Review: rock.paper.sistahz Festival (b current)

By Sam Mooney

This is the 10th anniversary of the rock.paper.sistahz Festival showcasing performance work by black women and women of colour presented by b current.

I saw three shows; Skinny Show and Weave.

Skinny Show by Marika Swandt

Other than finding the name of the show in the program I couldn’t find any information about Skinny Show so I had no idea what to expect.  Was it a play?  A one – woman show? Poetry? Music? I didn’t have a clue. Sometimes not knowing in advance means that you get a delightful surprise. Tonight was one of those nights. I loved Skinny Show.

Marika Swandt is the playwright and performs in the piece which is in the form of a talk show called…Skinny Show. She interviews two guests or, as she refers to them, skinny bitches. As the host she has a plan for the show and has made assumptions about the way her guests will answer her questions.

Her guests don’t co-operate and we see her becoming more and more incredulous as their answers don’t meet her expectations.  Her reactions are great.  So are her guests.

This was the first performance of the play.  I hope we see more of it.

Weave – Ellipsis Tree Collective

Ellipsis Tree Collective – a young theatre company from Calgary – presented their play about a funeral. The three actors managed to give us a sense of a full room.  I felt as if I could see the priest recoiling in horror from the young woman who flirts madly with him even though we never see the priest on stage.

This is a great funeral. The guests gossip, laugh, talk about fashion and men and manage to mention their departed friend once in a while. One of the women had lent her lucky wig to the deceased and it’s now in the casket and she’s plotting ways to get it back.

My only quibble is the surprise about three-quarters of the way through the play. It takes the action in a different direction and fells a bit as if it was just added on.  I would have preferred it if they had continued to explore the potential of the funeral.

Tonight is the last night of shows at rock.paper.sistahz and then Friday night there’s a closing party.


rock.paper.sistahz Festival is at Artscape Whychwood Barns (601 Christie Street)
– Performance details are on the site
– Tickets are PWYC or donation and are available at the box office or at the door