2017-2018 Season

The Virgin, The Whore and Something In Between

The Madonna-whore complex, first identified by Sigmund Freud, is said to develop in men who see women as either saintly Madonnas or debased prostitutes. In sexual politics the view of women as either Madonnas or whores limits women's sexual expression, offering two mutually exclusive ways to construct a sexual identity.While our season title is tongue-in-cheek, it does offer a clever umbrella under which to gather three plays that explore women's identities in regards to sexuality,religion and the Christian/ Catholic morality of the societies in which they have been raised.



(Alberta Premiere)

by Brenda McFarlane  

April 5 – 14, 2018 | Studio Theatre, ATB Financial Arts Barns 10330 – 84 Ave    

Matilda is a woman who gives of herself freely.  So freely in fact, that the senior citizens from the complex next door have her arrested for running a brothel. During an endless night of booking at the police station, Matilda runs a gamut of emotions: joy, regret, remorse, anger, despair and love.  Brenda McFarlane’s witty and fast paced play pries apart social stereotypes and stigmas in an insightful, light-hearted and comic examination of love and sex.

Featuring Michelle Todd | Directed by Trevor Schmidt

Performance Dates:
Thursday, April 5, 2018, 7:30PM Preview (PWYC)
Friday, April 6, 2018, 7:30PM Opening
Saturday, April 7, 2018, 7:30PM Performance
Sunday, April 8, 2018, 2:00PM Matinee (Preshow Director’s Circle Event)
Sunday, April 8, 2018, 7:30PM Performance
Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 7:30PM Performance (NLT 2 for 1 Ticket at the door)
Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 7:30PM Performance (Post Show NLT Guest Speaker Salon)
Thursday, April 12, 2018, 7:30PM Performance (Post Show Actor Talk Back)
Friday, April 13, 2018, 7:30PM Performance
Saturday, April 14, 2018, 7:30PM Closing

(No Performances on Mondays)

Location: Studio Theatre, ATB Financial Arts Barns: 10330-84 Ave.

$25 Student/Senior, $30 Adult, $20 Matinee (prices do not include GST)
Available at the door, or www.nothernlighttheatre.com, 780-471-1586

2018-2019 Season Subscriptions Available Soon
Starting at $40.00 for Previews & Matinees, $50.00 Student/Senior and $70 Adult, and $75.00 Opening Night (prices do not include GST)

Purchase a 2018-2019 Season Subscription and receive a single ticket to see SLUT at a 50% discount

2018-2019 Season Subscriptions

Buy Tickets

PWYC Preview & Free for Students with Student I.D:
Thursday, April 5, 2018, 7:30PM
Director’s Circle with Trevor Schmidt:
Preshow, Sunday, April 8, 2018, 1:15PM
Tuesday 2 for 1 at the door:
Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 7:30PM
Guest Speaker Salon hosted by Cristina Stasia:
Post Show Wednesday, April 11, 2018, Pizza provided by Famoso WEM
Actor’s Talk Back:
Post Show, Thursday, April 12, 2018


Brenda McFarlane - PLAYWRIGHT

Brenda McFarlane

Brenda McFarlane grew up in Toronto, attended college at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York where she majored in theater and creative writing and graduated cum laude. There she was recognized in Who's Who Among Students and was tapped by Omicron Delta Kappa - The National Leadership Honor Society. She went on to  graduate school at Tulane University in theatre directing, and spent 2 summers as a directing assistant at Williamstown Theatre Festival where she assisted Nikos Psacharopoulos while directing up-and coming stars like Allison Janney, Damian Young and Peri Gilpin. On returning to Toronto she held a steady flow of temporary jobs while producing and directing 7 of her own plays under her company, Far Fetched Productions. The Globe and Mail described her as "one of the brightest young writer/directors around these days" Later she attended three programs at the Canadian Film Center in scriptwriting, moved to Hollywood, won a scriptwriting award from the Austin Film Festival and produced her play "Slut" (published by Original Works Publishing) in Toronto, Los Angeles, San Diego and New York. In Los Angeles she directed and served as dramaturge for the original play "The Pig and I". Backstage review called her direction "crisp and inventive, keeping the stage picture lively." After moving to San Diego, McFarlane served as Artistic Director for the San Diego Performance Festival "Resilience of the Human Spirit." Presently she is seeking a producer for her full length play, "Husband in a Coma" and running her natural body care business ZirYab's Body Brew specializing in natural deodorant and other products.

Brenda McFarlane Interview

The following is excerpted from a conversation with playwright Brenda McFarlane.

Northern Light Theatre: I suppose the first question everyone asks (people being the prurient little pervs that they are) is "How much of this show is based on your real life?" Or perhaps, (more appropriately) – "What was the inspiration for writing SLUT?"

Brenda McFarlane: I don't mind answering the first question more clearly and honestly than I have in the past, perhaps because I am now respectably married - which certainly deserves a bit of contemplation in itself.  Anyway, the play SLUT absolutely reflects my personal approach to sexuality and aspects of my life experience.

I've never considered myself a SLUT but I certainly worried that others might think I am. There seems to be a lot of contradictions regarding sexuality and being a woman. On one hand, we are frequently shown confident women having a lot of sex - especially in television comedies like the Mindy Project, Girls, Broad City. When Sex and the City was on, I was acutely aware of the disconnect between the fun fiction of the show and the uncomfortable reality.

I wrote SLUT from my convictions and as a reflection of the many conversations I had with both men and women about sex. What disturbed me most during these conversations is the approach that sex had to be either a bit of dirty fun - sort of mutual masturbation - or motivated by love and commitment to each other. Almost all the single women I talked with seemed to steadfastly denounce casual sex - even when or maybe especially when - they actually engaged in it. In most cases the notion of actively pursuing casual sex seemed repugnant to them. They cited an inability to keep emotion out of sex, that they got attached, or they simply didn't enjoy sex without human connection.  On the other hand, the women I met who openly celebrated casual sex spoke of their sexual partners with indifference and perhaps even an edge of contempt.
I found both points of view incredibly limiting. Some of the women who refused to consider having sex outside of a relationship (or THE relationship) had not had sex in months or years despite expressing a desire for it. On the flip side, I found that modern women had learned to embrace the objectification of men with a gusto which I thought really took some of the fun out of sexual connection with a fellow human being.

NLT: How are you and Matilda alike- and different?

BM: The play SLUT, and the character Matilda, is a reflection and an encapsulation of my experience as an urban woman. Like me, Matilda refuses to rely on finding THE ONE before she can enjoy love and sex. Unlike me, Matilda has a bigger heart, is funnier, sweeter and has thought less about her sexuality until the play begins. In this way, I have made her both more innocent and more spontaneous. Matilda lacks the level of bitterness or cynicism I find in myself. Until this night, she has successfully avoided thinking about the social price she pays for wanting both sex and love outside of a relationship. I think Matilda has fewer defenses because she is less aware of internalized sexual shame. When she is confronted with it, she is much more surprised. Tonight she is forced to publicly admit to the emotional cost of living and loving fully and sexually. Doing this is difficult because it paints her as victimized by her own lack of self-restraint. I doubt I would have the courage to do what she is able to do. Finally, it was extremely important to me to give Matilda a great ease about safe sex and condoms because I find it highly disturbing that so many portrayals of sexuality occur without acknowledging this fundamental aspect of good sex.

NLT: SLUT walks a fine line between comedy and examination of some big, serious themes. How did you find the balance between the two in the development of the script?

BM: Thank you for saying that. I am painfully aware how many people have said to me - in one way or another - that the plays I want to write are not important or worthy of attention. At my best, when not defeated by futility, these kind of dismissals fuel my writing and make me want to be HEARD. When writing dialogue, I try to think of all points of view of the characters and when I think I am representing them well, humour naturally emerges. At times, I also think of the audience and will write imagining their experience and I find comedy in that too.

NLT: The title, SLUT, is a bald and bold statement all on its own. The word carries such a stigma. It's a brash statement to put on a poster. I'm pleased you didn't soften it with a backpedalling subtitle that lessens the impact. Has there been any strong reaction to previous productions?

BM: The title has been a blessing and a curse. It is certainly attention-grabbing, which was great in Toronto but didn't work as well in the States. The title carries so much baggage that apparently the actual play can't live up to all the expectations. I certainly considered changing the name to take some of the pressure it experienced off but I couldn't find a better title.
In general, audiences responded very well to the production. Some men expressed disappointment that the play wasn't more titillating. One LA reviewer saw nothing wrong with consoling himself by commenting on how nice Heidi's figure was. On the other hand, in San Diego I got the sense that the reviewer felt I didn't explore gender politics enough and the play was merely titillating.

