Fefu and Her Friends
Reviewed by Chandra Mayor (The Winnipeg Review)
Imagine The Breakfast Club, but with smart and weird adult women instead of clichéd and weird teenagers. And instead of a smelly high school weekend detention setting, convene the characters in a country home where they’re to plan an event together. (And then place yourself in this period estate, too, because this play is staged in various rooms in the gorgeous Ralph Connor House on Westgate). Make it 1935 instead of 1985.
Now imagine that it’s written not by John Hughes, but by the accomplished queer feminist playwright Maria Irene Fornes, the recipient of nine Obie Awards and doyenne of the New York experimental theatre scene. There’s still a great soundtrack of forgotten gems. The characters still alternately laugh, freak out, wander around, argue, ask big questions, and change their minds about each other. Except it’s a lot more interesting – gutsier, more articulate. Oh, and someone ends up dead. It’s The [Feminist] Breakfast Club for grown-ups, and you should go see this play.
The play is set in Fefu’s home, where she gathers with seven other women to coordinate and rehearse a fundraising event in which each plays a part. Fornes wrote the play to be staged in a period home, and the Ralph Connor House is the perfect setting. If you’ve never been inside, this is a marvellous opportunity to experience the house.
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