Youth and desire

Young playwright tackles controversial topic

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This article was published 13/11/2017 (1846 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In writing a play about young people, Gislina Patterson didn’t have to go far beyond her own experiences.

The Wolseley resident is showing her play, Heavenly Bodies, From Nov. 16 to 19 at Colin Jackson Studio at Prairie Theatre Exchange (393 Portage Ave.). It’s a story that Patterson describes as a coming of age tale, but one that looks at “desire in young people, and the way that desire is exploited by adults.”

The 24-year-old Wolseley resident says it’s inspired by things that have happened in her life, as well as stories that others have told her.

Supplied photo Heavenly Bodies is showing Nov. 16 to 19. Gislina Patterson is the writer of the coming-of-age story.

“I feel there are a lot of stories about young women and their power dynamic with older men, but those are so often told either through the eyes of older men or when they’re told by young women, they’re still written or created by adult men, so I’m interested in really exploring that voice more deeply from an authentic place,” Patterson said.

Patterson works with Sawa Theatre as a playwright and performer and many of the pieces she has worked on have been written for and about teenagers. Both of her parents are in theatre and she developed a passion for it early on.

“I think it’s very intimate and it’s rare,” Patterson said. “It’s a real rare occurrence to be able to stand in a room with a bunch of people who are really there in front of you and be listened to and talk to them and be heard and I think it can be a very powerful, transformative experience, because you’re really all there together.”

Heavenly Bodies began as a workshop that Patterson took part in a few years ago. From there, she’s slowly developed the plot and characters, tackling some difficult questions in the process.

“I try to self-police in terms of what I’m showing,” Patterson said. “There can be a tendency to want to move towards showing something shocking or surprising onstage, but I think it’s really important to not use things that are very difficult that are controversial for shock value, and treat them with the respect they deserve.

“It’s really a fine line that I think about a lot.”

Tickets are pay-what-you-can pricing between $5 and $50. Show times Thursday to Saturday are at 7 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

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