This Week in the Theatre Scene: Young & Hamlet (7-13 October)

Look - an actual throne!

Auckland Theatre gets Game of Thrones mad [by James Wenley]

PICK ONE: Young & Hungry

Game of LARPing

Who’s putting it on? Wellington has been doing Young & Hungry – a festival of new theatre with cast and crew aged 15-25 working with industry mentors – for yonks. Auckland only recently got a taste, with three years of Y&H under the wings of Auckland Theatre Company. When they decided to do their own thing, the good people at The Basement have belatedly taken up the challenge to getting it going again.
The Plays? There are two plays this year, both earlier performed in Wellington’s Y&H this year, and both by Auckland-based playwrights better known for writing work for themselves to star in – the thinking-person’s comedien Nic Sampson with Dragonlore, and the thinking-person’s humanist Joseph Harper with Atlas/Mountains/Dead Butterflies.
Game of Thrones? Dragonlore is set in the swords and [wheelchair] horses world of LARPing (live action role play), and makes ample use of the Game of Thrones theme-song (you know the one).  Atlas/Mountains/Dead Butterflies contains no Thrones, but does contain a sweet Greek myth as modern metaphor!
Pithy Theatre Scenes Quote: “Harper’s script is filled to the brim with weighted dialogue; nearly every second sentence comes across as a Western translation of a Confucian statement, but not as arrogant pontification. Instead, it is shrouded in the uncertainty of its protagonists, a perfect example of how theatre should raise questions, not provide answers.” (Delicious by Matt Baker)
James adds: Dragonlore is nerd entertainment, a satisfying premise that mines the ridiculousness of the LARPing world without exploiting it. The image-laden potential of Atlas/Mountains/Dead Butterflies wasn’t fully realised for me by the directors and cast, and though Harper’s philosophic themes are familiar (Ben Anderson’s plays have explored similar terrain), its a worthy way of exercising your mind and imagination after stretching your laughing muscles in Dragonlore.
Where? The Basement, now in its final week, performances from 7pm (Dragonlore) Tues 8-Saturday 12 October.
Tickets? $20-$30 from iTICKET. If you are under 25, you can see both plays for $25.00

PICK TWO: Hamlet

Look – an actual throne!

Who’s putting it on? Galatea Theatre, under the direction of John Goudge
Hamlet? Never heard of it. One of the greatest plays in the world (by my reckoning anyway), was last seen in Auckland ten years ago in a Michael Hurst™ production.
Who’s in it? RADA trained Calum Gittins (The King’s Speech) is the reason to see the show according to our critic Matt Baker.
Game of Thrones? Hamlet has jumped on the Game of Thrones bandwagon with a design aesthetic heavily influenced by the icy north of the TV series. Gittins in his interview with Gather and Hunt acknowledges the cheese factor: ” I know it’s kind of a joke and we’re cashing in on the success of this TV show, but at the same time you’d be amazed at how well it works. It’s Denmark, it’s cold, there’s ghosts – no zombies as such, or dragons  – but it gives it a fantastical air and makes the men be burlier and strong”. Matt Baker notes that some of the cast “look uncannily familiar” to TV equivalents.
Pithy Theatre Scenes Quote: “Asides from his remarkable technique, Gittins’ performance is packed with pathos, giving full colour to the extreme range of Hamlet’s capricious nature. This is by no means an easy feat. Hamlet’s complexities arise from subconscious desire, something which cannot be played, so, instead, Gittins delivers each soliloquy as part of a mental process, an untangling of intangible ideas. ” (The Red Tragedy by Matt Baker)
Where? The Musgrove Studio, also in its final week. Tues 8 – Sat 12.
Tickets? $20-28 from The Maidment

Also this week:
The Modern Maori Quartet’s Nga Bro E Wha finishes at Galatos on Wednesday.
The Tempo Dance Festival opens at Q on Wednesday, fit to bursting with dance goodness (9-20th October)
Audiences get re-imagined cult horrors at The Herald Theatre with Live Live Cinema‘s new offering Dementia 13 (an early Francis Ford Coppolla) and a return of Carnival of Souls (Wed-Sunday).
NZ Opera has a nautical horror of a different kind with The Flying Dutchman until Saturday.
And audiences are getting the munchkins for high-priced ice creams and cocktails from The Civic bar.

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