One Night Stands Are Back!

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They’re fresh on the scene and incredibly promising, would you like to meet them?
Join us for a One Night Stand reading of works in progress and experience the future of local theatre.

Sarasvàti Productions is thrilled to be remounting the popular One Night Stand series; a series dedicated to readings of new plays in development. This time, we have engaged theatre director and producer Tatiana Carnevale to bring the event into 2016.

“I think this idea is so much fun and I am excited to introduce it to the next generation of theatre artists!” said Tatiana, who has confirmed Prairie Theatre Exchange as partner and venue host for the series.

Each One Night Stand will take place in PTE’s Colin Jackson Studio.  The evenings are designed to showcase excerpts of new plays, which will be read on stage by an ensemble of local actors.

“Each night will have five or six different scenes featured. Sometimes it will be work that has never been heard before; sometimes it may be a scene that is giving a playwright a particular bit of trouble; it may be something an author wants feedback on”,  said Tatiana, who is excited to see the response to the Call For Submissions. “Depending on the submissions we get, some nights may have a theme, like ‘monologues’ or ‘scenes by playwrights under 25’. We are open to receiving all kinds of submissions as well as ideas!”

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“I am very excited about the opportunity to hear a bunch of new work in the same place – each evening will be a fantastic sampling of the wide array of emerging talent Winnipeg has to offer.” Tatiana believes the Series will fill a niche in this city. “There are other events that happen in Winnipeg that are full play readings or workshops. However there’s no event that allows playwrights and audiences to test new material and each other… I think it’s going to be a lot of fun!”

Sarasvàti will also be looking for volunteers to lend a hand.  “Even if people aren’t playwrights there will be tons of opportunities to get involved!”, explained Tatiana.

The modern One Night Stand Series will premiere on February 2nd. If you interested in being involved, check out the Call for Submissions and contact Tatiana. Entrance to each event will be by-donation so that it can be accessible to everyone wishing to take part.

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Making Noise for Mental Health at the Millennium Library

The awesome cast & crew of Shattered have been busy touring all over Manitoba, and now they’re excited to be performing in the heart of their home city at the Millennium Library!

shattered-rehearsal-oct5_2016-092Shattered has been making an impact and by the end of the run will have done 59 performances! Here’s what some of the teachers have had to say.

The show was great! I’ve had a chance to speak with about 75% of the students who saw it and it has generated some very honest discussion–exactly what we were hoping for” – John Kerr, Balmoral Hall

“I discussed the play with both my theatre classes and the overall consensus was that it was fantastic. I even had a colleague stop me in the hall to tell me how moved she was by the performance and the interaction with the kids. This was, bar none, the absolute most engaging piece I have witnessed at our school. Our students really became involved with the piece and I think it resonated powerfully with them all, particularly the message that they are not alone.” – Kim Dudek, Murdock MacKay

“The power of forum is nothing short of amazing.  The way it allows for tough topics to be talked about and considered in such depth, it makes me wonder why this type of theatre isn’t being done more often by more companies (or in more schools for that matter!).  The fact that Sarasvati has mandated to produce a forum piece on a two year cycle that hinges on a topic pressing in the broader community is something that needs to continue to happen.”- Brett Schmall, Green Valley School

One of the best parts of performing Shattered is engaging with the students during the ‘interventions.’ The interventions are moments when the students clap to stop the action of the play because the want the characters to make a different choice.

One student, who was initially so nervous she wanted someone else to speak for her wound up taking control and leading the scene herself! She wanted to go over to KoKo to comfort and offer help. She  said that we all have problems and KoKo is dealing with hers in her own way. It was a great moment to experience.

On November 26th Sarasvàti Productions will welcome local youth organizations to a free performance in the Carol Shields Auditorium thanks to a partnership with the Millennium Library. While the performance is mainly for youth organizations, we will be offering a few seats to the public. If you’d like to attend, please RSVP at 204-586-2236 or by emailing associate@sarasvati.ca.

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Starting From Scratch – Stories of Starting Over

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“I don’t deserve this,” she thought as she arrived at the Winnipeg airport to a crowd of greeters with coats, mitts and open arms. The memory brings tears to her eyes. She felt so much love. She did not choose to come to Winnipeg, she fled persecution. Now it is her home.

Home is defined by so much more than a fixed address. As record numbers of people settle in Winnipeg they bring with them an incredible array of stories. Each story is unique; including the reasons for coming to Winnipeg and the obstacles met upon arrival. Starting Over, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues poses many questions about new beginnings, among these questions is, “when does Winnipeg become home?”

