Behind the Curtain

Art based on real experiences is the rawest of all. This year’s Cabaret of Monologues will feature four written monologues performed by different actors, while five other artists will perform their own pieces in various artistic mediums. This year’s selection contains a plethora of real-life experiences and each year, we ask the playwrights and performers to tell us a little info about themselves to share with you, our audience.

Meet some of this year’s playwrights and performers…


Beth Lanigan: Playwright – Yearning/Distance

Beth Lanigan is the playwright of the piece Yearning/Distance. Beth grew up in Freelton, Ontario and currently lives in Kitchener, Ontario. She describes herself as a “an overly earnest, overly anxious, overly sensitive person who also has heaps of curiosity, drive, and compassion.” Yearning/Distance follows the story of a new mother experiencing postpartum depression.

How do you relate to your piece?
“After giving birth to my first child, there was a profound disconnect between what those around me expected me to feel, and what I did feel. This piece has elements of what I experienced with my own post-partum depression. I also incorporated various aspects of the experiences of others who shared with me their own.”

How does it relate to this year’s theme, Changes?
“Having children is a profound time of change in a person’s life. Your body has changed, your hormones are wreaking havoc, and every moment of every day after the birth scarcely resembles the days that came before.”


Brooklyn Alice Lee: Playwright – The A Word

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Brooklyn Alice Lee in IWW Cabaret 2019

Brooklyn Alice Lee is the playwright of the piece The A Word in this year’s cabaret line-up. Brooklyn describes herself as an emotional open-book. She wrote her monologue based on personal experience. The A Word follows a young woman as she enters a hospital to terminate her pregnancy, but finds the decision is a hard one to make.

“I was feeling a lot of trauma and sadness following my abortion and I needed an outlet to share my thoughts and feelings, so I turned to theatre,” shares Brooklyn on creating the piece.

How does it relate to this year’s theme, Changes?
“Along with the changes that happen on your body and in your mind when you become pregnant, society is also changing when it comes to ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. What is socially acceptable to talk about and what is not. Abortion has always been a very taboo topic, but society is working towards being more understanding and supportive of pro-choice.”


Kristen+Einarson+headshotKristen Einarson: Stand-up Comic – Oversharer

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Kristen Einarson is a local stand-up comic who will be bringing her routine to this year’s cabaret. Kristen describes this past year as a “hot mess” and uses the year’s experiences and lessons in her comedy routine.

“I decided to start talking about it into a microphone and if even one human in the audience relates to me, I have done my job. My favourite thing about stand-up comedy is the vulnerability, and people don’t realize that theatre and stand-up interlope in that way” says Kristen on creating the piece for International Women’s Week.

How does your piece relate to the theme of Changes?
“It’s about big, scary life shifts and how it feels when they all happen at once. We have all been through periods of change – whether it be a career change, a relationship change, moving houses, changing hobbies… it’s just not often they all happen at once.”


Larissa Hikel: Playwright – Ping elevator_746x419

Larissa Hikel expresses herself as relentless, observant and ruthless, but promises you won’t notice so long as you’re having fun. Larissa’s piece Ping contains subject matter that every woman can relate to. The lead character is afraid to enter her own apartment building as it is the setting of a previous attack she faced, by a strange man. Larissa thanks “outrage” for the inspiration of this piece, as she draws from a real life experience.

How does your piece relate to the theme of Changes?
“Almost every woman has the person she was/is ‘before’ and ‘after’ the first experience of a sexual assault or the threat of one. Suddenly the world is a different place. Both the outside world and the one inside each of us.”


See these monologues and MORE during International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues 2020! Running March 2-8 with two public performances at The Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (at the University of Winnipeg) on March 7th. Tickets on sale HERE.

Stay tuned for more on the other monologues and performers in this year’s cabaret.


 

Monologues and Beyond

This year, we take International Women’s Week beyond the constraints of traditional monologues. The menu for this year’s Cabaret of Monologues will include half written monologues brought to life by local performers and half performances by artists from other creative mediums. These creative pieces will range from dance to song, from spoken word to mime.

