An evening with Rosie is an evening in a cramped apartment and an equally cramped mind.
Rosie is a hoarder in need of a reality check, but it might be too late. Her apartment is jam-packed with stuff. She carries conversations with someone who isn’t there, and an eviction notice on her door is sending her world for a spin.
“Rosie (herself) is fun, quirky and formidable,” says Gina McIntosh, writer and star of the one-woman play. “It’s a character study of a woman who’s on the verge.”
Rosie is the first full act play written by McIntosh, who sketched it out at a Charles Tidler workshop in the Belfry Theatre last year. It’s also her first time performing a full act one-woman show.
“At the Tidler workshop you get a lot of audience feedback, which is invaluable, identifying issues and clearing things up,” McIntosh said.
Crowd responses to staged readings of Rosie at UNO Fest and You Show were touching.
“From both workshops we had three or four people say they had a parent or a friend who was a hoarder, or if they didn’t know a hoarder, that they were going home to clean their house.”
Theatregoers in Victoria will know McIntosh from several performances over the years, as well as her role as Flora, the former host of Atomic Vaudeville who twice hosted Monday Magazine’s M Awards gala.
She had no plan to write a play at the Tidler writing workshop but came away with the heart-clutching character. Rosie’s an in-your-face example of how hoarding, an epidemic brought to life through reality television, goes hand in hand with mental illness.
Rosie isn’t based on anyone specifically from McIntosh’s personal life, she said.
“I’ve known fun, quirky and formidable women but they’re not Rosie.”
The play puts mental illness in the spotlight so much so that the Citizens’ Counselling Centre of Greater Victoria was brought on board as an opportunity to build a greater awareness around the risk of social isolation, specifically with Victoria residents.
“Theatre is so immediate, it’s someone you can reach out and touch, you can hear them breathing, and it opens up something you might not expect,” Mcintosh said.
Which is why the Feb. 15 matinee and Feb. 17 evening shows will have a casual post-show conversation hosted by members of the counselling centre, and every show will have a counsellor answering questions in the lobby.
“Right after the (performance) is when we hear all the personal stories. So that’s the time when it comes a little bit raw, when something’s bothering you.”
Rosie is the fourth production from the WAVE Theatre Ensemble, with Monica Prendergast and Kate Rubin co-directing with McIntosh.
Rosie, a one-woman show
Valentine’s Day preview, 8 p.m. on Feb. 14, two for one at the door.
Evenings: Wednesday, Feb. 15, to Saturday, Feb 18, at 8 p.m.
Matinee: Feb. 15, 18 and 19, at 2 p.m.
Venue: Intrepid Theatre Club, 1609 Blanshard St., (Fisgard St. between Blanshard and Quadra streets)
Tickets: $12 Adults, $10 Students & Seniors. Available at the door, cash only. In advance through Ticketrocket.org.