(Chaotic Reality cast members, front playwright Jaz Morneau, back from left, Aashique Al Saheem, Anthony Giacalone, Esme Prowse and Ashley Steele, on stage following opening night of the play, which followed Christina Yowerminn Wants You, at The Shadowbox Theatre in Windsor, Ontario on Wednesday, February 19, 2020. The two one act plays by Morneau will be performed nightly through Febrauray 22. Photo above by Eric Bonnici / Eyes On Windsor.)
Shadowbox Theatre opened not one but two one act plays on Wednesday night and both, although not inter-related, presented two fascinating ways to save the world.
Both were penned by Jaz Morneau. In the first, Christina Yowzerminn Wants You, Morneau himself plays the sheltered Christina who sets out to bring the Mormon religion to benefit the world. The world, of course, is not actually waiting to be converted and has many other preoccupations.
To get a handle on Mormon missionary practices, Morneau tells Eyes On Windsor, he recruited a handful of Mormon women, while he lived in Edmonton, to gain a full picture of the religion from a woman’s perspective.
Yowzerminn, who it turns out, is a hermaphrodite and is named Christina because his parents favoured a daughter, lives a life of being scorned simply because of the unusual predicament of having the genitalia of both sexes. In simple terms, this, and being a Mormon, means she has few street-life experiences.
After studying her faith in greater detail, in Edmonton, she prepares to be a missionary and starts the crusade, so to speak, by running smack dab into the depravity and carnal delights of the Alberta capital’s popular, anything goes, Whyte Avenue.
Morneau plays his character, who is part narrator, with all the naivete of a Forest Gump, including building an early bond with a fellow missionary student, ironically named Jenna. Thinking the grass is particularly greener, if possibly not higher, they head to Texas, anticipating its gluttony would surely offer a number of souls waiting to be saved.
Jenna quickly leaves while Yowzerminnn decides the best way to proceed is to become a stripper. One, named Karma Sultra, becomes her mentor. To punctuate her transition, she does a rather presentable striptease. But it is all downhill from there resulting in a most surprising ending.
In the second play, Chaotic Reality, Esme Prowess, in the lead role of young Parker Logan, is under the influence of three distinctly different voices and one doctor. Three are looking out for her, although two, as can be anticipated, are often at odds.
One is the positive side of the equation, Ashley Steele’s positive thought Possie, while Anthony Giacalone plays negative thought Neg. Morneau takes on the role of an unseen voice of reason.
At one point, Possie tries to convince Neg about the value of working together. Giacalone has some of the best lines, in a play with many stellar lines, in his reasons to stay negative.
In his negativity he really fails to see what is happening. Possie, on the other hand, who is good at yoga, seems to be well on the road to figuring it all out.
She knows the global situation, and through her, so does Logan. Those who love conspiracy theories are just going to love Aashique Al Saheem in the role of Doc, the fourth voice.
A combination of Morneau’s heavily polished and highly inventive script and Al Saheem’s superb acting effectively contradicts what is happening, making it a delight for the audience to try to piece the pieces together in the well thought out sequence of events. But, no matter how hard the piecing attempt, there is no calculating for the surprise ending, although, in his last entrance, Doc does offer a clue. Some might miss it, others not so much.
Morneau is no newcomer to the stage. While living in Toronto he was involved in some 700 productions over a period of a decade. His depth of knowledge is precisely evident in both plays. While Christina Yowzerminn’s tale is certainly novel, he really gets down to what is happening in the world with Chaotic Reality. It is also the newest of his plays. Yowzerminn, a rather timeless tale, was written in 2012 and was influenced by God Is A Scottish Drag Queen. Chaotic Reality was completed last year.
The two thought provoking plays, well worth attending, will have a three-day run at the Shadowbox Theatre. Its opening night was Wednesday. Subsequent performances will be on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm at the Shadowbox Theatre, 103B – 1501 Howard Ave. Tickets are $25.
For more information visit the Eyes On Windsor events listing: Christina Yowzerminn Wants You & Chaotic Reality 2 One Act Plays
Article by Robert Tuomi
For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.