Checking her baggage

Karla Hayward
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Krista Hann's 'Detours' gave the young writer/actor a chance to leave herself behind

"Hilarious things continue to happen to me - as I'm sure they do to everyone. And, because I'm a writer, I journal a lot. Every now and then I flip back through and think of how the things I once thought so dramatic are just hilarious now. So I just thought my story would make a funny story." That's how Krista Hann of Patchwork Productions describes her latest production, "Detours."

Still in her early 20s, Hann's an old hand at theatre. She's been involved since elementary school, attended all the requisite festivals through junior and senior high, and began writing plays in Grade 12. She graduated from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in 2004 and then the performance and communications program at MUN. She's written, produced and acted in more plays than many actors twice her age. Hann's young company is ambitiously undertaken: her goal is to produce a new show every two months or so. Last year, it brought you "In the Spotlight," which showed to sold-out audiences for the entirety of its run.

"Hilarious things continue to happen to me - as I'm sure they do to everyone. And, because I'm a writer, I journal a lot. Every now and then I flip back through and think of how the things I once thought so dramatic are just hilarious now. So I just thought my story would make a funny story." That's how Krista Hann of Patchwork Productions describes her latest production, "Detours."

Still in her early 20s, Hann's an old hand at theatre. She's been involved since elementary school, attended all the requisite festivals through junior and senior high, and began writing plays in Grade 12. She graduated from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in 2004 and then the performance and communications program at MUN. She's written, produced and acted in more plays than many actors twice her age. Hann's young company is ambitiously undertaken: her goal is to produce a new show every two months or so. Last year, it brought you "In the Spotlight," which showed to sold-out audiences for the entirety of its run.

"Detours" is the story of Charlotte Darwin - Charlie, as she prefers it. Played by Hann, Charlie's a real packrat. Photos, school ribbons, letters ... you name it, she keeps it. Now, she's attempting to fly to London. But her overweight, overstuffed box of memorabilia is holding her back. Literally. Airline staff just won't let her fly with the huge Tupperware container. She's tried everything in her power to convince them, but no go. The only way to travel forward is to purge her collection.

"She's checking her baggage - quite literally," says Hann.

"Detours" offers a look at life in snapshot form, each with the chance to examine a memory's purpose and importance in the lives of its owner. Charlie's public purging is a lovely metaphor for the reassessment most of us do as we come of age.

"Detours" also features Philip Goodridge and Théa Morash, who play several roles as Charlie's various memories. Hann alternates between narrating their movements and interacting with them.

Mentoring made it

Admitting that the show found its start in her own life, Hann is quick to note that it's not an autobiography. In fact, it's undergone tremendous changes since she began working on it in 2003. "Detours" began life as a verbatim retelling of her memories. She then bounced it around with some friends, performed bits of it at Backdoor Cabaret and even workshopped it with Phil Goodridge and Robert Chafe.

But it was her mentorship through the Resource Centre for the Arts that really turned the work into this final product. Assigned to work with Joel Hynes, Hann was treated to a whole new way of looking at her work.

"Normally mentors cradle you. Joel was not like that at all. He was very cut and dried ... it's 150 per cent different show than before Joel got it. ... It was an amazing experience. Joel helped me let go of any sense of 'me' that was in the play. It's not my story anymore. It's Charlie's story. He brought out a writer in me that I didn't know existed. ... I find the edge of things now, in all of my writing."

And thanks to that time with Hynes, Hann describes the work as more gritty and edgy than before. Rather than silly-funny, "Detours" is now witty-funny. She says, "It's more person-on-person humour now than funny just for the sake of being funny."

"Detours" can be seen at the Rabbittown Theatre May 16-19 at 8 p.m. Tickets: $10 adult, $8 student. For more info, call 739-8220.

telyarts@yahoo.ca

Organizations: Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, MUN, Tupperware Resource Centre Rabbittown Theatre

Geographic location: London

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