Written By: Armin Wiebe
Synopsis: Growing out of the mid-twentieth century Mennonite culture situated between Manitoba’s Red River and the Pembina Hills, my new play The Recipe is a comedy-drama featuring a plus-sized woman as romantic lead. The play wrestles with still-current issues of social class, body image, self-esteem, sexism, and a woman’s reproductive options.
Oata is an abundant woman who has been tormented for her size since childhood and also has suffered community ridicule for her misfit father and her mentally ill mother. Out of loneliness and “Holem de grül, needs a woman not sometimes?” she seduces Yasch, another misfit, and shows him she can be a lot of fun. A whirlwind romance leads to an engagement ring and new standing in the community.
However, when she’s about to tell him she may be pregnant, Tasch lets slip his obsession with skinny Sadie Nickel. Suddenly, Oata’s narrative is disrupted. “Skin and bones? That’s your dream?” -- Oata skewers him with the full wrath of a woman scorned. Should she, can she tell him now?
Meanwhile, her rival Sadie, fleeing a date with Pug Peters, also worries that her period is late and approaches Oata with a rumour that Oata’s mother knows how to help. Though insulted, Oata searches her mother’s midwife notebook and finds a remedy for when a woman’s monthly period has not occurred.
Can such a recipe work? Should she try to help Sadie? Should she try to help herself? Is skinny Sadie the enemy? Or is she an ally? Is Yasch worthy of her abundance? Does she need pants with a man in them to run the farm?
Set in a time before Pierre Elliot Trudeau declared that the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation, a time when contraceptives and abortions are hard to come by and still illegal, The Recipe is about a woman coming into her power in ways that surprise everyone, including herself.
History: MAP PlayLab Workshop led by Suzie Martin in 2021.
Availability: Contact the playwright at firstname.lastname@example.org
Running Time (mins): 46-75
Cast: 2M / 2F
Genres: Comedy , Drama