Why Vodka? [by James Wenley]
Vodka, according to the pinnacle of human thought – Wikipedia - is “one of the world's most popular liquors. It is composed primarily of water and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made from fermented substances like grain.” Ho-Hum. According to the Did I believe it? Team, Vodka is drunk by alcoholics, was the original name of the Beatles, and Americans have invented a bacon flavoured version of Vodka. Yum Yum.
Silo Theatre have taken over the classy downtown bar 1885 Britomart for their first production of 2011 Did I Believe it? created by director Oliver Driver, writer Jodie Molloy and company. The premise is that for the last 42 years (the show is sponsored by 42 Below Vodka, don’t-you-know?) Did I Believe it? has been New Zealand’s top rating science edutainment show, or any sort of show for that matter. Each week they present all you could want to know on a particular topic… this week it is ‘Vodka’, and presented for the first time in front of a live studio audience. That’s us.
“If our audience leaves the theatre and the first thing they say is ‘where are the car keys’ then we haven’t done our job.” [by James Wenley]
Shane Bosher admits he would make a dreadful lawyer “and even worse mechanic”. Good thing then he is the Artistic Director of Auckland’s Silo Theatre Company, a position he has held since 2002, and seems rather quite good at it – turning the company into a theatre force to be reckoned with, and overseeing a number of memorable productions both at the former Silo Theatre space (now known as the Basement) and their new home in The Herald Theatre since 2008.
This year, Shane and the company are embarking on a series of genre busting plays under the season tagline ‘exploded narratives’. These include reimaginings of classicists Ibsen and Moliere, as well as brand new work and a sort of ‘hip hop’ play. The year will see Silo performing at the Herald Theatre and the new Q Theatre, but first up, Silo have teamed up with 42 Below Vodka and are performing, unusually, in a bar.
That play is Did I believe it?, directed by Oliver Driver and written with Jodie Molloy, who Shane says is “responsible for pulling all the dramaturgical strands together and being a bit of a joke doctor, which she’s done on things like the Jacqui Brown diaries and basically anything that Jeremy Wells has ever made”. It stars Toni Potter, Adam Gardiner, Brett O’Gorman and Dean O’Gorman
Oliver Driver had the initial inspiration a number of years ago when he was running Auckland Theatre Company’s 2nd Unit Development program. Together with Frith Walker, now Silo Theatre’s Executive Producer, they would go into clubs and wonder why they never saw these types of people at the theatre. Oliver devised a play with emerging actors about one night in the city, and gave tickets away to people in clubs, who ended up coming to the theatre over the course of the season. The process was repeated the following year and would become the basis of Silo Theatre’s Ensemble Project.
It was a night at the bar last year that Shane and Oliver began to solidify the idea for Did I believe it? Shane continues the story: