By Mira Saraf
The slip of paper of a program I received as I walked through the doors of the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace contained the usual credits and thank yous, but in addition the definitions of the terms Old Maid and Spinster from the middle ages. This was going to be different from the other shows I’d seen, this much I knew.
Gillespie started the performance wondering why she was always cast as the older single woman or lesbian and spiraled off into questioning why there are so many women choosing to be single.
Wanted, If Not Wed is a series of monologues based on interviews with a variety of women if different generations and backgrounds. We meet many different characters who have made the choice to remain unmarried and lived happy full lives.
The performance was engaging and her portrayal of the characters energetic and believable. Gillespie plays an Australian woman, a Belgian woman, a British woman and performs several mini “finger plays” (not really sure what the technical term is for those) in which she portrays the interaction of two characters, often but not always a man and a woman.
The use of lighting to switch characters and the little bit of movement she incorporates is all it takes for her to allow us to meet and learn these women’s stories through their own words. She did a fantastic job channeling their personalities and mannerisms.
Where the show may have faltered was in an overall point or message. I was expecting it to build up to something, and maybe that last story was supposed to hold more meaning than it did for me, but I found myself still unsure why so many women are choosing not to marry.
However the performance was fun and believable, if not hitting a little close to home with the choosing to be single thing. It’s more real than Sex and The City, and definitely thought provoking.