Fringe Preview: Beautiful Obedient Wife

Local emerging playwright Alexa Gilker makes her Fringe debut with a show about the mail-order bride phenomenon.

Local emerging playwright Alexa Gilker is making her Fringe debut with Beautiful Obedient Wife, which takes a look at the mail-order bride phenomenon.

Local emerging playwright Alexa Gilker is making her Fringe debut with Beautiful Obedient Wife, which takes a look at the mail-order bride phenomenon.

 

More Fringe Previews Here:

 

Burnt At the Steak (Carolann Valentino Productions, NY, NY)

 

Hanafuda Denki — A Tale of Playing Cards (Ryuzanki Company, Tokyo, Japan)

 

Little Lady (Sandrine Lafond inc., Las Vegas, NV)

 

Beautiful Obedient Wife (The Chicken my Grandmother Gave Me Productions, Victoria, BC)

 

Redheaded Stepchild — (Nobody’s Business Theatre, Toronto, ONT)

 

 

Let UVic grads Alexa Gilker (writer) and Sandi Barrett (director) weave you a dark and humorous tale of human trafficking in Beautiful Obedient Wife, a new work by The Chicken my Grandmother Gave Me Productions premiering at the Victoria Fringe.

Beautiful Obedient Wife tells the story of Masha, a young Ukrainian woman who unknowingly gets caught in a net of the mail-order bride phenomenon.

Masha’s wanna-be rockstar boyfriend and her own poverty-striken mother sign her up to be a mail-order bride without her knowledge in hopes they can scam money out of a possible suitor.

When the would-be Canadian groom shows up in the Ukraine looking to collect his bride, it forces a hilarious fight for a woman who doesn’t want to be won.

“When he shows up, all hell breaks loose,” says Gilker, who wrote the first draft of this play in her third year at UVic. The drama, then called The Kharkiv Letters, was included in the anthology Out on a Limb – Short Plays by New Playwrights produced by Signature Editions.

The recent grad was recently accepted into grad school for playwrighting, but decided to defer for a year to test the waters at home.

“Everyone floods out of here immediately and there’s a gap to be filled,” says Gilker. “That’s why I applied for Fringe. At some point you have to do the inevitable, you have to write something. There’s such a big learning curve to produce your own show as a writer, but so glad I did it. It’s been so much fun.”

When she found out she got into the Fringe, she took a look at The Kharkiv Letters and decided to rewrite it. “It was so angsty,” she says with a laugh.

Gilker was inspired to write the play after doing research on human trafficking for non-profit organizations she’s involved with. What she discovered about the mail-order bride phenomenon left an impression on her.

“Women often chose to put themselves in this situation,” says Gilker. “But they often don’t know how they’re being marketed on the other end. But in this situation, Masha doesn’t chose, it’s chosen for her.”

Gilker wrote the play with the idea in mind that Masha is a member of feminist Ukrainian protest group FEMEN, that is well known for organizing topless protests against sex tourism, international marriage agencies and other issues facing women in the Ukraine. “She’s fighting for her independence and I think that’s something that young people in Canada can relate to,” says Gilker.

“I write for the reason of exploring certain issues and I find comedy is such a fascinating way to do it. People laugh and then they wonder why they’re laughing.”

Beautiful Obedient Wife stars Randi Edmundson as Masha, Erin Sterling as Masha’s mother Katya, Mik Byskov as Masha’s boyfriend Vlad, Kieran Wilson as Canadian Mike Smith and Trevor Hinto as the ladies’ sleazy landlord Viktor. It also features live Ukrainian folk music by local four-piece Carousels. M

 

Beautiful Obedient Wife

St. Andrew’s School Gym (1002 Pandora)

Thurs., Aug. 23 at 9:45pm

Sat., Aug. 25 at 4pm

Sun, Aug. 26 at 8:30pm

Fri., Aug. 31 at 10:45pm

Sat., Sept. 1 at 7;45pm

Sun., Sept. 2 at 5:45pm

 

 

More Fringe Previews Here:

 

Burnt At the Steak (Carolann Valentino Productions, NY, NY)

 

Hanafuda Denki — A Tale of Playing Cards (Ryuzanki Company, Tokyo, Japan)

 

Little Lady (Sandrine Lafond inc., Las Vegas, NV)

 

The Cockwhisperer — A Love Story (Colette Kendall, Hamilton, ONT)

 

Redheaded Stepchild — (Nobody’s Business Theatre, Toronto, ONT)

 

 

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