Sonofabitch Stew Rides in to FemFest

There is something about westerns, animal hides and cowboy hats that just make you feel… shameless.

Sarasvàti Productions is proud to be presenting Sonofabitch Stew: The Drunken Life of Calamity Jane at FemFest 2012: Staging Idenity. The one-woman show comes from Vancouver’s Shameless Hussy Productions.

Daune Campbell – Shameless Hussy Productions Co-Artistic Director – stars as Janet Payne a cussin’, fussin’, drinkin’, brawlin’, women’s studies professor who has become a legendary maverick by kissing off life’s middle of-the-road for the rougher and more thrilling ride on the trail of her lifelong heroine Calamity Jane. Haven’t you ever wanted to take on the persona of one your personal heros (mind you not everyone can pull that off)? Sonofabitch Stew has opened to rave reviews around the country and we couldn’t be more thrilled bring this rootin’ tootin’ performance to Winnipeg!

For those who are uninitiated, the real Calamity Jane, AKA Martha Jane Canary, was an American frontiers woman, who was famous for her kindness and compassion and infamous for her gung-slingin’ and drinkin’. For more info on Calamity Jane, click the pic below!

Sonofabitch Stew: the Drunken Life of Calamity Jane makes its FemFest debut on Tuesday, September 18 at 9pm, with additional shows on Wednesday, September 19 at 2:30pm and 9pm. Tickets are $10 and are available at or at the door. Can’t wait to see you there!

In Depth: FemFest Workshops

Every year when planning FemFest, Sarasvati Productions looks for new and exciting ways to connect with Winnipeg communities. We strive on representing as many communities as we can and helping them tell their stories. FemFest 2012: Staging Identity is so much more than just some actors on a stage. Women’s storytelling aims to engage the audience and force them to see something inside themselves and create their own artistic viewpoints and spaces. We are pleased to present, as part of our already stellar festival line-up, two excellent, hands-on workshops from two of our touring performers and companies.

Another exciting aspect about FemFest is the opportunity to present readings and lectures from distinguished and established playwrights and artitsts. It is importanting to attend readings of works in progress in order to better understand and appreciate the writing process. We are proud to be presenting writers from across Canada and across genres as part of the line-up of FemFest ancillary events!

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Q&A with Renee Iaci

Renee Iaci is a co-founder and co-artistic director of shameless hussy productions out of Vancouver, British Colombia. Renee is one of the writer/researchers of the hussies original play Sonofabitch Stew: The Drunken Life of Calamity Jane – which is making its Winnipeg debut at this year’s FemFest 2012: Staging Identity. She also alternates in the role with her hussy collaborators Deb Pickman and Daune Campbell and is the original director. Check out the rootin’ tootin’ Calamity Jane at FemFest – for info on how you can get your tickets check out


What is one thing every actor needs to know? Stay in the moment – much easier to say than to do!

What does every great story have to have?  I like a story with a beginning, middle and end. Oh yeah, and a female protagonist.

What is your favourite word? Martini?

Complete the sentence: If I wasn’t typing this email interview right now, I would be… Dirt bike riding. I’ve just taken up the sport in the past year and I love it!

The most surprising thing that happened to me was  getting pregnant. Ok, we did plan it but it was still a shock and surprise when it happened. I’m still shocked to think I’m a mother. I just said to my 4.5 year old last week, “I’m your mother, can you believe it?!?

A common misperception of me is…if only I was observant enough to know what the misperceptions were. . .

You know me as an actor but in truer life I’d have been… a boxer. I got into it a little too late in life (33) but I absolutely loved it. If I had started when I was a teen, who knows? I did manage to have one TKO in my amateur career. And oh, how I really wish I could sing. Perhaps that’s everybody’s fantasy but I still dream of being Mary J Blige or Aretha Franklin or some totally cool  kick-ass vocalist who everybody loves. . .

Q&A with Deb Pickman

Deb Pickman is co-founder and an ensemble member of shameless hussy productions, based in Vancouver B.C. Deb is also one of the writer/researchers for the hussies original play Sonfoabitch Stew: The Drunken Life of Calamity Jane, which is coming to Winnipeg this fall during FemFest 2012! She also alternatives in the title role with her hussy colaborators Renee Iaci and Daune Campbell. Sonfofabitch Stew has toured across Western Canada and in the US, and will be visiting the Maritime provinces next year. For more information about FemFest showtimes and ticket info, check out We can’t wait to see you there – wear your best western gear!


What is one thing every actor needs to know?

1. Mine your passion and don’t stop digging – this shaft has no bottom.
2. If there is a fire onstage stop the show and take the rest of the night off.

What does every great story have to have?

A woman who’s kicking someone’s ass – even if it’s her own. Maybe even especially if it’s her own.

What is your favourite word?

At the risk of soundimng like a stereotypical feminista – I admit, I love to talk about the etymology of the word cunt, I confess. It’s still a very misunderstood word even with all the feminist gyrations of the last 50 years, it’s like the ugly duckling of words. It’s not a word I use frequently, though I co-authored a play called The Happy Cunt to get it out of my system.

For a well used and loved word I’d go for “heart.” All we need is love.

Complete the sentence: If I wasn’t typing this email interview right now, I would be …in my garden. Don’t tell anyone but I’m a flower freak and I’d love nothing better than to show you photos of my 10ft tall Himilayan lillies. Serious.

The most surprising thing that happened to me was… Ever? Well, most recently it was that my husband had a stroke January 2011 – and couldn’t say my name for a bit, couldn’t read aloud, forgot his provinces, our phone number and a multitude of other important things. That was a shocker. His recovery has been exciting and funny and brave – really the most fun anyone could have recovering from a stroke. You wouldn’t be able to tell anything had happened today – he’s back at work. I’m very glad I got to experience it with him, not glad it happened – but our lives have changed for the better.

Most shocking ever? Hunh, maybe that was it – the stroke was bigger than the fire I had onstage once in SanFrancisco while performing in our play that we’re bringing to FemFest. Our fogger burst into flames but it was just behind the curtain & the cabaret audience couldn’t see it, thought it was just bad bad fog. Being the Fringe in San Fran there was no backstage crew at all. I yelled “Fire, fire” and “Bring me some water from behind the bar there goddamit!!” In retrospect I should have dropped the western accent, again – they thought it was just part of the show. In the end I grabbed a drink off someones table, put the fire out and continued with the show. If it happened again I would stop the show, this was not my best work, I was a bit rattled and for the first and only time dropped two or three scenes from the play and it didn’t make a hell of a lot of sense frankly.

A common misperception of me is… I’m extroverted. Secretly I’m shy, but I’m shy about it so I keep it carefully hidden. Also some people think I’m sexy or a very sexual person. I mean really? I’m a late bloomer in the sex department… still trying to understand it. My sexuality is more of a fashion statement than a way of being. See, I’m just this secretly shy person.

You know me as an actor but in truer life I’d have been… I dreamed of being a June Taylor Dancer, however I have a sense of rythym that isn’t shared by many people, maybe nobody. I was also aching to be a singer – in the mold of Dionne Warwick or Aretha Franklin – but my music teacher was always telling me to “quiet down” and even my super supportive  mom would ask me “where does it hurt?” when I burst into song.  Could these two weaknesses be related? I do take pride in marching to my own tune. In retrospect I’m glad I didn’t get to be a dancer, it’s pretty hard to keep going in your senior years. As an actor – you’ve got a job as long as you’re able to draw breath and communicate something people need to know or feel.