Shaking the Dew will shock, titillate, amuse and enlighten.
Shaking the Dew from the Lilies has got to be the most provocative,
explicit, yet fascinating and funny play ever to be staged in
Opening on Friday at Kitchener's Registry Theatre, not only would the play have at least an R rating were it a movie, but even this would be so rated if it contained descriptions of the topics covered, the language used and at least one very graphic scene.
But make no mistake -- this is a very honest portrayal of the sexual preferences, misconceptions, experiences, recollections and fantasies of five very different women when they find themselves locked in a women's washroom overnight.
After the unfamiliarity wears away the barriers come down and the frankness begins. It's very funny but this is serious comedy.
For example, if you don't know what the title of the play means I can't explain it here without being censored but, if you follow the dialogue closely, you'll find out.
The five characters are from very different walks of life: Tami is a bit sleazy in her dress, actions and speech, not well educated and shows it -- she thinks autoeroticism is making out in the back of a car.
Cynthia is a snob. Expensively dressed and coiffed, she has a private school attitude and accent, has little experience of sex, and has never used a public washroom before in her life -- she finds it all quite beneath her.
Aja (pronounced Ay-zha) is an attractive, sexually confident woman in her late twenties, quick-witted, assured and has a long string of male notches on her belt that she displays with pride.
Susan, Aja's friend, has always been in her shadow, always played second fiddle when it comes to men and, deep down, has always resented her secondary role but kept it well hidden -- that's about to change.
Nicole is an artsy type, a bit older, stable in who she is with a quiet wisdom, and has a lifestyle that she eventually admits without shame or apology.
When they realize that the door is locked and that they're stuck in the washroom, the groupings begin, though they shift through cycles. They're disgusted with Tami's sleazy attitude -- she has no qualms about hiking up her skirt and pulling off her pantyhose in front of them all. They ridicule Cynthia's accent and superiority, and each in turn comes up for some form of criticism from the others.
What they're really doing is wading through the artifices and veneers and trying to find the real person underneath the various masks they all wear in public.
Women especially will appreciate the humour and the inside jokes laced with feminine terminology and references that are hilarious but rarely heard in public. For males to catch a lot of this they'd have to be fairly enlightened -- it's way above the level of swilling beer and passing wind.
To help understand the background of the five, there are occasional flashback vignettes that take the action to another acting area where we see them in an earlier time, and usually at a crux in their lives that leaves an indelible impact on each one.
Ingeniously, the comedy of the play is held in the washroom, while the drama is confined largely to the vignettes, and this never confuses as to whether the play is trying to be one or the other -- it's both but the line of demarcation is very clear.
The play is perfectly cast -- the actors simply are the characters: Tami is Rachel Molnar, Cynthia is Krista Sweeney, Aja is Shelagh Ranalli, Susan is Tracie Holmes and Nicole is Sue Rose.
The supporting actors in the vignettes are Darlene Spencer, George Joyce and Kristopher Bowman, each playing several roles. Joyce also directed with care and sensitivity.
Deliberately I've left a lot out because the impact of the play must be realized in person and on an individual level.
The experience changes the characters -- as the secrets come out, they discover they're more alike than they could have imagined. It will also change you, the audience. Prepare to be shocked, titillated, amused, entertained and enlightened.
Go see it but not if you can't accept frank sexual dialogue and situations.
© The Record
Play blends humour with bite.
Gradually, truths emerge which have been repressed for years, partially because of things which happened to them earlier in their lives, and sometimes because of envy. "Two of the women are friends," said Joyce, "but we discover that one has been envious of the other for a long time, and past incidents between the two of them show that one has been hurt many times by these actions."
The five women couldn't be more different, according to Joyce.
"One is pretty sleazy," he said. "You know, skirt and sweater up to there, too much make-up, too much hair. One is a snob, born to privilege, never been in a public washroom before in her life; one is striking, sexual and confident, very quick-witted and clever; one is plain and conservative, uncomfortable in her skin and her philosophies; and one is an artsy type, dressed in funky clothes -- all very different in every way."
Joyce said that past experiences are revealed in occasional flashbacks.
"While the washroom is the main part of the set there's another acting area where we learn about some of the things which contributed to each of their characters," said Joyce, "and these are very revealing, explaining why they have certain attitudes and feelings."
Joyce said he was attracted to the play because it contains so many truths.
"The situation rings true, the dialogue rings true, we've got characters in a stress situation and we're seeing how they react under that stress, and this makes for real drama," he said.
"For me, what I liked about it, apart from its edginess and quirkiness, is that it isn't your standard feel-good comedy. It's got a lot of humour in it, but it's got some real bite," Joyce said. "It's written by a woman -- local playwright Paddy Gillard-Bentley -- and she really understands each of these characters she's created.
"This is a terrific play, and the actors playing the parts are so professional that it astounds even me when they keep digging and giving more and more every time I ask for it."
© The Record
THE BEST LIVE THEATRE IN 2002
By Declan Kelly
Romeo & Juliet
An Ideal Husband
The Designated Mourner
The Black Box
Shaking the Dew from the Lilies
K-W and Beyond
by Irena Wandschneider
the Dew from the Lilies
The Registry Theatre in
"Shaking the Dew from the Lilies" closed November 30 after 10 days of totally sold out houses. The reviews in The Kitchener Record and Waterloo Chronicle spread the news about this brand new a bit risqué comedy play.
The play tells the story of five women accidentally locked up in a public
washroom of a shopping centre and thus
The language is very "women’s talk", their behaviour what women do, without men present, once they are comfortable with each other. Playwright Paddy Gillard-Bentley wrote the dialogues with easy fluency, the director (a male!) George Joyce worked with the actors and succeeded to flow the conversation and flashbacks as natural as possible. The acting was good, stage décor and props well assembled. I applaud Shelagh Ranallli, Krista Sweeney, Sue Rose, Rachel Molnar and Tracie Holmes for their performances. Yes, it was provocative, even explicit, but shocking it was not, perhaps better said, it should not be for women with some life experience. It may be an eye-opener to men, who cannot know how women, on a personal comfort level, talk between themselves. Above all, it was a real-life comedy with serious undertones. Many will learn from absorbing and thinking a bit about the impact early life experiences have on current behaviour.
K-W has several live theatres, the best known are Theatre & Company, Waterloo Stage Theatre and The Registry Theatre. The talent is there and with continued support by the public they should prosper.