Q&A with Katia Molino

Katia is a freelance performer who has worked with many companies including Stalker, Marrugekku, Ensemble Offspring, The Opera Project, and Theatre Kantanka. 

Previously for NORPA she performed in the acclaimed Railway Wonderland, on the disused Lismore Railway platform as well as Dreamland in Eureka Hall. She has performed in all kinds of spaces, from a Masonic underground car park in the Sydney CBD to the windswept Dutch coastline of Terschelling. Here we take a little time with Katia so that you can get to know her better…

1. How does your mother describe your profession?
Gallivanting around the countryside.

2. If you could resurrect one no longer living person to have lunch with, knowing you will have to return them to the grave right after coffee, who would it be?
My dad.

3. What’s your earliest performance memory?
There are a couple of vague memories that come from either infants or primary school.
One, making some kind of wolf headdress out of a brown paper bag for a show, and another, pretending I was a doll that came to life.

4. Tell us what you were up to 10 years ago.
I worked on two great shows that year; “Missing the Bus to David Jones” by Theatre Kantanka, about aged care facilities, and “Stories of Love and Hate” by Roslyn Oades, about the Cronulla riots.
I also started working casually at my local library. I love public libraries and am a proud member of the Lismore branch of the Richmond Tweed Regional Library.

5. What was your first introduction to NORPA?
My introduction to NORPA was a short creative development for Railway Wonderland. Julian had seen me in “Missing the Bus…”, and asked me to join the team. The other performers had already worked on it before, I didn’t know any of them and didn’t really know what to expect. But everyone was welcoming and generous.
I remember it was much colder than I expected and I had to wear most of my clothes most of the time. I would just change the order so the outside layer wasn’t always the same.

6. The upcoming new work Wildskin will be your third production with NORPA. You’re back for more! What keeps you coming back to create new theatre here?
The Trifecta!
1. I really enjoy making new theatre,
2. I love working with the NORPA team, and
3. I have a deep fondness for Lismore.
(If I had to personify Lismore, it would be a person that didn’t care too much about what other people thought. I admire that.)

7. Wildskin will be back in the theatre, unlike your previous two productions Dreamland and Railway Wonderland, which were both site-specific works. As a performer, is there a different approach that you take for work that is in the theatre, rather than site-specific?
One of the main differences is that you don’t need a raincoat or sun screen. But, frivolities aside, I think you can be more subtle in a theatre because the environment can be more controlled.

8. All three works will be/have been devised. What draws you to make devised theatre works?
I’ve got lots of opinions and I’m happy to share. In devised work you get to have more say in the creation of the whole piece. It’s a more interesting process and you tap into the creativity of the whole group not just a few. I find devised works often have more surprises in them for this reason.

9. What are some of the highlight moments from Dreamland and Railway Wonderland?
There are many, I’ll give you one for each.
Dreamland — during a matinee, a suave, elderly gentleman in the audience started chatting me up! It was a scene where I walked around the audience talking directly to them and offering lamingtons. My tone of voice mustn’t have been rhetorical enough. He was quite charming, I almost forgot my lines.
Railway Wonderland — the night of the rain! It was pouring really pouring and we had a full audience sitting under tarps being lashed by a thunderstorm. It was so loud and heavy we couldn’t start, we all waited for what seemed like ages, there was concern about damp electrics/damp audience/damp actors. Eventually Julian spoke to the audience and asked if they could wait a bit longer or wanted to go. It was beautiful, they all wanted to stay. They were in the thick of it with us. The rain eased, we started the show and 10 minutes into it the rain stopped. That was a great night.

10. We love our regional audiences. Do you think ‘the Northern Rivers’ audience’ is different to those elsewhere?
Yes. They seem very open to new theatrical experiences. Lots of people are happy to chat about the shows. Seeing a show seems a normal part of life, not something exceptional or elite. It seems to me that a broader cross section of the community come to see shows in Lismore than in other places I’ve performed. I love that.

11. Coffee, tea or whisky?
Coffee with a whisky chaser.

Katia in action, in Dreamland, Railway Wonderland and the creative development for Wildskin:

Photos by Kate Holmes, Kurt Petersen and Lisa Sorghini.