Wishing You an Inspiring Holiday Season!

It’s been an exciting year for Sarasvàti Productions, made all the better by our incredible board members, volunteers, artistic teams and of course our great audiences! We cannot thank you enough for your ongoing assistance and encouragement. Over the holidays we want to give thanks for all of our supporters and celebrate a wonderful year!

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The year began with our first ever tie between two celebrities for So You Think You Can Act when Troy Westwood and Big Daddy Tazz wowed the audience with their acting skills. Who knows what this year has in store with our diverse range of celebrity guests! Will the Taz name carry good luck and bring the trophy to Taz Stuart? Will dance beat out music as RWB’s André Lewis competes against musician Romi Mayes? Or will it be a second year for a former Bomber to adorn their mantelpiece with Chris Cvetkovic? Tickets are now on sale and make great gifts for loved ones!

Group Selfie of 2014 IWW Cabaret of Monologues Actors

Group Selfie of 2014 IWW Cabaret of Monologues Actors

Last March 10 talented actors took the stage in our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues. The theme was Rise Up, which meant the stories focused on young women. This year the theme is SuperWomen and will feature stories of women who have done incredible things! There will be a rebellious nun, a pioneering woman and an actual superhero, don’t miss it on March 7th!

Fefu Ensemble

Fefu Ensemble

We have been so pleased with the success of our annual spring production. Last year Fefu and Her Friends sold out many performances at the historic Ralph Connor House. It was a long awaited for production and the marvelous 8 women cast did an amazing job of it. This year we’re changing it up and will be bringing a completely new play to the stage in the premiere of Catherine Banks’ Miss’N Me. We can’t wait! Don’t miss Dawna’s road trip to meet Missy Elliot and all the strange characters she meets along the way.

Janis and Jujube lead the closing cabaret in song.

Janis and Jujube lead the closing cabaret in song.

Of course we rolled right in to a summer of planning FemFest 2014. Full of unforgettable moments capped by the audience sing along at the closing cabaret. Believe it or not planning has already begun for FemFest 2015: Hear Her Roar!

GV Group Shot

Giving Voice Team

We are ready for a holiday rest, after finishing off our fall with the results of our two year long collaborative production Giving Voice. We performed for over 4,400 people at 33 high schools and communities. This project was created in partnership with VOICES: Manitoba’s Youth in Care Network to help give youth in and from care a voice. Many students had their eyes opened and youth in care were empowered. It was amazing to see that show completed after years of hard work.

It has truly been a transformative year for us as we continue to challenge artists, audiences and society while promoting and reflecting diversity. Thank you all for helping to make this such a great year, and from all of us at Sarasvàti, we wish you and yours the happiest of holidays!

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The Wait for Fefu Is Over!

It’s finally here: the Winnipeg premiere of Fefu and Her Friends by Maria Irene Fornes. We’re so happy to be able to bring you this exciting story that has been a theatrical dream of Sarasvàti Productions for years. And the excitement isn’t contained within the massive walls of Ralph Connor House, the play’s venue. We’ve received wonderful coverage from Winnipeg media over the past week.

Check out the previews:

CTV Morning Live

The Uniter – Thank You For Being a Friend

Winnipeg Free Press – Ladies of the House

If that isn’t enough to peak your interest, here are the Top 10 reasons why you shouldn’t miss Fefu:

  1. A story set in 1935, written in in 1977, and performed by Sarasvàti Productions in 2014: When else will you get to enjoy three eras for the price of one?
  2. For those of you interested in a Winnipeg history lesson every now and then, you can get your double dose of culture and story with Fefu and Her Friends, as the venue of the play is a Manitoba Heritage Building.
  3. Fefu and Her Friends is performed by 8 of Winnipeg’s most talented female performers, it’s directed by one of Winnipeg’s most talented directors and it was written by a world famous female playwright. What better way to experience so much female talent in 1 (okay, 4) rooms.
  4. You know when you’re watching a play and despite the fact that it’s very entertaining you feel a little restless from sitting in the same place for too long. Audience members will actually get to move around the venue, 54 West Gate, with the play.
  5. And to push the sensory experiences even further, audience members will be entertained by water and ice cube fights contained within the story of the play.
  6. For those of you who like to sneak a musical or two into your theatre schedule every year, Fefu and Her Friends doesn’t hold back from belting out a note here and there.
  7. We all secretly enjoy the sighting of a vegetable or a fruit that looks alarmingly like certain parts of the human anatomy—Fefu and Her Friends also don’t shy away from indulging in humour of all shapes and sizes.
  8. To add to the intimate nature of the play’s story, every showing of Fefu and Her Friends includes only 60 audience members.
  9. The first couple of shows are already sold out, don’t be left out of seeing this unique production.
  10. As Emma says in the play “Life is theatre. Theatre is life. If we’re showing what life is, can be, we must do theatre.”
Fefu Ensemble

Fefu Ensemble

Get your tickets before it’s too late!

