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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