The Monologues on Tour

Our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues: Changes is not a onetime event. Every year, we take our cabaret on the road to various venues and organizations to spread the word of International Women’s Week across Manitoba. Visiting various locations during International Women’s Week not only helps to spread the word, but also makes the Cabaret more accessible to those who would otherwise not be able to make it out to the public performances.

This year, we are so excited to be hosted by eleven different venues in Manitoba! Including…

  • AGAPE HOUSE (Steinbach)
  • ALTONA UNITED CHURCH (Altona)
  • CANADIAN MUSEUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
  • GENESIS HOUSE (Winkler)
  • NORTH END WOMEN’S CENTRE
  • RAINBOW RESOURCE CENTRE
  • SAGE HOUSE
  • JOHN’S LIBRARY
  • SUNSHINE HOUSE
  • THE UNIVERSITY OF WINNIPEG
  • WOMEN’S HEALTH CLINIC

Some locations are even offering a full event in celebration of International Women’s Day as well as featuring the monologues.

Agape posterAgape House will be hosting an evening of events featuring wine, apps, and entertainment… all in the name of empowerment! Agape House’s Women, Wine and Theatre Event is Friday, March 6th from 7-9 at the Pat Porter Active Living Centre. Tickets are $20 and are selling fast! Purchase tickets online HERE, or E-transfer $20.00 to admin@agapehouse.ca with password IWD2020.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights will be hosting their “free night” on March 6th. Access the museum for free, explore the exhibits and at 6:30pm, five of our eight Cabaret of Monologues performances will take place. 85 Israel Asper Way, Winnipeg, MB.Altona Poster-page-001

Altona United Church will have a special Women’s Day Church Tea on March 8th at 2pm. Our monologues will be featured as well a live music, prizes for best dress and refreshments! Tickets are $10 available at the door.

st. john'sSt. John’s Library will also be hosting a special thirty-minute event with waNda wilsoN’s musical entertainment! Free to attend on March 5th at 6:30pm, 500 Salter Street, Winnipeg, MB.

Of course, there is also our two public performances featuring all 8 of the monologues AND a special performance by drag performer Petty Davis. On March 7th at The Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (400 Colony Street) join us either for the 4pm performance or the 8pm*.

*8pm performance will have ASL interpretation.Sarasvàti Productions

The Asper Centre for Theatre and Film is wheelchair accessible with gender neutral restrooms. We hope to see you on March 7th for one of the two public performances, or along the tour at one or more of these amazing venues! Purchase your tickets in advance, HERE!


 

Cabaret of Sneak Peeks

Movies get trailers, so why not have a one for theatre too? Below are some sneak peeks at this year’s line-up for International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues: Changes and how each piece correlates to this year’s theme.


“Today, we’re learning about Air Pollution. Can I hear everyone say “Air Pollution”?…Good job everyone! Now, air pollution is so yucky. Yes, it’s yucky. What happens if you breathe too much air pollution? Is breathing in air pollution good or bad?”

Makrenna SterdanMasks by Makrenna Sterdan is a satirical monologue that follows Mrs. Jones as she teaches an assembly of youngsters how to properly put on 5U3A3824-Edit-Edittheir face masks to protect themselves from polluted air. This monologue focuses on the changes within the world and the consequences that we will soon face if something doesn’t, yet again, change. Masks will be performed by Renée Hill in this year’s cabaret.


Content warning: Assault

“I need to get into my apartment but what if he’s in the elevator again? And I mean I can’t take the stairs… the stairs are out of the question, anyone, anything could be in the stairwell. Anything.”

Ping by Larissa Hikel tells a story that most women in today’s society can relate to. Late TaesiaScratch headshotat night, on her way home from work, Jessamyn is attacked in the elevator of her apartment building by an unknown man. Although she manages to escape the initial attack, she now has to deal with the trauma on a daily basis. Ping will be performed by Taesia Scratch.


“I can’t even imagine. Not having the choice? I keep beating myself up, saying I’m selfish, second guessing my decision, but that’s just it, it’s MY Decision! It’s my body and right now I’m sick of feeling sick!”

