shameless hussy productions In Association with Surrey Civic Theatres
Present the World Premiere of
written by Meghan Gardiner
September 14-17, 2022 | Surrey Arts Centre’s Studio Theatre | 13750 88 Avenue, Surrey
Media Opening: Thursday, September 15 at 7:30pm
Preview: September 14 at 7:30pm
Matinee: September 15 at 1:00pm (Students & Seniors)
Performance Times: September 16 at 8:00pm | September 17 at 4:00pm & 8:00pm
Tickets: $22 – $29 | Matinee for Students & Seniors: $15 Available online at surrey.ca or by phone at 604.501.5566
(Vancouver, B.C.) – shameless hussy productions in association with Surrey Civic Theatres are proud to present the world premiere of Meghan Gardiner’s To Perfection this fall from Wednesday, September 14 to Saturday, September 17 at Surrey Arts Centre’s Studio Theatre (13750 88 Avenue).
‘Gloria’, a former celebrity TV chef, played by the inimitable Patti Allan, is finally reuniting with her estranged grandchild ‘Alex’. However, the temperature heats up when Alex, played by Rae Takei, comes out as non-binary and opens a ‘genderational’ divide. Can ‘Gloria’ and ‘Alex’ find the perfect mix for their family recipe? Or will it all bubble up and explode?
Without sugar-coating, To Perfection tackles issues of modern life and family conflict in a relatable and hilarious way, ensuring audiences of all ages will find that this play contains all the right ingredients for the perfect food-for-thought theatre outing.
Written by Meghan Gardiner during the height of the pandemic, this new work tackles issues dear to Gardiner’s own heart. She said, “Although this is a fictional story with fictional characters, I drew inspiration from my own family’s journey. Every child comes with their own personality—their own everything. They’re born who they are, and we can’t change that, we just have to adapt and love them. My philosophy is love first and let them be the guide.”
Gardiner said that while the play explores the issue of gender, it is also delves into other pertinent issues. “To Perfection also tackles cancel culture, which is so prominent right now. I want the play to help the audience understand that it’s okay to discuss what’s not working, or what’s hurting and offending. It’s okay to talk about those things and talking is important, whereas just cancelling people…I’m not sure that’s productive. I want to encourage the audience instead of calling people out to embrace calling in.”
Although To Perfection is an issue-based play with hefty themes, it is a comedy, and Gardiner said that is in part because she wanted the play to reach and be relatable to people from all walks of life. “The beauty of this play is that it is for everyone. It doesn’t speak to one group of people or one type of person. There is a lot in the play. It is a play about gender, about family, love, acceptance. To Perfection is a story about an average family, because I’ve never heard of a family that doesn’t have any issues.”
When Gardiner was creating the characters, it was important to her to capture the reality of what it means to be human: that we are complex, at times brilliant, but also flawed. She hopes that by making the play’s characters relatable, it will help open dialogue for people to have difficult conversations that foster learning and growth. She said, “I’m immensely proud of the subject matter at a time when trans rights are very much under threat. If I can just inspire or change one audience member’s mind, where they then accept their family member, then I will feel as though I have made a difference. I like to change minds through changing hearts. I think a lot can change by making someone feel something.”
Gardiner is thrilled that the play will be presented in Surrey this September. She said, “It feels so good to know that To Perfection is making its debut this fall for so many reasons. It’s important to acknowledge what COVID has done to live performance. Just the fact that this work will be performed to a live audience, in a theatre, not on Zoom, is a big deal. There is a real collective heartbeat when we walk into a theatre…nothing compares to that and given that the play is a comedy I just want to hear the audience roar, I can’t wait for that.”
The play went through several drafts and a workshop process and both actors, Patti Allan and Rae Takei have been involved since the start. Gardiner said, “The performers in the roles – we truly have the best of the best. The fact that both actors worked with us in the workshop process and then wanted to be the actors in the actual performances means so much because they really believe in the work and that means the world to me.”
Gardiner said she would like the play to reach a wide audience of people and hopes that the play strikes a chord with families going through their own similar journeys. She said one of the most important things to do as a parent of any child is to meet them at their expectations, not yours. She said, “If I were to give advice to any parent whose children are showing gender creativity, I would say let them lead. Support. Support. Support. Don’t fight it. Parents are not the experts. Our children will let us know what they need. Our family mantra is ‘one day at a time’ and right now, every day is really great because our daughter is living who she wants to be.”
Written by: Meghan Gardiner
Directed by: Renée Iaci
Produced by: shameless hussy productions
Performances by: Patti Allan & Rae Takei
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Meghan (she/her) is an actor and playwright who has written plays for Green Thumb Theatre, Carousel Theatre, shameless hussy productions, Gateway Theatre, and independently toured her one woman show Dissolve for over twelve years. Meghan was nominated for the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards in 2011 and received the Sydney Risk Award for Emerging playwright at the 2012 Jessie Awards. She has written two screenplays; both garnering her screenwriting nominations at BC’s Leo Awards and is currently working on three exciting new play commissions. To Perfection, Gardiner’s latest work is drawn from her lived experience of parenting a gender-creative child.
Renée (she/her) is a co-artistic director, tour coordinator and founding member of shameless hussy productions. Renée was nominated for Outstanding Director at the 2014 Jessie Richardson Awards for her work on Dissolve, by Meghan Gardiner. Renée also helped create and direct Love Bomb by Meghan Gardiner which received the 2016 Ovation Award for Outstanding Production. Both Dissolve and Love Bomb continue to tour North America, in person and live stream.
About Patti Allan—‘Gloria’
A former schoolteacher and current drama teacher of young people and seniors, Patti (she/her) has been involved in theatre, film, and TV performance for over thirty years, with a multitude of credits in all of these mediums. She is a four-time Jessie Richardson award recipient for work in the theatre and a two-time nominee for the Leo awards for film and TV and received the Best Actress award for an online festival. She is a staunch supporter of the development of new works and, in particular, works that represent interesting roles for women of all ages.
About Rae Takei—‘Alex’
Rae Takei (they/them) is a queer and trans Nisei haafu multidisciplinary artist, born and raised on the stolen land of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations, colonially called Vancouver. Rae is possibly better known as Rose Butch (@rose.butch), a non-binary drag persona whose style and sensibility follows the pursuit of gender euphoria. Their drag theatre collective, The Darlings, aims to challenge the boundaries of conventional drag and explores genderqueer, non-binary and trans experience through poetry, movement, dance, theatre, and immersive installation. Rae is a graduate of Studio 58.
About shameless hussy productions
Established in 1995 with a mandate of “telling provocative stories about women to inspire the hand that rocks the cradle to rock the world”, Vancouver’s shameless hussy productions puts HERSTORY to the forefront. We search for and create work that provokes a deeper understanding of women’s past, present and potential and bring it roaring onto stages across Canada and the US. Previous productions still on tour include Meghan Gardiner’s Love Bomb and Dissolve. www.shamelesshussy.com
About Surrey Civic Theatres
Surrey Civic Theatres are built on the unceded territories of the se’mya’me (Semiahmoo), q̓wɑ:n̓ƛ̓ən̓ (Kwantlen), and
q̓icə̓ y̓ (Katzie) nations. We are honoured to work and learn on land they have stewarded since time immemorial. Surrey Civic Theatres presents a curated mix of professional performances ranging from theatre, music, dance, stand-up comedy, and puppetry with an invitation to connect, laugh, dance, have thought-provoking conversations, and be inspired. www.surrey.ca/theatre