June 14th, 2007 Ottawa Fringe Festival:

Careers for women...
Jessica Ruano

Ten Times a Bridesmaid... Now What?
... as seen through the eyes of the Fringe

A long time ago, I answered a kindergarten questionnaire regarding my future with the word "mom." Since then, my ambitions have changed and focused somewhat, but I still wonder about the seemingly unlimited possibilities that lie ahead - sort of like the vast number of plays one can attend at this year's annual Ottawa Fringe Festival. Here's hoping this short list will help narrow down my professional possibilities while highlighting a few Fringe must-sees:
The Bridesmaid
Laura Earl has literally played the role of bridesmaid 10 times - and she has the taffeta dresses to prove it. She created the semi-autobiographical show Ten Times a Bridesmaid... Now What? to share hilarious stories about her wedding experiences. But this profession isn't all partying: "People start to whisper. You might as well wear a big sign saying 'Desperate.' And your mother starts to question what's going on. Eventually, you're not being asked to be a bridesmaid because you're a good friend; it's because you're a professional."
The Clown
Can't get enough of the red nose? Courtney Cunningham made clowning into a career after having studied at the Dell Arte School of Theatre, the California school renowned for its emphasis on physical theatre. She adores circus-like theatre because it "teaches you about being honest and present." As Poofy du Vey, she tours the Fringe circuit with her one-clown show Burden of Poof.
The Self-Esteem Archaeologist
Amy Salloway describes Does This Monologue Make Me Look Fat? as an "anti-ego show" because it reveals some things that are far from pleasant. Salloway explores her own past through a study of self-esteem. The actress herself is surprised at the positive response to previous performances: "I wondered, 'Who the heck is this show going to appeal to? Insecure Jewish lesbians?' I was wrong - everyone has appreciated it, [including] elderly couples! I vastly underestimated how many people battle with being wrong, lost and lonely."
The Cougar
According to Hollywood queen Tippi Seagram (alter-ego of actress Colette Kendall), sexual freedom continues way past 40. However, aging does become problematic: "It just gets uglier. Your vagina has sagged so you no longer want mirrors on the ceiling." Always eager to chat about her happening sex life, Tippi returns with Who's Afraid of Tippi Seagram?, a show that combines sex, politics, and, uh, pussy.



The Pierogi

Technically, the correct term is a jalipinukranibritinadian. Actress Michelle Todd is a stir-fry of cultures, melding together Jamaican reggae and Asian violin with a touch of Celtic music and a country vibe. Deep Fried Curried Pierogies is a humorous look at a crossbreeding culture, which Todd suggests has major benefits: "With this amazing knowledge of all sports, you could be the most popular woman at the bar!"
The Femme Fatale


"A femme fatale is a warrior... but with fabulous clothes," explains Annie Lefebvre, who plays the title role in this revival of Euripides' Medea. The sorceress is perhaps best known for saving her husband Jason on his quest for the Golden Fleece and murdering their children years later after he betrays her for another woman. But infanticide is not the only downside to this profession: "It's also hard to get a date."
The Ottawa Fringe Festival opens on Thursday, June 14, and runs till June 24, showing plays at various venues throughout Ottawa. For more info, visit www.ottawafringe.com.

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