An astounding Journey into the unknown [by James Wenley]
The Civic Main stage is dark, waiting for its first performance of the year. But the building is alive. The show is Bathing with Elephants and other exotic reveries, with much for the inteprid audience member to encounter.
Bathing with Elephants is a collaboration between Vitamin S, Co-Lab and STAMP at THE EDGE. Going in, I could rely only on the beguiling press material describing it as a “cross-bred exotic performance... mixing genre and technology like a kitchen-whizz in a Bombay spice shop”. The project moves through the smaller spaces within the Civic complex – like the Taj Mahal, Safari, and Wintergarden rooms – using the spaces as inspiration for a series of constantly surprising work that belies easy categorisation. We’re taken on a wholly unique, and bizarre, tour of the Civic.
Embracing the Musical Theatre cliché [by James Wenley]
The story and tribulations of the performer – whether it is singer, dancer or actor are an over-familiar cliché: Auditions, rejections, the pluck from obscurity, fame, selling out, rise and fall. Struggle.
A Chorus Line, the beloved 1975 Broadway Musical is a definitive going over of these themes. Based on taped sessions with real Broadway dancers, over the course of an intense audition, the histories, hopes and dreams of the performers are revealed. It strips away and lays bare the Broadway dream, before renewing it in a stunning chorus line number.
Local collaborative show Confessions of a Struggling Thespian works within this framework, and owes a debt to Chorus. For the ‘Thespian’ in the title, exchange with ‘Broadway Musical Theatre performer’. A performer, of course, that is needed to be a triple threat – actor, singer AND dancer. The 16 strong cast, mostly adopting American accents and theatre blacks with the odd accessory as costumes, perform vignettes on the typical performer experience. Monologues and scenes – touching on themes like audition nightmares and finding your identity on stage act as bridges into a broad range of Musical theatre songs.
What will the 2012 Auckland Theatre Scene bring? [by James Wenley]
The Auckland Theatre Scene goes deadly quiet in January. In my last post, as I looked back on 2011, I was grateful the curtain had dropped on a particularly busy year for theatre. Now, however, I’m firmly suffering theatre withdrawal. Luckily, the hopeful promise of 2012 productions keeps me going.
Here’s what’s setting off my thea-dar as we begin the year:
2012 is looking a little unusual…
The first thing to note about 2012 is that the early months of the year promises some particularly out of the box, genre-mashing theatrical happenings. I’m always keen to experience things that are just a little bit different, and leave you with many questions (eg: Uh… What did I just see?).
Two events at The Edge have the potential to be particularly mind and body expanding. For those that think they’ve seen it all, these two platforms will provide some surprises…
Bathing with Elephants and other exotic revelries breaks the theatre drought late this month, and gets attention for a suitably imaginative and evocative name, but the shows’ description really has my mind swirling: