dossier: Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee for MORRO AND JASP: GO BAKE YOURSELF

As a fellow clown, albeit a new one who really has no experience clowning with or around these two, and York alumnae (it’s about time I shamelessly showed pride of my roots on this site – I realize that sounds like I harbour problems with York’s training. Really, I don’t; I had an excellent time there and think the training I received was exactly what I needed. I just don’t talk about it much anymore. Gotta move forward, amiright?) I am greatly excited to bring both Amy Lee and Heather Marie Annis by today to chat a little about the reprise of their hit, GO BAKE YOURSELF! That’s right, Morro and Jasp are in the field to chat about what got them started.

Amy, Heather and I mostly just missed each other at York University. I had seen them around, and I think Amy had seen me, or at least knew my face, but it wasn’t until, maybe three Fringes ago that we actually met and had a conversation. It’s funny because I think I’ve actually seen these two perform more frequently out of nose than I have in nose (if you haven’t seen these two bust out their acting chops, do yourself a favour and keep your ear to the ground for what they’re up to next; usually they come as a pair, but individually they are their own unique forces of theatre-nature. It’s quite refreshing).

I know Fringe is well underway, but if you need to fill a hole in your roster and you’re just hearing about this show right now (which you probably aren’t), there’s still time to catch it! You’ll just have to line up a bit early…

dossier #18:

morro and jasp ii copy

Who are we talking with?

Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee (sometimes known as Morro and Jasp).

What drew you down this path? (to theatre, to clowning, to Fringing, to wherever the hell you are in life)

We were in theatre school at York and discovered that we really loved working together. Byron Laviolette (our director and co-collaborator) had studied Pochinko clown and after he saw us in a physical piece together, asked us if we’d be interested in playing around with clown. We said yes, having no idea what to expect, and then we kept saying yes to every opportunity to experiment with/perform clown.

What is your earliest memory of realizing, yep, this is what I’m going to do with my life?

Amy decided when she was 6. Heather decided in high school. Although that was acting, not clown. Clown was a bit of a surprise love for both of us.


We both love cooking, baking, and food in a serious way. When we were roommates we would experiment with new recipes and they would almost always turn out disastrously (even though on our own, we are pretty kitchen saavy). We thought, “What could be more fun than letting our clowns play in the kitchen?” We also wanted to look at our relationship with food and how food helps us relate to one another. And we have a whole lotta fun doing it…

What kind of atmosphere do you intend to set up, or can someone expect from MORRO AND JASP: GO BAKE YOURSELF?

Fun, delicious, and full of love.

You’ve done the Canadian Fringe circuit often in the past. What do you look forward to the most when touring a new show to a new city?

Every audience is difference. And because we interact with our audiences so much, that really impacts us and the show. It is always really exciting to see how the space, city and people will affect the show and how we can play with that.

What is your favourite memory from a past Fringe circuit show?

Ah! Too many to pick one! Although, if we have to…We created a very audience-dependent ending to our show last year and we had no idea whether it would actually work, so on opening, when it did, we cried so many tears of joy!

Describe MORRO AND JASP: GO BAKE YOURSELF in three adjectives, a phrase, or with sound.


Do you have anything else you’d like to share? Photos, videos, links, posters, stories, wishes?

Here is our trailer for it:

We are sold out of our advance tickets for the run, but there are still tickets at the door every show!

We want to wish every Fringer out there, whether you’re performing or watching, so much love, so much gratitude, and may the Force be with you!

morro and jasp - fringe13 go bake yourself 2013 11x17 textured draft 2

dossier: Laura Anne Harris for THE HOMEMAKER

I think last night was the first time it really hit me that the Toronto Fringe Festival is only a week away. With this newfound knowledge I feel infinitely behind in my awareness of what’s all happening this year. But then again, when have I ever felt like I have a strong grasp on the festival? What with 148 shows happening at 35 different venues across the city, how can one possibly think they have a grasp on this 11-day adventure?

Usually the easiest way is to gravitate towards those people you know, or you’ve heard about or may have possibly seen before. Laura Anne Harris and I met at a storytelling night Alex Eddington coordinated. Since then, we seem to continuously fall into the same circles: we are both playwrights currently in the same playwright circle with Steady State; we have both studied clowning with Helen Donnelly and have performed at the Foolish Cabaret together; and we are both developing (she’s much further into the process, as you’ll learn) solo shows. Laura is always a generous ear to have around as she’s always honest in her appreciations and criticisms. 

Continuing with the Fringe previews, let’s get in to today’s dossier, #16 with Laura Anne Harris:

Laura Anne Harris

Who are we talking with?

