Seventeen [Anonymous] Women

Written by:

Carolyn Guillet

Cast Size:
17

Roles For:

  • Indigenous Peoples: 3
  • LGBTQ+: 7
  • Men: 1
  • People of Colour: 17
  • People with Disabilities: 1
  • Women: 17

Genre:

Comedy
Drama
Storytelling
Tragedy

Themes:

Healing
Love
Sexuality
Transformation
Women

Length:

120 min.

Year Written:

2005

Synopsis:

Seventeen women gather around the metaphorical fire of a lit theatrical stage to tell their stories, to dip their ladles into the bubbling stew-pot of humanity’s collective tales, some new, some old. They sing, they suffer, they laugh, they cry. Feisty, angry, whimsical, and forgiving, they obey the ancient dramatic imperative to act out life’s most challenging obstacles, crises, revelations, and transformations, for their benefit and for ours. In the same way a painter moves towards the light, they stumble and grope and feel their way towards joy, taking us with them.

Tales of dysfunctional families, magical transformations, epic journeys into unknown territory, navigating patriarchal systems, overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles, the furious drive to thrive, urgent expressions of sorrows and delights, trials and triumphs. Characters obstinately seeking happy endings. Whirlwind expeditions into darkness and back out again, into the light.

A play that can be performed alone, as separate monologues, or with any number of actors (up to 18) creating a unique whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Characters:

The author fully supports total freedom in casting, and encourages inclusivity and diversity. The characters in this play are for the most part without fixed identities. They live within patriarchal systems, and are not named. They are not racially/ability/sexual-orientation defined or designated, although many (not all) live within a world dominated by a prevailing heteronormativity. Although most are female-identifying, at a recent public reading it was important to me to cast a male actor, who read the “alternate version” of Idiot Love, while a (female) actor improvised movement/dance as the Idiot Love character. Often the “characters” are in fact telling stories about other characters, so it would be easy to cast male-identifying actors who tell the tales, and who perhaps “act out the parts” as they do so (as one so often does when one tells tales.) There is plenty of room for non-binary voices. They are mothers, lovers, anxious teenagers, budding musicians, wise women, queens, religious ecstatics, wives, loners, rock stars, circus performers, and world travellers. With a common bond of humanity.

First Produced:

Commissioned and premiered by Infinitheatre, Montreal Quebec, in 2005. Updated and revised in 2022 for publication.

Resources:

The play can be accessed by visiting the playwright’s Paypal.

Notes:

This production is meant to be performed in two acts, with an intermission.

Warnings:

The play addresses self-harm, sexual assault and psychosis, and makes veiled reference to incest and suicide

Featured Play Category:

Brenda's Picks