News / Calgary

20 diverse female voices share what it's like to feel visible and invisible in society

Each woman brought their own stories to the mix for inVISIBLE, a collection of stories billed as less of a theatre production and more of a happening or experience.

More than 20 female and non-binary voices contributed to the show inVISIBLE.

Photo illustration courtesy of Citrus Photography

More than 20 female and non-binary voices contributed to the show inVISIBLE.

Handsome Alice Theatre is hosting a slumber party.

Over the past year, more than 20 diverse female and non-binary voices have come together to write inVISIBLE, a collection of stories about what it’s like to feel visible and invisible in society.

“This is the collective and individual experiences from the female or non-binary perspective,” explained artistic director Kate Newby. “It’s individual experiences the artists have created, and we’ve threaded them together to create an evening slumber party.

“It’s an unusual event – the audience will enter a space that’s like an outdoor garden, except you’re sitting in beds.”

Newby bills it as less of a theatre production and more of a happening or experience. For 90 minutes, these women will tell their individual stories, which flow into each other through music, dance and spoken word.

For example, one experience may be centred around feeling fat, and how the word fat ostracises someone, except it’s told by a comedic duo who are able to reach moments of real poignancy. That might transition into a story about love, connecting to someone and have them suddenly disappear on you, or a story about coming to Canada as a new Canadian. There's a story of rape told through movement, or the experience of having a miscarriage presented through standup comedy.

Each woman brought their own stories to the mix, and Newby pieced them together.

“You may not relate fully to each and every story, but there’s a universal theme and you will definitely connect to one story on an emotional level,” she said. “It’s quite a visceral, raw piece, but it’s also quite a poignant piece. And it’s a piece we rarely get to experience, because we rarely get to experience the female voice in the narrative.”

Newby pointed out that typically in film and theatre, the white male voice is the dominant one – yet demographics are changing with more women attending film and theatre as audiences.

“At Handsome Alice, our mandate is to unleash the female voice, and that means unleashing the female narrative, as diverse as that may be,” she said.

InVISIBLE can be experienced from Oct. 12 to 21 at the Matthews Theatre at the University of Calgary. Visit www.handsomealice.com for more information.

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