Starting on February 16 and running until February 24, the Manitoba Theatre for Young People (MTYP) in collaboration with Le Petit Théâtre de Sherbrooke from Quebec, and La Parenthèse Ensemble from France, will be presenting a show that gets children and parents thinking about stereotypes we often project on ourselves and others.

The Problem With Pink is a show that explores such cultural issues as Gender, tolerance, openness, diversity and living together.

It asks the question, "What happens when four guy-dude-bros discover that something they like is typically associated with girls? Does that matter?...and should what they like now be considered taboo because of the way other people might perceive them?"

The two presenting companies of the Problem With Pink, Le Petit Théâtre de Sherbrooke and La Parenthèse Ensemble, have taken the play written by Erika Trembley-Roy and skillfully interpreted it for the stage for young audiences.

Dance and communication through movement are also a large element of the production. The companies have also taken text and dance and combined it with some wonderful multidisciplinary and visual elements to give audiences something that is really special.

The plotline of the play is actually quite simple but it touches on many themes and issues that we all deal with in our everyday lives. Living together, tolerance, inclusiveness,  acceptance, and gender biases are very much at the heart of the production.

As Artistic Associate at MTYP explains, “The show starts out and you are in this sort of weird little pink world, and these four boys come on … they show you the ways that they are friends, and how they play and tell stories in this pink world that they have. Then they start  hearing things from the outside world … and they suddenly realize when somebody says that ‘pink is for girls ’… that they can’t like it anymore … they end up grappling with this together and trying to figure out how to move forward and be who they are … but also consider the way the world wants them to be.”

The production deals with the issues that the four boys have both together and individually. The subjects are dealt with through storytelling and movement with characters performing alone, in groups of two, or as a group combined.

An added twist to the play is that one of the boys is performed by a girl dressed as a boy. As Flynn explains, “It shows you the ways that young people kind of find one thing that is different about you and focus on it … and that can be what completely ostracizes you from a group … it’s this tiny little difference … otherwise they play the same, they act the same, they dance the same, they dress the same … they are all the same otherwise, except one is a girl.”

The issue of gender is used as a starting point in The Problem With Pink, but the difference of gender parallels the pre-conceived impressions we very often have of people due to such mundane things as height, body shape, clothes, or even hair type. All things that once we get to know the person are completely insignificant. The play tackles these issues while getting young audiences to think about inclusion and working/playing and being friends together.

Organizers say the play is not only for parents and children but also for teachers and their students. Presentations for schools are available during the weekdays, and The Problem With Pink is open to the general public on Friday, February 16, and then Saturdays and Sundays until February 24.   

For more details visit the Manitoba Theatre for Young People’s website.