Maison des Reves at Edmonton Fringe Festival

Maison des Reves
Acacia – 10433 – 83 Avenue August 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24
More information at  www.taliemelnyk.com


An interview with Talie Melnyk

Describe your show in five words.

Russia’s battered women hubby slayer-

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

In 1909 Samara, Russia, Alexe Popova confessed to killing over 300 men, all known for abusing their wives and children.  For thirty years she provided an elimination service for the women of her community suffering unspeakable sexual and domestic violence at the hands of their husbands.  Maison des Reves is based on the true story of this remarkable woman.

What drew you to Alexe Popova’s story and inspired you to write a play based on it?

I was drawn to Alexe’s story because who doesn’t love a bad-ass female fighting for those not able to fight for themselves?  Violence against women is still going strong which makes this story and its themes universal and timeless.  Most of us have been affected within our own families or through someone we know.  My cousin died at the hands of an abusive husband and unfortunately passed away in the very hospital she was born, the Misericordia in Edmonton.  I was inspired to write a solo show about Alexe Popova because I love the art form of one actor on a stage.  The theatrical possibilities are endless and it’s a good old-fashioned way to tell a tale.

In the show you play seven characters – can you give us a brief overview of those characters and how they tie into Alexe’s story?

Without giving the entire story away, here are the characters:

  • Alexe Popova is our main character who begins the show as a young girl and grows into her other persona, Cecile.
  • Anastasia Vasilyevna Boklova is a prostitute and Alexe’s best friend.
  • Yelena Mylesovna Marashenkova is the battered wife of a wealthy man who becomes the first woman Alexe liberates.
  • Yuri Marashenkov, Yelena’s husband is a rich factory owner who abuses his wife and workers.
  • Marko Petrovich is a government official notorious for his savage ways.
  • Mariya Andreyevna Naryshkina is a young peasant mother who goes to the authorities.
  • Captain Mikhail Stepanovsky is a veteran detective and really good guy.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

The subject matter of Maison des Reves may seem dark and heavy but I promise some laughs and a little Edmonton bawdy house history.  I can also guarantee an authentic theatrical experience!

Bonus question: Any names you want to drop who have been involved in your show (local Edmonton arts people or otherwise)?

I don’t have any major names to drop from the Edmonton community as Maison des Reves was developed in New York City.  My director, Gretchen Cryer is a pioneer in women’s theatre in the US.  Her son is Jon Cryer of Two and a Half Men.

The 33rd Edmonton International Fringe is August 14 – 24. I’ll be previewing shows up until the Fringe starts. Want your show to appear on After the House Lights? Email jennamarynowski@gmail.com. 

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