8 hours, 5 playwrights, 3 ingredients

Five female playwrights accept the challenge to write a stellar scene in just 8 hours based on three key, mystery ingredients – this is the annual FemFest Bake-Off.

On August 18th, our five playwrights met with Bake-Off Coordinator, Cairn Moore, for the announcement of their three ingredients –  Q-tip, tearing of a paper, and the quote “When one door closes another door opens.” They spent the day writing feverishly. Just imagine what a playwright could do with a Q-tip! The resulting scenes will be staged on Monday, September 18th at 7pm.

Which scene will steal your heart?

Lucy in the Sky by Sara Arenson
Bake Off Playwright Sara Arenson

Postcards from Paris by Brigette DePape
Bake Off Playwright Brigette DePape

The Lettuce Flower by Larissa Hikel
Larissa Hikel - Headshot

OUR HOME & native land by Jo MacDonald
Bake Off Playwright Jo MacDonald

Superpowers by Pamela Wolk
Bake Off Playwright Pamela Wolk

Bringing these scenes to the stage are a team of talented and versatile actors – Ian Bastin, Lorraine James, Christina Heather, Josh Ranville and Danielle Savage.

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Bake-Off audiences must love surprises and come ready for anything.  Be prepared to play an integral role in crowning this year’s Bake-Off winner by voting for your favourite. On the line for these playwrights is the Janet Taylor award (a $500 cash prize) and a chance to have a reading of their full script at FemFest 2018. Come and share in the excitement!

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Drum Roll for the Winner of SYTYCA 2015!

There were prizes, wine, food, and amazing celebrities bravely taking the stage for the first time! While they were all amazing, only one can go home with the trophy. This year’s vote was close and we were worried there would be another tie, but ANDRÉ LEWIS won by a nose!

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André Lewis and scene partner Danielle Savage were hysterical as a married couple who are only together to spite each other in a great scene from Jessy Ardern’s play Harold and Vivian Entertain Guests.

Our terrific judges Trish Cooper, Toby Hughes and Gord Tanner entertained with many witty comments on height, English accents, safety and Chekhov’s crackers. Our host Jon Ljungberg kept everything on track as we announced the 12 lucky raffle prize winners! After all the winners were drawn and the SYTYCA winner crowned it was time for wine from AD Beverages and food from Bothwell Cheese and Jonnies Sticky Buns.

Group ShotIt was an amazing successful evening and the proceeds will help us continue to bring you transformative theatre! A huge thank you to all the celebrities who braved the stage, and our judges and host for all their hard work. We would also like to thank Cairn Moore for her great directing, Tori Popp for keeping everyone organized as stage manager, Sandy Klowak for assisting backstage, all the playwrights for allowing us to use their work, and all the actors who took the stage with our celebrities!

Raffle TableAnd of course we can’t forget to thank all the local businesses who donated raffle prizes, our amazing volunteers, our staff and board, and of course the SYTYCA committee members who organized it all! Finally, we’d like to thank you, the audience for coming out to support the transformative theatre work of Sarasvàti Productions!

We’ve got some fun twists planned for SYTYCA 2016 that we can’t wait to share with you, so stay tuned! In the meantime, we will be keeping busy with our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues coming up on March 7 and Miss’N Me, tickets for both are available on line now, just click here!

Who’s Got the Power?

Banner SYTYCA 2015Superman, an environmental terrorist, a creepy date and a widow whose husband was eaten by a bear. These are just some of the characters that this year’s celebrities will tackle at So You Think You Can Act. This year’s event is only two short weeks away and rehearsals have begun! It’s been a pleasure introducing the celebrities to their acting partners and hearing these hilarious scripts come off the page. Under this year’s theme of Power Play, we have found writing by a mix of work by emerging Winnipeg writers and some of Canada’s most established playwrights. Although each get only 2 hours to rehearse under the direction of Cairn Moore, they have great material to work with. Keep reading to see what scenes and which actors each celebrity is working with!

Rana Bokhari will be playing Maria in Michael Healey’s political dark comedy Generous with Kevin Gabel. This play was produced a couple years ago by Theatre by the River and of course Healey’s play Proud was produced by Theatre Projects this past fall with Kevin Gabel also appearing in it. We are also pleased to announce that Kevin will be in our spring production of Miss N Me!

Chris Cvetkovic gets to play Superman opposite Lyle Morris in Ken Mitchell’s play Heroes. What happens when Superman and the Lone Ranger meet in their Chief’s office waiting room? We are pleased to have Lyle on board after his great performance in Launched at FemFest 2014.

André Lewis with Danielle Savage will be playing the title characters in Harold and Vivian Entertain Guests by Jessy Ardern. This piece won our first Bake-Off at FemFest 2012 and was fully produced at FemFest 2013. Danielle Savage helped take Troy Westwood to victory last year – can she do the same this year?

