A matter of pride [by Sharu Delilkan]
A heterosexual woman at the helm of a thrilling contemporary narrative predominantly focussed on the gay issues could have been a point of concern. But nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to Sophie Roberts' role as director for The Pride.
Her history of working on productions with gay themes has made her role in The Pride a natural progression in her career.
“I have done quite a few gay-oriented plays so I am quite comfortable dealing with those issues. I also like working with or highlighting the perspective of people on the fringes of society. I find such work more interesting and enjoy working in that territory. I strongly believe that theatre has a social and political function, which is why I seek out work that talks about these issues. And the fact that the gay marriage bill coming up in parliament gives the content of the play a lot more weight and relevance,” she says.
3 actors, 3 treadmills, 60 minutes [by Sharu Delilkan]
Working on a show that has had a previous incarnation can be daunting. But when it has been a huge success it is an even bigger ask.
So it's not surprising that actor Andi Crown was a little hesitant when director-writer Anders Falstie-Jensen asked her to act in Standstill.
"I must admit I was anxious that Anders would wanting the blocking [the process of planning where, when, and how actors will move about the stage during a performance] to be exactly the same as the last time. So I approached the first rehearsal with trepidation but when I noticed Anders chuckling and laughing out loud, when we tried out new things, I knew I had made the right decision to get involved."
Another challenge was that Crown had never seen the show before.
"Of course I had seen the images around with the actors looking pained and sweaty and had thought the treadmill device was an interesting concept. So when Anders gave me the script and the DVD, it was a toss up whether to watch the DVD or not. In the end I only watched two minutes and turned it off – just to see what the visual aspect was like. I didn’t watch anymore so that I wouldn't get influenced," she says.
Inspired by true stories and propelled by a fierce undercurrent of desperation, Standstill weaves tales of factory workers, cyclists, doctors and tour guides into a sweaty kaleidoscopic image of what happens when our dreams and ambitions collide with the lives we end up living.
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.
Time to Celebrate! [by James Wenley]
There’s a lot of good performance on at the moment. Too much. How can one get to it all? Auckland theatre – you need an ‘on demand’ service. Anything Goes is at the Civic, I haven’t yet managed to get to any of the Tempo Dance Festival at Q, there’s a myriad of performances down at the waterfront, and The Basement Fest is now in full swing.
That I have managed to get to, and am quite proud to say I’ve seen most of what’s on offer this week. With a new show playing almost every half-hour from 7pm – 10:30pm each night, that’s no small feat. You definitely can’t do all of the Fest in one night.
Adventurous audiences have no excuses – there’s plenty more than the Rugby on, go and experience it!
This is a great state to be in as Theatre Scenes celebrates its own milestone – this entry is the website’s 100th blog post! We’ve had great fun checking out the best (and worst) that Auckland theatre has had to offer so far this year, and hope in some small way we’ve added to the conversation.
So to celebrate, here’s a run-down of the current Basement Fest shows. Go see one, two or even all five! I dare you.
Jack the Ripper finally comes to Auckland, and he’s got a knife… [by James Wenley]
When I met Anders Falstie-Jensen during his lunch break from rehearsals at the Basement, he was beaming and full of enthusiasm for his latest project. The play he is directing, Yours Truly sounds like a ripper. Jack the Ripper to be precise. Written by Albert Belz, the play promises to be one of the scariest and darkest thrillers from a New Zealand playwright.
But other than the subject matter, there is something else for Anders to be excited about – the play marks a significant milestone for Anders and his theatre company The Rebel Alliance (whose Fringe offering Standstill I really enjoyed). For the first time, thanks to a grant from Creative New Zealand, Anders can go to paid full time work, 9-5, as a theatre director…
Yours Truly has been a long time coming to the Auckland stage. It debuted at BATS Wellington in 2006 and won Best New Zealand Play at the Chapman Tripp awards, but save for a production in Whangarei it all but disappeared. Playmarket had first alerted Producer/Director Anders Faltsie-Jensen to the play in 2008, but due to busyness it lay unread on his desk for three months. “When I finally got around to reading it – as soon as I finished it”, Anders says, “I biked down to the office and said I really want to do this show.” Unfortunately, Anders was told that the rights were no longer available.
Surely kicking himself for not reading it sooner, Anders was presented with another opportunity when the rights went back up, but with a catch. A guy called Sam was also interested in the play...