Trauma and Transformation – Meet the Cast of The Seduction Theory

What happens to a teen girl when she starts to mature and attracts the attention of men? She’s blamed for her attractiveness, labeled an attention-seeking problem-child and is sent away to be “fixed.” This societal routine is put centre-stage in FemFest 2016’s world premiere of The Seduction Theory.

Written by Vancouver playwright Sherry MacDonald and set in the 1950s, the play brings to life a cast of characters who all believe they are doing what is right. We follow 15-year-old Cass as she transforms from naiveté to a loss of innocence. She is guided on this path by jaded-beyond-her-years Rebecca. Marg runs the home for at risk girls, trying to be a replacement mother but unable to protect them from the likes of Dr. Branford.

Meet the actors that will bring this eye-opening story to life. With FemFest 2016’s theme of Transformation, we asked about their growing careers and their personal transformations over the years.

Hailley Rhoda Headshot.jpgHailley Rhoda As Cass. Rhoda has already been in a handful of productions throughout Winnipeg including our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues and Ripple Effect School Tour. With eclectic tastes, her time travelling choices would be to go to either 500BC to observe Spartan society or 1953 to watch the birth of the Stratford Festival.  Her biggest change is her growing dependence on coffee: “I drink far more coffee and have glasses. Mainly it’s the steady increase in caffeine that’s noticeable.”

hannah.pngHannah Wigglesworth – As Rebecca. Wigglesworth is a self-proclaimed animal lover, food enthusiast and a musical theatre nerd. She is currently working on her Bachelor of Music – Classical Voice at the University of Manitoba. Her biggest personal change:  “I have become much more confident and focused. I’ve always known what I wanted to do but now I am focused on working hard and making it happen. I’ve also become much more independent and sure of myself.”

merri-louMerri-Lou Paterson – As Marg.  Paterson has loved and been involved in the theatre since forever. Not just an actor, she indulges in art, photography and travel. If she wasn’t doing theatre she would be traveling as a food writer. Her biggest personal change: “I’ve always been very conscious the role of fear has played in my life and have worked very hard at feeling it but not allowing it to make the final decisions.  I would say that, being the age I am, I have learned a few more ways to put fear in its place and not in the driver’s seat.  This has allowed me to enjoy a multitude of new experiences personally and professionally.”

GRANT BURR - HEADSHOTGrant Burr – As Dr. Branford.  Burr is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg honours acting program and a FemFest alumni having past roles in The Naked Woman and Flood Control and FemFest 2015’s Bake-Off.  How Burr has changed from the person he was 5 years ago:The older I get the more I find that it is important to focus and fight for the things that are really important in your life. You never know when you won’t be able to enjoy those things you love anymore, so enjoy them while they last. In other words, put me on that stage!”

Catch these talented actors in The Seduction Theory at FemFest 2016: Transformation. The show runs from September 17 – 24, 2016 at the Asper Centre for Theatre & Film (University of Winnipeg). Visit femfest.ca for tickets and show times.

Local Talent Wild Card

We’ve heard from four of six celebrity competitors as they prepare to kick butt and takes names in this year’s Rage on the Stage. They’re talented, they’re motivated, and they’re hungry for the win, BUT they aren’t the only factors in this competition…

It’s time we introduce the Local Talent Wild Cards! Each one of these wonderful, talented, Winnipeg-based actors will be teamed up with a non-actor celebrity in order to help them compete for the ultimate So You Think You Can Act title.

Thought you knew who was set to take this year’s trophy? You might want to think again.

“In it to Win It” Jenna Khan is the only competitor who mentioned working with her scene partner as part of her game-plan. This is likely music to the ears of local talent wild card Lyle Morris (The Dance-Off of Conscious Uncoupling and Launched, Sarasvàti Productions’ FemFest). But if Jenna Khan “channels her inner diva” as promised, this team’s co-operational advantage will quickly become a distant memory. We’ll have to wait and see what happens when Jenna and Lyle bring Michel Tremblay’s Johnny Mangano and His Astonishing Dogs to the stage.

Tracy Koga, a self-described “warrior” is not one to shy away from competition. Is her scene-partner-in-crime Grant Burr (For, Union Station Theatre; The Naked Woman, Sarasvàti Productions) prepared for the “blood, sweat, and tears” Tracy expects him to shed along their path to victory? This team will bring David Freeman’s Jitters to the stage and leave their own jitters at home.

Kerri “Angry Skills” Salki partners up with the mesmerizing Johanna “Beast of” Burdon (Mars One, Winnipeg Fringe 2015; Heartbreak, A Bizarro Cabaret) to bring us Sky Gilbert’s Lola Starr Builds Her Dream Home. These fierce challengers share an affinity for competition. What happens when you mix one lethal compound with another? Explosions, baby.

“Shakespeare like a butterfly–Chekhov like a bee” Al Simmons has been calling out the pretenders left, right, and centre! Will coach Simmons be able to take Ian Bastin (Lion in the Streets, Black Hole Theatre; The Club, FemFest 2015) from actor/pretender to ruthless contender in order to bring this title home? We’ll watch as they perform the fittingly titled Opening Night by Norm Foster.

The pressure’s on for Big Daddy Tazz as he prepares to face-off with Troy Westwood yet again. His right-hand man Kevin Ramberran (Tape, Rope, The 28th Minute; The Pinkertons, Buffalo Gal) better be prepared to go to any length in order to bring this title home. This dynamic duo cuts their chops on Zastrozzi by George F. Walker. And this time, it’s personal.

With stakes just as high, Tazz’s rival Troy Westwood joins forces with Cheryl Gensiorek (Launched, FemFest 2014; Empty, Sarasvàti Productions) to take a crack at the All-Star Edition victory.  They’ll be performing Self-Help by Norm Foster, and they’ll be seeking it if they fall short.

Lookout for these Local Talent Wild Cards spicin’ up the competition!

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Not only does a ticket to So You Think You Can Act 2016 grant you the entertainment of seeing six celebrity non-actors compete for the championship title, it also grants you the chance to admire some serious Winnipeg acting talent. That’s double the entertainment! All for one good cause.

 

 

Brownies, nudity, shoes and toilet paper – another successful FemFest!

We had some great times at the 12th annual FemFest: She’s Got the Power, and we were definitely feeling the power of everyone who made it all possible. Our generous donors, our amazing artists, our wonderful volunteers, and our supportive audiences made this FemFest a truly special one to celebrate the power within us all.

Michaela Di Cesare

Michaela Di Cesare

Tara Travis’s Herewithal: a paranormal comedy kicked off our closing weekend with some gooey brownies, a little too gooey, but just a little opening night hiccup, they were perfect for her other two shows. And next we got to see Michaela Di Cesare’s touching one woman show 8 Ways My Mother was Conceived for the last time before she headed back to Montreal (bearing Winnipeg souvenirs for her angelic husband).

The next night Nan Fewchuk and Grant Burr got to put on their old age make up one last time for The Naked Women’s final show. It was a little bittersweet, however both Nan and Grant are happy to be snuggly back in their clothes with winter approaching.

Grant Testing Out His Make Up

Grant and his Make Up

On Saturday winter was far from our minds as we had a crazy final day! At 1:30pm the last salt & pepper shakers were smashed and the last cookie crumbs were gobbled at the closing of Launched before returning Winnipegger Rubena Sinha wove her beautiful folktales and personal stories together with Phoebe Man’s unique music for their last Winnipeg show.

The Talentless Lumps

The Talentless Lumps

Finally Janis and Jujube showed us a marvelous evening that gave Miley Cyrus a run for her money, and kept us all laughing as they introduced 5 wonderful female artists to the stage for the Closing Cabaret. We all loved seeing Alexandra Elliot’s beautiful dancing, hearing Adi Sara Kreindler’s health care musical numbers, and laughing at Heather Witherden’s jokes. We also got to see some beautiful art and a new comic performance from the Talentless Lumps, although they left masses of toilet paper to be swept up, they sure made us laugh.

All in all it was a great festival and we couldn’t have done it without all of you, so thank you all. And we hope to see each and every one of you back for FemFest 2015: Hear Her Roar! So artists, start preparing your submissions to get in on the next awesome FemFest.

Cast Announced for The Naked Woman!

The Naked Woman, by local playwright, Rebecca Gibson, wasn’t the easiest FemFest production to cast. It takes an extremely dedicated and daring female artist to fit with a character who’s described as an almost naked 84 year-old. We are pleased to announce that we have found the perfect actress to take on this ambitious role and the perfect actor to work alongside her.

Fefu (2)

Nan Fewchuk in Fefu and Her Friends

Nan Fewchuk, who played Paula in our recent production of Fefu and Her Friends, will step into the non-existent pants of The Naked Woman’s lead character, Helen Schumer. And Grant Burr will play Dennis Rosner, Helen’s deceased husband’s trusted lawyer.

fem2013_floodcontrol

Grant Burr in Flood Control

Now that the cast of this wonderfully bizarre, humorous play is known. You will have to come see The Naked Woman at FemFest to learn how we’ve decided to transform Nan into a naked 84 year old.

Read on for a behind the scenes glimpse at our two performers and make sure to visit www.femfest.ca to reserve your tickets for what is sure to be a popular FemFest production!

Nan Headshot 1

Featuring Nan Fewchuk as Helen

Bio:

Nan is terrified to be 84 and as naked as she’ll ever be on stage! Recently, Nan played Paula in Fefu and Her Friends, and she is currently performing in Quo Vadis at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. Last year Nan assistant directed, Jail Baby, and produced and played Rozetta Stone in the Winnipeg Fringe Hit, Dog Act. Select credits include Peter Pan, Beauty and The Beast (Rainbow Stage), The Merry Wives of Windsor (SIR), Magpie, Fen (Sarasvàti), Or,, Eleemosynary and A Phoenix Too Frequent (Winnipeg Fringe). Nan is grateful to be doing what she loves, and thanks her family and friends.

Fun Facts:

1. If you weren’t working in theatre, what would you love to do?
Wow…I can’t think of anything I love more.

2. What is the last book that you read?
Joni: The Creative Odyssey of Joni Mitchell by Katherine Monk

3. What superhero would you be if you could? Or what superpower do you wish you had?
Maya Angelou reincarnated

4. Anything else you’d like to add:
I like my wings “Naked”.

 

Grant Burr

 Featuring Grant Burr as Dennis

Bio:

Grant Burr is excited to again be a part of FemFest, this time in the premiere of The Naked Woman by Rebecca Gibson. The University of Winnipeg honours acting program graduate performed in Flood Control at last year’s festival. Burr is currently appearing at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival in Union Station Theatre’s production of Shadow Spaces. Selected credits include The Cherry Orchard (Theatre by the River and Little Echo Theatre), Celebration (UWTSA), and The Dog It Was That Died (Dimestore Watch Theatre Works). He has appeared previously at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival in Hands On (2006) and Thom Pain (2013).

Fun Facts:

1. If you weren’t working in theatre, what would you love to do?
I would love to travel the world.

2. What is the last book that you read?
I just read Dr Suess at bedtime tonight!

3. What superhero would you be if you could?
Or what superpower do you wish you. I always love flying in my dreams. Give me some wings!

SYTYCA Presents: The Actors!

SYTYCA 2014 promo banner cropped

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.

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!

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