Interview with Krin Haglund, creator and performer in Eat Sweet Feet and artistic director at The Radiant.
TOHU: When did you first feel the call of the circus?
Krin Hagland: When I was 4 years old, my mother took me to a traditional circus erected by elephants. She showed me the differences between the elephants, how their ears weren’t the same, and I knew then that I wanted to be in the circus. I lost that calling for awhile, but I eventually came back to it. Anyone who knew me as a child was not surprised.
TOHU: You’ve been part of the circus world for a while now. What would you say has changed most over the years, and what changes would you like to see in future?
Krin Hagland: The circus has grown so much. There are so many more artists, and the level of technique continues to expand. I was the first women to perform the Roue Cyr and we joked then that people would be doing even more elaborate feats on it. And they are! There are also many more small companies doing great, creative work and developing their own style.
In future, I’d love for the circus to take up more of the entertainment landscape. In Québec we tend to go to the circus regularly. But not so much in the rest of North America. Getting more people to see the circus as an outing like going to a concert or movie would be wonderful.
TOHU: Eat Sweet Feet features Olo, played by Loke, a performer who’s just 8 years old. It’s pretty rare to see a child with such a significant role in a show. What would you say was the biggest challenge, and what were the benefits?
Krin Hagland: Preparation for a show is a challenge for kids and adults, and there are additional constraints when rehearsing with kids—like a less intense rehearsal, shorter days, and so on. We opted to frame it as a show put on by people with families and an outside life.
As for benefits, Loke naturally added just the right notes to the show. He brought little moments of reality that just elevated the whole thing thanks to his point of view and creativity. The part where he swings from the chandelier was all his doing.
TOHU: Do you have a personal story to share about the creation of the show?
Krin Hagland: I wanted to create a show that wasn’t all about being happy and sparkly. I wanted to mine the dark side of things that kids experience through their imagination. I thought about my own childhood, and how I didn’t want to be talked down to. The goal was to create a real family story and show lovingly how it works. It’s also a personal reminder to be gentle to myself about the struggles of parenting, to find ways to play, and to say “yes” to kids more often.
TOHU: Where did the title Eat Sweet Feet come from?
Krin Hagland: It’s something my mother always says when she sees children. It’s about finding a new way to play that also has a touch of dangerousness to it.
TOHU: What can audiences expect from Eat Sweet Feet?
Krin Hagland: It’s a performance that incorporates circus with theatre, so they can expect a story that blends the two. The audience will see the joy of this child Olo as he explores his imagination, and realize that a child can perform in the circus, too.
Let me also say that we are proud to be performing at TOHU and look forward to taking the stage!