shameless hussy productions in association with Surrey Civic Theatres are presenting the world premiere of Meghan Gardiner’s To Perfection this fall from September 14 to 17 at Surrey Arts Centre’s Studio Theatre.
In To Perfection, ‘Gloria’, a former celebrity TV chef, played by the inimitable Patti Allan, is finally reuniting with her estranged grandchild ‘Alex’. However, the temperature heats up when Alex, played by Rae Takei, comes out as non-binary and opens a ‘genderational’ divide. Can ‘Gloria’ and ‘Alex’ find the perfect mix for their family recipe? Or will it all bubble up and explode?
Without sugar-coating, To Perfection tackles issues of modern life and family conflict in a relatable and hilarious way, ensuring audiences of all ages will find that this play contains all the right ingredients for the perfect food-for-thought theatre outing.
Written by Meghan Gardiner during the height of the pandemic, and going through several drafts and a workshop process with both actors, Patti Allan and Rae Takei involved since the start. “The performers in the roles – we truly have the best of the best. The fact that both actors worked with us in the workshop process and then wanted to be the actors in the actual performances means so much because they really believe in the work and that means the world to me.” Gardiner said.
To Perfection tackles issues dear to Gardiner’s own heart. She said, “Although this is a fictional story with fictional characters, I drew inspiration from my own family’s journey. Every child comes with their own personality—their own everything. They’re born who they are, and we can’t change that, we just have to adapt and love them. My philosophy is love first and let them be the guide.”
Gardiner said that while the play explores the issue of gender, it is also delves into other pertinent issues. “To Perfection also tackles cancel culture, which is so prominent right now. I want the play to help the audience understand that it’s okay to discuss what’s not working, or what’s hurting and offending. It’s okay to talk about those things and talking is important, whereas just cancelling people…I’m not sure that’s productive. I want to encourage the audience instead of calling people out to embrace calling in.”
While To Perfection is an issue-based play with heavy themes, it is also a comedy, and Gardiner said that is in part because she wanted the play to reach and be relatable to people from all walks of life. “The beauty of this play is that it is for everyone. It doesn’t speak to one group of people or one type of person. There is a lot in the play. It is a play about gender, about family, love, acceptance. To Perfection is a story about an average family, because I’ve never heard of a family that doesn’t have any issues.”
Gardiner said she would like the play to reach a wide audience of people and hopes that the play strikes a chord with families going through their own similar journeys. She said one of the most important things to do as a parent of any child is to meet them at their expectations, not yours. She said, “If I were to give advice to any parent whose children are showing gender creativity, I would say let them lead. Support. Support. Support. Don’t fight it. Parents are not the experts. Our children will let us know what they need. Our family mantra is ‘one day at a time’ and right now, every day is really great because our daughter is living who she wants to be.”
Meghan Gardiner’s To Perfection runs Wednesday, September 14 to Saturday, September 17, 2022 at Surrey Arts Centre’s Studio Theatre (13750 88 Avenue).
Tickets are available online at surrey.ca or by phone at 604.501.5566