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Playing through the (middle) pain

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Luxton resident Kim Zeglinski performs Mittelschmerz at the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival.

PHOTO BY JARED STORY Enlarge Image

Luxton resident Kim Zeglinski performs Mittelschmerz at the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival. Photo Store

You could say Kim Zeglinski’s new play is a period piece, despite being set in the present.

The Luxton resident is currently performing Mittelschmerz at the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival. Mittelschmerz means "middle pain" in German and is a medical term for the pelvic and lower abdominal pain some women experience during ovulation.

"I started experiencing it in my late 30s," said the 43-year-old mother of two. "My body is saying ‘C’mon, you can do one more!’ It’s like I have my own little personal cheering section down there, trying to get me to squeeze out another baby."

"With the translation literally being ‘middle pain’, I then looked at expanding the theme to encompass motherhood and middle age. It focuses on a variety of roles that women my age play. It’s constantly a juggling act of home and family and career, and if my artistic pursuits go unmet for too long, things get out of whack and then home and family and career aren’t working either."

Zeglinski, whose past Fringe plays include Stretchmarks and Breast Friends, works part-time as an early years teacher in Winnipeg School Division. She said her busy schedule is not always conducive to her art, but she’s found time to crank out Mittelschmerz.   

"I started writing for the Winnipeg Poetry Slam community and took a chance on a couple of the spoken word nights," Zeglinski said. "I was able to write shorter pieces and present them and see how they went over with an audience and then add and edit. I’ve strung together a series of short pieces that work thematically and created a story arc, so it’s a mix of spoken word, monologue and storytelling and then some character work."

Mittelschmerz is directed by local artist Andrea von Wichert, the founder of Girls! Girls! Girls!, an annual gala fundraiser for the Gas Station Arts Centre. Zeglinski met von Wichert while attending the University of Manitoba and acting with the school’s Black Hole Theatre Company.

"She’s coming from a completely different walk of life. She’s not a mom and she’s not married," Zeglinski said. "She has a really keen eye and she’s wonderful at whittling things down and finding the nuggets. With this process she’s helped me balance things out a little bit, so it’s not just serving the demographic that happens to be a mom. I think it’s a farther reaching story."

But von Wichert isn’t the only old friend Zeglinski solicited help from for Mittelschmerz. She also ran the play by Jim Rosche, her drama teacher at St. John’s High School.

"He actually helped me dramaturge this piece," Zeglinski said. "I shared my writing with him and he gave me some really valuable feedback. I’m hoping he can come see it because it’s changed quite a bit from our first conversations. He basically said ‘This is my feedback. I’m leaving it with you now.’ It’s been a really special relationship. He’s one of my biggest mentors."

Mittelschmerz takes place at Studio 320, located on the third floor of 70 Albert St. Showtimes are:
Fri., July 18, 7 p.m.
Sat., July 19, 9:15 p.m.
Sun., July 20, 1 p.m.
Mon., July 21, 7 p.m.
Wed., July 23, 9:15 p.m.
Thur., July 24, 7 p.m.
Fri., July 25, 9:15 p.m.
Sat., July 26, 7 p.m.
Sun., July 27, 3 p.m.

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