Arts & Entertainment
1 min

TotoToo’s leading ladies

Two-women plays put the ladies front and centre

Deirdre Brown and Mary Beth Pongrac star in The Last Nickel, one of four one-act plays in Jane Shepard’s Kick Ass Plays for Women. Credit: TotoToo Theatre

The large-breasted, 20-something screams pointlessly, luring zombies that her male protector must kill. The over-protective mother perma-hugs her young son, offering only unhelpful screeches while the men get on with the serious business of finding food and shelter. The young wife bids her astronaut husband goodbye, and her only subsequent appearances are over the ship’s communication system, blowing kisses and flipping her hair. Why are women so often so poorly represented — as weak, naive or superfluous — in stories? 

TotoToo Theatre will do its part to redress this imbalance with an upcoming production of Jane Shepard’s Kick Ass Plays for Women. “They have extremely strong female roles,” says Mieke Iveson, who is co-directing the plays with Luna Allison. “It’s great because I don’t think many plays with strong female roles get produced.”

Kick Ass Plays for Women consists of four one-act, two-women plays. Because of time constraints, this production will include three of the four plays: Friends of the Deceased, Commencing and The Last Nickel.

Friends of the Deceased is about a bitter widow who has an eye-opening encounter with a young girl at her husband’s grave. The Last Nickel deals with a middle-aged woman who’s in a rough mental state after having dealt with difficult personal issues for many years. The protagonist in Commencing has a blind date that goes hilariously and poignantly awry. Not to give too much away, but one of the plays has a lesbian twist.

“All three plays are basically about loss and how self-acceptance — however difficult — can open the door to healing,” Iveson says. “It may sound like a bit of a downer, but it’s not. By injecting them with a lot of comedy, Shepard has managed not to make them too dark and depressing. It’s actually uplifting.”