She's a very theatrical character who does things her own way. Beatrice makes her own rules. It's almost like a magical room where if you say it then it is.
—Tracy Penner, actor
She's one of Canada's leading playwrights. Her plays have been produced across Canada and around the world in the original French and in 18 other languages. Now Theatre Projects Manitoba is presenting one of her plays for the first time in Winnipeg, in English translation.
It's John and Beatrice by Montreal-born Carole Fréchette, translated by John Murrell. Ardith Boxall directs the production.
In this precursor to on-line dating, Beatrice, a rich heiress, puts posters up around the city, inviting men to her 33rd floor apartment to entice, move and seduce her. And she's offering a substantial reward.
Tracy Penner plays Beatrice. She says Beatrice is every woman rolled into one. "She's a very theatrical character who does things her own way. What Carol has created is a room and a space and a place where anything can go. Beatrice makes her own rules. It's almost like a magical room where if you say it then it is."
On the other hand, John, played by Kevin Klassen, who arrives to claim his reward, comes from the real world. The drama unfolds as these two very different personalities go head to head.
Penner says it's like the playwright has taken all kinds of relationships and condensed them into this one play. "They go through all of the clichés of what men and women go through," she says. "I think what people will take out of it is, they''ll see themselves in that and their own relationships in that. Some parts of it will make them laugh and some parts might make them sad, but I think they'll see themselves in it and certain things in the play that will reflect back to their own relationships."
If you're interested to see the play in the original French, check out the Theatre Salon on November 5. Théâtre Vice Versa Theatre will present a staged reading.
John and Beatrice plays at Rachel Brown Theatre from November 1 - 14.