The Sidekick Players Club will be shining a spotlight on Canada’s role in the suffragist movement in the second production of its 22nd season.
Sidekick presents The Fighting Days by Wendy Lill at the Tsawwassen Arts Centre from Jan. 17 to Feb. 2.
Directed by Carroll Lefebvre, the production follows journalist and activist Francis Marion Beynon during her years in Winnipeg where she becomes involved with the Votes-for-Women movement and Nellie McClung.
The story takes place in Winnipeg from 1910 to 1917.
When the play opens, Beynon is on her way to Winnipeg, leaving behind a sheltered and religious rural childhood. Soon after she arrives she meets McClung and becomes involved in the Votes-for-Women movement. She also begins work as the women’s page editor for The Rural Review, airing her controversial political views on the editorial page.
Suddenly, Canada is involved in the First World War, and the conscription crisis divides the suffragists: Should all women have the vote or just Dominion-born women who are sending their husbands and sons off to battle? Should women use their votes to push for conscription or to lobby for a swift end to the war?
A play about the polarities of public and private lives, and about issues of racism and pacifism within the women’s movement, The Fighting Days deals with timeless moral concerns.
“This was our third production ever a long time ago and we decided to do it last year because it was the 100th anniversary of the suffragists movement, but some issues came up and we were not able to produce it, so we held it over to this year,” said Lefebvre. “But we are happy to have it on tap for this season and it, of course, fits very well into our season of all-Canadian productions.”
Lefebvre said there are three main female actors in the production and a male character who is the editor of the newspaper where Beynon worked.
“They are all new people, except for one, which is neat and one from Point Roberts,” she said. “They are also young, but they are excellent. They have all become very interested in all of this because they are young they didn’t realize or learn about this history, so they all have become almost experts on suffragists, which is kind of cool.”
The cast includes Mackenzie Dobb as Frances Marion Beynon, Dani-Rose Coates as Lillian Beynon, Claire Minns as Nellie McClung, Scott Wood as George McNair and Brenda DeJong and Sharlene Terrett as Prairie Women.
She said casting for the production began in late October once the first production of the season, Burn, wrapped up.
“There hasn’t been a lot of time and then you factor in the two-week Christmas break, so it’s been like on a treadmill since Jan. 3, but we’re excited to get this on stage,” Lefebvre said.
Performances take place Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. on Jan. 20 and 27.
Tickets can be reserved by calling 604-288-2415. The Tsawwassen Arts Centre is located at 1172-56th St.