Meet Our Wonderful IWW Actors!

Ready to see ten amazing women perform in our annual International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues? So are we! We caught up with them this week to ask them some questions about being a part of the Cabaret, being a female artist, and where they’d like to see Canada in a year. Keep reading to see some of their answers!

 

By next International Women’s Week what would you most like to see changed in Canada?

Montana Lehmann: More women in direction/artistic direction in Winnipeg. There are so many amazingly creative women in our city.

Shamin Brown: I would like to see gender equality become the cornerstone of Canadian society as it is in Sweden. Canada must adopt Swedish gender equality beliefs, principles, & practices…and it needs to do so in a societally pervasive manner rather than as a Band-Aid applied to individual issues (because that Band-Aid almost always gets ripped off in the end). 

Sydney Macfarlane: I would like to see more attention be kept on people who have disappeared. They still are missing and they’re still people with families who deserve closure by finding their loved ones.

Teri-Lynn Friesen: I think I would like to see more women’s voices represented and heard whether it is in government, in businesses, on boards, etc.  I was really excited to see that Prime Minister Trudeau appointed a gender balanced cabinet and it gives me hope that our voice will be represented and that other cultures (corporate, non profit, society in general) will follow suit and seek out additional perspectives in their decision making.

What is the most exciting or challenging part of participating in this year’s Cabaret of Monologues?  Why?

Erica Wilson: The most challenging part of the cabaret is probably the monologue I am doing called Lingua Franca. It has so many layers that’s so hard for any actor to accomplish and I’m over whelmed that I was chosen to perform this piece, it reminds me of theatre of the disturbed meets butoh dance with a touch of Ventriloquism. Being able to translate this piece for an audience and it working will be a great accomplishment of mine.

Kelsey Wavey: This year’s theme of stolen sisters is one that is really important to me, so that’s really exciting for me. On the other side of this, the issues that are very present in this theme, and definitely in my monologue, which is called Chance by Melaina Sheldon, are very difficult to comprehend and be able to portray to an audience emotionally and physically. Negative stereotypes, systemic racism, sexism, and domestic abuse to name a few. 

Kim Kakegamic: The most exciting part is getting to be involved in such an important event, with such incredible performers. The most challenging part for me is that my monologue requires intense, high energy from start to finish. I play a gameshow host and she has to be “on” the entire time – engaging, exciting and involving the audience. Whenever I finish I feel like I just did a workout!

Mary Black: The most exciting thing about being a part of this Cabaret of Monologues is being a part of a dynamic, women-run performance and hearing other women’s stories and voices. It is a beautiful time to be alive as our Nation is experiencing a shift; a collective growth, and an end to the stigma and silence surrounding sexual violence and violence against women and girls is in sight.

Shamin: The most challenging part of participating in this year’s event has been remaining open on stage. I instinctively want to shelter myself as I connect with the material; learning to remain open and vulnerable has been a huge challenge.

Sydney: The most challenging thing was turning a very strong spoken word piece into a dance that reflected the intensity of the words.

Have you been to our Cabaret of Monologues before?  If so, what do you like about it?

Heather Bjorklund:  I have been and performed in the Cabaret of Monologues before. I love it. I love the fact that it gives women a chance to shine. 

Kim: My first time in IWW Cabaret was last year. I played Zelda Fitzgerald. The whole experience was amazing from start to finish. Working with Hope, getting to bring this character to life, the community performances and the FUN I had. Plus, meeting and watching the other “Superheroines” perform was so inspiring.

Montana: No, this is a first time for me, I’m very excited to see how all the other pieces come together and what everyone else has been working on.

Teri-Lynn: I actually went for the first time last year and the performances I saw were at Portage Place Mall.  I really appreciated that these fierce women were on stage, just bearing their souls (and the souls of the women who both penned the pieces, and were being portrayed) on stage, in the middle of a shopping mall.  It was just really cool.  I like the non-traditional, sharing element.

What is it like being a female artist (or female in your industry)?  What are the highlights and the challenges?

Erica: Being a female in the industry for me is uncomfortable, I see so many roles for acting that I would like to go out there and get but it’s only for the male gender to take. Which is unfortunate because I want to be those characters! I don’t want to be the princess or the wife, I want to be the killer or head honcho! 

Highlights? Every time I get to start a new process. Every single time I learn something new about myself, perspectives and techniques. 