Sarasvàti artists have been working with newcomer women through interviews and workshops in order to get to the heart of what it means to start over.  We’ve spoken to women individually, many of whom were put in touch with us through the Institute for International Women’s Rights – Manitoba. We feel privileged to hear these stories and to work with real women to share their experiences on stage.

“Although starting over can happen in many ways, transitioning to a new country is huge. These women are incredibly strong,” Artistic Director Hope McIntyre shares after conducting interviews. “The theme this year has allowed us to showcase incredible true stories, as well as written pieces by established playwrights tackling life-changing events.”

Photos from the International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues 2016: Stolen Sisters

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As with every year, we plan to tour selections throughout community venues across the city. We are looking forward to providing a platform for the stories of newcomer women and sharing them with both their community and the larger Manitoba community.

Whether starting over in a new country, a new relationship, or a new chapter of your life, this year’s Cabaret includes an incredibly diverse collection of life-changing moments as experienced by women.

Stay tuned for more details on this year’s selections that we guarantee will move and delight you! Be sure to mark March 11th in your calendar so you don’t miss the full public performances at either 4pm or 8pm. Tickets available here.

There’s Nowhere to Hide in Stand-Up Comedy

Associate Producer Angie St. Mars Profiles Her Stand-Up Colleagues

I understand why we fixate on the things we’re tired of – it’s because we want them to go away already. Amidst so many articles and discussions of women in comedy I hear the same thing. I’m not even going to say it. I’ll give you a hint: it’s something someone said in Vanity Fair nine years ago which still gets brought up in interviews as if someone more important said it yesterday.  I understand that we want to grind those stale notions out of existence, but when we constantly acknowledge those tired ideas, when we consistently give them centre stage, we can sometimes inadvertently contribute to their entrenchment and reproduction and what’s more, we are passing up the opportunity to talk about what we LOVE about women in comedy.  And there is a LOT to love. I had the pleasure of talking to two of the comedians who will be featured in the Women’s Comedy Night about what gets them jazzed about comedy, and let me tell you, it felt great.

I like that I can think about something no one is talking about, or that I wish people were talking about, and I can write something to say about it”, said Melanie Dahling, who has been doing stand-up comedy for six years. Dahling is a writer at The Uniter as well as an actor and sketch comic. “I spent a lot of time in my 20’s being defined by others based on what they see when they look at me. I love acting, but I struggled with that a lot when I was focused solely on it” said Dahling. “Comedy is exciting to me because I can choose who I want to be on stage and how I want to be seen.”

“Okay, I hate to give the really typical answer but it’s the rush you get when you hear them roar”, said Cathy Herbert,  sketch comic, and stand-up comedian who regularly mixes it up by using puppetry and music to tell jokes.

“I find it’s better than getting laughs from a play or improv or whatever because stand-up is my own previously conceived thoughts. It’s me, saying what I think, and people are then responding by getting it and agreeing that it is interesting.

I’ve only recently ventured into stand-up (thanks to the prodding of a few women on the scene) but I have to agree. It’s terrifying to me, I mean absolutely terrifying to share your private thoughts with a room full of strangers—and there’s nowhere to hide in stand-up comedy.  But when I share my truth with a crowd and they respond as if they get it I feel connected to the human race again. I feel like I’m not so alone in the universe. That is the reward for being bold, honest, and funny all at once. But can you achieve that every time? Goodness no.

“Of course this is also why I hate doing comedy”, Herbert continued. “When they don’t laugh, when they don’t agree, when they don’t ‘get it’, it can feel really isolating. And not isolating in the good way.”

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Cathy Herbert performing . Photo by April Plett.

Doing comedy can be empowering, yes, most definitely, but it can also be vexing, lonely, scary, and painful.

“Sometimes it’s frustrating to be a woman in comedy mainly because of the things women still feel they need to say”, said Dahling. “I don’t find it funny to be fixated on my weight, or hate men, or begrudgingly perform sex acts, but I see a lot of women assuming that this is what they have to offer. So I like going up there and having something else to talk about. I could cut those women down all I want but it’s much more positive to write what I do want to see.

I started doing stand-up for the same reason I started writing plays; it feels good to take an active role in the change you want to see.  For me, that is the most rewarding part.

“The other reason I love doing comedy is when you see joy on the audience’s faces, when you pull laughs out of them that they didn’t even know were there”, said Herbert. It feels good to know that I’m the reason that joy is happening…  But mostly the first thing I said.”

Catch Melanie Dahling and Cathy Herbert at the Women’s Comedy Night on November 16th at the Kings Head Pub. Doors open at 8pm and line-up starts at 8:30pm. Tickets are just $10 and the money raised goes to support Sarasvàti Productions season of theatre and workshops for artists. Call 204-586-2236 for tickets!