Karin Randoja’s been spoiled by her Independent Aunties, certainly in theatrical terms.
How? The company’s taken two and a half years to develop its latest show, Breakfast, still considered a work in progress.
A member of the troupe that includes Anna Chatterton, Evalyn Parry and Brendan Healy, Randoja has usually directed company shows, including the delightful Clean Irene & Dirty Maxine. Dining on Breakfast, she’s centre stage.
“I realize now what a remarkable opportunity it is to take years to think about what you’re creating. I never again want to do theatre without having that much time. You can’t, in a five-week period, manufacture something that’s as evocative, moving and psychologically driven.”
Randoja plays Marnie, the play’s key figure, an unhappy woman who tries using a self-help tape to accomplish a life-changing transformation. It’s not long before Marnie finds herself in a surreal world where she’s confronted by memories she’d rather leave buried.
The Aunties’ work is known for its verbal and physical humour and a quirkiness that easily wins over an audience, but Randoja says Breakfast goes to a darker place than earlier shows.“I started creating Marnie based on the character from the Alfred Hitchcock film – a woman who’s sexually repressed, secretive and alone, always looking for but unable to find love.”
The idea grew from a 10-minute sketch about a breakfasting family. In this version, Parry and Chatterton also perform under Healy’s direction, but the focus is on Randoja’s character.
“We played around with the idea of family, of meals, of the kitchen as a female domain. Is a meal like breakfast a kind of sacrament that you can use to change your past?”
Developed in a residency at the Theatre Centre, the show’s a co-pro with the centre.
“Because we were interested in how space informs a production, we initially worked in every nook and cranny at the Theatre Centre – the basement, the former swimming pool, under the seating, in the washrooms.”
The unusual result?
“The production’s physical component involves the space we’re in rather than what the performers do.”