Metro News on SMYTH / WILLIAMS

Metro News, Jan 25, 2017

Play based on Russell Williams' interrogation advocates for women's rights

Theatre production featuring an all-female cast will hit Toronto stage this March

Serial killer Russell Williams’ police interrogation and subsequent confession is about to hit the stage in Toronto — told by a female cast of two through a feminist lens.

One Little Goat Theatre Company will premiere Smyth/Williams, a play based on the transcripts from the cross-examination of the embattled former military star now serving a life sentence.

The play’s goal is to highlight an issue that’s becoming more urgent in our society: Violence against women and girls.

“This problem is becoming endemic, especially in the military,” said artistic director Adam Seelig, noting a 2015 report from retired Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps, which showed a woman in the military is five times more likely to be sexually assaulted than a civilian.

But the problem is also prevalent in other structures within society, he said.

“Look at the misogynist rhetoric coming from politics south of our border,” he said, commending last weekend’s Women’s March on Washington and others around the world. “We can’t just let the rights of women be trampled on.”

The play – which uses its female cast to “subvert the male dominance” – is an attempt to use an “extreme case” to convey a message, said Seelig.

The play is set around interviews of Williams conducted by OPP Det. Staff Sgt. Jim Smyth. They detail what happened in two rape-murders for which Williams was eventually convicted.

Actresses Deborah Drakeford and Kim Nelson alternate playing both Smyth and Williams.

Seelig said the unsettling material is intended to make people more aware of the violence.

“It’s a disturbing case, and we hope it communicates directly and strongly with our audience,” he said. “Everyone has to know that it’s our responsibility to end this issue.”

Smyth/Williams runs March 3-12, 2017 at Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. For more click here.