September 23, 2016

Walking the dog in Winnipeg ~ Sherry & Sawyer

Almost everyday while in Winnipeg Sherry has taken Sawyer for a walk through the River Heights neighbourhood where Sherry is staying. Large trees and stately homes line the streets and avenues, and the weather, at times, is summer-like. In late-September.

Sawyer is beautiful mix between Golden Retriever and Cocker Spaniel, and he would be, as Jeem knows all too well, a great bird dog. But, he isn't. He is a gentle, quiet, friendly dog that loves to eat almost anything.

He loves going for walks, and Sherry loves his company. As for Jeem... he needs a bit more training.

Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2016 by Jim Murray.

The world premiere of The Seduction Theory

The playwright and the cast after the performance with director Hope McIntyre centre

We are in Winnipeg to see the world premiere of The Seduction Theory by Sherry MacDonald. This is Sherry's newest play and it's being staged as part of the 14th annual FemFest at the Asper Centre for Theatre & Film, in beautiful downtown Winnipeg.

Sherry MacDonald, playwright

The one act play takes place in a draconian institute modelled on the training schools, or reformatories, for girls that existed in Canada between the 1930s and the 1950s. The Seduction Theory looks at what happens to a 15-year old girl in the school, and the criminalization and sexual exploitation of young underprivileged girls.
Hailley Rhoda & Merri-Lou Paterson

Hannah Wiggleworth & Grant Burr

It's a dark piece that resonated with young women at all the readings your correspondent has attended leading up to its premiere. And the comments from audience members during the talk back with cast, director and playwright after the first performance recognized the parallels with our society today, especially as society continues to blame and silence women and girls. Not much has changed since the 50s.

The Seduction Theory came about after Sherry was invited to take part in the FemFest Bake-Off. Five playwrights are given three ingredients and eight hours in which to come up with a 10-minute scene. The ingredients must be used during the 10-minute scene. The scenes are then performed in front of a theatre audience at FemFest, with the audience selecting the scene they would most like to see developed into a play. Last year the ingredients for the Bake-Off were red line, hysteria and Yellow Submarine.

The Seduction Theory by Sherry MacDonald was directed in Winnipeg by Hope McIntyre with dramaturgy by Ellen Peterson. It featured Grant Burr, Merri-Lou Paterson, Hailley Rhoda and Hannah Wigglesworth.

Don't miss it.

Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2016 by Jim Murray.

After the CBC... Thom Bargen for coffee

Some days the coffee doesn't come soon enough... but the wait is worth it.

Last Saturday, Sherry and her director, Hope McIntyre (also the A.D. for Sarasvati Productions) were invited to be interviewed on the weekend morning show at Radio One. Both Jeem and G.G. Blynn came along, hoping to get on the air, for reasons unstated, but one look at the two of them and they were left in the green room under the watchful eye of security.

Sherry and Hope were interviewed by a radio institution in Winnipeg: Terry MacLeod. People in Manitoba have been waking up with Terry since 1993. The segment featured a reading from Sherry's new play and much information about FemFest, which was about to start that same day.

After the radio appearance, G.G. Blynn went their own way, and Jeem and Sherry walked down the street, and around a few corners, to Thom Bargen. This is the second location for two entrepreneurs: Thom Jon Hiebert and Graham Bargen, who have serious ideas about coffee and in bringing it to their city.

There's an austerity here that echoes the landscape of the Canadian prairie. Soft music, good service, and the hard sensibility that Jeem remembers from growing up in the deep south of southern Saskatchewan.

Thom Bargen Coffee and Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The coffee is more than adequate, strong and full, like the wind, and it's a wonderful relief to the chains that dominate Winnipeg's coffee scene.

Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2016 by Jim Murray.

September 22, 2016

The faces of a playwright ~ Sherry's University of Manitoba reading

Sherry has been visiting Winnipeg as a playwright being fêted at the city's annual FemFest, and she had been there a few days when Jeem showed up. Just in time to visit the University of Manitoba for a reading for students and faculty in theatre studies.

Established in 1877 the University of Manitoba was the first university in western Canada. Today it has over 27,000 students.

And some of those students were at the John J. Conklin Theatre at the UofM last Friday for a reading and Q&A with Sherry MacDonald. She was introduced by Bill Kerr.

The reading was organised in part by the UofM's Black Hole Theatre Company, and Sarasvàti ProductionsAnd with readings from two completely different plays, one comedic, the other dark, the faces of the playwright add to the experience.

Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2016 by Jim Murray.

September 13, 2016

The Roberts Creek Mandala

Last month, while visiting friends and attending a play on the Sunshine Coast, we wandered out to Chak-Chak Point. Mainly to get some fresh air and to kill some time before the play.

The sun was shining, a light westerly was present, and the waves were tumbling into shore.

A bit more walking and we discovered a large mandala painted on the pavement leading to the point.

It's a beautiful thing to see, especially when one is surprised by what one sees right before their eyes.

The Roberts Creek Community Mandala is a non-profit, public art work open to everyone. It began in 1997 when five friends came together to paint over negative graffiti in the parking lot on the eve of a summer event.

Nineteen years later, hundreds gather every summer to paint a new mandala.

The Mandala is something special to see, and the community's involvement in creating an expression of peace, love and unity, is inspiring. Good things happen when people come together.

Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2016 by Jim Murray.