Heather: I would have to say that it is rather challenging to be a female artist. I have directed and acted in many shows over the years. I have found it very challenging to direct shows if there is a male co-director for example. It doesn’t work well. The man is always the one deferred to. It seems that my power is always usurped if there is a male around. 

Kelsey: I think there are still a lot of people who underestimate me. Being a young, indigenous, female aspiring actor you definitely need to filter those people out and focus on those who believe in you and help your strength. Also, whenever I hear about a role with a 3 dimensional young woman, its always great news!

Mary: I experience many challenges being a woman in my industry; I am a vocal poet – a singer/songwriter. Specifically, my husband and I make hip hop music to speak to youth in a language they can understand – by sending positive messages in our music and vocalizing the struggles our isolated, Indigenous communities face. Women in hip hop and music in general have been hyper-sexualized, and the party scene involving drugs and alcohol has been glamorized. I actively combat these things in the music I make but, living as a Traditional, sober woman I face struggles everywhere in this industry. Still, I believe my voice and story is powerful enough to inspire others to speak about their lives and help me in the battle I am fighting by telling their own truth, facing their own demons and owning their stories.

 

Come see these amazing women performing powerful monologues at community performances throughout the week of March 6, or come see the full line up on Saturday March 12 at 4pm and 8pm. Tickets are only $10 and you can get them here or by phoning 204-586-2236.

 

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Non-stop fun, antics, surprises…

We wanted an audience point of view of this year’s All-Star fundraiser, so here is a response from guest blogger Meg Crane.

Sarasvàti Productions presented a hilarious three-in-one performance at the Gas Station Arts Centre on Feb. 17. The fifth annual So You Think You Can Act fundraiser packed together short skits, improv and stand-up comedy for a night of entertainment, good food and tons of prizes.

This year was the All-Star Edition of the event, so winners from past four years were brought back to compete against one another.

Before a crowded theatre, Big Daddy Taz, Jenna Khan, Tracy Koga, Kerri Salki, Al Simmons and Troy Westwood tried their hands at acting. These local celebs, none of whom have a theatre background, were partnered with local actors Grant Burr, Kevin Ramberran, Johanna Burdon, Ian Bastin, Cheryl Gensiorek and Lyle Morris. We were promised by the evening’s emcee Lara Rae that the skits would have minimal props and costumes, and that the actors would be reading from the script.

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Anticipating hilarious stumbles over lines and bad acting, the audience was in for a surprise. The celebrities must have really wanted the trophy—which Lara Rae described as looking like something from a children’s beauty pageant—because they showed up costumed, with their lines mostly memorized and ready to give it their all.

This didn’t matter too much to judge Andrea del Campo. She was more interested in the costumes, collecting bits from each scene as she gave scores of 8 (or infinity?), 200 and D. Fellow judges Pablo Felices-Luna and Ari Weinberg dished out some solid advice, such as that it’s ideal for male actors to whip off their jackets during a performance to entice onlookers. Lara Rae had to agree.

But their opinions ultimately didn’t matter in deciding the winner. The audience cast their ballots and awarded the trophy to Al Simmons, whose skit was about an actor who was getting too old to be cast in roles.

Everyone left with more than memories of the non-stop jokes of the evening. Baskets filled with thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes were raffled off at the end of the night and several guests left with more than $400 worth of swag.

As if Sarasvàti didn’t give the audience enough, the lobby was packed with food from Charisma Of India and Jonnies Sticky Buns when the show was over. Each guest was even provided with a free glass of wine.

If you missed it, you missed out. The All-Star Edition of So You Think You Can Act won’t happen again, at least for a few years, because new celebs need to be given the chance to shine on stage.

Why So You Think You Can Act?

We’re so excited, So You Think You Can Act All-Star Edition is only 6 days away, but why should you come? In this blog, we’ve got the answer, or rather the answers, for those of you still on the fence!

 

  1. It’s a fun fundraiser! What’s better than a fundraiser for a non-profit theatre company? A fun fundraiser! We are dedicated to creating transformative theatre, and our next production is a community-based project on mental health. After an interview for the project, one person battling mental illness said “thanks for letting us get our stories out.” Monies raised will support this important initiative! Plus you will have a fun time drinking wine, eating great food and watching your favourite local celebrities try their hand at acting.
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    Big Daddy Tazz at his rehearsal with local actor Kevin Ramberran!

