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!


 

Women are Hilarious

By Kristen Einarson


Something wild happened: me, a local stand-up comedian and hooligan, was approached by a real-life theatre company to create a piece of storytelling for a touring cabaret. THAT IS BANANAS. I obviously said yes. But I quickly became terrified. Theatre muscles aren’t muscles I’ve used in a number of years, so I knew it was going to take a minute to ease back into that world.2020_KristenEinarson4436

Theatre and comedy are very similar, believe it or not. There’s a whole lot of vulnerability in both, but just presented in vastly different mediums. Stand-up shows are almost never longer then 60 minutes, and I’ve never done a set longer than 15. Theatre can happen for hours. Thankfully, the task was just to make 10 minutes of theatre – easy peasy, right?

Creating a monologue is much different then writing a stand-up set. For one thing, you’re allowed to say “I created a monologue” or “I developed a piece of storytelling art”. If you said “I created/developed a stand-up set” to anyone – especially a comedian – you’d likely get smacked.

In stand-up, the typical practice – or MY typical practice, anyways – is to go to an open mic and try out 3-5 minutes of new jokes. This depends how many comedians signed up and how confident you are with your new material. Sometimes you’ll think “yup, I’m totally going to do 5 minutes of NEW SHIT” and then your first joke falls flat and you spend the rest of your time onstage trying to recover and get the audience back on your side.

For Oversharer (LOL I GOT TO PUT THE TITLE OF MY PIECE IN ITALICS THIS IS WILD), I just sat down and barfed it into a Google doc. This was mainly due to procrastination and a deadline on my part, but partially because I wasn’t sure how to build a monologue in bits and pieces the way I build and test out stand-up. There have absolutely been revisions, but I just barfed it and then it was. Like literal vomit, but instead it was ~art vomit~.

When we met for a rehearsal, Hope, the AD of Sarasvàti, just said “We like your work! This is what we think. What do you need from us?”

It’s wild to me that artists are allowing me to do my little comedy skit with such blind trust. I really hope it doesn’t bomb. I also wish there was a more interesting story about the process, but that’s it. Sarasvàti has been a DREAM to work with, and lets me revisit my days as an actor.

I used to act all the time. I stopped doing plays around 2016 to go back to school and become a marketing sell-out. Fun fact: Liz, Associate Artistic Director of Sarasvàti, and I did three Fringe plays together between 2013-2016. Here is a cute photo of us from our youth:

Capture

This experience has honestly been the most beautiful and inspiring whirlwind. It inspired me so much that I’m planning on growing Oversharer into a one-woman, 60-minute Fringe show, to be premiered this July. And it’s all because my friend Liz saw me do a drunk open mic and saw something in me!!!!

I am passionate about what Sarasvàti does because women’s voices are important. In my opinion, there aren’t nearly enough women who do stand-up comedy. It’s a field that is very male-dominated. But guess what? Women are hilarious. Women have important things to say. We have voices. We have good eyebrows. We are ready to SLAY and do stand-up comedy or theatre or anything we want to do!


 

Welcome, Fawnda!

We are so excited to welcome the newest staff member to the Sarasvàti Productions team… Fawnda Neckoway!

Fawnda

Fawnda Neckoway from the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation in Manitoba, born and raised in Winnipeg. Fawnda studied at the Academy of Acting and is an alumni of the National Screen Institute. Her background is in film as an Actress and Casting Director. She has worked with companies such as Eagle Vision, CBC, Netflix and Film Training Manitoba. She also performed in “We Were Children”, a true story about two residential school survivors and their time in the schools. Outside of the workplace, Fawnda is a proud momma who enjoys fitness and values family, culture and creating. She is passionate about the arts and working closely within the Indigenous community.

Most recently Fawnda casted APTN’s television show “Taken” for Seasons 3 and 4. This was a true crime documentary series focusing on solving the mysteries behind missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. She was also the Aboriginal Programs Coordinator at Film Training Manitoba and worked closely with the Indigenous community. She managed an Aboriginal career focus program where she paired participants with on-set work experience and workshop opportunities. In her private life, Fawnda is a proud mother who enjoys going to the gym. Fawnda describes herself as being “shy at first but outgoing and pretty hilarious once comfortable”! Fawnda enjoys being able to connect people with opportunities through the arts and hopes to one day create her own productions through media.

Fawnda is an excellent addition to our team! Bringing a background of film, theatre and television both behind the scenes and as a performer, as well as experience in working with community organizations and youth. Fawnda will be our part-time administratorSongide'ewin(3) with a focus on community outreach and engagement. Fawnda’s intial primary focus will be on Songide’ewin. For more information on the show click HERE! To get in touch with Fawnda for information on Songide’ewin or how to get involved, she can be reached at associate@sarasvati.ca

Welcome to the team, Fawnda! We’re so happy to have you here.


