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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Breaking Through has everyone talking!

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Molly (Dorothy Carroll) and Kennedy (Marsha Knight) are turned away from an emergency shelter.

Breaking Through opened on Tuesday and has had everyone talking since.

“Saw Breaking Through yesterday, and recommend it, it is honest but done with humour too. Still shows this week. I love all the characters, especially KoKo.” – Mary Scott

“I identify with some of the characters as I have gone through mental struggles of my own… I think what it certainly got across very well was that each character was a sort of individual element, not of their own choosing, but they’re trying to find some means of attaining normalcy. This is what I’ve gone through—the struggle to find normalcy when you have a condition that leaves you feeling anything but.”  – Patrick Lowe, Winnipeg Filmmaker

JoshRanville_MarshaKnight photo by Janet Shum (1024x683)

KoKo (Josh Ranville) is visited by her spirit guide (Marsha Knight)

“Brilliantly done and very well-researched. The actors really took on the roles. Everybody’s characters just stay with you.” – Angela, audience member

Check out a feature in The Times on actor Harry Nelken who plays Joe, a 72 year old character who has been living with schizophrenia since he was 19. Read the Winnipeg Free Press preview by Randall King and the blog review by Winnipeg theatre artist Lorraine James. Breaking Through has also been featured in the Winnipeg Free Press Arts & Culture, CBC News, The Herald, The Lance, The Pilipino Express, Global News Morning and more!

Come and see for yourself. There are four performances left! To see a performance schedule and book you tickets click here.

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“Plays like this are good messages. They’re valuable, in a sense. What I also like about the play is it was meant to be entertaining throughout. It wasn’t really a ‘downer’. It was trying to be an ‘upper’” – Patrick Lowe, Winnipeg filmmaker

Photos by Janet Shum.

 

 

Thank You for Another Super IWW!

Twelve performances, three cities and nine SuperWomen! Our 11th International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues was a success – lots of people came out to celebrate and hear the incredible stories of nine amazing women written by talented Canadian playwrights. Thank you to all of our wonderful audiences for joining us to hear the stories of perseverance, self-discovery and empowerment!

Kim Kakegamic, Lorraine James, Jenna Hill, Samantha Walters & Mallory James at the UM Womyn's Centre

Kim Kakegamic, Lorraine James, Jenna Hill, Samantha Walters & Mallory James at the UM Womyn’s Centre

Kicking off the week we performed to a great crowd at the Provincial Council of Women of Manitoba High Tea fundraiser! We were happy to be able to support this amazing organization that does so much to empower women throughout Manitoba. We were happy to also perform at another organization that does a lot to empower women, the University of Manitoba’s Womyn’s Centre. We performed there not only once, but twice last week! During the two performances all nine monologues were performed for members and supporters of the Womyn’s Centre, which does so much to make the campus a safe place for all women.

Kim at Siloam

Kim Kakegamic at Siloam Mission

In addition we were hosted by Portage Place Shopping Centre and Siloam Mission to bring theatre to people who otherwise would not be able to see it. Many people from all walks of life stopped to watch Zelda Fitzgerald vent her frustrations and Glory Girl work her way out of her bounds. John Fubbister (aka Isobel Gunn) also told the youth drop in program at the Rainbow Resource Centre about her story of joining the HBC as a man in the early 1800s. Actor Mallory James and writer Sandy Klowak also held a talkback afterwards.

One of the most powerful presentations was Jenna Hill performing Mutated for the Young Adults Support Group at Cancer Care Manitoba. The piece launched the group in to an important discussion and many shared their personal experiences. It was a moving experience for the actor and our Assistant Director, Rachel Smith.

Some of our Cabaret cast with Nova House staff & cake in Selkirk!

Some of our Cabaret cast with Nova House staff & cake in Selkirk!

We also took a trip out to Selkirk to celebrate International Women’s Week with Nova House Shelter for Women and Children where the team was again treated to the most amazing deserts! For our final performance we traveled out to Winkler on International Women’s Day to join Genesis House Shelter’s celebration. This was the perfect end to our Cabaret of Monologues. Both organizations help abused women and children through a variety of programs and services and we were happy to bring these great monologues to them.

The Cabaret of Monologues wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg and Manitoba Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection. We’d also like to thank all of our playwrights, actors, volunteers and of course audiences! And now, here in the office our attention is turning to the world premiere of Catherine Banks’ Miss N Me – tickets are on sale already because we’re just that excited! Hope to see you there!

