way… ala sid vicious

What would you do if you won a million dollars? Pay off some debt, buy a studio, invest in some equipment, donate the rest to some of my favorite orgs.

If you were on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be? Electrical infrastructure, adequate housing, internet access.  (is that cheating)

Anything else you’d like to add: I’m excited to work on this project and can’t wait to see how this strange script comes to life.  We have a solid team who I’m looking forward to working with and I think will definitely do the piece justice.

Dean Cowieson, Lighting Designer

What is your favourite play? Always current one I’m working on.

What job would you most like to do if you weren’t working in theatre? Travel writer.

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off? Get caught up.

Where would you love to travel? Everywhere – next goal is South America generally.

If you had to sing one song on American Idol, what would it be? Inda Godda Davida

What would you do if you won a million dollars? travel

If you were on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be? Water, food, clothes.

Have you seen the Lip Sync videos from the team! It’s not too late to submit to the competition for a chance to win amazing prizes. Check out the details.

Don’t forget to get your tickets!