Yesterday in Bonnycastle Park along Assiniboine Avenue near Main Street, I encountered two women during lunch hour sitting on a bench talking about sex. I tried not to eavesdrop but it was too interesting not to. Especially after hearing one woman ask the other, “Do you remember your first time?”
As I turned my gaze towards their direction, I recognized one of them. It was Jane Burpee, a veteran Winnipeg actor who played in MTC’s Pride & Prejudice and some other plays I have watched at past Fringe and Fem Fest shows.
I sheepishly said hello and pretended that I didn’t hear anything when she introduced me to Miriam Bronstein and told me that they were rehearsing their play for Fringe Festival.
This Two Ladies on a Bench production of Is it Wednesday?, directed by Veralyn Warkentin, blurs the line between busking and BYOV. In a Winnipeg Fringe Festival first, Is it Wednesday? will be staged outdoors, on Market Avenue beside the Concert Hall (across the street from and halfway between the Playhouse and Manitoba Theatre Centre).
Outdoor performances of this 12 minute play (rain or shine) will occur for passers-by, the curious and the seasoned fringe-goer — perhaps waiting in line for another Fringe performance — to witness what happens between two elderly ladies at a bus stop.
The ladies will be ‘passing the hat’ with portions of proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Society. Currently, over 20,000 Manitobans have Alzheimer’s or another dementia. This number is growing at an alarming rate and within one generation (25 years), it is expected to reach over 34,000.
The Two Ladies on a Bench are Fringe favourite and veteran thespian Jane Burpee (MTC’s Pride & Prejudice; Humble Boy; Fringe productions Mary Rose, A Phoenix too Frequent) and Miriam Bronstein (with Winnipeg Jewish Theatre’s Today I am a Fountain Pen, The Rothschilds, A Shayna Maidel, Funny Girl; and as GrandmaTzeitl in MTC’s production of Fiddle on the Roof).Veralyn Warkentin, (who collaborated with Burpee in Best of Fest Fringe 2010 production of Eleemosynary) lends an eye as director.
If you want to catch this outdoor performance of Is it Wednesday?, you can find the two ladies on a bench at the following performance dates and times:
Thurs. July 18 & Fri. July 19; Mon. July 22 & Tues. July 23 at 5:30 pm, 6:30 pm & 7:30 pm;
1st weekend only: Sat. July 20 & Sun. July 21 at 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm.