In 2007, Katrina Kadoski found herself as caretaker of a homestead on the remote coast of Clayoquot Sound, the former home of a legendary and colourful pioneer known as Cougar Annie.
Kadoski channeled that isolated, rustic experience into a musical history that tells the life of Ada Annie Jordan, a tough-as-nails woman who was quick with gun, carved out a home in the wilderness and outlived four husbands.
Kadoski is performing her Cougar Annie Tales at Spectrum Community School Theatre on Tuesday, the school she graduated from in 1994.
The 36-year-old Sooke resident originally launched her one-woman act at last year’s Victoria Fringe Festival to critical acclaim.
Kadoski lived on the property with her partner and tended Annie’s five acre garden for three years, learning the lore of Cougar Annie from family and friends who had met the woman.
“The place was really inspiring and really boring,” Kadoski said laughing. “It was off the grid, in the middle of nowhere with no people. Tofino was 33 miles by water.”
Cougar Annie raised 11 children on the property and rarely left between 1915 and 1983, when she was taken to a Port Alberni nursing home.
“While I was there I got to know the unspoken part of (Annie) and the struggle of the life she lived. She channeled a lot of her energy into the garden,” Kadoski said.
A multimedia performance, slides of Cougar Annie and her correspondence accompany Kadoski’s songs.
“She is the star of the show. I try not to get in the way,” Kadoski said.
Cougar Annie Tales is at Spectrum Community School Theatre, 957 Burnside Rd W. on March 5, doors 7 p.m., show 7:30 p.m. Tickets $18.