OFFICIAL HEADSHOTThe A Word by Brooklyn Alice Lee follows a young woman as she makes the decision to terminate her pregnancy. There is a lot of debate today towards Lizzie Knowlespro-choice and pro-life. Society is changing in their opinions and as change is not always linear, the debate continues with many differing opinions. The A Word will be performed by Lizzie Knowles.


“Dear Baby, she said. Dear Baby. I wish I could reach you, she said, from the other side of the…glass. If I wasn’t over here, and you weren’t over there. With this…is it glass? Or fog? Fog maybe. Between us.”

Yearning/Distance by Beth Lanigan, a new mother struggling with postpartum Saira Rahmandepression. Having a new baby is one of the biggest changes a person can go through. This monologue uses a unique and abstract narrative to try and voice how it might feel for a new mother experiencing postpartum depression. Yearning/Distance will be performed by Saira Rahman.


“To change your thoughts, this is what it means in Cree. Kweskenta, not so easy to do when you’ve been broken, hurt so many times in so many ways or sometimes even when you have a good day.”

SONY DSCKweskenta written and performed by waNda wilsoN. As a storyteller and musician, waNda uses her skills to share her own personal stories. You may recall waNda from last year’s cabaret where she performed Bare Bones. This year, she explores the meaning and reasoning behind changing your thoughts while performing two of her songs.


“So what happened was, in the dark of my new apartment / a brief period of time when I lived in a house called The Marijuana Mansion with two professional musicians, I was alone with my thoughts. I often didn’t sleep at all unless I had a couple of glasses of wine or was watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix.”

Oversharer performed and written by Kristen Einarson is a stand-2020_KristenEinarson4436up comedy piece. Kristen brings her wit and charm to the stage by sharing her intimate story of change within her own life all while giving the audience a good giggle.


“In a world that tells you that if you just worked hard enough / Was smart enough / Was cool enough / There may be a chance that you deserved a privilege key / To unlock the box of ignorance.”

Sadie

Traumatic Resilience by Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie is a spoken word poetry piece that will also be performed by Sadie. They will share their story of resilience and overcoming adversity and change through this spoken-word piece.

 


Joanna Hawkins will also be performing a piece titled, The Bold, Beautiful and Deaf. joannaUnfortunately, we are unable to provide a sneak peek as Joanna’s piece will all be mimed!

 


For some more on this year’s monologues and to purchase your tickets now, visit our website HERE.  Check out our interview with performers HERE on our Facebook page!


 

The Dream Team

The Cabaret of Monologues wouldn’t happen without the amazing team backstage and behind the curtain. Our performers bring life to the cabaret, while our production team works hard behind the scenes to make sure there’s a cabaret to begin with!

IMG_5262As always, we have our fabulous Director (and Artistic Director of Sarasvàti Productions) Hope McIntyre. Hope rehearses with the artists multiple times a week to make sure the monologues are polished and ready to hit the stage. Hope first started International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues in 2004 and has continued directing the Cabaret ever since.IMG_5267

Alongside Hope is Associate Director, Rachel Smith. This will be Rachel’s seventh year with the Cabaret, co-running rehearsals, providing extra rehearsal time to the performers, and advising on ways to make the event better and better.

Tamera Friesen Headshot (2019_03_29 16_19_18 UTC)Tamera Grace joins the team as Stage Manager for this year’s cabaret. Tamera was also the Stage Manager for last year’s Cabaret of Monologues. Her work behind the scenes during the tour is a huge help as she manages the touring sound system and technical side of the show. She even helped drive during last year’s trek to Flin Flon and The Pas!

Brooklyn Kilfoyle works in the office as the tour coordinator, initiating and maintaining contact with the venues we are lucky to perform at during the tour. Brooklyn is also in the process of creating a trailer for the tour, including interviews and sneak peaks of some of the monologues!


For more information on International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues: Changes click HERE!


 

On the Stage

You’ve met the playwrights, now meet the performers who will be bringing their stories to life! This year’s traditional monologues are Ping, Yearning/Distance, Masks and The A Word. Four local Winnipeg actors have been brought onto this year’s cabaret to perform these monologues throughout the tour.