Come Celebrate International Women’s Week with Us!

Are we there yet? What more do you believe needs to change in order to achieve gender equality? It’s that time of year when the world can celebrate how far we’ve come and reflect on how far we all have to go to achieving gender equality. International Women’s Day has been celebrated by the UN every year on March 8 since 1977 and has since been expanded to include activities throughout the week. This year there has been some great steps forward in the fight for equality for all women everywhere such as the UN Women’s Solidarity Movement HeForShe, the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict (the largest summit of its kind), and Malala becoming the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her amazing work advocating for girls’ education.

With these achievements and others we certainly feel like celebrating, so come celebrate with us at our full performances of our annual Cabaret of Monologues on March 7th! Hear from nine ordinary and extraordinary SuperWomen in a line-up of thought provoking and funny monologues written by talented Canadian playwrights and performed by local actors.

These amazing SuperWomen have already been empowering people with our community performances of select monologues. We’ve performed at Siloam Mission, Portage Place Shopping Centre, Rainbow Resource Centre, U of M Womyn’s Centre, Cancer Care and that’s not all, we have three more to go! The monologues have been a hit everywhere we’ve been, from the historical figure Isobel Gunn talking about her time working for the HBC in Rupert’s Land to Bea having to make a difficult decision about her mutated cells to Glory Girl having to escape from her nemesis.

To purchase tickets to see these awesome SuperWomen and others on March 7th at 4pm or 8pm in the UW Asper Centre for Theatre and Film, click here!

And if you want to do something on March 8th consider going to Winnipeg’s International Women’s Day march! It is open to all genders and ages and will offer light refreshments and inspiring speakers. The rally is meeting at 1pm at Portage Place and is walking to Union Centre at 1:30pm. For more information check out the Facebook event.

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S WEEK!

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Are You Ready for the Power of SYTYCA 2015?

The stars, the judges, the wine, the raffles, the nerves! It’s all coming together. So You Think You Can Act 2015 is less than a week away (6 days and 7 hours to be exact, but who’s counting…). Most of the celebrities have all had their two hour rehearsals with director Cairn Moore and have met their scenes partners. All that’s left for them to do is bite their nails and practice at home.

It can be very frightening to step out onstage with little acting experience, which is why Kelly Linehan got smart and asked for some advice! But she didn’t want advice from her co-worker, last year’s CTV participant Kris Laudien – she wanted advice from the winners.

SYTYCA 2014 winners Troy Westwood & Big Daddy Tazz

SYTYCA 2014 winners Troy Westwood & Big Daddy Tazz

Big Daddy Tazz, who knows a lot about hair, suggested that the key to success was getting “your hair done professionally.” Meanwhile Ace Burpee offered reassurance. SYTYCA actor Lorraine James looped in with the best advice yet, passion is key and go big or go home! Troy Westwood also piped in to support fellow Bomber Chris Cvetkovic and told him to “just let go brother! No inhibition!”

While the celebs have been getting support from SYTYCA alumni, here at the office we’ve been desperately searching for a Superman costume and wrapping raffle prizes. Lots of raffle prizes. Twelve raffle prizes. Here are a select few of them:

“The Power Play” Package: 2 tickets to Royal MTC’s The Woman in Black, Royal MTC’s 50th Anniversary Book, Winnipeg On Board Game, Leo Mol Card Set

“Training Day” Package: Goodlife Fitness for Women Gift Set, 10 Class passes from Moksha Yoga, Nails by Donna gift certificate, fused glass earrings & necklace set from Diane Longfield, Turquoise Handbag, Leo Mol Print

Raffle Prizes“Attitude is Everything” Package: 2 tickets to WJT’s Bad Jews, Winnipeg Squash Club apparel, 4 “All U Can Bowl” passes from Academy Lanes, $10 gift certificate to Shawarma Khan, 1 Gold Car Wash from The Chamois Car Wash

“Beginner’s Luck” Package: Free month of “Acting Essentials” classes from Actors Training Centre of Manitoba, 2 tickets to any show at Celebrations Dinner Theatre, Movie Village coupon book

And that’s only four of them! To see all of them make sure you come out to the Gas Station Arts Centre on February 18th! Plus a reception follows the show with wine from AD Beverages, Bothwell Cheese and Jonnies Sticky Buns. Buy your tickets now to avoid disappointment by clicking here or phoning 204-586-2236.

