In the 1950s when most Canadians were basking in post-world war II euphoria, my east-end Toronto family was headed up by two shell-shocked veterans trying to eke out a semblance of normalcy on the dark side of the moon. Somewhere in there I must have heard the expression “All the world loves a clown” – and determined to crack the code of my melancholic mother’s disaffection – I set out to do just that.
Clinical depression proved to be a tough house to play and my mother’s smile remained elusive. Undeterred, I honed my craft on all the other mothers and girls within earshot and in the process, discovered the intoxicating power of making people laugh.
Stand-up memoir, Seriously Funny Girl traces my comedic trajectory from class clown to mis-cast banker, from painter to performer; showing how humour became a steadfast lifeboat and ultimately saved me when the same depression that clawed at my mother, came looking for me.
what they are saying
“At different levels and in different ways, finding connection and peace with our childhood and our family is not just important work, it’s the only work. Sheila Norgate’s story helps us on that journey as it plunges from the particular to the universal – from zero to 60 miles an hour. Seriously Funny will take you on a wild and compelling roller coaster ride that has inescapable momentum. You may expect entertainment, and you’ll get it for sure – Sheila is engaging and funny. What you may not expect is to be so radically confronted with your own life’s grief and challenges. Bring Kleenex. Fasten your seat belt. Breathe.” Dr. Claire Robson, Adjunct Professor, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, Simon Fraser University
“Seriously Funny Girl is just that, serious and funny, and way more. Norgate opens the book of her life story and is heartbreakingly honest, unruly, irreverent, and simply beautiful, as she takes us on her extraordinary journey.” Garry Davey, actor, director, former Artistic Director TheatreOne (Nanaimo) and the William Davis Centre for Actor’s Study (Vancouver)
“Sheila Norgate packs heartfelt honesty, great visuals, and perfectly-timed sharp comedy into every one of her shows. Not only is Norgate great to work with, but she really cares about delving deep, working hard, and putting everything into her performances. Amidst the laughter and tears, Seriously Funny Girl is one worth seeing. Just ask all her sold out audiences!” Alina Cerminara, Artistic Producer, Gabriola Theatre Festival
“Heartbreaking and hilarious, Sheila Norgate’s Seriously Funny Girl is part memoir, part therapy, part open-heart surgery. Norgate unfolds the delicate layers of her life, sharing what she discovers with courage, intellect, and wisdom. And it’s funny. Seriously funny.” Michelle Benjamin, Executive Director, Gabriola Arts Council
Gabriola Theatre Festival August 2015