Native Earth invites audiences to Aki Studio to celebrate our 33rd season with Huff, an award-winning play by Cree playwright Cliff Cardinal. Raw, hard-hitting, and fast-paced, Huff is a solo show about brothers struggling to cope with the death of their mother.
At the helm of this production is award-winning director Karin Randoja, first introduced to Native Earth audiences at last year’s Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival, where she worked as director/dramaturg for Cardinal’s play-in-development romanceship.
Randoja and Cardinal began their dramaturg/playwright partnership during the development stages of Huff before its 2012 award-winning debut at SummerWorks (directed by Randoja), and the synergy of their working relationship continues to thrive today.
“Right from the start of our process, Cliff has trusted me to question, change and edit his script throughout rehearsals. I find this can be rare and it’s really generous of him,” says Randoja.
“Cliff lets me envision what is happening physically, emotionally, rhythmically, on stage, and will re-work the script to help bring that vision to life. All in all, it’s pretty awesome.”
Laced with Cardinal’s signature dark humour, Huff is a raw play that addresses real issues for Indigenous peoples in Canada and it’s sure to have a lasting impact on audiences. “This show has proven to be a powerful experience for many people who have seen it,” recalls Randoja. “It’s something about how the show re-arranges something in the viewer – something in their brain, or their DNA or their heart or a combination. Many people walk out changed and not the same person they were when they walked into the theatre.”
“This show has proven to be a powerful experience for many people who have seen it… Many people walk out changed and not the same person they were when they walked into the theatre.”
Having a full team of designers re-imagining the world of Huff alongside her is an exciting change for Randoja. “I really like them as people. And this is important! I think they are good people that I trust and can talk with.”
Randoja is talking about her all-star design team Jackie Chau (Set and Costume), Alex Williams (Sound) and the award-winning Michelle Ramsay (Lighting). “They are all sensitive, generous, and like to laugh. I’m lucky to be working with super skilled, super talented but grounded, open artists.”
In addition to directing, Randoja teaches theatre at Humber College and The Centre for Indigenous Theatre. She is also currently developing three very different shows: Gertrude and Alice with Independent Auntie (Buddies in Bad Times, March 2016); a flamenco piece with Carmen Romero that combines dance/theatre; and a project at The Theatre Centre based on a script developed by Tony Diamanti, a man with severe Cerebral Palsy, about his love and sex life, that will be premiering in November of 2016.
What’s What with Karin Randoja
What was your first job in theatre?
A play that shall remain nameless which my friends have labeled “perhaps the worst unknown musical in the history of Canadian theatre”… one friend kept coming back to see it,
completely reveling in how awful it was.
What are you reading right now?
Pema Chodron, and Runaway, by Alice Munro plus lots more.
I read lots of books all at once.
What’s your go-to ice cream flavour?
Peanut Butter Chocolate.
What was your childhood nickname?
One was “Baby Vein Head”.
What’s your favourite Toronto neighbourhood?
I like strawberries and blueberries and apples and kiwis and bananas. I like them all equally and find them tasty in their own succulent way. Same goes for Toronto and its excellent, endless selection of neighbourhoods.