POSTPONED: (March 14) I’m sorry to share that Theatre New Brunswick’s upcoming production of Heroine has been postponed until COVID-19 runs its course. If you can, I urge you to make a donation to an arts organization near you or to choose an individual artist to support during this difficult time. Many artists and institutions operate on shoe-string budgets at the best of times, and the shutdowns that are beginning now will have a long-term impact on people’s ability to continue their work. Also, if you are self-isolating, please take note of how you turn to art during this time of solitude and uncertainty, and pause to consider the value of the music, books, and visual media you will consume for comfort, entertainment, and connection in the days ahead. Think about how you can support creators.
Karen Bassett, a playwright and actor with extensive training in stage combat, found it frustratingly difficult to find roles that took full advantage of her skill set. So she researched the lives of two of the most notorious female pirates ever to sail the high seas and wrote “Heroine,” a play that puts them toe-to-toe. Ann Bonny and Mary Read were active at the turn of the 18th Century, piracy’s golden age. From the scant historical information available about the two women, it’s clear that they came from different backgrounds, lived profoundly unconventional lives, and that their paths did cross in the Caribbean, where “Heroine” takes place. “If you and I had squared off. That would be one for the songsters,” Bonny muses in the play’s first scene, and what follows is an imagined encounter between these two ferocious women, trapped in a prison cell in Jamaica, awaiting trial for their crimes.
I felt a pang of jealousy when Theatre New Brunswick announced this play as part of their 2019-2020 season. It’s rare to find parts like these for women, real leading roles with complexity and serious physical demands; the chosen performers would be so lucky to land such an opportunity. So imagine my delight when I ended up being cast! Fight training and rehearsals began in January and have been a brilliant experience so far, full of collaboration, growth, and laughter. I’m so grateful to TNB for inviting me along for the ride.
In just a couple of weeks, Mélanie Leblanc and I will bring these two extraordinary women to life on stage, and we can’t wait to bring this action-packed show to New Brunswick audiences. The show will open in Fredericton on Wednesday, March 18 with a pay-what-you-can preview, and after six shows at Open Space Theater in Fredericton, we’ll tour to six other New Brunswick communities: Bathurst, Miramichi, Moncton, St. John, St. Andrews, and Florenceville-Bristol. It’s going to be so much fun. Don’t miss it! Check here for showtimes and ticket info.