Raffle licence (#MGCC5542)

A big thank you to all donors: Academy Lanes, The Actors’ Training Centre, anARCHI Design, Assiniboine Park, Celebrations Dinner Theatre, The Chamois Carwash, C’est ta Vie Jewelry (formerly Leather and Lace), The Children’s Museum, Coteau Books, Cover to Cover, Andrea Geary, Girl Candy Shop, Goodlife Fitness for Women, Val Goodridge, Hollie’s Cakes, Corey Lakusiak, Landmark Theatres, Bill Lobchuk, Diane Longfield, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Manitoba Opera, Patrick McCauley, Moksha Yoga, Movie Village, Nails by Donna, Oak Hammock March, Radiance Gifts, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Shawarma Khan, Scirocco Drama, Al Simmons, Tali Sitschkar, The WAG, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Winnipeg Jazz Festival, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, and The Winnipeg Squash Racquet Club.

9 Super Monologues, 9 Amazing Actors!

With winter settling in March feels a long way away, but that doesn’t mean we’re not busy working on our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues! A few weeks ago we announced the monologue line up, now we get to tell you who will be bringing these awesome monologues to life!

Elena Anciro has performed in our annual Cabaret of Monologues twice before and performed in our spring production Fefu and her Friends. We’re happy to have her back performing At the Gate by Sandra Drag about a remarkable woman’s tale of wrestling a family away from a horrific car accident.

Christine Rodriguez’s The Autism Monologue will be brought to life by Cabaret of Monologues newcomer Shanley Jardine. You may remember Shanley from the short piece The Exchange in FemFest 2013. The monologue is a heart-wrenching story of a mother attempting to make sense of her autistic son’s life. It’s a beautiful piece and we know that Shanley will do it justice.

Another newcomer, Kim Kakegamic, will be performing our FemFest 2014 Bake-Off winner’s energetic monologue Zelda with a Z. Frances Koncan lets us hear Zelda’s side of the story as she talks to us about her life with writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s a fun piece that Kim can really go crazy with!

Samantha Walters, Sarasvàti’s past Associate Producer and Emerging Artist in Residence, is back for her third Cabaret of Monologues in a row. You’ve seen her as Super Girl and now as Glory Girl, a comic book character come to life. Glory Bound by Scott Douglas sees Glory Girl attempt to escape her captors, although she discovers that she may not be bound against her will. We’re thrilled to have Sam back to the stage and can’t wait to see what she does with the role!

For Step Taylor’s Loretta we’ll be welcoming Lorraine James back to the Cabaret stage. Lorraine has done the Cabaret multiple times, including our trip to The Pas in 2008. She will play Loretta who has lied to her drug addicted son about losing her job so that he can focus on passing his exams, but what will happen when he finds out? Come and see for yourself on March 7th!

While Elizabeth Whitbread is new to the Cabaret of Monologues she just recently participated in our FemFest 2014 Short List reading. Jennica Grienke’s An Inheritance is a challenging piece that will see Elizabeth play a character in three different stages of her life. While challenging, it will be fascinating to see what Elizabeth brings to it.

Another FemFest 2014 actor, Mallory James, participates in her first Cabaret of Monologues as John Fubbister (aka Isobel Gunn) in Sandy Klowak’s riveting monologue. Mallory will play a remarkable woman who wouldn’t let anything stop her from adventuring into the wilds of Rupert’s Land. We can’t wait to see this strong historical figure come to life!

Cabaret of Monologues newcomer Jenna Hill will play Bea in Mutated by Carly Pokoradi. Bea is an adventurous young woman whose plans are put on hold when she’s faced with a life-altering situation. This is a very interesting piece and Jenna will bring a lot of depth and humour to it. Last year Jenna was seen in the world premiere of Trish Cooper’s play Social Studies at PTE.

Finally, Jane Burpee is back at the Cabaret after an amazing performance at this year’s Bake-Off. Jane has participated in multiple productions with us over the years, from So You Think You Can Act, to FemFest, to the Cabaret of Monologues, including a performance in the Portage Correctional Centre for Women in 2008. This year Jane will be playing the coolest nun in the convent who reveals her thoughts on life and God while at a nun retreat in Dave Carley’s Urban Nun.

There you have it, the monologues have been selected, the cast has been chosen and believe it or not the first IWW rehearsals start this week! We couldn’t be any more excited to see what these 9 talented actors bring to the stage as they lift these brilliantly written Super Women off of the page. You’ll get a chance to see the final product March 7th at 8pm, so mark your calendar and visit our website for more information by clicking here!

 

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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.

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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!