When you invite a friend to attend a feminist cabaret with you, you don’t always anticipate that she will be coerced into going onstage, divulging some personal emotional information, then get applauded for her participation and openess.
Nightwood Theatre’s yearly FemCab is a staple of feminist performance in Toronto. This 2013 show was irreverent, poignant and extremely entertaining. Our host was Shoshana Sperling, who is my new comedy girl crush. She delighted the crowd with bits concerning feminist stereotypes, and didn’t shy away from interacting with the audience, the tech booth, even the sponsors.
The evening unfolded in a very relaxed and organic way, with all of the performers demonstrating a lot of bravery showcasing new material. Robin Hatch and her roommates played their lighthearted reggae songs inspired by things like Photoshop. Ms. Diane Flacks workshopped two new monologues from her upcoming play, seamlessly transforming from an elderly Catholic Ethics Facilitator to an angry young Atheist TedxBrampton speaker. Min Sook Lee spoke on the boy’s club that is filmmaking, and her frustrations with female students who choose to let the male students dominate control of film projects time and time again.
The whole evening was very empowering, and the atmosphere in the room was one of support. Particularly in light of current events, I feel like promoting gender equality is something we could all be working a little harder at. Fostering creativity and ingenuity amongst women in the arts is an amazing place to start.
At the end of the night, an audience participation performance involved the crowd passing around a can of ginger ale. Naturally they asked for the passing to stop at the precise moment my friend was holding the can. They called her down to the stage to ask her about her life and family, and some of her proudest accomplishments. Despite the mild embarrassment it was a sweet and personal ending to a wonderful evening. Congratulations to Nightwood on another wonderful FemCab, thanks for making us laugh, cry, and think.
Check out a great video that was shown as part of FemCab 2013.