Kelly Linehan will be tackling the character of Lorrie in George F. Walker’s play Featuring Loretta with Spenser Payne. Lorrie’s husband has been eaten by a bear and she needs to figure out what to do with her life. Kelly should have a blast working with Spenser, who is also part of the Talentless Lumps.

Romi Mayes will be playing the wannabe terrorist Melissa with Cheryl Gensiorek in Terroristas by Ginny Collins. Last year we included Ginny’s piece Good Intentions, which had premiered at Winnipeg Jewish Theatre in 2013. This will be Cheryl’s third time in this event and in 2013 she helped Kerri Salki win the trophy.

Doug Speirs will be playing Man in Eye to Eye by Christopher Graybill with Nan Fewchuk playing Woman in this hilarious ten minute play about a first date gone awry. Nan has appeared in multiple pieces with Sarasvàti Productions, most recently The Naked Woman at FemFest 2014. Hopefully she can stay focused as Doug Speirs lays it on thick.

Taz Stuart gets to try his hand at romantic comedy as Rudy in Norm Foster’s Wrong for Each Other with Liz Whitbread. Liz is about to appear in our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues. She also appeared in a Norm Foster scene at last year’s event, helping Big Daddy Tazz tie for first with Troy Westwood.

Between these hilarious scenes, the comedic talents of the judges, Trish Cooper, Toby Hughes and Gordon Tanner, and witty hosting by Jon Ljungberg this will be one super fun night! And if that wasn’t enough we also have thousands of dollars’ worth of raffle prizes (raffle licence #MGCC5542). Don’t miss out, buy tickets now! Tickets can be purchased online here or by phoning us at 204-586-2236. Rana Bokhari started off strong in our blog polls, but was over taken by Kelly Linehan. Unfortunately Kelly wasn’t ahead for long before Romi Mayes beat her by a nose. And the guys really haven’t been feeling the love. Now that the scenes are revealed will that all change?

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SYTYCA Presents: The Actors!

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Wondering who will help our celebrities shine on stage? Today, we are pleased to bring you our fabulous line-up of talented local actors for our 3rd annual So You Think You Can Act fundraising event! In less than two weeks, seven local celebrity participants will test out their acting chops on stage in front of a panel of judges. Once all celebrities have performed, YOU will vote for the winner of the trophy (and bragging rights of course)! Keep reading to find out more about our actors.

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Grant Burr – Look familiar? You may have caught Grant playing the role of Ray in Flood Control by Marilyn Anne Campbell as part of FemFest 2013. Grant is sure to show Eva Kovacs the ropes in a scene from The Fighting Days by Wendy Lill.

Justin OttoAs a recent graduate of the University of Winnipeg Acting Honours program, Justin is the perfect candidate to play Jim Ingebrigtsen’s teaching assistant in a scene from The Essay by Hannah Moscovitch. Will this duo win over the audience’s vote?

Andrea Houssin We are pleased to have Andrea play the role of Hannah in a scene from Good Intentions by Ginny Collins. You may have seen Andrea in this very role earlier this season at the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre. Will Andrea’s experience give Kris Laudien a step-up above the rest?

Lorraine James – Lorraine is no stranger to Sarasvàti Productions! Last year she played the role of Kirsty in All My Day Jobs by Kirsten Van Ritzen as part of our IWW Cabaret of Monologues. Lorraine is sure to make former Winnipeg Blue Bomber Obby Khan work for the prize in a scene from Riot by Andrew Moodie.

Cheryl Gensiorek – At last year’s So You Think You Can Act, Cheryl helped Kerri Salki of Clear FM shine on stage and take home the grand prize! Surely her expertise will give Alison Gillmor the upper hand. Catch these two in a scene from The Girl Who Loved Castro by Colleen Curran.

Elizabeth Whitbread – Elizabeth has appeared in a number of independent productions throughout the years. She is currently in the 4th year Acting Honours program at The University of Winnipeg. Elizabeth will be performing alongside Big Daddy Tazz in a hilarious scene from Kiss The Moon, Kiss The Sun by Norm Foster.

Danielle Savage – In a recent article, Troy Westwood stated that he is excited to be working with a pro like Danielle Savage in this year’s So You Think You Can Act. Having many years of experience on the stage, Danielle is sure to help Troy prove he can act in a side splitting scene from Why Torture is Wrong, and The People Who Love Them by Chirstopher Durang.

There will also be a special voice over appearance by local actor Kevin Anderson!

So You Think You Can Act will take place on February 19th, 2014 at 7:00pm at The Gas Station Arts Centre (445 River Ave). This unique fundraising event is sure to have your laughing in your seats! Tickets are $25 dollars and include a fabulous wine reception after the show. All money raised will go towards supporting the transformative theatre work of Sarasvàti Productions. There will also be thousands of dollars in raffle prizes donated by local businesses and a 50/50 draw (raffle licence #MGCC#5542). Help support local arts and get your tickets before it’s too late! Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here or by calling our office at (204) 586-2236. We’ll see you on February 19th!

 Which pair do you think will steal the spotlight? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and/or on Twitter using the #SYTYCA!

Happy IWW 2013!

Tomorrow, alongside millions all over the world, Sarasvàti Productions will be celebrating International Women’s Day with our annual Cabaret of Monologues. We have already performed sneak-peeks of the show to community groups in Winnipeg and the surrounding areas! The monologues have been received very well, and we are exciting to end this wonderful week with a bang with our full show line-up tomorrow.

Jane Burpee, Cherrel Holder, Danielle Savage

photos by Janet Shum

One of our favourite things about performing the Cabaret of Monologues each year, as opposed to a full-length play, is that we have the incredible opportunity and privilege to celebrate many women’s voices and stories. Not only that, but because of the diversity in our monologues, we are also able to work with so many different actors, and to showcase their diversity as well.

This has allowed us to create a line-up of monologues that is just as varied as the actors involved! For example, Jane Burpee will be playing the role Rita, an older woman who sells alcohol to minors in Hannah Foulger’s Booze Hound. Up and coming actor Cherrel Holder will play Bilguisa Simpore, a Nigerian soccer superstar who faces a gender challenge in Donna-Michelle St. Bernard’s Bilguisa Speaks Up. Finally, Danielle Savage will play an extremely sleep deprived new mom on her first night away from her baby in Nicolle Nattrass’s Mama’s Night Out. These three monologues alone show that there is a need to tell different stories, because women come from all different walks of life and have so many different stories to tell!

Not only is it a great thing to see and hear the stories of all of these women, but it is also exciting to see the community at large gather together to celebrate these women, and women across the globe. We have been talking to folks all over the place – from just down the street in the North End to our friends in Winkler, Manitoba. Though organizations and individuals may differ in objectives or geography, one thing is clear: everyone everywhere is hungry for more stories about women, by women, for everyone! We are proud to be a part of a supportive community that embraces the voices of these women, no matter how wild they may be!

Tomorrow is the big day! The full show line-up will be performed for one night only at the Gallery at Manitoba Hydro Place (360 Portage Avenue). Plus we are excited to have the Men’s Banner Project by Anna-Celestra Carr present and Buffalo Gals Drumming Group to start off the evening! We are almost sold out so be sure to get your tickets from www.sarasvati.ca or by calling 204-586-2236!

Happy International Women’s Week and Happy (early) International Women’s Day to all!

The ‘Wild Women’ Are Here!

What do Supergirl, Mae West and an international soccer super star have in common? They will all take the stage at Sarasvàti Productions’ ninth cabaret of monologues. International Women’s Week is next week and we are very excited to be presenting our Cabaret of Monologues once again! This year the focus is on stories of wild women.  Past performances have sold out and have been booked as part of International Women’s Week celebrations across the province. Our audiences will be treated to a line-up of powerful and hilarious pieces while celebrating women breaking boundaries.

With a full public performance on March 8th at 8pm, this year’s Cabaret features monologues from playwrights from different regions of the country performed by some of the best in local female talent! We are proud each year to present both emerging and established theatre artists in our line-up, and this year is no exception! Take a look beyond the cut to learn more about the unbelievably talented women who were born to be wild!

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WILD WOMEN take the stage!

International Women’s Week, the annual celebration of women’s achievements and progress throughout the world, is coming up fast! We are excited to be hosting our annual Cabaret of Monologues as part of the city-wide festivities! Sarasvàti Productions has a proud history of celebrating women’s voices in Winnipeg (and beyond), and we look forward to this year’s unique offering: Wild Women.

This is the 9th time we have presented our Cabaret of Monologues and it’s about time we featured women breaking boundaries! Women from all walks of life are featured in what is sure to be a night to remember! Our Cabaret of Monologues will be shown for one night only, on March 8 at the Gallery at Manitoba Hydro Place (360 Portage Avenue). Tickets are just $10 and the show starts at 8pm! We are also doing a sneak-peek on March 8th at noon for those who just wanna stop by!

We are particularly excited to announce several partnerships with community organizations in and around Winnipeg! We’ll be performing selected pieces at the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, Sage House, Portage Place Mall and at a fundraiser for Genesis House in Winkler. The full schedule is available on our website. If you are looking however, to get the full Wild Women experience, you’ll need to get tickets to our evening show on the 8th which features Elena Anciro, Alexandra Bolton, Jane Burpee, Melanie Dean, Nan Fewchuk, Cheryl Gensiorek, Cherrel Holder, Lorraine James, Danielle Savage and Samantha Walters tackling characters from Supergirl to Mae West! Buy now!