    Six All-Star Local Celebrities! To celebrate the fifth year of the fundraiser we’ve brought back past winners and favourite competitors to vie for the coveted trophy. We’ve got Big Daddy Tazz, Jenna Khan, Kerri Salki, Al Simmons, and Troy Westwood all coming back to reclaim their title, or redeem themselves by winning it this year. These celebrities are famous for things other than theatre, their only crack at acting was during their last SYTYCA competition, come see if they’ve been practicing!

  3. Awesome Raffle Prizes! As is tradition we’ve collected a wide variety of amazing raffle prizes for you to try your luck with. We’ve got tickets to Rainbow Stage, Theatre Projects Manitoba, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Manitoba Opera, Winnipeg Folk Fest, and more. We’ve got gift certificates for acting classes, shopping, car washes, and more. We’ve got a signed Blue Bombers football, a framed, signed Winnipeg Jets photo, and we’ve got even more than that! Come see for yourself before the show and at intermission.
  4. Critical Theatre Professional Judges! All three of our judges are theatre professionals who have vowed not to go easy on our celebrities. Ari Weinberg, Artistic Director of Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, and Andrea del Campo, improv and actor extraordinaire, have promised to be especially tough. Pablo Felices-Luna, Artistic Director of Manitoba Theatre for Young People, on the other hand is our wild card, will he turn out to be the nicest judge of the bunch or the harshest? Find out on February 17th!
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    Our emcee, Lara Rae!

    A Hilarious Emcee! Our emcee, aka our referee, will keep everything under control with her quick wit and comedy skills. Lara Rae is the Artistic Director of the Winnipeg Comedy Club after all, so she knows what she’s doing. She will be joined by six fellow local actors who will be acting with our celebrities, filling our stage with a lot of laughs and talent.

  6. Great Wine Reception! After the winner has been crowned, it’s off to the lobby for great food and wine! Included with the ticket price is a glass of wine and food from Charisma of India, Jonnie’s Sticky Buns, and Grrrumpy’s Pizza & Café. Plus our celebrities will be out there too either celebrating their win or dealing with their loss – but with an evening this fun no one can really lose!

What better way is there to spend a night? Don’t miss out, and get your tickets now for So You Think You Can Act on Wednesday February 17th at the Gas Station Theatre! Tickets for the fundraiser are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Phone 204-586-2236, or click here to get your tickets now!

 

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Raffle licence (#MGCC5542)

All-Star Raffle Prizes, All-Star Food at SYTYCA

During the past five years of So You Think You Can Act, you’ve come to expect a great evening, and we’re ready to deliver! While the celebrities are waiting patiently to meet their scene partners for their rehearsals next week with director Cairn Moore, we’ve been busy in the office preparing for the big day. As always we’ve got All-Star raffle prizes and All-Star food to go along with our amazing celebrities. Here is a sneak peak at what you can expect at this year’s SYTYCA fun fundraiser!

Superhero RaffleIf you love theatre as much as we do, you’ll be just as excited by the awesome tickets you could win in the raffle this year! There are season passes to Rainbow Stage where you’ll get to see Ring of Fire and Shrek The Musical, and tickets to Cairn Moore’s play Shiksa at Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, and Reservations at Theatre Projects Manitoba. We’ve got more than theatre tickets though if you like to sample all the arts! There are also tickets to Manitoba Opera, Celebrations Dinner Theatre, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Winnipeg Folk Fest, Winnipeg Jazz, and more!

Do you think you can act? If you’d like to try in a fun, relaxed environment, now you can with gift certificates for theatre classes at Prairie Theatre Exchange, and the Actors’ Training Centre of Manitoba. And if you’ve got a young person in your life you’d like to introduce to the wonderful world of theatre, there is also a gift certificate for classes at Manitoba Theatre for Young People!

Sports RaffleAnd don’t worry sports fans, there are raffle prizes for you too! We’ve got a signed, framed photo of Blake Wheeler from the Winnipeg Jets and a signed Blue Bombers football. We’ve also got great gift certificates to a variety of cool places, including $100 for the Foxy Shoppe and Anthropologie, plus gift certificates from Chamois Car Wash, Movie Village, Into the Music, and Academy Lanes!

All of these prizes and more will be part of our raffle draw at SYTYCA on Wednesday February 17! And after the prizes have been drawn and the SYTYCA 2016 winner crowned we have a great reception in the lobby. There will be food from Charisma of India, Jonnie’s Sticky Buns, and Grrrumpy’s Pizza & Café, plus wine, which is all included in the ticket price! To get in on the fun and support the transformative theatre work of Sarasvàti Productions purchase tickets here or phone 204-586-2236!

Raffle licence (#MGCC5542)