(Samantha Bourque as Maddie, Melissa MacKenzie as Kaylee, and Katie Miller as Jeanelle performing in Pregnancy Pact produced by The Edge Productions and Gangway! Theatre Co. at Shō Art, Spirit & Performance’s Sho Studios in Windsor, Ontario, on April 25, 2019. Photo above by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.)
The Edge Productions opened the professional Canadian Premiere of the hard hitting musical The Pregnancy Pact at Sho Studio earlier this week (April 24) and running through Saturday before it heads to Toronto for an extended run in collaboration with Gangway! Theatre Co.
It is clear 15-year-old high school student Brynn, not all that wise to the world outside her inner circle, is looking for love in all the wrong places. In her case, the maternity ward of the local hospital. Suffering almost incurable insecurity, when she learns she is a pregnant teen, she decides to keep her baby, if only for her expectations of its uncompromising reciprocal love.
Not only that, her three closest friends circle around her and agree to a pregnancy pact. They will all seek a night of romance with an innocent stranger or designated sperm donor for the sole purpose of becoming pregnant but not procreating in a family way. The girls plan to create a sort of teen mother and child nirvana where all is well.
With one song they spell out the pride in their adventure in motherhood, with the words, “nobody knows what’s inside of me,” concluding with, “I’m invincible.”
Another line sheds light on their true motivation, “no one could love me better than my child.”
Sometimes the best laid pregnancies can go terribly wrong and that is what makes Pregnancy Pact so intriguing. Playwright Gordon Leary throws just about everything at the girls including reinforcements. Two other teens, noticing the physical changes of the quartet, not so much the yet to be evident baby bubble, but other characteristics of pregnant women, put two and two together and ask to join the pact.
Eventually the highly anticipated mother and child unions unravel and so too the friendships of some “pacters.” It isn’t pleasant and this is where the quality of the script and the acting really shines through. These girls, of course are not 15-year-olds but very experienced actors. In fact, the current run of Pregnancy Pact at Walkerville’s Sho Studios is the play’s professional Canadian Premiere. In 2017, Edge Productions produced the play using students. At the time, this included Samantha Bourque, Miranda DiPietro and Sean Sennett who return as professionals. And this time Edge is partnering with Toronto’s Gangway! Theatre Co! to stage the show in Windsor and Toronto.
All of the actors have very impressive credentials under their belts. One of the greatest successes of Pregnancy Pact has to be the quality of its selected performers and in particular their musical range. It is nothing, if not inspiring to be in a room with so many talented singers who work so wonderfully together and who also can capture the full attention of the audience on the many solo opportunities each is given.
Windsor’s Miranda DiPietro, a recent Ryerson School of Performance graduate, takes on the role of Brynn, the first to get pregnant, and nails it. She brings to the role a certain motherliness which helps the audience comprehend her keen interest in bringing up baby herself.
Each of the six women add an intense depth of talent to the stage complimented with their own particular uniqueness to punctuate their characters’ ambitions that is a joy to behold. The fact they never divert from the characters’ personas they establish is a hallmark of their professionalism.
The sole male actor is Sean Sennett who does a remarkable feat of playing two roles, the engaging but flippant Cory and the nerdy Justin, a contrast he masters with perfection. Another delight is Melissa MacKenzie’s ability to deliver her character Kaylee’s snide remarks so effortlessly some might even call it subtle.
A four-piece live rock band brings the Julia Meinwald score to life and adds to the enjoyment of the play. Band members include Windsor musicians, bassist Alex Aideira-Leite, drummer Nicholas Baddeley and guitarist Logan Fletcher.
These are nothing if not productive times for Edge Productions. Nathan Cedroni, Co-Producer of the play, tells Eyes on Windsor he is enjoying his first joint production with another theatrical company. Things are looking so good right now that the play could be up for a potential entry in the competition for the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards. This is all the more reason for local theatre goers to see what all the fuss is about.
After Windsor, Pregnancy Pact relocates to Toronto for 16 performances at the Bravo Academy for the Performing Arts. On May 16 the cast will bring the play to the Grand Valley Institute for Women. According to Cedroni, many of the inmates have never been in a live production’s audience.
Judging by the standing ovations, Pregnancy Pact is well worth visiting. It is a genuine gem with a pleasing mix of situations reflecting the human conditions of today’s youth performed by actors with surprising realism and high-quality, infectious singing.
Directed by Miriam Goldstein with musical direction by Sam Poole, set & projection design by Nathanial Cedroni and lighting design by Nathanial Cedroni & Morgan Corbett-Collins. Stage manager is Morgan Corbett-Collins.
The cast consists of Samantha Bourque as Maddie, Miranda DiPietro as Brynn, Melissa MacKenzie as Kaylee, Katie Miller as Jeanelle, Caroline Burton as Sansanee, Anna Mazurik as Jenn and Sean Sennett as Corey and alternatively as Justin.
Local performances are at Walkerville’s Sho Studios Roth Centre for the Performing Arts running April 26 and 27 at 8pm and a matinee on April 27 at 2pm.
For more information visit https://www.edgeproductions.ca
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.