Coming of age, from page to stage

Because of Pat the Dog Theatre Creation‘s support of Wild Swans and a travel grant from the Canada Council, we were able to take an early draft of the script to the Women’s Work Festival in St. John’s, Newfoundland this year. The amazing Berni Stapleton was cast as Cybil in the workshop reading, and she and our entire experience at this magnificent event completely reinvigorated the project.

“It’s a perfect coming of age story for the both of them” Berni said to Sarah about the characters, following our work together. They were words that lit a fire. A big, warm, confidence-boosting fire.

Wild Swans gives life to jazz-loving widow, Cybil, and her precocious teen neighbour, Rose. There is music and whiskey and a dog named Bette Davis. There is unlikely friendship and high school love. There is fresca and an Enya-obsessed mother. Plus a dog named Bette Davis. Did I mention that? Both women are moving. Cybil packs her belongings and she does Not. Need. Help.

Wild Swans started as the script commissioned to come out of our Wives Tales meetings, our first kind of experiment as a collective, but through process, it became something completely separate. It turned into its own thing entirely, much like Sarah, Lara, Hannah and myself. We have each very much come into our own through this process. Working with a dramaturge for the first time, scrambling for money, shifting and sacrificing timelines and visions, collaborating in close and intricate ways, and trying to make a living as working artists (particularly in a region outside of the GTA) has been transformative for each of us.

We started Sonderlust because we wanted to explore different creation processes. We wanted to experiment. We wanted to broaden a perspective in our community. We very much wanted to highlight and represent the women in our world. For each of us, they have been most influential and most overlooked. We wanted to gather with them and learn from them and make things inspired by their stories. Up until now, Sonderlust has been entirely focused on this process – a process we’ve been hugely impacted by, in ways impossible to describe. Now, with Wild Swans, we have our first product. A product we hope will impact you in ways you CAN describe!

We are constantly learning and forever under construction, but this piece is our first completed something as a company. It was written by Sarah Dennison, dramaturged by Lisa O’Connell, and built on a foundation of stories and support from countless women in our community. It feels solid, and we are anxious to share it with you. We’re only crossing our fingers you’re intrigued enough to come see!

In the upcoming weeks, we’ll be announcing our cast and crew, venue, partners, ways to support, ticket sales and more. In the meantime, we hope you’ll mark your calendars.

Wild Swans runs from January 23rd – 27th, downtown Cambridge. There are only 5 performances, and just 30 seats per show, so tickets will be limited.

Thanks, friends! More soon!