If you missed out last blog post on IWW 2020, click HERE, you’ll find the first four theatrical monologues have been announced. As for the other half…. exciting new work is being created, here’s a little sneak peak to help whet your appetite on who and what you can expect to see…


Kweskina by waNda wilsoN

Wanda Wilson playing her electric guitarSome of you may remember waNda from last year’s Cabaret. WaNda recently received her Red Seal as a mechanic, and her title for this year’s piece means “change your thoughts” in Cree. She performs a beautiful combination of storytelling and musical performance, stemming from her own personal life experiences.


Bringing movement to the stage, is a dance piece by Maria Grant. Maria runs Drop In Dance Winnipeg and will Choreograph a piece to perfectly fit this year’s cabaret and the theme of “Change”.


Hailley Rhoda performing with her stuffed elephant

Last year, a piece by Hailley Rhoda utilized puppets!

The bold, beautiful and Deaf by Joanna Hawkins

As a deaf artist and member of 100 Decibles, Joanna will explore the world of mime and bring to life the art of silent storytelling.


Oversharer by Kristen Einarson

Kristen has had a really big year. She split up from her partner, she got a whole new career path, she started filling in her eyebrows, she had a mini nervous breakdown at her friend’s bachelorette party and started doing stand-up comedy. This is a monologue of things she has told people that she probably should not have. In her signature comedic style, Kristen is vulnerable and hilarious, and her piece will take you on a ride of social anxiety, insecurity, and uncertainty. She probably shouldn’t be writing such big promises in a show description. She probably shouldn’t have said she has a signature style. She also wishes she gave her character a more interesting name, like maybe “Harriet” or “Susan”.


The art of spoken word poetry will have a place in this year’s line-up. Writer, activist and member of Red Rising Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie will share her original work.

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Last year’s spoken word artist, Shereen Ramprashad


Save the Date! These pieces will be performed from March 2-8 for International Women’s Week with just two opportunities to see the full line-up on March 7th. Keep up to date as we travel across the province to various stages, organizations and venues to bring these pieces to life in the name of women everywhere.

What better way to celebrate International Women’s Week, than to host a performance yourself? To host any number of the monologues above, contact info@sarasvati.ca for details on availability and price. We would love to perform for you!


 

Songi-deewin: Here & Now

Progress towards phase two of the Reconciliation Through Theatre Project is underway! Our first phase of workshops was crucial to phase two and the final product. From the art and stories shared by youth at our Seven Visions workshops series, an artistic team with on-going youth advisement will compile a multi-media piece to be performed in May, 2020. We are happy to announce the official title for the final performance, Songi-deewin: Here & Now!

We are also pleased to announce just a few of the initial team members as we move in to our next phase.


Jo MacDonaldJo MacDonald – Playwright/Dramaturg

Jo MacDonald is Anishinaabe, a mom, theatre fan, writer, and an Educator. She gave up dreams of super-villainy as it wasn’t as lucrative as depicted at the job fairs (false advertising…but then again what can you expect from an evil genius job pitch?). She received her BA and B.Ed. from the University of Winnipeg.  Jo had her Winnipeg Fringe debut with her comedy play Mother’s Little Secret in July 2018. Jo’s play NEECHIE-ITAS premiered in Oklahoma in June 2019.


Darla Contois – CollaboratorPicture1

We are pleased to have the workshop facilitator from the first phase continue in making sure the stories shared by youth are honoured in the script. Darla Contois is a Cree-Salteaux performer, playwright, and facilitator. She graduated from the Centre for Indigenous Theatre’s professional training program in 2014, attended David Smukler’s National Voice Intensive and premiered her solo show White Man’s Indian at Summerworks 2017 in Toronto where she was awarded the Emerging Artist Award. Since relocating to her hometown, she is passionate about using her theatre experience to uplift and empower Indigenous youth in Winnipeg. Darla was last seen in Prairie Theatre Exchange’s production of Happy Place.


IMG_3822_Facetune_08-11-2019-11-57-11Bear Harper – Mural Artist

We are also excited to introduce, Bear Harper. Bear was one of the youth at our Children of the Earth workshop back in June, as part of our Seven Visions workshop series. Bear created a sketch that caught our attention and prompted Sarasvàti to approach Bear for our Reconciliation Through Theatre performance in May. We have commissioned Bear to create a mural based on his sketch from June to be displayed as part of the performance in May 2020.

Bear graduated from COTE in 2018. He has spent most of his life sketching and began to explore painting more once in High School. Bear has had some art displayed at local grocery stores and art shows, but the mural will be his first big project. Bear is ecstatic to be creating something that he feels is meaningful and progressive. He cannot thank his support group enough. Through any and all trauma and hardships, he is overwhelmed with the support and love from friends and family.


Job Opportunity

We are also looking to hire an Indigenous production team for the May 2020 performance. Indigenous set, lighting, costume and sound designers are all welcome to apply! Candidates will be compensated and must be able to work independently, we will accept submissions from those with transferable skills/experience as well. To apply, send in your resume to info@sarasvati.ca before 11:59PM on Friday, November 22, 2019.

Production Team(1)


Currently, we are exploring themes, material and everything else that will go into Songi-deewin: Here & Now. Stay tuned for more information! Visit our website for more information on phase one.


 

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

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Hailley Rhoda performing “Talking About ED” IWW 2019

Change. Like it or not, it’s happening everyday, all around us. The world is ever evolving and changing, whether it be for better or worse and we evolve along with it. International Women’s Week: Cabaret of Monologues is now officially in progress and we are excited to announce that this year’s theme is… Changes! Emotions, thoughts, opinions, body, politics, technology – it all plays a part in our changing lives and what better way to express these changes, than through theatre.

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Renee Hill performing “Oracle Jane” IWW 2019

This year’s selected monologues will explore how we navigate a changing world . Four monologues have officially been accepted into this year’s cabaret, while others are in the process of being curated and workshopped. The selected monologues feature four different women in four very different situations of change. Until we have a full menu of monologues for you to devour, here are the official first four to whet your appetite…


Masks by Makrenna Sterdan

Ms. Jones works to keep positive as she teaches a school of children about air pollution. But, when she is alone with fellow teachers and staff, the dark truth about the day’s lesson is revealed.


Yearning-Distance by Beth Lanigan

A new mother struggles to describe her changing world and herself. She simultaneously experiences and explores the detachment and dissociation of her postpartum depression.


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waNda wilsoN performing “Bare Bones” IWW 2019


The A Word by Brooklyn Alice Lee

A young woman enters The Women’s Hospital, alone and afraid she struggles to complete paperwork while questioning the nurse and herself about her decision to terminate her pregnancy.


Ping by Larissa Hikel

Jessamyn returns home from a late shift at the bar she works at. She is cautious entering her apartment building as she recounts the terrifying events from the night before. Events that women today know are far too common.


International Women’s Week: Cabaret of Monologues will take place from March 2-8, 2020. We will once again tour the monologues to various locations around Manitoba and

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Shereen Ramprashad performing “I Am Not a Victim” IWW 2019

offer two public performances at the end of the tour. Last year we were excited to travel as far as Flin Flon and to perform in tiny classrooms as well as huge museums. If you’re interested in hosting any of this year’s monologues, give us a call at (204) 586-2236 or email us at info@sarasvati.ca!

Stay tuned for updates and more information on International Women’s Week: Cabaret of Monologues 2020, coming soon!

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Performers from IWW 2019

Until Next Year, FemFest

It takes a village… to run a festival! We would like to extend a huge “Thank You” to everyone who helped make FemFest 2019: All the World’s a Stage possible! To our performers, playwrights, facilitators, directors, stage managers, choreographers, volunteers, donors and spectators, FemFest would not have been possible without all of you.

If you made it out to FemFest 2019 as a spectator this year, thank you! We hope you enjoyed this year’s programming of unique and progressive theatre. If you weren’t able to make it out, no worries! There’s always next year and all of the years to come.

