An Edmonton Fringe Festival interview about Animal Love

An interview with Annette Roman. 

Describe your show in five words. 

Moving, funny, poignant, uplifting, surprising.

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

My promotional description is simply this: Annette prefers people to animals. After many failures, she finds the perfect companions in an unusual pair of pets! But now her family needs her… An uplifting tale of loyalty, loss, and love.

As you might imagine, it’s a challenge doing a theater piece about death and dying that is vulnerable and true, yet doesn’t leave the audience feeling depressed. It’s a project I took on after I cared for a dying family member in hospice because I realized how many people share this experience yet rarely speak of it in our culture. It was such a comfort to me to find people who understood what I was going through, and sometimes it was strangers, not the people closest to me who just didn’t get it. My hope is that Animal Love helps people feel like someone else out there “gets it,” reflects and understands one of the most intense experiences they have been or will ever go through.

Your main character prefers animals to people – why did you give your character that trait?

My show is a memoir, so it wasn’t really a choice. My mother already had three kids when I was born, so she let the dog raise me…

Animal Love is about death and dying, but doesn’t leave the audience feeling miserable. How do you keep that balance in the show?

What is it they say…? Tragedy + Time = Comedy. Humor is how I—and many people—cope with pain. Losing a loved one is never funny. But trying to get love through pets like a goldfish is funny. The bumbling mistakes I made when trying to give my loved one the best possible care are funny. The things a person says when they can’t speak properly anymore are funny because…if you take them too seriously it would be too damn tragic. Even the dynamics of a family in a crisis can be funny…if it’s somebody else’s family…

You say that Animal Love is funny not because loss is funny, but because death is absurd. Can you explain what you mean, that death is absurd?

It’s so impossible to imagine that someone you love will no longer exist. That you only have a limited time left with them. Yet they are right there with you, and still alive. And then you realize that you too will someday not exist. It’s impossible to wrap your mind around, really.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

There is plenty of funny, silly, lighter stuff in the Fringe to enjoy. Shows like mine will never be top sellers because of the topics. But people who have seen it have told me they were glad to see something that to them had more of a “message.” (Their words, not mine.)  I would also add that although there are wonderful solo shows and storytelling by men out there, I have often found solo shows by women touch my heart more deeply. Women solo artists aren’t always able to tour the fringes as regularly or as early in their lives as men due to childcare and other issues, so they can’t build their fringe reputations as strongly from year to year. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t just as good and don’t have unique things to say that might speak to you.

The 35th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 11 – 21. Tickets go on sale August 3 at noon and will be available at

Animal Love at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

Thank you Winnipeg Free Press for your 4-star review at the Winnipeg Fringe 2015

California-based writer-actor Annette Roman is sick and tired of people who resort to name-dropping Hitler in public discourse, the title of her own one-woman drama notwithstanding.

As the child of a loving mother who was a member of the Hitler Youth, and a domineering Hungarian Jewish father who “played the Holocaust card” at every opportunity, she figures she gets a pass. And she earns it in this irreverent, 60-minute biographical tale, drawing on colourful family histories and relationships — including her own ill-conceived romance with a white supremacist — to sketch sympathetic multi-dimensional characters. (Except in the case of one annoying Canuck, eh?)

Absorbing and surprisingly amusing, it’s a well-balanced call for empathy and tolerance — just not too much tolerance.

— Pat St. Germain

Thank you Winnipeg CBC for the 5-star review at the Winnipeg Fringe 2015

I was not won over by the title and originally not meant to review the show, but I’m so glad I got to see it.

Her father is a Jewish Holocaust survivor, her mother was in the Hitler Youth. Annette Roman takes her time and guides us through her life, her family, and her history.

Roman is a fantastic storyteller, weaving effortlessly between memories and emotions. She lulls us with humour, pain, and haunting awe.

This is a master class in storytelling. I can’t wait to see it again.

Day 1 – It’s all about your perspective.

Day 1 – It’s all about your perspective..

Prelude – One more time for the road…

For those of you who wonder what a fringe festival is really like and who appreciate a behind the scene’s look, here is a great blog for the next few weeks by JBJ about the Winnipeg Fringe!


Prelude – One more time for the road….

London Fringe Festival, June 2015 review of Hitler’s Li’l Abomination

What an honor to have my work compared to one of my artistic heroes, Art Spiegelman.

The Confederate Flag and the Swastika Flag

Posting below a great explanation of the racism behind the insistence on flying the Confederate Flag.

America is so many different countries. Living in New England and New York State and California, I could never have imagined the Confederate flag hanging over an official government. It wouldn’t have been tolerated. But it does fly in South Carolina.

What must it be like for African-Americans to pass by it every day? That I can’t imagine either. Larry Wilmore covers the history of the flag and the truth about it brilliantly in this video.

Like Diogenes searching for just one honest man, I’d like to find one proponent of flying the Confederate flag to “express his heritage” who doesn’t in some way believe Blacks are inferior and unequal.

My mother’s heritage includes growing up in Nazi Germany. The sight of the swastika flag, she told me, makes her want to vomit. I would like to think that anyone born at the tail end and after slavery would feel the same way.