Ruth Lawrence and Sara TIlley perform in MonaRita at FemFest
"Theatre by women, for everyone." That's the raison d'être behind Sarasvati Productions' week-long FemFest, now in its ninth year of showcasing the work of women in theatre.
So is there something for everyone at FemFest? With a range of readings, workshops, and cabarets, there should be. Here are three to watch for at this year's festival:
One Night Stand (Sept. 19 @ 7:00 p.m.) - Who doesn't love a one-night stand? This is definitely the evening of FemFest I'm most looking forward to, since it features readings of new in-development work from six local playwrights. Included on the bill are Fringe favourites Ginny Collins, Talia Pura, and Stefanie Wiens.
MonaRita (Sept. 18 @ 9:00 p.m. and Sept. 20 @ 7:00 p.m.) - Coming to FemFest with solid reviews from the Toronto and Atlantic Fringe Festivals, Toronto playwright Shannon Bramer's story of co-dependent friends Mona and Rita has been praised for exploring women's relationships and identity with enough heart and humour to appeal to women and men. Yes, it's been described as a "chick flick on stage," but by most accounts, it's also very entertaining.
Under the Mango Tree (Sept. 22 and Sept. 23 @ 9:00 p.m.) - If you missed Vancouver writer/performer Vaneesh Dubois' solo show at this year's Winnipeg Fringe, make sure you catch it at FemFest - and even if you saw it, you might want to catch it again. A beautifully performed story of a daughter left behind when her father emigrates to Canada, this show drew rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.
Why do we need a festival dedicated to women's theatre? Because although women make up the majority of theatre audiences, they're still woefully underrepresented in professional theatre. Here are some statistics from a 2009 Professional Association of Canadian Theatres report:
Joff Schmidt, CBC theatre reviewer