Toronto Fringe Q&A: The Homemaker

Laura Anne Harris bakes dance, puppetry, poetry and song into her latest solo show at the Toronto Fringe Festival

Laura Anne Harris in The Homemaker.

After receiving rave reviews for her one-woman show Pitch Blond at the 2011 Fringe and the 2013 Next Stage Theatre Festival, the multi-talented Laura Anne Harris returns to the 2013 Toronto Fringe Festival this month with her new solo piece The Homemaker. We caught up with Harris to find out more about this clown-inspired cabaret (opens Thursday at the Annex Theatre—three performances only!).

Theatromania: Tell us about The Homemaker. What inspired this show?

LAH: The Homemaker follows a woman named Janet Cardinal living in a small Saskatchewan town who wants to share her life story as a show! She performs a variety-style cabaret for the audience using clown inspired "acts" of dance, poetry, puppetry and song. The Homemaker focuses on Janet’s marriage to her husband and to alcohol.

This play is inspired by a woman I never met, but whose story stayed in my family for years. When I first heard about my great-aunt and her struggle with alcoholism I knew I wanted to write a play about her. For a long time I didn’t quite know how to tell my great-aunt’s story effectively on stage until I started training in "red nose" clown. I discovered that clown balanced the lighter and darker themes very usefully on stage. And even though I don’t use red nose within this show, I found the clown-like energy really helped me to develop the play from a single five-minute solo piece to a 60-minute production.

Theatromania: What can audiences expect from this performance?

LAH: Expect bake goods and plenty of surprises. 

Theatromania: Have you learned anything new or significant during this process?

LAH: Constantly I discover or remind myself that it is a process. One performance can really vary from the next. Writing and performing your own piece is really exciting, but there are going to be small detail changes all the time.  That’s what new work is all about and why I find it so exciting to perform a new piece. 

Theatromania: What excites you most about this year's Toronto Fringe Festival?

LAH: Seeing old touring buddies and getting to see their shows. It’s like going back to summer camp and seeing all your friends. It’s the most wonderful time of my year. 

Theatromania: What's next for you?

LAH: I am directing a great two hander called I written by Brooke Banning. It’s a part of the Lab CabParkdale. It’s been wonderful to direct and I can’t wait for everyone to see Brooke’s work. 

The Homemaker runs for three performances only: July 4 (8:45pm), July 7 (8pm) and July 11 at the Annex Theatre. Visit for more information and to buy tickets.


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