Fefu and Her Friends: Final Two Talents!

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Have you got your tickets to the Winnipeg premiere of Fefu and Her Friends yet? Better hurry! This compelling story will come to life in just over one month and tickets are selling fast. Written in 1977 by Cuban American playwright Maria Irene Fornes, Fefu and Her Friends is recognized as a feminist piece for its use of an all-female cast, central ideas of gender roles, its bold deviation from conventional theatre and for its unique staging. It is a theatrical experience for women and men alike! On today’s blog, we are pleased to feature the final two members of our all-female cast. Tracey Nepinak will play the role of Emma and stage veteran Megan McArton will lead the cast as the one-and-only Fefu! Look familiar? You may recognize both these woman from the world premiere of Jail Baby last spring! Sarasvàti Productions is incredibly pleased to have them on board once again. Keep reading to find out more.

Tracey Nepinak - HeadshotTracey Nepinak has appeared in: Good People, The History of Manitoba from the Beginning of Time to the Present in 45 Minutes (RMTC); Jail Baby (Sarasvàti); Ernestine Shuswap Gets her Trout (Firehall Arts); The Moving Gallery: Beyond Reconciliation (Urban Indigenous Theatre); Romeo & Juliet, Silverwing, The Happy Prince (MTYP); The Rez Sisters, Great Expectations, fareWel (PTE); The Sleeping Land (Globe); Cruel & Unusual Punishment (Theatre Projects); The Crisis in Oka,Manitoba (As the Bannock Burns).

 

Megan McArton - Headshot

Megan McArton is delighted to be working on another Sarasvàti production. Her experience last year in Jail Baby was enjoyable and enriching. She has just finished performing in Harvest at PTE and is looking forward to summer.

These two local actors are keeping busy! Tracey can currently be seen in RMTC’s Good People and Megan closes PTE’s Harvest this weekend. Dying to know more? Keep reading to get the inside scoop and find out what these stars would take  with them if they were stranded on a desert island.

 

Where would you love to travel?

TRACEY: Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley.
MEGAN: Australia and New Zealand.

What would you do if you won a million dollars?

TRACEY: Get off the grid.
MEGAN: Share with others.

If you were on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be?

TRACEY: Cigarettes, matches, chocolate covered almonds.
MEGAN: 2 friends and a box of books.

Fefu and Her Friends will run from May 22nd-June 1st inside the beautiful Ralph Connor House (54 West Gate). With only 60 seats per performance, there is no better time to book your tickets then right now. Our print-at-home ticket option makes the process incredibly simple! Did we mention you can also choose to have them mailed straight to your door? And don’t forget Mother’s Day is just around the corner on May 11th! Give the gift of live theatre to that special woman in your life. In fact, take her out for a night on the town! Grab a bite to eat, stroll down the beautiful streets of West Broadway, admire the old character homes and then catch Fefu and Her Friends! We guarantee it’ll be her most memorable gift yet.

 “I had never seen intelligence and intuition, history and character, environmental and realistic theater, narrative and experimental techniques combined in such an extraordinary way.” -Oskar Eustes

 

Fefu and Her Friends: Female Talent Galore!

Fefu FB cover pic

Murder, tea, and nightmare interrogations in a big old heritage house?!? We bet we’ve got your attention now. Sarasvàti Productions is thrilled to bring Winnipeg audiences the incredible Fefu and Her Friends by Maria Irene Fornes next month. Set in the spring of 1935, the play takes place inside a country house and takes the audience through an entire day, beginning in the morning as Fefu’s guests arrive to plan a charity event and climaxing in a murder scene in the evening. On today’s blog we are pleased to continue to introduce our incredible cast of 8 local female theatre artists! This week, meet Brenda McLean and Tracy Penner, two fabulous Winnipeg Women who are no strangers to the stage. Watch out for Brenda who will play the role of Christina and Tracy who will take on the part of Cindy in this much anticipated Winnipeg premiere. Keep reading to find out more about these local stars and this unique production.

Brenda McLean_HeadshotBrenda McLean is excited about working on this play in the beautiful and inspiring historical setting of the Ralph Connor house. Her previous collaboration with Sarasvàti was directing “Harold and Vivian” in their last FemFest, where she had many many laughs. This spring she is directing “The Weir” for PTE’s Adult Company and Costume Designing “The Comedy of Errors” for SIR. Brenda is also Co-Artistic Director of Theatre Incarnate, who will be doing a reading during Carol Shields this May.

