The pain of everyday [by James Wenley]
Jo’s everyday interactions are characterised by a sort of agony. As played by Kayleigh Haworth, she’s an intriguing study of indecision, awkwardness, tension and a constant internal torment about what to reveal, keep to herself, and behave.
Keziah Warner’s new play Everything She Ever Said to Me, speaks to the painfulness of conversation and the tyranny of the mundane. She’s teamed with Director Benjamin Henson, who arrived in Auckland from Britain around the same time as Warner, and have made a welcome contribution to our theatre scene, with their Scratch New Writing initiative, who they produce this work under.
The marketing material, containing cool stickers on the rules of life - “Get a job.”, “Fall in Love”, “Pay taxes”, “See the world” “Have fun Be happy” - suggests a examination of contemporary societal pressure and twenty-something milieu. The play itself is more oblique, never quite catching a firm idea of what it wants to say about it all. The external pressures on Jo are largely assumed, the play initially revolving around the struggles, decisions and indecisions of her personal existence, than any wider comment.
No rape, pillage or murder here: Just some good old-fashioned human drama. And some nudity. [by Rosabel Tan]
It’s a stifling afternoon and the palms in St Kevin’s Arcade hang limply in the thick air, but Benjamin Henson appears unaffected by the heat. Hunched over a table scattered with notebooks and scripts and an empty cup of coffee, he doesn’t notice me approaching until I call his name. It strikes me as a fitting way to find this 26-year old director: Everything She Ever Said To Me will be the fifth show he’s been involved with this year.
Written by Keziah Warner, Everything revolves around a call centre worker named Jo. “She has an overbearing mother who’s ringing her all the time and we’re not sure why. She’s got a love interest at work but she’s not very confident at making it happen, and she bonds with a 79-year old man she meets over the phone. You watch this girl and you know she’s trying to work something out, and you know something’s gone on, and it’s gone wrong, but you’re not sure what.”
He describes the play as “quirky and melancholic – there’s a lot of sadness behind it, but there’s a lot of humour as well. And that’s what I really like about it – Keziah has made a piece that is just about people, how they interact with each other, and what it is that they say. There’s no theatrical gimmick. There’s no rape, pillage and murder. It’s a little window into the lives of these characters.”