Picture three criminals trying to make their getaway who just seem to keep making mistakes. And throw them into some steampunk clothing just for good measure. Got it? That gives you just a taste of what you can expect from Northern Light Theatre’s season opener, Bitches & Money 1878.
In a nutshell, Bitches & Money 1878 is about “three people who have been hustling people at cards. But, by the time the play starts it’s all gone really downhill [and] they had to run away. They have this chest where they keep all the money, and you’re not quite certain where the money is, or who’s hidden it from who… They’re turning on each other, their alliances are shifting constantly – in one scene they’ll team up with someone and then turn on them.” According to Laura Gillespie, who plays fallen society girl Cora. “We spew so many lies – it’s just ridiculous…You can’t trust any of them. By the end you’ve figured out what are the lies and what aren’t, but at the beginning you have no idea.”
On paper it may sound serious, but Laura says, “There’s some darker humor, but this is actually pretty lighthearted considering the situation they’re in.” Bitches & Money 1878 provides a spot of comedy (well, dark comedy) in a month that has seen a number of serious plays like SIA or Pig Girl being mounted in Edmonton.
Northern Light Theatre’s production of Bitches & Money 1878 is the Canadian debut for the show, which was previously mounted at the 2006 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Maybe because, at first, the script seems like a bit of a mind-bender. Laura says, “The play doesn’t take place in chronological order. There’s seven scenes, and … if you were to take the number of the scenes – the order that we do them in is 4,5,3,6,2,1,7 or something. So, we’re going to show the number of [the scene] so we’ll try to help you keep track of going on.”
Oh, and if the title of the play sounds familiar to you, you may need to ease up on the 80’s rap music. Playwright Martin Henshell took the play’s name from the line “life ain’t nothin’ but bitches and money” in N.W.A.’s song “Gangsta, Gangsta”.
Bitches & Money 1878 runs at the PCL Studio in the ATB Arts Barns, November 22 – 30. Tickets are $16 – $28.