Ms. Laura Anne Harris

What drew you down this path? (to theatre, to solo shows, to Fringing, to wherever the hell you are in life)

When I decided to perform my solo show Pitch Blond, it was out of necessity. I wanted to showcase myself as an actor with the fascinating subject of Judy Holliday to as many people as possible. It’s much easier to tour on my own. Then as I kept touring the trips became easier and I had a wonderful time meeting other artists on the Fringe/curated touring circuits. Other professional opportunities arose from meeting fellow artists and I started directing several solo shows. Five years later after my first fringe festival, I’m still exploring solo work and expressing myself as a solo performer/writer.

What is your earliest memory of realizing, yep, this is what I’m going to do with my life?

When I was five after seeing the Little Mermaid, I hoped to become a mermaid. When I discovered the physical conflict of the phenomenon I decided to be an actor. I could always pretend to be a mermaid, right?


The urban legend of my Great Aunt has been told in my family for years. Her story really inspired me to write a play loosely inspired by her life. I realized after writing a first draft of the play that it had a stark resemblance to the film Days of Wine and Roses. On a sidebar that movie is a hidden gem – see it. So in 2005, I had written a 4-person play of The Homemaker, but it didn’t quite work. Then I kept the story on my computer for about five years and not finding the right inspiration to perform it again. Until…I decided to develop a solo red nose clown turn based on the play I originally wrote. For about two years I had been training in red nose clown and bouffon with Helen Donnelly, Francine Cote, and Adam Lazarus and I feel clown carefully balances darker and lighter themes really effectively on stage. In April 2012, I paired up with director Morgan Norwich and together we worked on developing the script further. I performed a workshop presentation of the play in October 2012, then showed an excerpt at the Toronto Festival of Clowns this year as well as premiering the full-length performance at the TaDa Festival in Wakefield, Quebec on June 16th, 2013. I really enjoy performing the play and I’m sure the more I perform it in front of the audience the more and more it will grow.

What kind of atmosphere do you intend to set up, or can someone expect from THE HOMEMAKER?

I hope to set up a homey but carbaret style setting. ;). Expect surprises and baked goods.

You’ve done the Canadian Fringe circuit a couple times in the past. What do you look forward to the most when touring a new show to a new city?

I look forward to meeting the other fringe artists in the beer tent and having a really good time seeing each other’s shows. I find it can be very inspirational to see new work and see fellow artist performing.

What is your favourite memory from a past Fringe circuit show?

Oh I have so many. My first fringe in Victoria when a group of Jewish men assured me that they would bring their entire family to my show, ‘how many people does your venue hold,’ ‘um, 100,’ ‘oh don’t worry honey, we’ll bring everyone we know.’ Being taken out to lunch (coincidently on my Birthday,) by two fringe patrons who adored my show at the 2011 Toronto Fringe. Now I’m really good friends with those two fringe patrons so it was a real blessing to meet them that way. And I also need to share this one… I’m sure this will embarrass my boyfriend, but I don’t care. I was in Edmonton Fringe in 2009 and my boyfriend came to help me set up and strike the stage. One day he gave me a hickey, so I made him buy me a scarf so I wouldn’t embarrass myself handbilling the line ups. I ended up talking to Chris Gibbs momentarily, trying my best to hide my neck when he said, ‘Oh do you have yourself a love bite?’ Seeing the great Mr. Gibbs laugh at me was pretty awesome and it still remains to be one of my favourite memories.

Describe THE HOMEMAKER in three adjectives, a phrase, or with sound.

‘So nice, so nice.’ ‘I have a bit of a bum, bum.’ ‘Peace be with you.’ ‘C’est dommage.’ Oh that’s four!

Do you have anything else you’d like to share? Photos, videos, links, posters, stories, wishes?

Please visit my website… and visit my photobucket page for more photos

the homemaker poster

dossier: Eric Double and Julia Nish-Lapidus for Theatre Caravel’s SEA CHANGE

Last year, my friend Nicole Ratjen asked me to do a staged reading with her at an event I’d never heard of. It was of her play, a work-in-progress about two polar bears set adrift on an ever-shrinking ice-floe in the middle of the ocean. As the polar bears contemplated their fate, and hunger, they would be ravaged by storms. We’d done this reading before, at a different event, and were curious how it would go over at this one. 

This is when I met Eric and Julia. We asked if Eric would be interested in reading our stage directions. Of course. Nicole told him about the audience participation, that he was to cue the storms and the audience would be involved with making it come alive. No problem. And this is where the real test came in; Are you both cool with us arming the audience with pin-pong balls that they can throw at us when you cue the storm? Not even a hesitation. Eric even helped by throwing the ping-pong balls back into the audience to restock them. That’s the kind of event SEA CHANGE is. And that’s the spirit that Eric and Julia bring to this; they are so excited to see artists try new things and for their nights to be as varied and unique as possible.

I’m excited to have this next dossier focus on such a fun event. The next SEA CHANGE is happening on April 5th, and, along with Haylee McGee, Joel Battle, The Templeton Philharmonic and Freddie Rivas, I’ll be performing some new writing of mine. 

Here we go, dossier #10:

Eric Double and Julia Nish-Lapidus

Who are we talking with?

Eric Double, Artistic Director of Theatre Caravel. I am an actor, director, and mask maker.

Julia Nish-Lapidus, Artistic Producer of Theatre Caravel. I’m an actor and producer.

Theatre Caravel strives to create theatre that is changeable, innovative by necessity, and important by default.

What is it about theatre that really gets you going?

Eric: I think I was drawn to the theatre because it’s such an immediate art form. When a piece of theatre works there is a palpable energy around the performance and it becomes otherworldly in a sense. I love that feeling of connection between an audience and a performance, which is both personally intimate and communal at the same time.

Julia: Theatre is alive. That’s always really excited me. It’s never the same twice, so the actors and the audience in that room are the only people who will be able to share that specific experience.

How did you two meet?

Eric: We met through university, but became friends because we were neighbours in our residence. Julia had a mouse problem and was afraid to clean the traps, so she asked me to come over and clean up dead mice. I meet all my best friends cleaning up dead animals.

Julia: It’s true. Dead mice are gross. After university we talked over (a few) drinks and realized that we were both looking for similar experiences and challenges and decided to join forces and bring our voice to the theatre community.

What is the earliest memory you have of wanting, or needing to do this?

Eric: Well, according to my mother I was quoted as saying “I want to be a clown because I want to make everyone laugh” when I was 4, but my actual memory comes from high school. I remember getting hooked on performing when I landed a part in the play in high school and since then there was never any question about what I would be doing. It wasn’t really a need or a want, just a feeling that nothing else was important to me other than being involved in theatre – I never felt more at home than when I was in or involved in the theatre.

Julia: What inspired me to get into theatre is not exactly what people expect, considering the type of work I now do… It was CATS, the musical. When I was four, the touring production came to Halifax (where I was living) and I saw commercials on TV with singing and dancing cats, and I begged my parents to take me for my birthday. What four year old girl wouldn’t? Barely halfway through the show, I turned to my mom and whispered “I want to do that.” And I meant it. The next day I hassled my parents until I was signed up for every dance, voice, and acting class we could find. And I haven’t stopped since then. It was never something I thought about. Being in theatre was just the way life was for me.

Why Sea Change?

Sea Change is a phrase that means “a profound or notable transformation” and was coined by Shakespeare in the Tempest. Our event is about encouraging new works from artists of all types and creating a community around that. It gives artists a chance to experiment and try something different in a really unique mix of like minded people and the audience gets a chance to be a part of a fresh new artistic landscape that is unfolding right in front of their eyes.

What kinds of things can we expect from Sea Change?

Sea Change is a curated event and we’re always accepting submissions from all different types of artists. We’ve had poets, playwrights, puppeteers, and painters; musicians, mask makers, clowns, storytellers and more. We’ve also had a bunch of artists who want to try something different than what they normally practice. So, for example, it’s always a great joy to us when an actor wants to put up their visual art, or when a playwright wants to try out some poetry. Providing a community for artists to push their boundaries is really what Sea Change is about.

Also, there are free baked goods. And we’re talking home-baked yumminess. People come for the art, but stay for the brownies.

What is your favourite memory from a past Sea Change?

Eric: Probably Teodoro Dragonieri performing in masks made from cut-up laundry detergent bottles. I remember the audience didn’t see it coming and he had everyone on the edge of their seats trying to figure out how he brought inanimate objects to life.

Julia: There was one time when a performer needed a bit of extra time to set up, so he told a joke while he was getting ready, but then he still needed more time, so the whole crowd got into it. Eric and I told bad jokes and audience members just kept yelling out more jokes. The performer was ready to go after only a couple of jokes, but everyone was having so much fun, we kept going for a while. That’s what Sea Change is like. It’s not rehearsed and the audience is a part of it. It’s a great community feel and that’s what I love the most.

Describe Sea Change in three adjectives or a phrase.

Supa-fresh – electric – baked goods

Do you have anything you want to share with us? A story? A photo? A song? A video?

Our first Sea Change took place in a very small cafe space, where people were crammed in on top of one another. It was raining that night and everyone was dripping wet. The thunder and lightning cracked just as we were getting started and one of our performers, David Calderisi, let us know that in some eastern traditions thunder is a omen for great creativity and we can remember feeling like there was a certain electricity and excitement in the air. That thunder really set the tone for that night, and three years later we still think about it before every new edition of Sea Change gets started.

sea change poster