You don’t usually find a corporation investing in what’s considered a non-mainstream demographic.
But Body & Soul, a theatre piece involving 13 women between the ages of 45 and 78, is a fascinating project sponsored by Dove.
The women, none of whom are professional actors, were among many who applied from across the country. What did the application form say? Write a letter to your body.
“It was an amazing exercise for me; I remembered looking at myself when I was young, feeling fat when I wasn’t,” says participant Lois Fine.
“I’d hoped that body issues for women would end with my generation, but it’s probably gotten worse. I think young women still have a problem when they look at themselves in the mirror. I hope a project like this gets a message to the younger generation to love, honour and respect their bodies.”
Fine, who’s successfully battled for the legal rights of co-mothers, became part of a creative process with playwright/director Judith Thompson that would eventually weave together 13 personal stories.
“Judith asked us phenomenal questions, looking for answers that were almost poetic. In telling our stories to each other, we quickly left superficial ideas and delved into what makes up the complicated beauty of being a woman.
“Often passing around the kleenex box, we found a power place of encouragement and validation – the sense that our stories do matter.”
Fine’s even taken the results into her workday world. Now when she does job interviews, she poses questions that, as she says, “ask for bigger answers.”
Thompson has distilled the women’s stories down to their essences and given an arc to the production.
Is it scary for Fine to be onstage for the first time?
“Sure, we’re all nervous, but we’re not acting so much as telling our truths. Having the others onstage with me, pouring their guts out just as I do, gives me strength. To honour the others, we each want to do a good job in telling our stories.”
Want to see how often Brendan Gall’s Alias Godot echoes his inspiration, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot?
As a pwyc funder for the Actors’ Fund, most of the cast of Gall’s play, currently at the Tarragon (see review) give a reading of Beckett’s existential classic.
You won’t, however, see Alon Nashman, who plays Godot in Gall’s work, for he never appears in the Beckett. But you will catch Gall in the key if ambiguous role of the Boy.
If you’re curious about the next generation of young actors, check out the production by the Drama School Ensemble at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People.
Featuring 18 youngsters, converse is directed by Nina Lee Aquino, who commissioned new pieces from high-powered playwrights Marjorie Chan, Darrell Dennis, Anita Majumdar, Michael Miller, Sonja Mills and Judith Thompson.
The writers talked with the teen actors about their lives and concerns and developed vignettes that deal with violence, bullying, consumerism and the environment.
Fringe looks back
It’s the Toronto Fringe Festival’s 20th anniversary, and the celebrations start with a free panel discussion of the fest’s importance for earlier participants.
Panelists include Fringe executive director Gideon Arthurs, Trey Anthony (’da kink in my hair) and writer/director Sky Gilbert.