We’re so excited to feature Mad About Style’s very own Chelsey Grewar in a mini questionnaire as she’s gearing up to present her original work, Self-Help Shelf, at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival!
We’re so inspired by all the hard work she and her company, Awkward Cheese Co. have put into the writing and rehearsing of Self-Help Shelf . There’s nothing better than seeing a power-house woman as she takes the world by storm, following her passion, and just killing it in general. We love you Chels, and we can’t wait to go on a #madteam Fringe date to see your brilliance in action.
1) Who are you? Tell us about yourself!
Hi! My name is Chelsey and I’m so lucky to have worked for 2 years (and counting!) at Mad. I also have just graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree majoring in Theatre. Coming out of my degree I wanted to do something completely out of my comfort zone so I decided to mount a one-woman Fringe play and write it myself (with the help of my sister, another member of the #madteam, Shona!).
2) Can you give us a little description of what your play is about?
My show is called, “Self-Help Shelf” and it basically revolves around exactly that. What I explore in this play is the inner thoughts and truths within an individual bookstore employee named Maggie. This character, Maggie, is at a loss when it comes to knowing what to do with her life and how to make decisions. At a shift at this bookstore she is guided through her thoughts in a way with the help of a best-selling book on the shelf, “The Millennial Mentor”. The author of, “The Millennial Mentor”, a confident and established woman named Trish, takes Maggie through her subconscious within the context of this book as she tries to decipher what it all means.
3) How did you get your idea or concept for it?
It’s hard to kind of pinpoint an exact moment when I had this idea. It took on so many different forms and partial ideas before it came to this. But I feel like what a lot of it came from was my own thoughts and questions about how to navigate my own life especially now that I’m graduated and considering the times we are living in with social media, technology, and society just in general. It’s complicated! There aren’t a lot of self-help materials catered towards the millennial demographic but yet there are so many stereotypes about us! I kind of wanted to play around with these stereotypes in a comedic way and also try and make sense of them. Coming-of-age stories have always had such an appeal to me and I feel like even with the stereotypes that each generation is given there are so many relatable and accessible ideas that can hit home to everyone of all ages no matter the generation.
4) What made you decide to take on this venture of being a one woman show?
I am realizing now that I might have taken on a lot with this whole one-woman show, especially with this being my first Fringe show ever! That being said, I have been a big fan of Fringe for several years now and it has a lot to do with the one-woman show performances I have seen at the festival throughout the years. Something about being so personal and vulnerable while also being able to play different characters and convey so many ideas as a single person onstage is something that really inspires me as an artist.
5) What has been your favourite part of the process? Was there anything super challenging that you had to overcome?
It’s hard to say just one moment cause there have been so many highs and lows but I think finishing the writing of the script was a huge one. Writing ‘THE END’ on the last page of the script felt so good! That being said there have been a lot of challenges and stresses that I didn’t anticipate. For one, being in charge of a company and a group of people is something that I have never experienced before. I should have asked Nicola for tips haha! Scheduling rehearsals, managing people, assigning tasks, being in charge, is something that has taken some getting used to. I’m lucky that I have an amazing team that I’m working with though! I can’t thank them enough for their patience with me.
6) Last but not least, when can we go see it & where?!
The Fringe Festival runs from July 18-29 and I am at Venue #4: Onstage at Pantages! You have 8 chances to see this show! Showtimes are as follows: 18th @ 10PM, 20th @ 3:45 PM, 21st @ 9PM, 23rd @ 1:45PM, 24th @ 9PM, 26th @ 12PM, 27th @ 5:30PM, 28th @ 3:30PM
Just to advise, this is a show recommended for mature audiences! Warning: coarse language and sexual content aka find a babysitter and leave the kids at home!!