 

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!


 

Developing a Workshop

Have you ever wondered what goes into planning a workshop? Workshops are a great way to enhance your artistic skills; often hosted by an established artist, held in an artist appropriate space and filled with eager to learn emerging artists! Needless to say, a lot goes into the planning of a workshop. At Sarasvàti Productions, we host a range of workshops every year hosted by established professions and attended by- well, anyone and everyone! Here is a behind the scenes look at how a workshop is developed!


PLANNINGDSC_0027

First things first, we make a plan. What kind of workshop are we hosting? Who are the target participants? Why this workshop? For example, this past Saturday we hosted our movement workshop for actors. During the planning we had to consider why we were hosting a movement workshop and who we would want as a facilitator. With December being a common month for a big break for everybody, we figured why not host in January and get those bodies moving again! Of course, Ali Robson is a well known mover in the city, so we offered her the opportunity to facilitate.


IMG_5735GET THE WORD OUT THERE

Okay, so we planned the workshop, we know what it’s for, we have a facilitator and a venue… now what? Now we need YOU! The participants! We’re lucky to have a list of emerging artists in office, so we are always sure to send our emerging artists information about all of our workshops (email info@sarasvati.ca to be added to the list). In some special cases, we will do target asks. For example, every year we host “Coffee with a Pro” which is literally a sit down coffee date between a pro in the theatre world and 3-4 participants. In these cases, we specifically reach out to folks who are interested in the professional field of the “Pro”. For Audrey Dwyer’s “Coffee with a Pro” session, we invited emerging playwrights to join Audrey for coffee.


THE DAY OF

Woohoo! It’s workshop day! Now, our job is to make sure you get the most out of the day and have a great time. We want to be sure you’re getting your money’s worth! A staff representative will always be present to make sure the day is fun, safe and effective.


NEXT UP OFUR Poster-page-001

If all of this reading about workshops has you wondering about what’s coming up next, here it is! Next, we have “Theatre in Colour: A Discussion on the Importance of Racial Diversity in Theatre”. We will be teaming up with up-coming theatre company Out From Under the Rug to host this workshop panel discussion on racial diversity in theatre. Taking place on Sunday, February 16th, 2020 at The Rachel Browne Theatre (221 Bannatyne Ave). This workshop will be FREE, but donations are always welcome. Email info@sarasvati.ca to reserve your spot.


I hope this little workshop on workshops has helped answer some questions you may have about what goes into planning a workshop. We hope to see you at the next round!

Click HERE for more information on upcoming Sarasvàti workshops.


 

Songide’ewin, Sôhkitêhêwin, Neljedghile, Shoohkitayhew, Kapiasungitoaluk, Waditaka, Courage

Songide'ewin(3)

Songide’ewin, Sôhkitêhêwin, Neljedghile, Shoohkitayhew, Kapiasungitoaluk, Waditaka, Courage. Our Reconciliation Through Theatre performance now has a title! Thanks to the Manitoba Aboriginal Language Strategy, our title consists of the word “courage” translated to Ojibwe, Cree, Dene, Michif, Inuktitut and Dakota. In short, we will refer to the performance as Songide’ewin respectfully as it is the original title that was suggested by one of the youth during our workshops in 2019.

As well as our title, our team for the production in May 2020 has been officially finalized! We would like to introduce you to all of the amazing folks who will helping to bring Songide’ewin to life…

Jo MacDonald – Writer

Tracey Nepinak – Director

Darla Contois – Writing Collaborator

Lana Sinclair – Costume Designer

Louis Ogemah – Production Designer

Ian Fontaine – Sound Designer

Bear Harper – Mural Artist

Jamie Black – Mural Artist Mentor

Red Rover – Production Management Team


On Saturday, January 11th the full team was able to meet in person and discuss the next steps in the production process. It was a pleasure getting to sit down and discuss project details will all of the folks who will be contributing to what is considered our biggest and most collaborative theatrical project to date!

Songide'ewin(2)On Saturday, January 18th we will sit down with the first draft of the script and the production team as well as our youth advisory committee to read through the first draft and get a sense of the May performance. Our youth advisory committee is comprised of youth who participated in our workshops throughout 2019, the same youth whose voices are featured in the script development of Songide’ewin. All are invited to attend the first reading at Turtle Island Neighbourhood Centre (510 King St.). The doors open at 1pm! We invite you to join us, sit and listen to the first draft and participate in discussion following the reading.

This performance and project hopes to broaden the understanding of reconciliation among Canadians. We are thrilled and honoured to host a completely Indigenous cast and crew for this production to accurately tell their stories and the stories of the experiences of Indigenous folks across Manitoba. Be sure to mark your calendars for May 21-24, 2020 at The Forks in our outdoor venue. More details available HERE on our website.