Q opens in triumph, Fringe overshadows Festival, Outfit Rise, Rugby, Rugby, Rugby, and the Death of the Theatre. [by James Wenley]
Attending the recent Hackman Theatre awards, Auckland Theatre circa 2011 would appear to be in rude health. Rude being the word, hosts Nic Sampson and Joseph Moore proudly observing it was a record year of nudity on stage, from the very brave Mr. Sam Seddon in The Only Child to the Dame bosoms of the Calendar Girls. It was certainly year that didn’t leave much to the imagination, containing everything from dildos to knitted phalluses, bath tubs to swimming pools.
The Hackmans were a big communal pat on the back for the industry, a brash and bold celebration of a huge year in theatre. As Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Robyn Malcom closed the awards night performing in a Thomas Sainsbury play that he had written under duress that very night, there was a sense that anything and everything was possible.
As a critic moving from Craccum to my own Theatre Scenes blog this year, I’ve welcomed the end-of-year theatre break. Throughout the year, I could often be heard to exclaim: ‘Auckland Theatre: There is too much of you!’. It’s been exhausting going to opening to opening night after night. And immensely rewarding. While containing some duds for sure, my impression of the year is one of great strength and eclectic activity. There was no shortage of things to write about at least. There was always something on. Between fellow blogger Sharu Delilkan and me, we reviewed or previewed 96 different shows, and even that barely scratched the surface.
Tartuffe for the 3D Generation [by James Wenley]
If nothing else, Tartuffe is an experience.
‘This is not museum theatre’, warns/promises Silo Theatre in their bus shelter ads around town.
I’m curious about what their definition is, because I certainly don’t feel like Auckland is ‘afflicted’ by productions of this type. Professional Shakespeare’s in period dress for example are the rare exception, not the norm. Museum theatre suggests old, creaky, irrelevant (and I’m sure modern Museums themselves would have something to say against this!).
Silo’s Tartuffe does everything it can to show that its production of the 17th Century play is still edgy, fresh and up-to-the-minute with contemporary Auckland’s high society. Within the first minute we are treated to a real assault on our senses: funky music, garish neon flashing lighting, not to mention the sight of Cameron Rhodes in drag (nice legs). Sophie Henderson is ‘eaten out’, and a turd ends up in the Swimming pool. Yes, a turd. Museum Theatre? Couldn’t be more fresh.
Remember this name [by James Wenley]
You might not know who Tim Carlsen is yet, but by the end of the year Auckland Theatregoers will certainly be able to put a face to the name.
The second half of the year is a big one for the 2009 Toi Whakaari Acting graduate, as he not only brings his solo theatre creation ‘One Day Moko’ to the Basement on June 28th, but will be seen in roles in Silo Theatre’s ‘I Love You Bro’ and ‘Tartuffe’, and Auckland Theatre Company’s ‘End of the Golden Weather’. That’s a big achievement for someone not long out of Drama School.
Tim recognises that it “its either going to be feast or famine when it comes to this sort of work”. Of this current feast he says “It’s great, I’m going to relish it all. It’s fantastic.” Up first is a personal labour of love for Tim, his solo show One Day Moko which follows the day in a life of a homeless person: “We follow him around Auckland city and see what he gets up to and who he meets along the way.”
It’s been a long journey to bring Moko to Auckland, having begun working on the play while still at Drama School. Tim’s first inspiration for the piece was in New York, where he worked with the Wooster Group, whose members and alumni include names like Steve Buscemi and Willem Defoe. Working with the Wooster Group “was a big part of finding the form of the show in terms of using technology, particularly film and video, and incorporating that into the show.”
“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: