Upstart Women 2009 PosterA Festival of Six One-act Plays by Young Canadian Women

Show A Performances: February 3, 5, 7, 2009

Show B Performances: February 4, 6, 2009

Show B Matinee: February 7, 2009

Venue: Hagey Hall 180, Humanities Building

Cliques That Click

Four women shared their experiences, both past and present, with eating disorders. In their attempts to express themselves, we explored the various types of damage caused by negative body images to women and girls of all ages. The performances of Cliques That Click fell during National Eating Disorder Awareness week. 

Surface Tension by Elyne Quan

Before working on this play, I had never questioned my feelings toward my heritage as a Canadian woman of Chinese descent. When David and I decided to work on Surface Tension, I had no idea this experience would lead me to discover so many things about myself. I found myself relating to Elyne Quan’s character on so many levels, which helped me to come to terms with some of the issues relating to my own ethnicity.

I think I can speak for most people born in Canada who are part of a visual minority, that we often feel we are not fully Canadian nor fully the ethnicity of our respective backgrounds, sometimes even to the point of denying one at the expense of the other. We feel our ethnicity limits the way in which people view us. This show inspired reflection, led audiences to come to terms with their own ethnicity and identity, and helped them realize our exterior is only a small portion of who we really are.


Bittergirl was a darkly hysterical romp through the lives of three women and the men who dumped them; an irrepressibly upbeat comic exploration of abandonment and resilience. It introduced three women, A, B, and C whose somewhat generic man, D, sets the piece in motion by announcing to each of them that the relationship was over and he was leaving. In response, the women went from shock to grief to anger to relief and finally, to vengeance.

The Hair Affair

A new experimental piece about gender identity with a focus on hair removal. This play poses the question of why it is socially accepted – even encouraged – that women remove hair from the majority of their bodies, while it is still considered strange for women to shave their heads. Moreover, why is the hairless female body considered beautiful? Is it really beautiful? Why do women wax, shave, pluck, lotion or laser their body hair?


Clothture was a collaboratively devised work-in-progress exploring the challenge of straddling two cultures, East Indian and Canadian. One woman excavated the mine of cultural identity through the lens of three varying perspectives on how clothing carried its own identity and the influence it had on its wearers. 

The Red Tent (adapted from the novel by Anita Diamant)

The Red Tent was an unconventional interpretation based on the biblical story of the twelve sons of Jacob, written from the perspective of the only daughter, Dinah. As very little information is provided in the Bible about Dinah, this was a fictional tale of the fellowship of women and her coming-of-age within a patriarchal society. This piece represented a collaborative experiment in which we made new discoveries about female identity, interaction, and the lesson behind the story of Dinah and her mothers.