Motherhood has given Shanley Scarsbrook Jardine plenty of insight into her latest role.
The 31-year-old Transcona actress will play the role of Shauna in The Exchange, a short play written by Katherine Koller that will be performed as part of Sarasvàti Productions’ FemFest.
Scarsbrook Jardine explained her role is that of a woman whose life could change when she receives an unusual proposition.
"I’m a homemaker with three children and I have sort of an idyllic life — seemingly," said Scarsbrook Jardine. "One day, a stranger shows up at my door with an infant baby in her arms and lets me know that her reason for being there is to switch lives with me, to exchange lives."
Scarsbrook Jardine, a Transcona Collegiate Institute graduate, said she felt she could have tackled the role before becoming a mother, but feels her understanding of the role has deepened now that she has a child of her own.
"I have such respect for mothers themselves, and I always have, but becoming a mother, I now have insane respect for the job," she said. "I have that much more compassion for mothers as well — how challenging it can be, but how rewarding it can be as well."
The short play compares and contrasts Scarsbrook Jardine’s character with that of the mysterious visitor, named Molly, played by Mallory Schellenberg.
"It’s really interesting to explore the dynamic between two women who are in some ways, very much alike, in the sense that they’re both young mothers," she said. "They’re also very different in terms of their backgrounds and life experiences."
Scarsbrook Jardine previously worked with Sarasvàti on a production of Brownie Points, a one-woman coming-of-age show she performed in 2008 before getting married and having children. She said she enjoys working with the company, especially through FemFest.
"This festival supports female playwrights, so that’s a great thing," she said, noting much of her other theatrical work has been through various fringe festivals.
The production debuts on Sept. 14, as it will be featured in the festival’s Opening Night Cabaret at 7 p.m. It will then be performed at 8:15 p.m. from Sept. 17 to 21 alongside a different short production each night. All performances will be at the University of Winnipeg Asper Centre for Theatre and Film at 400 Colony St.
For more information, visit sarasvati.ca.