TaesiaScratch headshotTaesia Scratch – Ping

Mother of four, Vancouver born and Winnipeg resident, Taesia Scratch will be performing Ping by Larissa Hikel. Taesia’s first role upon moving to Winnipeg was with Sarasvàti Productions and you may have seen her in the Bake-Off during FemFest 2019!

What excites you about your piece?

“It does not apologize. It is a raw story of an intense situation that all women may have faced, it tells a story of the fear that we have trying to get to the safety of the place that should be, safe.”

How do you relate to your piece?

“I have worked nights as a young woman and had to return home, where I lived alone, many times. I spent years working very late walking through my apartment lobby, after speed walking home, with this kind of fear, that comes to most women after the sun goes down.”


Saira Rahman – Yearning/Distance Saira Rahman

Saira is a proud Muslim, female filmmaker who also performed in FemFest 2019 for the world premiere of Baby Box. This year, she takes on the role of a new mother yet again as she performs Yearning/Distance by Beth Lanigan!

What excites you about your piece?

“Preparing to perform the piece will be an exciting challenge for me because it brilliantly manages to paint a vivid picture of what post-partum illness may feel like with all of its complexity.”

How do you relate to your piece?

“Although I’ve never experienced post-partum depression, I think this piece remains universal because all of us at one time or another have felt the sting of depression. I know I have, and it feels immensely comforting to know that we are not alone, and that in speaking about our feelings and experiences with depression and anxiety helps crush the stigma.”


5U3A3824-Edit-EditRenée Hill – Masks

Graduate of The University of Winnipeg Theatre department, Renée is a gifted singer, maker and bilingual voice over artist. Last year, Renée performed Oracle Jane by Vicki Zhang in our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues: Here I Am. This year, Renée will play a school teacher in Makrenna Sterdan’s Masks.

What excites you about your piece?

“It’s an upbeat, intelligent, curious look at educators, children and the systems at play.”

How do you relate to your piece?

“As a parent of young children I am intrigued by the education of our children and which societal systems influence how and what our children learn.”


Lizzie Knowles – The A WordLizzie Knowles

Ukulele playing, vegetarian, owner of two rabbits, Lizzie joins our team for the first time! Lizzie is a theatre grad from The University of Winnipeg with Honours Acting and participates in this year’s cabaret by performing The A Word by Brooklyn Alice Lee.

What excites you about your piece?

“I get really excited by the reality of it. The fear and anxiety is genuine, and it’s relatable to everyone I think. I really love whenever I can see a fully realized decision and the process to get there presented on stage. I think it’s comforting for an audience.”

How do you relate to your piece?

“My brain works in a very similar way to this character, so it’s been very fun to work on. I’m very grateful to tell a story that many people have gone through and few feel they can discuss.”


See these monologues and more during International Women’s Week! Touring from March 2nd-8th, 2020 with two public performances on Saturday, March 7th, 2020 at 4pm and 8pm! Tickets on sale HERE. March 7th at 8pm will be an ASL interpreted performance.

New Year, Same Us

It is officially a new year AND a new decade! Happy New Year and welcome to 2020!

2019 has come and gone which means the second half of our 19/20 season is underway. We are so excited to tell you a little bit about what we have in store for all of you in the upcoming months…


IMG_5259International Women’s Week 2020 Cabaret of Monologues: Changes

Have you heard? Our annual Cabaret of Monologues is happening from March 2-8, 2020! We have been doing our best to update you on our performers and playwrights, if you’ve missed any of our past blogs, you can meet some of this year’s artists HERE and HERE.

This year we have monologues but also music, dance, mime, and comedy!

Stay tuned for our tour schedule, but in the meantime, tickets are now available for our public performance on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 4pm and 8pm. Get your tickets HERE!


Workshops$25(1).jpg

As always, we have a ton of workshops in the works for you for 2020. Have you registered for our Movement for Actors Workshop with Ali Robson? This workshop will take place on January 19th, 2020 for $25. If you want more info, click HERE, if you want to register email liz@sarasvati.ca

It doesn’t end there! Coming soon, we will be hosting workshops on the following topics…

Accessibility in Theatre Panel, April 4th, 2020

Diversity Panel, February 16th, 2020

Fringe Production 101, May 16th, 2020

And more!


