I saw a dress rehearsal of Jail Baby yesterday.
The story [ Directed by Ann Hodges, with Nan Fewchuk (Assistant Director) Hope McIntyre and Cairn Moore (co-writers] of how Aboriginal women are the majority in prisons is one that needs to be told, for many aren’t listening.
The set [Abigail Myers (Set/Costume Designer)] is presented with two cages, a toilet centre stage and a circus platform with a red curtain behind it, stairs on both sides of the platform. The backdrop looks like a silhouette of a city with sad trees.
A creative lighting technique [Dean Cowieson (Lighting Designer)] to display a violent act, causing a character to bleed out was a creative way I’d never seen blood done; I’d seen it with cloth, a red blanket and confetti, but never lighting. Chalk it up to live theatre for finding new special fx not resembling film making techniques.
Subtle musical underscore [Chris Coyne (Sound Designer)], played like an under current, unless the volume wasn’t loud enough.
Ashley Chartrand as young Jasmine’s history, Melanie Dean as present-day Jasmine weaving her jailhouse tale & Tracey Nepinak, Jasmine’s mother= the influential past and present with a grim future, leaving it all up to destiny: almost a holy trinity.
Shannon Guile: The Omnipresent Ringmaster, showcasing the ridiculousness of the justice system.
Daina Leitold: represents the family member of a victimized man; Her father was knifed and Jasmine went to jail for it, wanting to confront her; expects remorse from Jasmine.
Megan McArton & Cory Wojcik’s characters inflict joy and pain into the lives of everyone else; Cory displays all the various types of male characters, the good, the bad and the ugly.
Until the misconceptions are nonexistent and the injustices are fixed, stories like these will persist. Ignore the reality all you want, they won’t go away. You don’t have to be someone who’s experienced the injustice of being a minority thrown in prison or a family member whose loved one became a victim of a crime to understand this story; many people have had bad things happen to them, wanting justice, getting no closure. This play seeks to bring the issues into broad daylight for anyone still in the dark.
Stay tuned for special cameo appearances by some of Winnipeg’s best lawyers and judges.
Definitely a socially-conscious play for everyone to see.