This year 110artists and production folks made the festival happen. Add to that 39 volunteers working on site. We sold out our Bake-Off, sold out our first Like Mother, Like Daughter showing, and broke a record with our raffle! Over 1,200 people came out and with intimate shows that could only seat 4 people that’s pretty impressive. We packed 46 scheduled events in to 8 days and we certainly needed time to recover after.

From the eventful opening cabaret to the closing reception, we have compiled photos from this year’s festival for your viewing pleasure! Take a look…

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We also want to hear what your highlights were this year and what you would like to see more of in the future – send us an e-mail, tag us in social media, or heck even feel free to give us a call!

As the age old saying goes, “When one door closes, another one opens.” With FemFest 2019 closed, we now start looking into the future and ask artists from across Canada to submit for FemFest 2020! Submissions are open until the end of November, giving us plenty of time to review your hard work and make decisions for next year’s festival. See the call for scripts and proposals below…

FemFest 2020: Engaging Community- Celebrating Winnipeg’s 18th Festival of Life-Changing Theatre for Everyone

We are currently seeking submissions of scripts for production, short performance pieces for various showcases and expressions of interest from artists with unique ideas for engaging community. Our focus this year will be on productions and processes that build bridges with new artists or partners. All submissions must be from Canadian women. We use an inclusive definition of “woman” and “female” and we welcome pieces created by all who fit under either of these categories/identifiers. Technical and set requirements must be minimal due to the festival setting. A reading committee will assess submissions in order to program a balanced festival.

For more information on how to submit, visit our website HERE!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date on the rest of the season, including our Art of Reconciliation Fundraiser coming up in just two and a half weeks- Tickets available HERE.

From all of us at Sarasvàti Productions, thank you again for such a successful 17th annual FemFest. We can’t wait to see you next year!

Coming Up Next…

With the glitter swept off the stage, the Bake-Off winner crowned and the touring companies headed home; FemFest 2019 has come and gone. Now comes the question, what’s next for Sarasvàti Productions?


MARCH MONOLOGUES

As always our annual International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues will take place this upcoming March. IWW Cabaret of Monologues is a touring production that features monologues and performance pieces by various women on various subjects. Be sure to stay tuned for more information on the Cabaret!32368407097_56886e8a14_z


RECONCILIATION

Another exciting project and our current main focus of the season, is on Reconciliation Through Theatre.

Over the past few months, Sarasvàti Productions has been holding a series of workshops at 7 different youth organizations, in the spirit of art and reconciliation. Organizations worked with so far include, Wahbung, Children of the Earth High School, Ndinawe, and DSC09386IDLII. In the next month we will also work with youth at Marymound, Knowles Centre and Manitoba Youth Centre. Youth are creating amazing art work that expresses what reconciliation means to them. All of the artwork and stories shared will be compiled into a final performance at The Forks, May 2020. Reconciliation is the restoration of friendly relations. It is a simple concept, but challenging to achieve when much reparation needs to be done. As a true community collaboration, the final performance will come directly from participants working alongside professional artists.

In support of this final event, we will be hosting a fundraiser called The Art of Reconciliation!

68928970_10157632839367533_3029259069731897344_nOn October 23rd, you are invited to join us at Crossways in Common (222 Furby Street) for a special dinner with a 1491 menu, a cash wine bar and special award-winning multi-media artist KC Adams. All proceeds will go towards the funding of our 2020 event. The youth and community members have worked so hard to create moving and captivating art work, from paintings, to sewing and written words of wisdom and hope. Help us open up the conversation to as wide an audience as possible!

The results and lessons learned from the project will also have a long-term impact with changes to Sarasvàti’s practices moving forward. We are so grateful to be working within our community and hearing the stories of those who come out to our workshops.