Jo MacDonald

Jo MacDonald

Reconciliation Through Theatre

We completed our Seven Visions workshops in 2019, now comes the process of creating one big final production! We are so excited to be working with Playwright Jo MacDonald and Director Tracey Nepinak to create our final performance piece for May 2020!

The performance, entitle Songide’ewin (Courage), will take place at The Forks and feature art created by youth during our workshops. We are so excited to share the voices of Winnipeg’s youth and tell a story of reconciliation in a time that gravely needs it.

More on the reconciliation project HERE!


As we move in to the fall of 2020, we will actually be launching our 20th season in Winnipeg!! Yep, we’ve been creating transformative theatre for two decades. This anniversary season will see the transition to a new Artistic Director, new community-building processes, and some of our usual offerings.


School Tour

DSC_0398Every second year we hit the road with an interactive performance, using Forum Theatre principles. It is an amazing way to engage youth in a discussion about how to be active participants in their community. This year’s touring show will be built from the material gathered as part of our Reconciliation Through Theatre project. Stay tuned for full details.


FemFest 2020opening

And of course, 2020 will play host to our 18th annual FemFest! 18 years of transformative feminist theatre AND counting! As always, the festival won’t happen until September, but the work starts now as we begin to read scripts and performance pieces and choose our line-up for the 2020 festival.


Thank you all for making 2019 such a fantastic year, here’s to 2020 and all of the exciting new theatre to come!


 

A Year in Review

What a year it has been! As 2019 comes to a close, we reflect on all the wonderful successes the year brought. Some of which, we will carry on into 2020…


International Women’s Week 2019 Cabaret of Monologues: Here I Am

LaurenMarshall_photobyPatrickRabago2

It might sound odd to hear about our last Cabaret of Monologues as the 2020 line-up has already been announced, but it’s a year ago already that the last round of monologues were in the works and preparing for the 2019 tour!

We were so grateful and fortunate to take the cabaret to places we had never gone before! Such as the Women’s Resource Centre in Flin Flon and Aurora house in The Pas. We also took every single one of our monologues to The Canadian Museum of Human Rights for an evening. This tour was incredibly rewarding and we can’t wait to do it all again in a few short months!

Interested in this year’s monologues? Public performance tickets are on sale now. Get them HERE!


WorkshopsFemFest2019_WorkshopDSC04910.jpg

Every year, we host a set schedule of fun and educational workshops for the theatre community. In 2019, we were happy to host five workshops.

This included workshops with panelists like Queering Theatre and How to Make a Living in Theatre. Both allowed us to try out a more inclusive approach with professionals talking amongst workshop participants.

Our annual One Night Stand Series also played a role in 2019 as playwrights were able to meet and work together to improve and workshop their craft.

FemFest 2019 hosted some workshops of it’s own! The Launchpad Project was initiated as a pilot project. It allowed a group of emerging artists to work with established professionals to create and perform their own production, To Kill a Lizard, during FemFest 2019. As well, our guest artist, Yvette Nolan hosted a playwriting masterclass, which culminated in Leaping Off the Page! Where playwrights were able to create and share work, then have it read aloud before an audience.

We also loved working with community groups to use theatre techniques in training settings. A big thank you to SEED Winnipeg, Nor’West Youth Hub, St. John’s High School, and the Manitoba Drama Educators Association for welcoming us!

Find upcoming workshop details HERE!


Picture3Seven Visions

On top of our regular workshop schedule, we were happy to start our Reconciliation Through Theatre project! Last spring we hosted consultation circles, then a public sharing with the reading of Jo MacDonald’s OUR HOME & native land. This important community-building work then allowed us to appropriately structure arts-based workshops at seven Indigenous youth organizations all in the name of Reconciliation.

The seven organizations were, Children of the Earth High School, Wahbung Abinoonjiiag, Ndinawe, Knowles Centre, Manitoba Youth Centre, Marymound, and Indigenous Leadership Development Institute.

All of the art created and stories shared are in the works to be curated into a final piece, Songide’ewin, which will be performed at The Forks in May, 2020. You can find more on the upcoming performance HERE!


FemFestFemFest2019_StanleyDSC01572.jpg

Of course, that brings us to FemFest 2019. Our annual festival of transformative feminist theatre! 2019 brought a whole new range of performances to FemFest.

