This Week in the Theatre Scene: The Return (5-11 August)

Not about a bridge

High School Flashbacks [by James Wenley]

This week in the Theatre Scene gives our top picks for the upcoming week in theatre. We tried out this feature at the beginning of the year, but it fell by the wayside… probably because we were seeing too much theatre… Its all in the line of duty of course, folks, and here we bend our expert knowledge to present the best of the best, so you can plan your theatre outings for the week.  So, time to give it another go. If you like it, we’ll keep it going!

PICK ONE: Like There’s No Tomorrow

It's cool to hang out with these teens
It’s cool to hang out with these teens

Who wrote it? Wonderkid Eli Kent, he of Black Confetti ATC mainbill indie-cred. He’s taken a cast of teenagers’ real life stories and created a moving show from a teenage POV. And not the earnest ‘this is what teenagers think’ type of show, but a brutal and honest ‘this is how teenagers feel’ event.
Who’s putting it on? Proving that Aucklanders aren’t actually snobs, Wellington’s Playground Collective were invited to partner with Auckland Theatre Company to create the show. This has to the collaboration of the year.
What’s it about? Set at an (illegal) school afterball, the students have come to party. “Several weeks ago a student died. Drunk and daring he jumped off a roof into a swimming pool, but never made it to the water. As a result, all parties are off the timetable… except this one. His friends have gathered to remember, but some just want to forget.”
And its an interactive show? That’s right. I said it was moving. You follow the characters in groups around The Basement. The characters chat to you, you can participate in the story, but beware: Audiences might find themselves having flashbacks to their own teenage/early adult years (or perhaps the previous night if you’re a teenage audience member).
Pithy Theatre Scenes Review Quote: “But for those of the younger bent, this show is Hamlet’s mirror. What better way to get a conversation going about teen behaviour, then to see it like this? And not only the content, but the form. I suspect this show, by getting us up and moving and interacting, can change people’s minds who have written off theatre. This isn’t a stale worthy drama behind a proscenium arch. There are moments of bleakness and grief, but also celebration, humour, and possibility. This living theatre.” (You never know where the night will take you)
Where? The Basement. Party Central. This week Tuesday 6 – Sat 10 August, 8pm.
Hurry up and get your afterball ticket: This show is fast selling out. Tickets are $25 or under. See the Maidment for tickets.  Highly recommended.

PICK TWO: Sydney Bridge Upside Down

Not about a bridge
Not about a bridge

Who’s putting it on? Taki Rua Productions, NZ’s leading national Maori theatre company.
What happened to the Sydney Bridge? That’s actually the name of a horse – Sydney Bridge Upside Down. The show is adapted by director James Ashcroft and the cast from the novel of the 1968 same name by NZ author David Ballayntine. As Taki Rua explain, “After reading the title you’d be confused into thinking this was an essay on Australian architecture. After reading the book you’d know you had discovered one of New Zealand’s best kept literary secrets.” Taki Rua’s production is helping rediscover this novel as a kiwi classic which has been compared to Catcher in the Rye.
What’s it about? “Set in Calliope Bay, the mythic place from our childhoods, where self-discovery plants its earliest and most potent seeds. Sydney Bridge Upside Down is an adolescent memory of when we begin to live in the twilight hours between night and day. Dreams become nightmares, friends become foes. A child’s questioning eye begins to notices oddities in the world around him; things no longer seem to make sense as they once did. At the edge of the world a young boy tests the boundaries of his physical and psychological environment with devastating consequences. The transition to adolescence is a rough time to navigate in which none of us come through unscathed. ”
Why is this a must see? Local productions of this kind of ambition don’t come along too often (although we’ve been rather treated having just had another recent literary theatre adaption of Tu). Taki Rua are promising “theatrical morbidity at its very best”. Keep an eye out for Sharu’s review.
Where? Q’s Loft, Wednesday 7 – Sun 11 August, 7:30pm
Tickets? $35-45 from Q

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