The Battle Between Her Head and Her Heart

Take a look into the mind of a woman. See the intricate and endless sea of thoughts, the swirls of brilliant ideas, the storms of emotion and the boundless inner strength.

mouthpiece2With their play Mouthpiece, creators/performers Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava (Quote Unquote Collective) perfectly encapsulate the beautiful whirlwind that lives inside our heads.

Presenting Mouthpiece at FemFest 2016: Transformation, Amy and Norah take us through their inspiration and the importance of seeing the show.

What were your inspirations for the play?
When we started creating Mouthpiece, we had set out looking for an authentic representation of what it was like to be a woman, right now, today. And, when we couldn’t find one, we decided to make this play. Mouthpiece tries to capture what it’s like inside our heads. The myriad of emotions, the epic canon of things we’ve never said, of things we’ve never done, or things we have done and now look back on and ask – why did I do that? Why did I say that? The inner struggle, the beautiful rage, the ugly truth, the propagation of bullshit, the strength, the cognitive dissonance…Mouthpiece is a deep investigation into our own selves. What is left after we strip away the influences and the lies, the privilege and the pressure?

In the show we play two sides (and by two sides I mean a fraction of the innumerable sides) of one woman’s head. We felt it was necessary to use two performers because, well, one wasn’t enough. There’s too much going on in there. Describing what it’s like to be a woman needs more than one woman as it turns out. Much of the play is sung a cappella because as we also discovered, words are sometimes not enough. Song and melody allow us to harness the muzzled voices of women who came before us. We sing, wail, chant, hum, and scream along with them.

This play leaves us naked, vulnerable, and exposed and it can be terrifying. We are very excited to bring it to Winnipeg.

Why are you excited to be in FemFest this year and why do you think Winnipeg audiences should see the production?
We have been touring with Mouthpiece for almost a year now, and in every tour stop the response is a little different.

Audiences react and respond in diverse ways to different parts of the show depending on their own experience, background or mood at the time. It is a densely layered play, so people pick up different themes or narrative threads. Many audience members return for a second or third viewing and seem to make new discoveries every time.

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Photo Credit: Joel Clifton

We love arriving in a new town and knowing that there is absolutely no guarantee about what kind of response we will get. Raucous laughter, sobbing, or silent attention, we have had it all. Additionally, neither of us have ever visited Winnipeg before so we really have no idea what to expect. Walking into that unknown is equally terrifying and exciting for us.

In the context of FemFest, it is thrilling to know that we will be surrounded by a population of other powerful female artists. This is a rare and special thing, an all-female festival with a mandate to promote social change.  It is a dream to be in the company of a group of people who are all on board to create the kind of change that we aim to work towards every day.

We hope, however, that we won’t just be preaching to the choir, but that those people will invite their friends and family who may not already be a part of the converted. It is important to us that the ideas of gender equality and women’s rights don’t remain siloed inside of a specific community, but can expand to the minds of those people who may not think about it on a regular basis.

We look forward to meeting you all at FemFest!

Catch Mouthpiece at FemFest 2016: Transformation at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film from September 17 to 24. For tickets and information, visit femfest.ca

Poetry, Clowns and Dance, oh my!

Fem-Fest-Logo-4c-Pink_2016From the kooky and embarrassing teen years to the life-altering challenges that force us to grow up, this year’s FemFest is guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and hug your mom!

Highlighting the changes we make within ourselves and the much-needed changes in society, FemFest 2016: Transformation takes inspiring stories of hope, healing and ultimate transformation to centre stage.  Featuring the works of both emerging and award-winning female playwrights from all over the country, we have everything from the real-life struggles of a transgender poet, the hilarious ups and downs of puberty, through to a young girl’s fight for freedom from society’s hold.

We are very excited to give you a sneak peek and announce the FemFest 2016 lineup featuring plays and readings that celebrate the leaps and bounds women make. Check out the brand new FemFest 2016 website to get the full scoop and snag your tickets.

Touring Shows

Miss Understood – Written by Antonette Rea. Produced by the frank theatre company (Vancouver, BC). Jessie Award Nominee for “Outstanding Original Script,” Miss Understood is a moving theatrical poem based on the life of writer and spoken word poet, Antonette Rea. Rea has lived through horrific abuse as a transgender person and rises above this personal pain to piece together an emotional and eye-opening play filled with beautiful poetry and raw, unfiltered truth. Hear excerpts from Miss Understood and get to know Antonette Rea before FemFest with PuSh Festival’s latest TELUS Optik Local Documentary, Antonette. The documentary is a behind the scenes look at the writer and the experiences that inspired Miss Understood. Be sure to grab some tissues.

Morro and Jasp do Puberty – Produced by U.N.I.T Productions (Toronto, ON).”Perfectly hilarious, perfectly poignant, perfectly gross, and perfectly adorable Morro and Jasp Do Puberty is the MUST SEE Show” – TWISI Blog

“A charming, hilarious and superb piece of theatre…positively captivating” – VUE Weekly

Now don’t you want to feel the way these reviewers (and so many others) felt after seeing Morro and Jasp do Puberty?  Then catch clown sisters Morro and Jasp as they hilariously deal with the most awkward years of their lives. –  when the hormones are always flaring, the telephone keeps ringing, and the punk rock can never be too loud. Morro and Jasp Do Puberty takes you on a comedic trip through the trials and tribulations of growing up.

mouthpieceMouthpiece – Produced by Quote Unquote Collective (Toronto, ON). “My mother always told me, you could cure almost anything with a hot bath,” and so starts the journey. In the wake of her mother’s death, Mouthpiece follows one woman, for one day, as she tries to find her voice. Interweaving a cappella harmonies, dissonance, text and physicality, performers Norah Sadava  and Amy Nostbakken express the inner conflict that exists within a modern woman’s head: the push and the pull, the past and the present, the progress and the regression.

In-House Production: The Seduction Theory “They jumped the gates of the fortress . . . Once inside, they smashed every mirror so the girls could all be set free…” We are also very proud to present the world premiere of The Seduction Theory by Vancouver playwright, Sherry MacDonald. Winner of the FemFest 2015 Bake-Off and the 2016 Special Merit Award from the Theatre BC Playwriting competition, The Seduction Theory delves into society’s criminalization and sexual exploitation of young underprivileged girls.

Bake-OffCoordinated and directed by Cairn Moore in partnership with the Manitoba Association of Playwrights.  A festival favourite! We challenge selected playwrights with a list of ingredients and eight hours to cook up their own fantastic theatrical feasts! The results are a whole lot of laughs and entertaining surprises.

Short-List – Programmed and directed by Frances Koncan. Get a taste of the wonderful work of women playwrights from all over the country with excerpts from the FemFest shortlist.

Cabaret – Join us for our opening cabaret. Comedian Lara Rae will host the evening’s festivities, including music by Ali Fontaine and improv & theatre fusion act 50/50 with Robyn Slade. The opening cabaret features a wide array of fantastic female artists in music, theatre, film and dance!

Catch FemFest 2016: Transformation at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (at the University of Winnipeg, 400 Colony Street) from September 17-24. Tickets for single shows or the cabaret are $15, but see the entire festival with a festival pass for $50.

For more information and tickets visit www.femfest.ca