Melanie Teichroeb, seen here performing at the Haven’s Phoenix Auditorium on Gabriola Island, is bringing her one-woman show Shield Maiden to New York City this fall. (Photo courtesy Jeanette Martin)

Gabriola Island play ‘Shield Maiden’ to make off-Broadway debut this fall

Playwright Melanie Teichroeb appealing to fans to help bring the play to New York

An original Gabriola Island theatre production is heading to New York City and its playwright is hoping for fans to pitch in to help on its journey.

On Oct. 31 Melanie Teichroeb will be staging her one-woman show Shield Maiden at the off-Broadway Theatre Row complex in New York’s theatre district. The production, a medieval-style TED Talk on what it means to be a viking warrior, is part of the United Solo Theatre Festival, which features one-person shows from around the world.

Teichroeb debuted the play at last year’s Cultivate Festival on Gabriola Island and she has since performed it at Gabriola’s Phoenix Auditorium and at Frontera Fest in her hometown of Austin, Texas.

She said she was “totally blown away” when she heard her play was accepted to United Solo.

“The phrase I’ve been using is ‘nothing to New York City in a year,’” Teichroeb said. “It’s been a mind-blowing experience so I was pretty overwhelmed.”

This month Teichroeb started a GoFundMe page with a goal of $8,000 to help cover the cost of producing the show and bringing it to the Big Apple. She said any additional funds raised will go into looking for more opportunities to “get the show out there.”

With the off-Broadway performance three months away, Teichroeb said she feels confident about the flow of the play and she’s even brought in a fight choreographer for help “getting my warrior weaponry nailed down.” She said performing in New York is an “incredible opportunity” and she wants to make the most of it.

“I love this character so much and it’s just so exciting to get in front of people and perform it and get the message out there,” she said. “So to me it’s just another opportunity to get the play in front of people. I try not to think about it’s the biggest theatre experience a playwright could ask for.”

Teichroeb said she suspects Shield Maiden was accepted into United Solo because of how it approaches pressing contemporary issues. She describes the show as “just a really powerful and funny piece of feminist theatre.”

“The #MeToo movement and the #TimesUp movement have not died down. Women are still really vocal and making big changes and trying to change the status quo, so I think the image of a woman warrior still resonates quite strongly,” she said.

Teichroeb said she’s been overwhelmed my the feedback she’s received from women and men who see the show. She said people leave Shield Maiden feeling motivated and after doing the show for a year those comments now inform how she plays her character.

“It turns out that it’s quite inspiring to see a full-fledged female warrior onstage who is proficient with weaponry and 100 per cent unapologetic for the job that she does and how she feels about her work,” she said. “So I think what’s changed the most for me is really wanting to honour how impactful and meaningful [it is] for the people who watched the show and how inspired they have felt coming away from the show.”

To contribute to Shield Maiden, click here.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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