Melanie Teichroeb presents her one-woman show Shield Maiden at The Haven’s Phoenix Auditorium on Gabriola Island on Jan. 18 and 19. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Gabriola actress brings one-woman show ‘Shield Maiden’ to Phoenix Auditorium

Writer and performer Melanie Teichroeb also to be featured at Texas theatre festival

In the 19th century, Swedish archeologists discovered the remains of a Viking warrior outside Stockholm. Along with the body, the grave contained an array of weapons, two sacrificed horses and gaming pieces, leading researchers to believe the warrior to be a wealthy tactician and leader. They also determined the Viking was a man.

However, that longstanding assumption was debunked in 2017 when DNA tests confirmed the skeletal remains belonged to a woman. When Gabriola Island resident Melanie Teichroeb read about those findings, she wondered what that Viking warrior would have to say about it.

“Here’s this woman who for basically 200 years her story was completely dismissed and I thought, ‘What would she say?’” Teichroeb said.

Teichroeb started jotting down ideas and soon discovered she had a the makings of a one-woman show on her hands. In the play, entitled Shield Maiden, Teichroeb’s Viking “Ingrid Larsdottir” is hosting the medieval equivalent of a TED Talk to set the record straight on what it means to be a woman warrior.

Teichroeb worked with Gabriola costume designer Dianna Bonder to create a outfit accurate to the 10th century while also giving Ingrid “an edge.” Teichroeb said Ingrid’s bold, defiant attitude was inspired by a workshop she attended on strength and femininity. She said these elements all came together on the stage.

“When you write a play, it’s one-dimensional, it’s in your head, it’s on the page and it’s not until you get to rehearsals when you start discovering really how she walks, how she moves, how she speaks,” Teichroeb said. “So that was where she was really born.”

Shield Maiden is Teichroeb’s first experience writing for the stage and last summer she debuted the production at Gabriola’s Cultivate Performing Arts Festival to an enthusiastic, sold-out audience.

“It was a crowd of really intense theatregoers – it’s pretty serious over here, the theatre festival – so it was such an exciting opportunity to get this character and this play out in front of an audience. It was great,” Teichroeb said.

“I really hoped that the character would connect with the audience. I really envisioned this character to be highly relatable, and she was. The audience was really able to dive right in and connect with her.”

This month Teichroeb is remounting the play and bringing it to the Haven’s Phoenix Auditorium on Gabriola on Jan. 18 and 19 before performing four shows from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2 at the Frontera theatre festival in Austin, Texas.

Teichroeb has been working with director and TheatreOne artistic associate Nicolle Nattrass to further refine the play before taking it on the road.

“We’ve gone even deeper into the character,” Teichroeb said. “I feel like I understand her a lot more clearly than I did before.”

This is the first time the two have worked together. Nattrass said Shield Maiden a strong for a debut effort.

“I think she’s put together an amazing show,”Nattrass said. “I think it’s really funny and I think it’s timely.”

Nattress said a first show is always “do or die,” but it’s also a learning experience.

“You look at it and go, ‘OK, so I birthed that … what did I like, what can I improve upon?’ And so your second production is just even stronger,” she said. “And I think Melanie has a natural gift. I think she’s really gifted and it’s wonderful to see her explore that.”

Teichroeb has ambitious goals for the play and plans to continue bringing it to new audiences.

“In my mind there is no limit to the potential of where this show can go,” she said.

WHAT’S ON … Shield Maiden comes to the Haven’s Phoenix Auditorium, 240 Davis Rd., on Jan. 18 and 19 at 7 p.m. Tickets $20, available at North Road Sports and online.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nanaimo girls win bowling provincial championships, look to nationals

Jordan Singer and Brianna Robbins headed to national events in Laval and Edmonton

Nanaimo SAR, first responders execute rope rescue in Cassidy area

Rock climber said to have fallen in area of Riverbend Road

Questions about solar system’s Planet 9 will be posed in Nanaimo next week

Astronomer discusses possibility of planet’s existence at Nanaimo Astronomy Society meeting March 28

Raine Maida, Chantal Kreviazuk will present new duo act in Nanaimo

Couple touring new album ‘I’m Going to Break Your Heart’ across Canada, starting at Port Theatre

UPDATE: Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway in Nanaimo

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre

UPDATE: Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway in Nanaimo

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

Fire crews battle large blaze at Courtenay hostel

Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said nobody was injured

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Vancouver Island motorists attempted CPR on victim in fatal Highway 4 crash

Collision took place west of Whiskey Creek; man in his 70s died

Nanaimo pro wrestlers to duel tonight inside a steel cage

Scott Steel defends VIPW title against B.J. Laredo at the Departure Bay Activity Centre

Bucs lose to Cougars, hockey season is over

Nanaimo falls 4-3 to Victoria in Game 6 Friday night

Nanaimo’s 1 Port Drive could get a trial run as a temporary bus loop

Prideaux Street bus exchange expected to be relocated for six months this year

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Most Read