Two local playwrights are reflecting the struggle and resiliency of contemporary women in their submissions to the upcoming Cabaret of Monologues.

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Two local playwrights are reflecting the struggle and resiliency of contemporary women in their submissions to the upcoming Cabaret of Monologues.

Frances Koncan and Robyn Pooley have both contributed monologues to Sarasvàti Productions’ International Women’s Week programming from March 6 to 11, culminating in a performance on March 12. The theme for the local production company’s annual event is "Stolen Sisters."

Frances Koncan’s Lingua Franca will be performed at Sarasvàti’s Cabaret of Monologues.

SUPPLIED PHOTO

Frances Koncan’s Lingua Franca will be performed at Sarasvàti’s Cabaret of Monologues.

Koncan, who splits her time between Osborne Village and Fort Richmond, penned Lingua Franca for the cabaret. The monologue tells the story of a woman pondering her untimely death while stuck in purgatory. The monologue will be performed by Indigenous actor Erica Wilson.

Approaching the theme of "Stolen Sisters" and exploring ideas of violence against women was not an easy process, Koncan said.

"It’s difficult for two reasons. The subject matter is definitely the darker side of human nature, so that’s always challenging to explore and to stay open and willing to go there, without judging anything too much," she explained. "Another is to be very respectful and aware of what you’re saying and who you’re speaking for."

This is the third year Koncan has participated in Sarasvàti’s Cabaret of Monologues, but the first time she says her writing has taken a turn for the political.

Koncan recently participated in an Indigenous writers program where she studied topics such as Aboriginal history, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and decolonization. With those subjects as a backdrop to her writing, Koncan imagined the emotions of a murdered woman to create her monologue.

"I was inspired by a lot of real life stories I heard in the news," Koncan said. "I kind of used the imagery and ideas found in those stories to create a fictional retelling of the experience."

Pooley, a Crescentwood-based actor and writer, was also influenced by current events and the reporting of instances of sexual violence in the media.

Robyn Pooley’s She Said will be performed at Sarasvàti’s Cabaret of Monologues.

Robyn Pooley’s She Said will be performed at Sarasvàti’s Cabaret of Monologues.

Her monologue, titled She Said, follows a woman as she confronts her male partner after he cracks a Bill Cosby rape joke. The piece will be performed by Teri-Lynn Friesen. She Said will be Pooley’s first script performed for an audience, and her first time participating in the Cabaret of Monologues.

"It’s pretty exciting. I saw their submissions for monologues and the theme... and at the time, it was really when the media frenzy was starting about Bill Cosby," Pooley explained.

Despite the increasing number of  women accusing Cosby of assault, the media was still in disbelief, Pooley said. That prompted her to explore the issue through her writing.

"It made me angry that it took so long for public opinion to change," she said.

While delving into the emotions and power structures of gender-based violence can be challenging, Pooley believes the monologues and other performances are valuable to the ongoing discussion of sexual violence.

"It’s not something you want to think about on a regular day. It certainly brings up anger and sadness, and passion as to what we can do," Pooley said. "Just exploring this topic, and that it is all women’s voices... it offers a different perspective that maybe isn’t produced or explored as often."

For more information about the Cabaret of Monologues go to sarasvati.ca

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Danielle Da Silva

Danielle Da Silva
Reporter

Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.