What was most surprising but proved the validity of the work is Tom Penketh's review in Backstage. He calls Matilda's sex life "out of control" and her sexual behavior "aberrant. He claims that she is "acting out" and that she is trying to justify her actions with "feminist rhetoric or psychobabble" (Isn't the term "acting out" psychobabble?). His review represented exactly the kind of women hating judgment I would expect in small town USA and not New York, the city who spawned the TV show, Sex and the City. The sexism he displays can be summarized in his conclusion that the play is about Matilda being saved by a "sympathetic policeman" who helps her "eventually achieve a modicum of self-awareness." Could anyone be more male-centric? And if that's not a backlash to the subject of the play, I don't know what is.


Michelle Todd

An Edmonton native, Michelle has been active in the arts community as an actor, writer, and choreographer since graduating from Grant MacEwan's Theatre Arts program.  Michelle has performed her own one-woman show nationally, and been fortunate to work with organizations, post secondary institutions, local and provincial schools through theatre on social justice issues surrounding bullying, diversity, and racism.  With discussions around empowerment, promiscuity, slut-shaming, sexuality, and stereotypes, Brenda McFarlane's play, SLUT is gratifying to explore.  Michelle can't wait to work with the wonderful team at NLT and is grateful for Bob and her boys who encourage her to do so!

Trevor Schmidt - Director, Set & Costume Designer

TREVOR SCHMIDTTrevor has been the Artistic Director of Northern Light Theatre for the past 16 years, and involved with NLT for the past 23 years as a performer, director, designer, and playwright, as well as being a multiple Sterling award winner. He has been awarded three times for playwrighting (THE WATERMELON GIRLS, CHANGE ROOM, and FLORA & FAWNA'S FIELD TRIP!), twice for directing (the Canadian premieres of THE 4TH GRADERS PRESENT AN UNNAMED LOVE-SUICIDE and Carol Anne Duffy's THE WORLD'S WIFE). He received the Outstanding Fringe Performance award for the one-man show COFFEE DAD, CHICKEN MOM, AND THE FABULOUS BUDDHA BOI, penned by Nick Green, which toured to New York as part of the FRIGID FESTIVAL. His plays have been produced across Canada and far away as Australia (MABEL STARK!).  He has created and choreographed a one-woman dance piece entitled MARKED for the Expanse Dance Festival that was extended and nominated for a Sterling award for Outstanding New Work. He was honored to be awarded for Outstanding Choreography for 6.0: HOW HEAP AND PEBBLE TOOK ON THE WORLD AND WON at the Betty Mitchell Thetare Awards in Calgary, and the DIALOG Award for Excellence in Artistic Direction as part of the Mayor's Evening for the Arts in Edmonton.  He is an Artistic Associate of GUYS IN DISGUISE theatre company.


ADAM TSUYOSHI TURNBULLBeth is an Edmonton based director, producer, lighting designer and theatre collaborator.  She is the co-artistic producer of Catch the Keys Productions, best known for Dead Centre of Town, an annual site-specific theatre experience inspired by the true crime and ghost stories of Edmonton's past.  She is the artistic producer of Common Ground Art Society and Found Festival, Edmonton's only multidisciplinary found space and site-specific arts festival.  Select lighting design credits include CONVERGENCE (Good Women Dance Collective, 2013-2017), DEAD CENTRE OF TOWN (Catch the Keys Productions, 2007-2014), OVER HER DEAD BODY (Small Matters Productions), and SNOUT (Catch the Keys Productions).  She has directed over 20 new works, including OCD, FUNCTIONAL, and GEMINI by Louise Casemore, 900 SECONDS by Christine Lesiak, and SNOUT and URSA MAJOR by Megan Dart.  Next up, Beth will be producing Found Festival 2018, directing/lighting designing for JEZEBEL AT THE STILL POINT by Ainsley Hillyard (Bumblebear Productions), and directing FOSSEGRIM & NØKK by Leif Ingebrigtsen and Megan Dart (Alberta Opera.)

Elizabeth Allison - Stage Manager

Elizabeth Allison

Liz has been working for, or on the board of, NLT for over two decades now and it remains her favourite theatre company in town. She is thrilled to be working with such an amazingly talented group of friends on Slut and truly thinks Michelle is Awesome and brave for taking on this role. Recently Liz Stage Managed Pawakan MacBeth and last summer she directed the Five Star Fringe show Kingfisher Days for her theatre company NextGen Theatre. When not working in Theatre she can be found managing many things a Lecky School of Dance or spending time with her wonderful family whom she cherishes deeply. Thank you for supporting local theatre enjoy the show!








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