courtesy Aldona B Photography

Female playwrights bare their wits

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Urban Curvz Theatre’s Girls Gone Wilde late-night cabaret is back for a third year and this time they’ve added a second weekend of shows.

Girls Gone Wilde is a showcase of women playwrights, actors and directors. The cabaret features six 10-minute productions by 24 women that present a wide range of theatre and comedy. The “Wilde” in the title is a nod to Oscar Wilde.

“Girls Gone Wild is a fun, exciting thing involving young women,” says artistic associate Lindsey Zess-Funk, “and Oscar Wilde adds a little bit of class, traditional theatre and playwriting to the mix.”
Or as the tagline for the cabaret says: witness women flashing their wits.

The cabaret sold out last year.

Zess-Funk, who is directing one of the productions, says Girls Gone Wilde was first presented to inspire more women to write plays, but it has grown and changed since then.

“We have a little less of a focus on playwriting this year,” Zess-Funk says.

Back in its first year, the festival was held in a basement rehearsal room at Evergreen Theatre. After the festival became a cabaret in its second year, it incorporated other forms of performance such as dance and clowning.

“We decided to expand it and make it a more fun, sexy event,” Zess-Funk says, “we brought in a popcorn machine and a bar and had it at the Lunchbox Theatre space.”

But the point remains the same. Each of the 10-minute productions offer a taste of a number of different styles, all to get people excited about women’s theatre.

Zess-Funk says that the term women’s theatre has become equated with the Vagina Monologues, but women’s theatre isn’t just about one-woman shows.

“We’re trying to do things that are beautiful and poetic and interesting,” Zess-Funk says, “and aren’t one woman talking with the audience about how hard it is to be a woman. Seeing women in relationships with each other is really important and beautiful.”

This year’s cabaret includes a script from a full-length play by Vancouver playwright Sally Stubbs, Playing With The Boys, a period pieces about the first two female police officers in Canada, a play for which they brought in a fight choreographer. There’s a dance-theatre performance called Bundle about the loss of a child and the effect it has on a mother and daughter. And the local Calgary theatre group The Janes are producing a meta-theatrical play called The Show, about women competing for the top spot on the fictitious competition The Annual Thespian Jamboree.

Zess-Funk is directing the production of Bundle.

“It’s an exploration of the different roles a woman takes on through her life,” Zess-Funk says. “The actors change characters. They each take on the mother, the daughter and the spirit of the lost child through dance and poetry.”

Girls Gone Wilde late night cabaret runs March 7–8, over International Women’s Day, and March 14–15 at the Lunchbox Theatre.

Tickets are $15 at the door or are available online at urbancurvz.com.