For more information on The Art of Reconciliation, visit our website HERE.65204148_10157491192852533_8197606934581346304_n


WORKSHOPS

Finally we are preparing this year’s workshop series for artists. We had full to capacity sessions at FemFest including a Pop Art Performance workshop and playwriting masterclass. There will be plenty more opportunities for professional development. Stay tuned for the full calendar and in the meantime to whet your appetite join our Artistic Director, Hope McIntyre, for Creating the Space For Empathy, Risk & Growth In Theatre Training. She and Shannon Vickers with moderator Krista Jackson will gather for a sharing circle about how we can begin to create change in theatre school training. Hope and Shannon recently attended the Got Your Back Canada National Educators conference that identified issues in theatre training and will be sharing key ideas from this national discussion as well as possible new approaches. October 7, 2019 at 7pm at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (University of Winnipeg – 400 Colony St).

The Fest so Far

Sold out performances, a glitter-filled opening night, home-made cookies at the Bake-Off – we are more than halfway done FemFest 2019! As always, it is a bittersweet feeling. The fest has been a wonderful experience so far with plenty of highlights and thoughts to share. We asked two Sarasvàti employees to share their experience working towards and during the festival.

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In May 2019, we brought on two new team members to help with the preparation of FemFest. Sami Desiree worked as a Production Assistant for the festival and Brooklyn Kilfoyle worked as the Marketing and Communications Assistant. The whole experience has been an exciting and informative experience for both as their work finally comes to life before their eyes.

“It’s surreal, I’ve always attended theatre festivals and productions in the past but I had no idea just how much hard work goes into it” said Kilfoyle who has worked in the industry mostly as an actor and playwright.

“There are so many moving parts. It is truly inspiring to watch strong, hard working women be an integral part of the process” said Desiree who manages her own theatre company Beau Theatre Co.

image2Some highlights from the festival so far include the annual Bake-Off that completely sold-out! Congratulations to Barb Janes, this year’s winning playwright. Another highlight was the front row of the opening for Raising Stanley/Life with Tulia, we had the pleasure of hosting three audience members accompanied by their guide dogs right in the front row! The Launchpad Project features emerging artists and so far, it has been a success. This group made a production out of nothing but their own creativity and dedication, bravo Launchpad!

Having the opportunity to share theatrical art with ASL Interpretation is something Sarasvàti is very proud of. Inclusiveness is key! We are offering one last ASL Interpreted production for Like Mother, Like Daughter tonight at 6:30! Another program we are proud to offer this year was child minding! Free childcare during 3 selected image1performances. We have 2 performances left with child minding being offered, Baby Box at 8:30 on September 20th and Like Mother, Like Daughter at 2pm on September 21st. If you’d like to take advantage of childminding, call (204) 586-2236 or email us at info@sarasvati.ca. 24 hours’ notice is required to guarantee adequate staffing.

When asked what have been highlights for the FemFest new blood, here’s what they had to say:

“It’s been a major highlight to have the opportunity to connect with artists from all over Canada. To speak with them about what they are doing in their community with their art. It’s been my favourite part so far.”- Sami Desiree, Production Assistant.

“Hearing the audience members as they come out of the theatre, discussing what they just saw and sharing thoughts and praise, it feels good to part of something that is so positive in the community.”- Brooklyn Kilfoyle, Marketing and Community Outreach Assistant.

Both women expressed their gratitude for having the opportunity to make FemFest 2019 a reality and both plan to continue working with Sarasvàti in the future.

There are still 3 days left to enjoy FemFest 2019: All the World’s a Stage so if you’ve been waiting, now’s the time to go!

radffle

The remaining FemFest schedule:

September 19th:
5:00- 4inXchange
6:30- Like Mother, Like Daughter
7:00- 4inXchange
8:30- Baby Box
9:00- 4inXchange

September 20th:
2:00- Like Mother, Like Daughter
3:00- 4inXchange
5:00- 4inXchange
6:30- Like Mother, Like Daughter
7:00- 4inXchange
8:30- Baby Box
9:00- 4inXchange
10:00- Bastard Reading

September 21st:
1:00- 4inXchange
2:00- Like Mother, Like Daughter
3:00- 4inXchange
3:30- All Winnipeg’s a Stage Walking Art Tour
5:00- 4inXchange
6:30- Like Mother, Like Daughter
7:00- 4inXchange
8:30- Leaping Off the Page with Yvette Nolan

Book your advance tickets HERE or call (204) 586-2236 to reserve!