October 20 - November 20
Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage
By Margaret Atwood
The untold story of the original desperate housewife
A husband absent for twenty years, a sullen teenage son giving lip, tiffs with the mother-in-law—who wouldn’t be desperate? From one of Canada’s most acclaimed writers comes this fresh and witty retelling of The Odyssey myth. In Margaret Atwood’s contemporary interpretation, Penelope, the long-suffering wife of the hero Odysseus, finally gets to tell her side of the story.
Running time: 2 hours with one intermission
"Masterful…a new Canadian classic" —Peter Birnie, The Vancouver Sun [Read More]
"Ladies of Hades' make Penelopiad heavenly…[Meg] Roe can do it all" —Jo Ledingham, The Vancouver Courier [Read More]
"One of the strongest ensemble casts to ever grace a Vancouver stage… daring, innovative and extraordinary" —Andrea Warner, Westender [Read More]
"A triumph… a delicious evening of theatre" —Jerry Wasserman, Vancouverplays [Read More]
"A fully realized and inventive re-telling of a classic" – Mark Robins, GayVancouver [Read More]
"Another ‘don't miss’…extremely well-performed" —Gillian Lockitch, Review from the House [Read More]
"Rife with laughter, tears and everything in between… This ensemble will undoubtedly go down as one of the best ever to grace the stage in Vancouver – you have to see it to believe it" —Dan Culic, Homorazzi.com [Read More]
"The original desperate housewife' a story for the ages" —Province interview with star Meg Roe [Read More]
"Atwood meets Homer in The Penelopiad" —Vancouver Sun interview with director Vanessa Porteous [Read More]
"Meg Roe's Penelope takes a female-centred Odyssey in The Penelopiad" —Georgia Straight preview [Read More]
"The Penelopiad is a brilliant tour de force" —National Post
"Penelope flies with the help of the sardonic, dead-pan voice Atwood lends her… half-Dorothy Parker,
half-Desperate Housewives" —The Independent
"Refreshingly original" —The Globe and Mail
"One of the most engaging theatre experiences of the last few years! The teamwork of the versatile, talented cast is dazzling. Food for thought, food for the senses, food for the soul"
"This show was sensational. I felt privileged to experience The Penelopiad performed by such a talented group of women actors. I was completely engaged and intrigued throughout every minute of this amazing show!"
"This production is one of the best I have seen at the Stanley. It is comparable to Tear the Curtain. The staging and the acting are wonderful. Of course, it does not hurt that Margaret Atwood has created a script that is well written, cheeky, questioning, and raises issues just as she always does. This is a masterfully crafted work. Hats off to everyone involved"
"My husband and I were very moved with the production. It was raw, sensitive, emotionally challenging. . .and absolutely beautifully sung and staged. Thumbs up!! Our Stanley Theatre evenings have become the highlights of our social calendar. Thank you!!"
—Marion, North Vancouver
"I went to see The Penelopiad last night. I LOVED it. I enjoyed the insightful married woman asides, the a cappella choir, the staging, and the all female cast (as opposed to the traditional all male cast of a Greek tragedy.) My three companions found the play to be rather disturbing, but considering the playwright, I felt that was her desired outcome. This was an excellent production we all agreed, with plenty to think and talk about afterwards. Bravo"
—Melanie, North Vancouver
"Gorgeous piece of theatre... This show has it all–visually interesting, scintillating script, evocative movement and music, and such deep talent in the cast. A look at an untold story that was moving and thought-provoking. I'm still thinking about that show, and expect it will echo in my memory for quite some time. Thank you"
—Lisa, New Westminster
"Excellent production, very fresh and beautifully presented"
"I loved this show! Meg Roe was a wonderfully intelligent Penelope and the rest of the cast were great. Beautifully staged too"
"I was spell bound through the whole play. Wonderful acting by all and amazing personality changes by all the maids. Really, really good"
"Wonderful show. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Great cast"
"Meg was fantastic—was expecting a 'Heavy' like the last one. Atwood is still a little different and mixed with Greek mythology well...was nervous about the outcome. Enjoyed. Let’s have some light stuff down the line"
"Loved it! Not what I expected and was pleasantly surprised"
"This was a mindboggling production!! The cast was extraordinary in their ability to switch roles and sexes so smoothly–it was even creepy it was so smooth. The set was simple but haunting....a first class memorable production! Margaret herself would have loved it I'm sure"
"WOW! Way more than I expected from the clip on the web site. The acting, including the speaking and singing voices, was wonderful. The costuming was brilliant. The stage set, as always, was clever, interesting and fun to look at. The story was fun, sad, poignant, and easy to follow. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will recommend The Penelopiad to all who will listen. I would not hesitate to see it again"
"I attended the production with my Penelope for whom I had bought a first edition of the Atwood book. We were celebrating Penelope's birthday and we both enjoyed the production which lost none of Atwood's ironic voice, while gaining a visual and emotional layers by referencing/riffing Greek choruses and contemporary events. A tribute to director Vanessa Porteous and set designer Terry Gunvordahl"
"Wonderful, moving and innovative piece of theatre. Turns classical Greek drama inside out. Excellent performance, writing, and stagecraft!"
"The performance of The Penelopiad was a great interpretation of Atwood's lyrical novel. I was quite impressed with the choreography of the dances and movements. It was a great visual performance. The lyrics and music were moving and memorable. While I found the book hard to get through the play flows a bit better. Even if you do not care for the story or feminist views the play is still well worth the time!"
"I thought this production was brilliant. What a cast! Meg Roe, Colleen Wheeler, Lois Anderson, Laara Sadiq, and all the others were amazing in their ability to shape shift in their roles. As a lifelong Atwood fan, I couldn't have been more satisfied"
"The theme of this production is timeless!! Well done!!"
"I took a break from the Surrey International Writer's Conference and treated my sister to the play. We enjoyed it tremendously. The production was superb. They did so much with so little; very clever costuming and stage set. The words and the characters were the real focus and they shone. I've only read The Handmaid's Tale, which I disliked immensely and when I saw this play, I decided to purchase the book and give Atwood a second chance. I'm glad I did. It was worth the trip up from Seattle!"
Behind The Scenes
By Margaret Atwood
Starring Meg Roe, Rachel Aberle, Lois Anderson, Sarah Donald, Ming Hudson, Megan Leitch, Dawn Petten, Laara Sadiq, Lopa Sircar, Quelemia Sparrow, Colleen Wheeler
Director Vanessa Porteous
Movement Designer Denise Clarke
Set and Lighting Designer Terry Gunvordahl
Costume Designer Deitra Kalyn
Original Sound Design and Musical Direction Allison Lynch Griffiths
Additional Sound Design and Musical Direction Alessandro Juliani
Stage Manager Pamela Jakobs
Assistant Stage Manager April Starr Land
for Vocal Eye for the visually impaired