Mittelschmerz at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

Mittelschmerz

La Cité Francophone (8627 – 91 street), August 14 – 22
More information: kimmyzee.com


Kim Zeglinski. Photo Credit: Rodney S. Braun

Kim Zeglinski. Photo Credit: Rodney S. Braun

An interview with Kim Zeglinski.

Describe your show in five words. 

“Embrace the NEW NORMAL!”
(I could have sworn that was 5, but as I re-read it, it’s only 4. Oh well, I’m sticking with it!)

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

Take a ride down the slippery slope of the other side of the hill in this jam-packed hour of shoot-from-the-hip-replacement truth-telling. From her childhood-to-adult selves, to her beat poet & sex therapist alter-egos;  Zeglinski takes you on a journey through squelched dreams and great expectations. Mittelschmerz is a wild ride through life’s great juggling act – Post-partum, Preemies, & Peri-menopause; Autism, Anger, & Acceptance! With storytelling, monologue, and spoken word; Zeglinski weaves a witty exploration of motherhood and middle age. This dramedy will leave audiences in stitches and in tears.

Nominated for The 2014 Manitoba Association of Playwrights’ Harry Rintoul Award for BEST NEW MANITOBA PLAY!

“…this clever writer-producer-performer, who brought Stretchmarks and Breast Friends to the (Winnipeg) Fringe in previous years, finds both lots to say and truly original ways to say it in this one-hour, one-woman, high-energy show.”
Winnipeg Free Press ★★★★1/2

Stretchmarks  2012 “…clever and creative…wickedly funny…”

★★★★ CBC Manitoba & Winnipeg Fringe Festival Best of Fest!

Breast Friends  2010 “…amusing, provocative, touching and titillating…”

★★★★★ Winnipeg Free Press

Tell me a bit about the name of your show, Mittelschmerz. Where did the name come from? I know the translation is middle pain, but what does it mean to you?

Mittelschmerz (translation: Middle Pain) comes from the medical term used to describe mid-cycle ovulation pain (it’s akin to menstrual cramps).

“Oh joy! So not only do I get menstrual cramps, but now I get mid-cycle ovulation pain too? It’s a wonder my husband and I EVER have sex!” 

Aside from the physiological phenomenon, which I do describe in the show, being in my middle forties, married to someone in his middle fifties, I’ve expanded the definition of Mittelschmerz to encompass themes of motherhood, marriage, and middle age.

From the fear of mortality, to raising kids, to our family’s experience of living with Asperger’s Syndrome, to postpartum sexuality, to aging, to career, to the universal question: Now that all my life-agenda-boxes are ticked off, who am I married to, who am I, and WHO/WHAT do I want to be when I grow up?

Was there any particular series of events/moments that lead you to create Mittelschmerz? If not, where did this show come from?

Around the age of 35, I began to write and self-produce my own work after attending an Artist’s Way Workshop led by the author, Julia Cameron. The first piece I wrote was a one-off physical clown piece for an annual women’s fundraiser in Winnipeg called, Girls! Girls! Girls! cabaret, which I have been co-producing with Ruth Baines for the past several years. My first play, Waiting for Aidan, was born of that clown piece, and became a two-hander set to a soundtrack of popular music, about my agenda to fall in love, get married, and have babies. My second play was an 5-woman ensemble cabaret show called Breast Friends and was about the trials and tribulations of breast ownership. It included my own experience of having breast reduction surgery, told through my clown alter-ego Kimbo (the Dirty-Girl) Clown, as well as a piece about the hyper-sexualization of girls by Celeste Sansregret, a piece about nursing by Sensible Footwear‘s Alison Field, a tassel twirling burlesque piece by Miss La Muse, and some physical comedy and stand-up by Heather Witherden. My third play, Stretchmarks was another ensemble women’s cabaret about motherhood and sex (YES moms have sex!) and included my signature brand of monologue, original songs and parodies by singer-songwriter Harmony Parent, burlesque by Miss Robin Red Breast, and stand-up comedy by Heather Witherden, with a special appearance by her husband Rick, as our dapper manservant. It made sense to me, that the next step should be to write my own solo show. Being an artist-with-a-day-job, I had no hope of ever taking my work to other fringe festivals, if I continued to rely exclusively upon ensemble work. So, I began to write pieces for the spoken word community in Winnipeg and participated in the Winnipeg Poetry Slam seasons in 2014 and 2015. Many of the pieces in this show, were one-offs at Winnipeg Poetry Slam. Every artist needs a deadline and a time limit. Writing a 3-minute piece for slam was a perfect way to put together some very strong anchor points for this show. Out of that, a beat poet character evolved, who is woven into Mittelschmerz. In addition to poetry, Mittelschmerz also incorporates monologues done in the context of a ‘sex therapy’ workshop for married couples, and autobiographical storytelling. My son and I are both diagnosed with Asperger’s, so our quirky household provides great fodder for my writing; and what better place for an ‘Aspie’ who likes to constantly monologue, than to put it on the stage?

In your bio, you say your inspiration comes when you’re bathing and your husband transcribes your thoughts. What can you tell us about your creative process from there?

It’s true, many of my pieces began as ramblings over wine in the bathtub. No word of a lie. My husband stays OUTSIDE the tub and just listens to me go on and on and on. The payoff afterwards, he’s discovered, is often well worth it. Sometimes, he does actually take notes; and yes, sometimes they do turn into something. But I am a classic artist-procrastinator. So signing up for poetry slam, spoken word, open mic, and fundraising cabarets forces me to get ‘er done! Having a deadline really helps to keep me in the creative zone when the busy-ness of life would otherwise just take over. I am also studying school counselling with a focus on holistic expressive arts therapy, so by virtue of having to do lots of journaling and creative assignments for my coursework, I keep the creative channels flowing.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

Most people assume that my demographic consists of mothers in the thick of it. If that were the case, my audiences would be mostly empty–I find most busy moms have the best of intentions and WANT to go to see shows, but so often get distracted by their busy lives and end up falling asleep on the couch watching re-runs of Sex and the City!
No doubt, I do write from a mother’s perspective, but my shows are so much more! They are a perfect date show. They are a wild romp for anyone who has ever been in a sexual relationship. Empty-nesters who have ‘been there and done that’ love me! And I happen to have a small following of deliciously handsome young male groupies who see everything I do! They tell me that my plays are, “The BEST sex education they have EVER gotten!”

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

I have NEVER been to the Edmonton Fringe Festival, and don’t have any Edmontonians involved in my show. But I will say, I was a HUGE Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie fan when they began to tour the circuit, and their comedy planted a seed in me way back in my early 20s. I miss Joe Byrd’s smile, hugs, late-night Facebook chats, and warm greetings immensely. I came to be involved in the 2015 Edmonton Fringe, when, after not being drawn in the lottery, I was invited to join in on La Cité’s fine group of performers, when someone told powerhouse Fringe veteran, Jon Paterson, who produces two BYOVs in Edmonton’s French Quarter, about my show.  (T.J. Dawe has read it, and Sam Mullins has seen it. Both have provided some very favourable feedback, but I’ve not formally asked for their endorsement.)

The 34th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 13 – 23. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca starting August 4.

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