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Playwright bases new work on true events of a widow’s dating life

‘Woman Against Gravity’ by Olivia Etey will be read at the Port Theatre on Feb. 11
Olivia Etey will hold a public reading for ‘Woman Against Gravity,’ presented by TheatreOne, at the Port Theatre on Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. (Submitted photo)

The second show in TheatreOne’s series of workshops and public readings of original plays is about a senior woman entering the dating world.

Woman Against Gravity by Olivia Etey arms the main character with the motto, “suck life dry,” and her late husband’s words, “you have energy and only one life, so use it.”

Tessa, the main character, launches herself into the world of seniors’ online dating, and examines her fierce battle against gravity as she yearns to master the art of living in the moment.

Etey started writing the play roughly six years ago, and previously it had been a part of the Stage One Festival of new Canadian work for the Lunch Box Theatre in Calgary. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, it hasn’t yet been read out loud in its entirety before a live audience before.

The play is inspired and based on the true events of a woman the playwright personally knew named Evie Wallace. She met Wallace during a women’s meetup at a remote mountain chalet that was accessible only by helicopter.

“They were all incredible women there. The very first time that they met and all assembled together, Evie had put a whoopee cushion on every single woman’s seat and they all sat down as a congregation and it was unbelievable.”

Etey grew up without any grandparents, as they all died before she was born, and was completely captivated by Evie and her life story.

“I’ve always romanticized and fantasized grandparents … and I think getting the chance to spend time and hear the stories of people from the baby boomer age demographic for me is a really fascinating place for me. I have so much admiration and respect for that age group,” she said.

Woman Against Gravity’s public reading will be held at 2 p.m. on Feb. 11 in the Port Theatre’s Harmac Pacific Room. Admission is by donation and seating is limited.

This year, the Emerging Voices program is being led by TheatreOne Artistic Associate, Tamara McCarthy, who works as a dramaturg with the playwright and directs a cast of professional actors in each public reading. The group will join the playwright for two days in Nanaimo, examining each script and asking important questions that can only be discovered through the deep dive offered through this process.

The goal is to provide questions and comments that will help the playwrights move their scripts to the next level. The final part of the program involves bringing the scripts to the public with a reading. Those attending will be able to give feedback to the playwright as well.

READ MORE: Taiwanese-Canadian playwright confronts intergenerational trauma in debut play

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