Northern Sabbatical Productions. 

The Great Whorehouse Fire of 1921.

A historical drama laced with humour and heart by Linda Wood Edwards.

Synopsis.

Big Valley, Alberta. An enterprising madame establishes a brothel, leading to conflict and unexpected friendship with a town matron. Tension turns to crisis when the brothel is burned down. This true story is re-imagined with wit, sarcasm, and really good wigs.

Inspiration.

From the December 29, 1921 Big Valley News — Big Blaze near Big Valley — A house occupied and owned by a woman named Hastings who was living a mile and a half north of town was totally destroyed by fire at 4:30am on Monday morning. The cause of the fire is unknown. The occupants had a very narrow escape, as when they awoke the house was full of smoke and fire. Nothing was saved and the loss is estimated at $4,000. [about $50,000 in contemporary funds]. The Hastings woman and another person who was staying with her had to walk into town clad only in night attire with blankets over them, and had a terrible time from cold and exposure. The police are investigating the affair.

But there was no investigation, no charges laid. Hastings disappears from annals of Big Valley, Alberta. A story passed down in local histories, of a group of townswomen who banded together to defend their families by burning the brothel to the ground. But we found no records linking the action to any specific women. So we made this up. MAA & PAA Theatre dives into this seamy, darkly funny story, pushed to the fringes of mainstream history. Moving beyond the stereotypes, we look at the uneasy intertwining of prostitution and “proper” society, and the ways that women support and sabotage each other. This historical drama is laced with humour and heart.

Bios for Fringe 2018.

Linda Wood Edwards.

Co-Playwright Linda has been producing her plays since 2005. In addition to this collaboration with David Cheoros: Trail and Error (2016), Spring Alibi (Adelaide AU 2015; 2005, 2014; Washington DC 2006; Yukon 2007; Sask. 2012); Never Let the Crew See You Cry (2013+tour), Four in the Crib (2012, 2013, High River 2018), True Grid (2007, 2010), Support Ho’s (2009), Beans & Rice (2006, Sask. 2017), Gibberish v. Genius (Canmore, YEG 2018), and Almost the Pioneer Brewing Company (Canmore, YEG, Fort McMurray 2018). Linda’s plays have garnered sweet accolades including two Sterling nominations.

Linda Grass.

(Mrs. Smith) After a disastrous romance with John Cena (JOHN CENA!!), Linda has happily returned to Edmonton to appear in her six thousandth Fringe. She really wrestled with this decision, but ultimately, it was the opportunity to work with “the woman of her dreams,” Sue Bella Huff, that won her over. Sue and Linda first appeared on stage together over 25 years ago in another ’20’s play: Linda playing a temperance woman; Sue playing a gangster’s moll. Since then, Linda has gone on to play many other roles with many other theatre companies such as Trunk Theatre (Ciara, Good With People), Next Gen Theatre (The Watermelon Girls), Whizgiggling Productions (Her Mark), Guys in Disguise (The Neo Nancies), The Plain Jane Theatre Co. (Ankles Aweigh), MAA and PAA Theatre (Invisible Child), Northern Sabbatical Productions (Support Ho’s), and five thousand, nine hundred and ninety-two others. JOHN CENA!!

Sue Huff.

(Mrs. Hastings) After 27 years, Sue is thrilled to share the stage with Linda again! She is also tickled to be reunited with Linda & David (Spring Alibi and True Grid). Sue has performed on many stages and has directed/produced a film for the National Film Board of Canada. She has also written a documentary TV series, short pieces for CBC Radio, and most recently a book on families overcoming eating disorders. Sue has spent the last four years as Executive Director for the Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta, and five years prior to that in politics. At 51, Sue still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up.

David Cheoros.

Co-Playwright and Director David has directed over 50 plays and is thrilled to be working with Linda on this historical collaboration. David does plays about Alberta history through Maa & Paa Theatre, makes weird short films, and runs arts organizations. He is a proud father of two and is the executive director of Metro Cinema.

History.

MAA & PAA Theatre 2018

Fri Aug 17 @ 5:30
Sat Aug 18 @ 4:00
Mon Aug 20 @ 9:00
Tue Aug 21 @ 7:45
Wed Aug 22 @ 9:15
Thu Aug 23 @ 3:15
Fri Aug 24 @ Noon
Sat Aug 25 @ 8:00

Strathcona Library Venue #13
8331 – 104 Street
Air Conditioned Comfort
Maapaa.ca