“Little Dead Lady” adds depth to Ibsen’s minor characters

Naked Theatre Productions creates original play for Ibsenfest

As part of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (MTC)’s 19th Master Playwright Festival celebrating the works of Henrik Ibsen, Naked Theatre Productions will be opening its curtains for Little Dead Lady.

Naked Theatre Productions is a Winnipeg-based theatre company co-founded by Rebekah Anne Marie and Sarah Flynn, who are also its co-producers. This play marks Naked Theatre’s seventh production and their second year participating in the MTC’s Master Playwright Festival.

Little Dead Lady is the creation of Marie, Flynn and Jenn Davis, who also perform in the play.

This darkly comedic production brings together three of Ibsen’s plays: Little Eyolf, When We Dead Awaken and The Lady from the Sea. The play follows the lives of minor characters Irena, the Nun and the Rat Wife.

“Ibsen was so ahead of his time, as far as actually writing female characters,” said Marie.

“Considering he was writing plays in the late 19th century, there was sort of no one really writing plays that centred around female characters, let alone had fully developed female characters, like Nora Helmer in A Doll’s House or Hedda Gabler in Hedda Gabler.”

Marie, Davis and Flynn sought to develop some of Ibsen’s minor characters as intricately as he had written his protagonists.

“We decided that we wanted to create a play about those three women, those three characters, and expand on their stories because they didn’t necessarily get told in the plays written by Ibsen,” said Marie.

The play’s tagline, “We can’t all be Hedda Gabler,” playfully draws attention to how unassuming minor characters can have their own rich inner worlds.

Little Dead Lady was created using a collaborative process called devised theatre.

“We each chose a character from each play and we sort of started doing individual exploration of the characters and then from there we combined their stories to create a narrative, which is now what we’re working on together with the director to have the narrative clarified and to tell a new story,” said Flynn.

This new story shows how remarkable these characters really are, showing Irena, the Nun and the Rat Wife navigating their own tragedies with humour.

Little Dead Lady also features original dance and movement choreographed by Davis.

Little Dead Lady takes place in an unspecified time period, abstracted from the linear time constraints of more conventional theatre pieces.

“It’s quite contemporary,” said Flynn.

“Like, the characters are technically from the 1890s, but it’s not a period piece.”


Little Dead Lady will be running from Jan. 30 till Feb. 2 at Video Pool Media Arts Centre.

Tickets are available for $15 or by IbsenPass at the door. For more information or to reserve tickets, email nakedtheatreproductions@gmail.com.