It’s fierce. It’s funny. It’s unapologetic. And it’s coming to Anvil Theatre.
Melanie Teichroeb, a playwright and performer, is bringing her play, Shield Maiden, to Anvil Theatre. Shield Maiden takes to the local stage on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
A synopsis of Shield Maiden describes it this way: this modern feminist story uses a character from the past to expose the reality that not enough has changed in the treatment of women since the time of Vikings...one thousand years ago. Shield Maiden challenges untruths about women and gendered expectations, and is based on a historical character who history hellishly gaslighted.”
Teichroeb, who is the playwright, performer and current director for the solo show, has the role of Garrison Commander Ingrid Larsdottir.
“I’m more of a nurturer by nature. Stepping into the shoes of a warrior woman has been a challenge for me,” she said. “I did a DNA testing kit and found out that genetically speaking, I am of Northern U.K./Scandinavian decent. It's very likely there is Viking somewhere in the mix. So, challenge accepted.”
Teichroeb is thrilled to have been invited by Anvil Theatre to bring the solo show to New Westminster.
“I’ve performed the show in NYC off Broadway, in Austin, Texas and across B.C.,” she said. “It’s my first chance to bring the show to the Vancouver area, and I’m so excited to play in the gorgeous Anvil.”
The Record recently caught up with Teichroeb by email. Here’s what she had to say:
Q: How did this project come about?
A: In 2017, women were sharing their #MeToo moments and it felt odd reading about this massive movement on my tiny little phone. At the same time, a National Geographic article came out about DNA testing on a body found in a high status viking warrior grave from the 10th century. Turns out, that warrior was a female. This study caused a global stir because women can’t be warriors, right? (Using this same DNA testing, we are finding more women warriors all over the globe.) At the time I wondered, “What would this warrior woman have to say about MeToo? What would this woman have to say to me?” That was the catalyst for the play. I needed to see this woman come to life and I needed to hear her message.
Q: Tell us what Shield Maiden is all about
A: Imagine a 10th century Viking TED Talk (a RED Talk) on what it means to be a warrior woman. As Garrison Commander Ingrid Larsdottir comedically endeavours to engage new recruits, she inadvertently reveals her own tragic and violent personal history. Watching her struggle with her trauma is unsettling. Witnessing her tap into her inner strength is inspiring. Ingrid’s clarion call for equality and new recruits prevails! She empowers women to reclaim the warrior archetype in our modern world.
Q: Can you describe Shield Maiden for our readers?
A: Shield Maiden is wildly entertaining (ridiculously funny peppered with some heart-wrenching moments) and offers a new perspective on Vikings and women.
Q: What do you hope theatre goers will get out of seeing this production?
A: I hope the audience leaves feeling like I cared about storytelling and showed them a good time. I hope to spark a little curiosity around our expectations/limitations of what a strong woman can look like. I hope that anyone who needs it comes away with some warrior energy. Sköl!
Q: What other projects are you working on?
A: Shield Maiden feels like she’s really gathering steam again, post pandemic. I’m gratefully quite focused on this project right now. I’ve just recently returned from Europe making connections and building a 2025 European tour.
Q: Is there anything you’d like readers to know?
A: I’ll be joined by Jessica Schneider (executive director of Massey Theatre Society) for a post-show discussion immediately following the play. So stick around and dig a little deeper into Shield Maiden's themes, and we take questions from the audience. Folks seem to appreciate having a little more time with Ingrid!
Tickets for Shield Maiden range in price from $36.50 to $46.50 and are available online at www.ticketsnw.ca or by phone at 604-521-5050. Anvil Theatre is located at 777 Columbia St.