Out & About: The Fighting Days at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre

The Fighting DaysFor the last few years, my parents have had season tickets to the MTC. As a result, I’m often called at the 11th hour to accompany one of them when the other is ill or working. The last couple of times I’ve attended have not been the best. One time I was really bored and another my mom fell asleep but still wouldn’t leave at intermission. lol. So when my mom called me on Tuesday night, I was a bit skeptical but since I haven’t been in awhile I was actually pretty excited to go. Plus, I love pre-ordering drinks for intermission. For some ridiculous reason it makes me feel fancy.

Without a doubt, The Fighting Days is one of the best plays I’ve ever seen. Sadly, its run ends on Saturday but I still wanted to tell you about all about it. The Fighting Days takes place in Winnipeg prior to World War I as women are trying to get the vote. Immediately after reading the synopsis, I thought it would definitely be focused on Nellie McClung. Of course, Nellie was included (how could she not be) but the focus was primarily on Francis Beynon someone who I knew nothing about. I really commend Wendy Lill (the playwright) for taking that angle.

What I found so incredible about this production was that the votes for women aspect wasn’t the main plot point. In fact, the Suffragette movement was just the catalyst for Francis’ growth as an independent thinker. We get to see her blossom from a timid country mouse to a journalist with a very unpopular opinion on conscription. Wendy Lill did such an amazing job on making these women three dimensional characters which isn’t always easy when it comes to historical figures. I also appreciated that she didn’t shy away from the more disappointing viewpoints held by many suffragettes at the time. The set design was also fantastic! I’m a big fan of set design (the only thing that got me through Brief Encounter last year) and I thought they did such a terrific job.

This play made me grateful for two things: one, I’ve never known a world where I didn’t have a voice and two that someone else did all that fighting for me. Honestly, I don’t know how they did it. I was exhausted just watching it. I’ve never taken for granted that I have the right to vote and that’s why I never miss the opportunity to do it. I know that my grandmother (89) and her sister (101!) were not considered “people” under law when they were born. That’s what gets me to the polls even when our political options aren’t very inspiring. Anyway, if you have the opportunity to see this production in the future, please do so. It’s fabulous. In case you’re interested, here’s a link to a review (with video) on CBC’s website.

Have you seen any great plays lately? Let me know and I’ll keep an eye out!

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