Miss Understood Leaves You Speechless

Miss Understood from the frank theatre company
Review by Meg Crane

miss-undertood-muscleWith stunning audio and visuals, Miss Understood is a powerful story told from a voice we so infrequently hear. Antonette Rea is a trans woman who comes to us from the streets of Vancouver where she worked the streets.

Along with two other performers, she owns the stage with a voice that demands to be heard and impressive high heels. This trio share a connection and closeness that can be felt from off-stage. Throwing a laugh or comforting touch as they bring Rea’s prose to life, it’s difficult at times to tell where the acting ends and the real emotions begin, or if the whole piece is infused with real, raw human emotions.

Her poetry translates so well to the stage, it feels like that’s where she’s meant to be. Rea stands in front of us, vulnerable, but with a tough exterior. She owns her story. There are few moments when we see underneath. We see the deep sadness and pain from the many horrific things society has done to her. There’s a moment when she first mentions a brutal assault at the hands of authorities that only the most callous person’s heart would not stop, then jumpstart again with an ache and desire to reach out and comfort her.

Rea could easily fill the hour with her trauma. Instead, she gently brings the audience up and down, peppering the performance with moments of light and humour. We get to see the saucy, adorable and fun side of this powerful woman.

This is a must-see show for everyone. Rea makes herself relatable and brings us into her world. She shows us how difficult it is to be a pre-op, trans woman selling sex to make it by.

Bring tissue and expect to be left without words.

They are two more chances to catch the show at FemFest – September 23 at 7pm and September 24 at 9pm. Click for details and tickets. Rea will also be doing a free reading from her poetry at Bison Books on September 24 at 1pm.

Come One, Come All – FemFest is Great Transformative Theatre!

img_20160917_160757Wow! What a whirlwind week it’s been so far and just three more days to catch shows that likely won’t be seen again in Winnipeg!

The first day of FemFest 2016 kicked off with a moving premiere performance of The Seduction Theory and full house for the Opening Night Cabaret!

The Seduction Theory actors Hailley Rhoda, Hannah Wigglesworth, Merri-Lou Paterson and Grant Burr brought Sherry’s and director Hope McIntyre’s vision to life and wowed audiences in the first few days of the fest. The opening production also featured a special talkback, where audiences discussed on-going issues facing young women in the 1950s and today.

The Cabaret was a blast – with back-to-back spectacular performances from some of Winnipeg’s best in theatre, comedy, music, film and dance!

On day two, Winnipeg’s theatre and comedy community got silly with Morro & Jasp! The clown duo, Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee, took eighteen emerging clowns under their wing with their Impulse and Play: Discovering your Inner Clown workshop. They continue their comedy streak in Winnipeg, with performances of Morro & Jasp do Puberty until Thursday.

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Janet Taylor Bake-Off Award winner Jessy Ardern with Janet Taylor’s family

Monday night’s Bake-Off gave audiences something to laugh and cry about! Taking ingredients duct tape, unbridled passion and class and turning it into this year’s Bake-Off Audience Choice, was playwright Jessy Ardern with her scene Kit and Joe. Jessy received the Janet Taylor Bake-Off award of $500. Congrats to all the playwrights who were chosen for the Bake-Off!

 

Don’t miss out on the last chance to catch some great transformative theatre (or see it all again!)

Morro & Jasp Do Puberty
Thursday, Sept. 22, 1 pm
This is your last chance to see Morro & Jasp Do Puberty at FemFest. Check out what audiences are talking about with the clown sister’s hilarious look at growing up! A definite must-see for anyone who loves to laugh (which is basically everyone)!

Mouthpiece
Thursday, Sept. 22, 7 pm | Friday, Sept. 23, 9 pm
This artistic piece encapsulates the ups-and-downs and swirls of thoughts that go through a young woman’s head as she deals with a life-altering tragedy. It’s first performance at FemFest was met with a standing ovation for the incredible performances. It is riveting, powerful and truly a masterclass in acting.

Miss Understood
Thursday, Sept. 22, 9 pm | Friday, Sept. 23, 7 pm | Saturday, Sept. 24, 9 pm
Spoken-word poet, Antonette Rea takes you on an emotional journey through her life lived in isolation and discrimination as a trans* woman in Downtown Eastside Vancouver. This one is sure to bring you to tears. Help us welcome this show from Vancouver and our first trans* artist to FemFest!!

Poetry Reading with Antonette Rea
Saturday, Sept. 24, 1 pm, Bison Books, 424 Graham Ave.
Meet Antonette Rea and hear excerpts from her work. This free poetry reading takes place at Bison Books and will include a special Q&A session.

SHORTs Showcase
Saturday, Sept. 24, 3 pm, Garbonzo’s University of Winnipeg AnX, 471 Balmoral St.
New this year is the SHORTs Showcase. Catch all nine SHORTs from the Short-List all in one sitting! This will be a riot of laughs, tears and heart-stopping stories.

The Seduction Theory
Saturday, Sept. 24, 7pm
This will be your last chance to see The Seduction Theory on the FemFest stage. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this world premiere.

For tickets and more information, please visit femfest.ca or call 204-586-2236. Tickets are also available at the door.

Life-Changing and Award-Winning Theatre

Congratulations are in order! Since its inception in 2003, we’ve seen FemFest continue to grow, reach wider audiences and showcase some of Canada’s best works in theatre. This year is no exception as we are excited to announce and give our utmost congratulations to Sherry MacDonald and Antonette Rea for their recent recognition in two Canadian theatre awards. These women are paving the way for female artists as they continue to excel in the Canadian theatre industry. We are happy to have both women be a part of FemFest 2016.

Sherry MacDonald recently won the 2016 BC Playwriting Competition Special Merit Award for her play, The Seduction Theory. The BC Playwriting Competition is put on every year by Theatre BC and is created to award the outstanding work of playwrights from British Columbia. With The Seduction Theory, MacDonald brings to light the harm that comes from our society’s archaic outlook on female sexuality. Although set in 1950s the story of 15-year-old Cassandra still rings true in our modern society. As Cassandra is deemed too unruly to live at home and is sent to reform school, we get the shocking truth about the on-going criminalization and sexual exploitation of young underprivileged girls – an issue especially prevalent with Canada’s on-going struggle to solve the issue of our Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, and the justice system’s continued failures in protecting young female victims.

Not surprising, the drama was the audience choice at the FemFest 2015 Bake Off. Her participation in the 2015 Bake Off set the groundwork for this awarding-winning play and we are very honoured to be presenting the world premiere of The Seduction Theory at FemFest 2016: Transformation.

Miss Undertood MuscleBringing FemFest another powerful perspective on female and gender issues is Antonette Rea. The transgender spoken-word poet was recently nominated for The Jessie Award for Outstanding Original Script for her theatrical poem, Miss Understood. From a suburban married father of two, to a drug-addicted sex worker, the play takes you through the real-life story of Rea’s struggles as a transgender person in Vancouver. After enduring years of unspeakable abuse, it was through poetry and creative writing that Rea found her solace and it has proved to be the starting point of an exciting career and new way of life. The Jessies were created by the Jessie Richardson Theatre Award Society to celebrate and promote the achievements in Vancouver’s theatre community. FemFest 2016: Transformation will be the first year we’ll be featuring the work of a transgender artist and we are more than excited to be expanding our line-up to include all women.

Make sure to save the dates and catch both The Seduction Theory and Miss Understood at FemFest 2016: Transformation at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (University of Winnipeg) from September 17-24.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit femfest.ca

 

 

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