PREVIEW: Glorious at The Basement

Glorious' director Sam Shore
Glorious' director Sam Shore

In Glorious Anticipation 
[by Sharu Delilkan]

When I met up with director Sam Shore at his quaint Eden Terrace home the first thing I had to ask him was why he was ‘remounting’ and not directing Richard Huber’s Glorious.

He lost no time explaining that he didn’t feel comfortable taking credit for all the play’s direction, having come into the mix so late in the piece.
“Since the play has been done before and it’s not my whole vision I thought ‘remounting’ was the appropriate term for my involvement.

Glorious centres around bored socialite Gloria (Anya Tate-Manning) who sets her sights on Jimmy (Sam Bunkall), a struggling writer-waiter at her dad’s birthday party, just to spite her dad.

It’s also Shore’s first time not directing a play from scratch. And he’s pleased to report that he’s thoroughly enjoying the process. “I particularly like looking at what someone else has done and getting the chance to re-shape, critique and re-model it,” he says.

Shore also revealed that although he had not seen the original staging of the play, he was intimately acquainted with the publicity and reviews the play got when it premiered in Dunedin and subsequently was staged in Wellington.

“So I was pleasantly surprised when I was approached to reincarnate the piece. However I only decided to commit after reading the play. I was astounded by how by beautifully written the piece was – it’s not often that you read such amazing language.”

With a similar vein to the golden age of cinema, citing works such as The Philadelphia Story as an influence, Glorious sees playwright Huber skilfully blend sophistication, slapstick and social commentary. Singing with sensuality and the whip-crack of 1940s screwball comedy, the show’s nostalgic appearance has an instant appeal to an older generation of New Zealander’s… but it’s rapid, sharp dialogue also plays towards contemporary audiences (much like Gossip Girl or The West Wing).

Or as Shore describes it, “I see Glorious as an intimate experience, which is stylised. Somewhat akin to a little glass of fine liqueur being swilled around.”

He also brings with him the added skill of being a graphic designer, which allows him to “see everything quite vividly.”

Which is why he did all the design for his original play The Idea of America staged last year.

Shore admits it has been a dream working the winning combination of Tate-Manning and Bunkall.

“They have been really open to having me on board and have responded amazingly well to me trying out new things,” he says.

“Of course I asked them what their concerns were from the start because they had the unique perspective that I lacked as a newcomer to the process.”

Coming from an acting background, having grown up on the sets of Lord of the Rings as an extra, Shore says he feels comfortable speaking the same language as the actors he’s directing.

“It’s great that all the foundation has been set where both Anya and Sam know everything about the play intimately, including the dialogue. This gives us the unique opportunity to concentrate on giving the production a new lease of life, which helps to keep it fresh.”

Glorious plays at The Basement Theatre 1-12 November. More information at The Basement.

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