FOR two long-time friends and Durban artists, Karen Logan and Kasia Vosloo, being able to do their newest production Dear Breeder together is significant on so many levels.
The duo – who also scooped two awards for the play at the Musho! theatre festival in January – have been friends since high school. After Vosloo returned to South Africa from London, they reconnected and found they still had so much in common – this time it was motherhood.
After speaking to them this week, Tonight learned that in fact it was during a play date that Logan and Vosloo’s creative sparks began to ignite for the concept of Dear Breeder.
Logan explains: “We conceptualised it on the playground while having play dates with our kids. We went to school together, so we’ve know each other for a long time. Kasia recently came back from London and we’ve both had kids and wanted to get back into performing.
“Kasia has a history as a singer, guitarist and performer; and I have an acting and theatre-making background, so we decided we wanted to combine our talents and Musho! was the incentive.
“I guess we felt the subject matter closest to our hearts was what we are going through with our children, the thing that we could both have a lot to say about, with being “breeders” ourselves, being moms with small children and how hectic that is – especially in this day and age when you kind of want to be everything.
“We still want to be working and be creative and it’s about finding a balance between satisfying our own needs and our children’s needs. We had a lot of funny experiences that we thought would be with worth sharing in the form of a piece of theatre,” she explained.
Logan has a two-year-old little boy, while Vosloo has double the trouble with two boys aged three and 17 months.
The show uses a mix of original folk-parody songs, dramatic monologues and even a little spoken word. Vosloo said she has always wanted to something along the lines of Flight of the Concords: “They do really funny parody songs, I was keen to do that and Karen’s very good at acting and it just kind of worked out.
“We came up with a concept and I started writing songs, Karen started writing some monologues, we’d meet up and chat about it and tweak things and have ideas together and it just came together like a puzzle. It was so organic, which is lovely, it didn’t feel difficult.”
Logan added that the play takes on the form of one story, following three central characters: “We have these musical links, which are sometimes just Kasia and sometimes both of us, and then there’s the spoken word.
“That was a bit hectic, but I really wanted to give that a go. It was also inspired by my husband (Iain Ewok Robinson) who’s a spoken-word artist. I go to a lot of spoken-word events and I’ve always wanted to try my hand at it.
“A lot of the play is funny and very entertaining and we also wanted to have some substance, so the spoken-word piece is where you get some of the meat of the play, the issues faced by one of the characters,” she said.
Vosloo added that judging from the feedback they received when the play debuted at Musho!, it resonates with people across age groups.
“Older generations have said to us that it brings back so many memories, so it resonates with people.
“It’s talking to people our age and older generations. It connects with a lot of people. Also, some people have assumed that the show is more for women, but it’s definitely not. It’s not a girly show, it’s for everyone.”
Logan said with Robinson’s direction, the play is well-rounded: “It’s really entertaining, fun and sharp. Iain’s done a good job with the directing as well, it’s very slick… The staging at the Rhumbelow will be a real experience. “We are doing up the venue like a kids’ playroom, with a nursery school vibe. A local nursery school will be kitting it out for us. We are going to make it a real experience for people.”
A press release describes the show as “A kid’s show about adults (not for kids)”, one that is “enter-taining and provocative for anyone who has witnessed or experienced the joyful and not so joyful moments of raising a small child”.
• Dear Breeder stages from Friday to Sunday at the Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo, Durban. R120 (R100 pensioners and tables of eight or more) at Computicket or call 031 205 7602. Bring food picnic baskets.