Shaking the Dew will shock, titillate, amuse and enlighten.

Monday November 25, 2002


Shaking the Dew from the Lilies has got to be the most provocative, explicit, yet fascinating and funny play ever to be staged in Waterloo region. 

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. 

After finding themselves locked in a washroom overnight, five very different women gradually break down barriers and reveal innermost secrets and desires in Shaking the Dew from the Lilies.


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 2002
225 Fairway Road South,
 Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
, N2G 4E5


Play blends humour with bite.



Photo David Bebee - record staff

The cast of Shaking the Dew from the Lilies (from left to right).Sue Rose, Christa Sweeney, Tracie Holmes, Rachel Molnar, Shelagh Ranalli, rehearse a scene at the Registry Theatre in Kitchener.

Wednesday November 20, 2002

Take five very different women, lock them in a women's washroom overnight, and watch what happens when the pretences and veneers fall away. That's the premise of Shaking the Dew from the Lilies, the play which opens at Kitchener's Registry
Theatre tonight at 8 p.m. 

"Being confined to start with, and in this particular space, creates tension among the women," said veteran actor and director George Joyce. "During the course of the night they gradually get to know one another, and start talking about their lives, their loves, their successes and failures -- especially in their relationships with men." 

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 2002
225 Fairway Road South,
 Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
, N2G 4E5

Issue #18 volume 6 For the week of January 30 - February 5


                 By Declan Kelly

                 Romeo & Juliet
                 (Stratford Festival/ Directed by Miles Potter)
                 Sure, Stratford is a big budget theatre, but that
                 doesn’t mean they’re all pageantry and no
                 production. Miles Potter’s approach of less is
                 more did a lot for this adaptation of
                 Shakespeare’s classic tale.

                 An Ideal Husband
                 (Theatre & Company/Directed by Stuart
                 While Oscar Wilde did provide a pretty script
                 that is littered with witty epigrams, Theatre &
                 Company had their work cut out for them,
                 ensuring their production was worthy of such
                 inspired dialogue. It was, and then some.

                 The Designated Mourner
                 (Isinglass Theatre/ Directed by Tom Leslie)
                 This play admittedly requires a lot from its
                 audience, but it also demands even more from
                 its actors, as there was hardly a more
                 enigmatic play ever penned. How Ted Pythian
                 (Jack) kept it all straight in his head is beyond
                 me, but full credit to him for it.

                 The Black Box
                 (Next Level Theatre/Directed by William
                 Without getting too McLuhanesque on it, this
                 play drew as much attention for what it was
                 about, as it did for how it was staged.
                 Presenting the actual transcripts of troubled
                 airline flights had many people asking if it
                 should be considered theatre. Either way, full
                 marks for trying something new.

                Shaking the Dew from the Lilies
                (Flush Ink Productions/Directed by George Joyce)
                 George Joyce did a fine job directing what must
                 rank as one of the year’s best plays by a local
                 playwright. Paddy–Gillard Bentley obviously
                 has one ear to the ground when she’s in the
                 bathroom stall — figuratively speaking, of

                 (Fire Disaster)
                 Honourable mention to KWLT in the “grace
                 after fire” category. They promised “the show
                 WILL go on,” and it did.

                 (Declan Kelly)

Echo Germanica
December, 2002 - Nr. 13

K-W and Beyond

 by Irena Wandschneider

Shaking the Dew from the Lilies
at the Registry Theatre - Kitchener

The Registry Theatre in Kitchener is an older building next  to the police station. Sometimes they rent space for shows or events to local groups, sometimes they put on a show of their own.

"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
forced to spend a night there. They start talking, gradually the superficialities of "the life outside" fall off and they
disclose the most intimate details of their lives, old fears, and past experiences. Supported by flashbacks, the
comedy turned at times serious to illustrate the impact learned behaviour has on current lifestyles and insecurities.

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.


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