Tracy Penner_colourTracy Penner is delighted to be working with Sarasvàti again! Other local companies she’s worked with include RMTC, TPM, zone 41, Root Sky Productions, SIR, and WJT. In Edmonton, select theatre companies include Catalyst Theatre, Shadow Theatre, Concrete Theatre, and Vault: Theatre of Invention. Tracy is a graduate of the University of Alberta.

Get to know these stars better with our hilarious up close and personal questions. Any guesses as to which famous Shakespearean character these stars both want to play someday? Keep reading to find out!

 

Where would you love to travel?

BRENDA: London, Ireland, Spain. I’d start in London and travel south.

TRACY: There are many places I’d love to see, but my top picks would have to be Greece and The Maritimes.

If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?

BRENDA: Maybe something from Adele or Bruno Mars.

TRACY: ‘Blue Skies’ would be my pick but if that were too old school, maybe John Legend’s new song ‘All of Me’.

What role would you love to play one day?

BRENDA: Lady Macbeth

TRACY: I would love to play Shakespeare’s ‘Lady M’ one day!

Fefu and Her Friends is a site-specific theatrical experience that is sure to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The piece will be presented inside West Broadway’s Ralph Connor House (54 West Gate). We are incredibly excited to use this heritage house venue as it fulfills our mandate of using new or non-traditional forms of theatrical representation to tell stories. Fefu and her Friends will have audiences travel to different spaces throughout the house while watching its compelling story unfold. Don’t miss out on this event! Due to our unique venue, there are only 60 seats per performance. Act now and get your tickets before it’s too late.

Fefu and Her Friends: More Amazing Talent!

Fefu FB cover picAs the days grow longer, the countdown to opening night gets shorter! We are extremely excited here at Sarasvàti Productions for our upcoming spring production of Fefu and Her Friends. Known for its unique absurdist and surreal elements and its powerful use of space, we are positive this show will impress audiences and leave them wanting more. As a continuation of last week’s post, today we are pleased to feature two additional members of our talented all-female cast! Meet Elena Anciro who will play the role of Sue and Kelci Stephenson who will take on the role of Julia. Find out more about these two homegrown talents below.

Elena Anciro - HeadshotElena Anciro is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Film. She is excited and honoured to bring Fefu and Her Friends to life with this fantastic group of women! Her previous Sarasvati credits include: A Kick in the Head (as director), Generation Nexxt, the International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues, Empty, and Flood Control.  Her recent onscreen projects include “Foot of the Bridge” (40below Films), “Siberia” (NBC), and “Schism” (ZenFri). When she isn’t performing, Elena has the pleasure of working with youth across Manitoba as the Curriculum Developer for Career Trek, Inc.

Kelci Stephenson - HeadshotKelci Stephenson is happy to be home in Winnipeg again after a long winter traipsing around the prairies on tour. A graduate of the University of Winnipeg Honours Theatre program, she spent the past six months on the road with Stripped-Down Hamlet (Shakespeare In the Ruins), and Portage & Munsch: 50 Below (Prairie Theatre Exchange).

We got up close and personal with our stars so you could get to know them better! Take a look at what they shared with us.

What is your favourite play?
ELENA: That’s a tough one, but the most recent play I’ve read is “Kim’s Convenience” by Ins Choi. It’s been a while since I’ve read something that made me laugh that hard!

KELCI: August: Osage County or King Lear

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off?
ELENA: Playing with my nephews and breakfast with friends.

KELCI: Bake banana bread and read a book.

Where would you love to travel?
ELENA: New Zealand and Newfoundland are at the top of my travel list!

KELCI: New Zealand, Vietnam.

What would you do if you won a million dollars?
ELENA: The first two things I’d do is take my family on a trip and create a foundation that would support organizations working in the arts, community development, and education.

KELCI: Dance around like a maniac! As for what I would do with the money; take my family on a crazy vacation, and use the rest toward sustainability initiatives in Uganda with the Winnipeg-based organization Kwagala Foundation.

Fefu and Her Friends is a unique and immersive theatrical experience! The show will run from May 22nd-June 1st inside West Broadway’s stunning Ralph Connor House (54 West Gate). Want to find out more? Click here for more information on the show and to purhcase your tickets online. But hurry! With only 60 seats per performance, this show is bound to sell-out well in advance. Contact us to get your tickets today!

Fefu and Her Friends: Meet the Cast!

 

Fefu FB cover pic
Gender roles, sexuality, loneliness, isolation, and entrapment – these are just some of the themes explored in Maria Irene Fornes’ Fefu and Her Friends which we are thrilled to be bringing to life this spring! We are also incredibly excited to work with our cast of 8 local female theatre artists! With opening night less than 2 months away, we felt it was about time to begin introducing the members of our cast. Today, we are happy to feature Julia Arkos who will take on the role of Cecilia and Nan Fewchuk in the role of Paula. Keep reading to find out more about these two female talents and stay tuned over the next few weeks as we continue to feature the rest of our cast!

Julia Arkos_HeadshotJulia Arkos was last seen on RMTC’s Mainstage as Kate in “Other People’s Money” and as Karen Weston at the Warehouse in “August: Osage County.” Theatre credits also include productions with: Soulpepper Theatre (Toronto), Kaleidoscope Theatre (Victoria), Playwrights Theatre Centre, The Arts Club, Mothership Collective (Vancouver), MTYP, WJT, TPM and PTE. Film and TV credits including leading roles in: “Choke”, “Heaven is for Real”, “Lucky Christmas”, “Less than Kind”, “Eureka”, “Dead like Me” and “The X-Files”.

Nan FewchukNan Fewchuk is truly pumped to be working with this stellar group of women in such a thought provoking, innovative play. Last year Nan assistant directed, Jail Baby, and then 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 (Sarasvati), Or, Eleemosynary and A Phoenix Too Frequent (Winnipeg Fringe).

And now for a little bit of fun. We wanted to give our audiences the chance to get to know our actors so we asked them a few questions for you! Take a look at Julia and Nan’s responses.

 What is your favourite play?
JULIA: Currently in love with “Tristan and Yseult” by Kneehigh
NAN: The Stone Angel

 What role would you love to play one day?
JULIA: Goneril in “King Lear” I guess.
NAN: Lady Bracknell

If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?
JULIA: I wouldn’t; and you wouldn’t want me to.
NAN: A mash up of Oh, Canada and American Woman.

If you were on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be?
JULIA: I’m not really a deserted island kinda gal.
NAN: Yoga mat, a good book, and my readers. If there were no Customs on the island, I would throw in a very expensive bottle of red wine.

Fefu and Her Friends will run from May 22nd – June 1st inside the beautiful old heritage building operated by The University Women’s Club of Winnipeg (Ralph Connor House, 54 West Gate). Tickets are $15 for students and seniors and $20 for adults. This is a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience you won’t want to miss and with only 60 seats per performance it is bound to sell out fast! Click here to purchase your tickets online today or give us a call at 204-586-2236.

 

 

Big or Small, Every Donation Counts.

The sun is shining, the days are warmer, and the snow is finally melting (sort of)! Spring is certainly in the air. It is one of our favourite seasons here at Sarasvàti Productions. With spring comes a time to reflect on all that we have accomplished throughout our season so far and all the exciting projects we have to look forward to in the fall. It is also the time when we begin to bring our final production of the season to life. This year, we are pleased to present the Winnipeg premiere of Fefu and Her Friends by Maria Irene Fornes inside the beautiful old heritage house operated by The University Women’s Club of Winnipeg (Ralph Connor House, 54 West Gate). The piece will feature a cast of 8 local female theatre artists and will support numerous local artists behind the scenes as well.

As you know, we believe in creating great art and in providing incredible artistic opportunities such as this to our audiences, our artists, and our community. But we can’t do it alone. As production costs continue to rise and arts funding continues to become more competitive, it is more important now than ever to help support local arts and to help keep them alive in our community. If you believe in our transformative theatre work, please consider making a donation to our online fundraising campaign in support of Fefu and Her FriendsOur goal is to reach $5,000 by March 31st which is just under two weeks away! We are almost half way there. Big or small, your donation will go a long way towards supporting the work of Sarasvàti Productions and local theatre artists.Fefu_Friends_Poster_v1a

Still not convinced? Consider these facts.

Did You Know…

Administrative work began on this show a year and a half in advance? This includes hours of unpaid time put in by our team to raise funds and confirm grants.

$100 just about covers the cost for ONE actor for ONE day of rehearsal?

It costs almost a thousand dollars to hire a professional photographer and videographer to archive the production? This is important and necessary support material which we need to apply for future funding.

The arts and creative industries generate $66 million in expenditures each year? They contribute 93.8% of this back to the LOCAL economy.

We are also pleased to offer some amazing rewards, including an array of Sarasvàti swag, a poster signed by the local cast, an exclusive meet and greet with the actors and even a backstage tour! Don’t forget, we also offer a charitable tax receipt to all those who make a contribution of $10.00 or more.

Help support Sarasvàti Productions and make an online donation today! Donations are also gladly accepted through our office by either cheque or cash. For more information please visit our website or give us a call at 204-586-2236.

Maria Irene Fornes believes her plays are about “teaching something that is, that exists, but is not telling what to do about it. To indicate what the next step should be, what to do next is a political action and not the function of art at all. The function of art is to reveal.”