SOWWY

Created, choreographed, and written by Celia Green
Directorial support from Bilal Baig
Outside eye Jess Dobkin
Starring Bilal Baig, Augusto Bitter, Stephen Jackman-Torkoff, Ericka Leobrera with a special appearance from Andrea Werhun
‘Sexy Donald’ dance choreographed in collaboration with Andrea Werhun
‘Sexy Donald’ costume and makeup by Andrea Werhun
Music and vocals by Amy Nostbakken

Readings and events are entirely free. If you have the capacity, please consider making a tax-deductible donation in support of the future of feminist art.

SOWWY is a boundary-breaking performance work that combines movement, text, and music to investigate cycles of apology and violence through the lens of gender. The world of this piece is distorted, chaotic, and beautiful. Feelings are at the forefront, and characterization is woven with crystal clear movement. SOWWY features a cast of trans and gender non-conforming performers who move, speak and moan their way through the messiness of gendered violence, forgiveness, and remorse.

A note from the playwright: This reading focuses mainly on the text components of the work. If you are curious about some of the movement language, you can find that right here.

Content notice: this work explores gendered violence and apology, and deconstructs men and masculinity. There are brief references to abortion, and to childbirth. 

Special thank you to Nightwood Innovator Alex Cameron.

About the playwright

Celia Green (they/them) is a queer and non-binary performer, performance creator, and choreographer. Their growth and learning has been greatly shaped by trainings and opportunities at The Paprika Festival, the AMY Project, La Pocha Nostra and the P.A.R.T.S summerschool for contemporary dance. Recently, Celia was involved as a choreographer in adelheid dance’s re:research program, and was a guest choreographer in Toronto Dance Theatre’s Pilot Episodes. Celia is a recipient of the Theatre Centre Emerging Artist Award, and is also a birthworker. SOWWY is a galaxy that keeps expanding.

About the director and cast

Bilal Baig (they/them)

Bilal Baig is a queer, trans-feminine, Muslim playwright, performer and workshop facilitator. Bilal’s first play, Acha Bacha, had its world premiere in 2018 and has been published by Playwrights Canada Press. Other written work in development includes Kainchee Lagaa, Kitne Saare Laloo Yahan Pey Hain, and I want that free mind! Bilal is a core team member at non-profits such as Story Planet and Rivers of Hope, where they develop and facilitate workshops for youth in under-resourced neighbourhoods in Toronto focused on creative writing and literacy (Story Planet), and combatting Islamophobia through the arts (Rivers of Hope).

[Image description: a brown trans-feminine person with curly black hair wearing an embellished brocade top over a yellow jumper sitting with their head tilted in an outdoor space.]

Jess Dobkin (she/her)

Jess Dobkin has been a working artist, curator, community activist, mentor and teacher for more than 25 years, creating and producing intimate solo theatre performances, large-scale public happenings, socially engaged interventions and performance art workshops and talks. Her practice extends across black boxes and white cubes, art fairs and subway stations, international festivals, and single bathroom stalls. She operated an artist-run newsstand in a vacant subway station kiosk, a soup kitchen for artists, a breast milk tasting bar, and a performance festival hub for kids. Her film and video works are distributed by Vtape and traces of her performance works are held in performance art archives internationally. jessdobkin.com

[Image description: Profile of middle aged white woman standing in foreground wearing a walk-about clown costume and makeup. She is holding a long, skinny beige balloon twisted to look like a sword or flaccid penis. Behind her is a room of predominately white men in suits and ties, drinks in hand, socializing at the Art Toronto International art fair.]

Augusto Bitter (any pronoun)

Augusto Bitter is a Venezuelan-born, Dora Award-winning performer, writer, facilitator and artistic producer based in Toronto. They have been a Resident Artist at Canadian Stage, Aluna Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, and hub14. They are currently commissioned by the City of Toronto and Soulpepper to create an immersive experience at Spadina House Museum. Augusto’s first play, CHICHO, is now a short film in post-production, and they are developing a dance-theatre piece, Reina, with musician Y Josephine. Augusto has made three short video-poems, Reina (in isolation)cannibal, and golden girl, with the support of TO Live, Toronto Queer Film Festival, Glad Day Lit’s Naked Heart Festival, and Montréal Pride. They’ve been an artist educator with Soulpepper Theatre and the Paprika Festival, and facilitate creative-writing workshops across the GTA with with Story Planet.
More at www.augustobitter.com

Stephen Jackman-Torkoff (they/them)
 
Stephen is a wandering poet who makes poetic dreamscape odyssey’s. Stephen has performed in several theatre productions including Black Boys (Buddies + Saga Collectif), Angels in America (Arts Club), Botticelli in the Fire/Sunday in Sodom (Canadian Stage) and more. 
Stephen enjoys keeping an open heart.
 
[Image description : A brown skinned person of mixed african and european descent. They have a short bushy beard and short hair except one braid coming down the side. They are smiling with their mouth closed and wearing a dark grey patterned polo with a red and black patterned sweater vest on top.]

Ericka Leobrera (they/them)

Ericka Leobrera is a Philippine-born inter-disciplinary performer and theatre creator. In creation, Ericka intertwines various artistic practices; playwriting, physical theatre, movement, dance, poetry, rhythm, silence, and embodied sound.  

Ericka is a 2020 graduate of Humber College’s Theatre Arts – Performance program where they trained in new work creation, devised, and physical theatre and received the Distinguished Performer Award and the Dean Scholarship for Theatre Arts. They were recently a part of Shakespeare in The Ruff’s Young Ruffian Apprenticeship (2021). Their short film, till you dug, which Ericka wrote, directed, filmed, and performed debuted this summer with Theatre Oculus’s REVERB 2021 digital showcase.

Selected theatre performance credits include: TomorrowLove (dir. Christopher Stanton), Elektra (dir. Richard Greenblatt), Through The Bamboo (dir. Nina Lee Aquino), Odd Ones Out (dir, Herbie Barnes). 

[Image description: A Filipinx person in a white t-shirt, black mesh tank, light blue jeans, and green sneakers with black hair and platinum highlighted bangs sits on a stool with their knees brought up, one arm draped over one knee and the other arm resting on the other knee, holding their head. Behind them are some fluffy dried pampas, a frameless mirror leans against the wall, and a white shelf stands with small trinkets and vintage cameras.] 

Andrea Werhun (she/her)

Andrea Werhun is a writer, performer, and sex worker advocate based in Toronto. She is the author & co-creator of Modern Whore: A Memoir, an acclaimed sex work art book made in collaboration with filmmaker Nicole Bazuin. The second edition of Modern Whore is set to be published by Strange Light/Penguin Random House in April 2022. She is the star and subject of the award-winning short film adaptation Modern Whore (SXSW 2020), and Last Night at the Strip Club (Hot Docs 2021), a CBC Short Doc about her final night as a dancer in the wake of the pandemic. In addition to her creative pursuits, Andrea is a peer outreach worker with Maggie’s: Toronto Sex Workers Action Project and a firm advocate for the decriminalization of sex work. 

 

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