For the first time in FemFest history, we were happy to host a visually impaired performer and her guide dog for, Raising Stanley/Life with Tulia. This production was moving and inspiring for audience members. We were even fortunate enough to host 4 visually impaired spectators and their guide dogs! Who wouldn’t love that?

Pop Art made its debut at FemFest 2019 as well. 4inXchange with company xLq was a unique interactive performance involving only 4 audience members and $1000 cash!

Lastly, Like Mother, Like Daughter warmed our hearts as local Winnipeg Indigenous and Newcomer mother/daughter pairs sat down in front of an audience and answered intimate questions.

FemFest has always had a way of bringing people together and celebrating various types of Canadian theatre, but this year it truly excelled!

The process of FemFest 2020 begins now! We can’t wait to show you what we have in store…


So long 2019, you were a good year for theatre! We hope your year was as good to you as it was to us. We wish you all nothing but the best for 2020 and look forward to sharing more transformative theatre with you in the months to come.

See you next year!


 

Behind the Curtain pt.2

Storytelling comes in all shapes and form. Whether it be a satirical monologue, mime or music; everyone has a story to tell and everyone has their own unique way of telling it. Last week, we introduced you to some of our playwrights and performers for International Women’s Week 2020 Cabaret of Monologues: Changes! And there’s more where that came from!

Meet a few more of our wonderful playwrights and performers…


 

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100 Decibels Deaf Mime Troupe

Joanna Hawkins: Performer – The Bold Beautiful and Deaf

 

Joanna is an active member of the Deaf community in Winnipeg. Her piece in this year’s cabaret is meant as a way to both represent and relate to Deaf women. We asked Joanna some questions on The Bold Beautiful and Deaf.

What drove you to create this piece?

Women have gone through so much and some currently experience mental illness, depression, anxiety, loneliness (having no support or encouragement – specifically for women who are Deaf and they cannot go to support groups because of no money for access to communication), or having no self esteem.

We want women especially with disabilities to be strong, bankable, business minded, fashionably beautiful, bold, blessed and balanced.

How does your piece relate to the theme Changes?

As a culturally involved Deaf woman, I have been connected with other Deaf women who struggle with their mental illnesses and want to improve their life but face obstacles due to communication barriers. I want to help voice their struggle and hope for the change to occur soon.


waNda wilsoN: Performer – Kweskenta

WandaWilson_photobyPatrickRabago3

waNda wilsoN performing “Bare Bones” in 2019

 

Cree musician and wanderer, waNda wilsoN returns to this year’s IWW with a new musical storytelling piece. Last year, waNda performed Bare Bones, a piece on overcoming addiction. This year, she brings a whole new story in relation to the theme of Changes.

What drove you to create this piece?

The theme of the cabaret, “changes”, inspired me to create this piece and share my stories and songs. Change is an inevitable part of life. Choice and decision-making are the key ingredients in Kweskenta.

My piece connects to the theme “changes” because it reflects many experiences I have been though at different times in my life. Through it all I have picked up many tools, and surrounded myself with people who have offered me not only love but hope. Kweskenta means “to change your thoughts” in Cree.


Makrenna SterdanMakrenna Sterdan: Playwright – Masks

Writer, creator and teacher, Makrenna Sterdan is a triple threat currently living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Sterdan is also doing work with Green Kids. Green Kids aims to teach students about environmentalism through theatre – bringing us to her IWW monologue, Masks.

What drove you to create this piece?

Back when I was a kindergarten teacher living in Seoul, South Korea, the principal of our school asked me to help deliver an educational presentation to the students about air pollution. My job was to show the students put on their masks. While my students were older and did a great job following instructions, the younger students, around two years old, started crying.

Canada has a lot of fresh air and natural resources, so it’s easy to think of climate change as a hoax. Or, worse, that the pollution contributing to climate change is else’s problem. But Canada is as complicit in climate change as other countries, and we should do what’s best for the planet.

How does your piece relate to the theme Changes?

Come on, it’s the environment. Something’s gotta change, something’s gotta give, or we might lose the planet.


Stay tuned for more on the other monologues and performers in this year’s cabaret. Or book your tickets NOW! They make a great gift for the holidays.