FemFest 2012 to wrap up this weekend!

We could not be more thrilled with the incredible amount of support and encouragement we have received this week as part of FemFest 2012! There are only two days left of the festival but there are still tons of incredible performances to see!

Friday, September 21:

7pm – Empty: Created with the assistance of the Winnipeg Arts Council WithArts Program, Empty tells the true and poignant stories of people at a local food bank and explores the human side of poverty.

8:15pm – The Possible Lives of Dolores Garcia Rodriguez: a reading by playwright Jordan Hall, Co-created with ACTvist Theatre Collective’s Zoe Green, Possible Lives explores the 2006 repeal of therapeutic abortion rights in Nicaragua and their effects on the lives of three different women. When do we decide to create change, and when do we decide to ignore the issues?

9pm – My Pregnant Brother: a one-woman show by Montreal playwright and actor Johanna Nutter, this stranger than fiction story is based off of the true events that took place when one day on a park bench, Johanna’s brother revealed that he was pregnant! Absolutely heart wrenching and mesmerizing!

My Pregnant Brother; photo by Pam Price

Saturday, September 22:

2pm – Empty

7pm – Immigration Stories: SOLD OUT!: Created in partnership with the Immigrant Women’s Association of Manitoba, Immigration Stories tells the true stories of senior immigrant women and their experiences coming to and navigating through their new lives in Winnipeg. Experience the trials, tribulations and triumphs of these amazing, head strong women. Although tickets are sold out audiences are welcome to take a risk and come just before the show in case there are no-shows.

9pm – Closing Cabaret: Hosted by Virgin Radio’s Chrissy Troy, the closing cabaret is a celebrating of female talent from across disciplines! Including: Gear Shifting Performance Work, MAWA artists Cindy Dyson and Nora Kobrinsky, slam poetry by Ali Tataryn, Prairie Caravan Tribal Bellydance, a short film by Leslie Supnet and musical guest Flo!

Tickets can be purchased online at www.femfest.ca or you can try your luck by purchasing at the door! (We recommend buying ahead of time – shows are filling up quickly! Tickets bought ahead of time will be available at the box office)

And Now a Word from Johanna Nutter…

This piece was originally written for the Charlebois Post – a Montreal based English-language theatre blog. Johanna Nutter will be performing her smash hit, My Pregnant Brother, at FemFest 2012: Staging Identity in September. For more information on showtimes and tickets, check out www.femfest.ca

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I think there’s a point where fear gets so intense that it sort of blows itself up. Once this happens, all that’s left to do is step boldly from one moment to the next. I’m there right now. I just checked the bag containing my little white rocking chair and am now tangoing my way to British Columbia for the west coast première of My Pregnant Brother. For those of you who haven’t seen the show, it’s a solo piece in which I relive the experiences surrounding the birth of my niece. My brother (née my sister, transgender for over a decade, still in possession of reproductive parts) got pregnant and needed me at a time when I was trying to change my own identity by shrugging off the overblown sense of responsibility my childhood had helped to contrive. Of course, hilarity ensues…The show’s doing well. It’s won some awards, toured a bit.

In November, the French incarnation (translated by yours truly) will open at La Licorne, granting a longtime wish of mine to act en français. But the most beautifullest part of that is that they have asked me to also present the show in its original English language on Friday nights. This will be a fledgling attempt to bridge the two theatrical solitudes and I want to help it fly. Hence this blog: for the next week or so, I will be posting regular updates on the whole West Coast Experience.

What makes this experience blog-worthy is the fact that the two main characters in the play (outside of yours truly); my mother and brother, will be introduced to it for the first time. Up to now, all they have had to go on are the reviews, which have often resorted to over-simplifications, no doubt in the interest of keeping the word count within a prescribed ballpark. Calling my mother a “spaced-out hippie” gives the reader an easy image, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to describing the kaleidoscope of states she is capable of. But that’s what us writers have to do sometimes; generalize to save time and space—the great thing about blogging is; we can go on and on and if you run out of time, you can just stop reading.

But yes, it’s been just over two years since I first stood in front of an audience and said, “My name is Johanna and I’m going to tell you my story” and Mum and James have been very patient. They’ve managed to keep their fears on the back porch and have been cautiously supportive of every run. But, well, we’re a sensitive bunch of Nutters and it’s safe to say that my family has always been dependably unpredictable. And it’s not only their reactions that have propelled me to this place beyond fear; I wonder also how I am going to be able to become my mother and brother when they are sitting right there in the audience? Actually, that’s kind of a fascinating question…Perhaps, what lies beyond fear is curiosity. Stay tuned…
Check out the continuing saga of Johanna’s journey to B.C. on the Charlebois Post.

Q&A with Johanna Nutter

Today marks the beginning of a series of exclusive interviews with actors, directors and artists from Sarasvàti Productions’ FemFest 2012: Staging Identity. It will be an exciting opportunity for our audience to get to know the stories and voices behind the festival shows. For more information about this year’s line up of FemFest programming, check out www.femfest.ca. We look forward to sharing information from more of our artists and to your responses!

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Hailing from Montreal, Quebec, Johanna Nutter is the writer and star of her one-woman hit, My Pregnant Brother. The true story of Johanna’s life growing up in Montreal with a hippie mom and her younger sister (who was to become her brother). Although the facts of the story are stranger than fiction, ultimately, this is a universal tale of love and survival, told with mesmerizing honesty and humour. The show will be performed at FemFest in both English and French!

What is one thing every actor needs to know? FLOSS.

What does every great story have to have? A change of heart.

 What is your favourite word? Wonderful.

 If I could grant you a single wish, what would it be? Introduce me to the love of my life.

Complete the sentence:

If I wasn’t typing this email interview right now, I would be… Walking up the mountain.

The most surprising thing that happened to me was… My Pregnant Brother.

A common misperception of me is… That I am politically correct. That I am political. That I am correct.

You know me as an actor but in truer life I’d have been… I’ve been a farmer, a factory worker, a waitress, a dj, a horse-drawn carriage driver, a clown, a new york city tour guide, a grade one teacher, a producer of radio shows in Africa, a bartender, a costume designer, an award-winning pie-maker, a poet, a translator, an actor, and now a writer-performer. These are all part of my true life.