On the 6th Day of FemFest

It is the 6th day of FemFest and so far we’ve had 5 Readings read, 4 hours of workshops, 3 Presented pieces performed, 2 world premieres and 1 Bake-Off winner! Plus an awesome Opening Cabaret and Reception with over 20 artists, but who’s counting. Here’s a closer look at the highlights from the first 5 days of FemFest and a peek at what the other 3 days have to offer!

Prairie Caravan

Prairie Caravan

On the 1st Day of FemFest…We got FemFest going with two contrasting readings in the afternoon, Alison Mclean’s Skin Deep had a guitar, lots of tattoos (even for the audience) and laughter. Priscilla Yakielashek’s German Silver featured strong performances as the actors tackled the complex issue of genocide. Then it was belly dancers, music and saran wrapped bodies at the Opening Cabaret and Reception. Plus so much great food from Sorrento’s and Tall Grass! 

On the 2nd Day of FemFest…We had 10 emerging artists practice their storytelling skills with the guidance of guest artist Michaela Di Cesare in her workshop Storytellers are Superheroes before celebrating the world premiere of 2013 Bake-Off winner, Rebecca Gibson’s The Naked Woman. Audiences loved the theatrical portrayal of a naked 84 year old! You have to see it to believe it. There is only one more chance to see this heartwarming comedy, Friday September 19th at 7pm, don’t miss it!

Cheryl Gensiorke and Taesia Scrtach in Launched

Cheryl Gensiorke and Taesia Scrtach in Launched

On the 3rd Day of FemFest…We got to see what our 5 wonderful playwrights cooked up with Cairn Moore and 5 fabulous actors in our 3rd annual Bake-Off that was in honour of the lovely Janet Taylor. She was dearly missed, but all the artists did her proud and it was a night full of delightful surprises as the actors danced, taught each other something and dressed up. In the end it was up to the audience to crown the winner, and they chose emerging artist Frances Koncan! We can’t wait to see how she’ll turn her funny high school Halloween dance party scene into a full length play for FemFest 2015! After all that excitement we just kept it going right into our first Shorts reading and the world premiere of Launched by Tyler White! Cake, cookies, manicures and smashing salt and pepper shakers left the audience highly entertained.

Phoebe Man

Phoebe Man in River

On the 4th Day of FemFest…We got to see two of our presented pieces for the first time! First up was Rubena Sinha’s moving drama River. Audiences loved the powerful interweaving of music, sound, dance and storytelling. Playwright Crystal Wood was in town for her Shorts reading from Grief Circus. Afterwards a standing ovation for 8 Ways My Mother was Conceived by Michaela Di Cesare, a fascinating look at how stories are passed down through the generations. If you missed River you’ve got two more chances to see it, this afternoon, September 18th at 2:30pm and September 20th at 3pm!

On the 5th Day of FemFest…We had our busiest day yet! Tara Travis presented at the University of Winnipeg’s The Real Thing Lecture series, then Michaela Di Cesare performed a matinee of 8 Ways My Mother was Conceived, then Tara taught a bunch of artists how to puppet, Muppet style, and Launched and The Naked Woman did their second shows. Oh, and in between we had a Shorts reading too! Then it was nap time.

Tara Travis in Herewithal: a paranormal comedy

Tara Travis in Herewithal: a paranormal comedy

 

And On the 6th Day of FemFest…Well, you’ll have to come see for yourself! Whether you want to take a break in the afternoon to catch River or if you want to be there for the opening of Tara Travis’s Herewithal: a paranormal comedy (and eat brownies), we can promise you a fun and inspiring time! Don’t forget to get your tickets here!

 

Who’s Got The Power?

How many different ways is power represented in our everyday lives? And what special connotations does the word power hold for women? Sarasvàti Artistic Director, Hope McIntyre explains why ‘She’s Got The Power’ was chosen as this year’s FemFest theme. Read on for teasers about the productions that will bring the theme to life.

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Hope&Patrick at Villains&VixensOver the twelve years of FemFest one thing has become clear, the festival is empowering. We set out to provide showcasing opportunities to female playwrights but it has become much more than that. It’s an event that gives voice to artists, to community groups and to issues that are usually left behind closed doors. When we selected ‘She’s Got the Power’ as this year’s theme, it led to very interesting conversations about what power means. We knew immediately we weren’t talking about the power of the fist, an image that often pops up as if synonymous with strength. The power we wanted to explore was much more than physical. It is the power to look at the truth, to speak the pain and beauty of life and ultimately the power that comes from being open to sharing one’s story. The female artists we are showcasing this year have shown great strength. They’ve been empowered, healed and found their identities by facing the past, their fears and the ridiculousness of life. In turn the audience will also be empowered as they are transformed by seeing a new perspective, which may in turn educate them or reassure them that they are not alone. The power of the work is that it can inspire audiences to speak out in the same way that the artists have. Plus there is amazing power in the coming together of people, as a community, to share an experience, share laughter, share a journey…

In the beautiful new script by Rebecca Gibson, The Naked Woman, that I have the joy of directing,lightning bolt Helen asks “What is more powerful than a naked woman?” Unfortunately the female body has been objectified and used to make woman feel weak, but metaphorically Helen is right – what is more powerful than someone confidently standing there completely open, without fear, shame or hesitation? All the woman featured this year in FemFest do exactly that. Michaela Di Cesare pursues the truth about her heritage in order to be able to move forward; Tara Travis turns to the paranormal to find the answers she needs and a damn good brownie recipe; Rubena Sinha uses art to deal with the trauma of both her daughter’s sexual assault and her husband’s death; and in the world premiere of Launched Tyler White asks the question is it ever too late to follow your dreams. Plus the cabaret evenings will offer some rockin’ and powerful female artists!

Of course the audience is such an important part of the equation. You truly have the power. Let’s send a clear message that women’s stories, women’s empowerment and great art are valuable.

For more information about FemFest 2014: She’s Got The Power, visit our website www.femfest.ca and make sure to purchase tickets for the shows that interest you!