It’s hard to predict what will grow next in the twisted, fertile garden of Edele Winnie’s imagination. The reclusive Windsor-based writer won the 2019 Windsor-Essex Playwriting Contest with the surreal psychological fantasy Pry It From My Cold Dead Hands, then wowed audiences last month with the first annual Edele Winnie Women’s Monologue Competition, in which actresses performed monologues from her most recent book, Big Mouth.
On April 22nd, Post Productions will premiere a double-bill of two new Edele Winnie plays: The Rhinoceros Woman & Squirrel Party. Fans of her work will get a fresh look of the dark comedy they’ve grown to love – while newcomers are in for a treat, they didn’t even know they wanted.
Both plays focus on the pressures women face to conform to societal expectations. Both feature characters who are struggling to define themselves and make their own choices in a world that wants them to conform. Both plays take an unconventional, surreal, hysterical approach to these issues.
In The Rhinoceros Woman, Dr. Elizabeth Foster (played by Stephanie Cragg), embarks on a moral crusade to save the so-called “Rhinoceros Woman” (played by Rebecca S. Mickle) from being exploited in a traveling freak show run by a carnival barker names Bob (played by Gregory Girty).
The problem is, Ivanka – the Rhinoceros Woman’s real name – doesn’t believe she’s being exploited and doesn’t want to leave. With the help of a series of therapists, Dr. Foster tries to figure out how to get through to Ivanka for her own good.
The Rhinoceros Woman raises an interesting question that many of us have to contend with at some point in our lives: who gets to decide whether someone is being exploited or abused?
The quick and easy answer is to say each of us should decide for ourselves. But many people don’t know when they’re being exploited or abused, even though people around them can see it. Then again, we perceive the lives of others through the filters of our own biases and experiences, don’t we?
We can make mistakes in how we perceive and interpret other people’s lives. We sometimes rush to judgment before we understand. Sometimes we need to stop and listen.
Squirrel Party approaches these considerations, from a different angle. Jackie (played by Emma Truswell) is a struggling journalist who just can’t seem to get her career started.
After her narcissistic investment banker boyfriend Philip (played by Alex Monk) tells her she needs to have real experiences to write about, Jackie joins a protest against the construction of a nuclear power plant.
Here she meets full-time environmental activist Nemo (played by Joey Ouellette), a misanthrope who’s lived far too long on the outskirts of society.
Emo believes Jackie can’t become a real person until she lives the way he does.
Philip and Nemo live in completely opposite ideological worlds, but they share one important trait: each of them believes he should control how Jackie lives.
Does Jackie really get a say in the matter? Is it possible for her to make her own choice, something neither man thinks she’s capable of doing?
The stories are simple enough to summarize, yet since they’re written by Edele Winnie, they take bizarre, absurd, and surreal twists – leading to unpredictable destinations.
Post Productions will present The Rhinoceros Woman & Squirrel Party at The Shadowbox Theatre April 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30. 8:00 PM (doors open 7:30).
Tickets for the show are on sale now at postproductionswindsor.ca for $25.