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Wednesday 08 April 2009

Drama Central!

Posted in: Performance
By Matt Akersten - 16th March 2009

A certain city is now buzzing with new acting talent, as part of the Auckland Festival 2009 and beyond…

We witnessed a thrilling show at the Festival at the weekend, and found out about more on-stage delights happening this week.




As the lights went out in the Herald Theatre on Saturday night for The Ensemble Project's Life is a Dream, we were more than a little apprehensive after being warned to expect 'loud explosions'. The audience jumped as a few gun shots rang out, but while the special effects were startling, we found the quality of the acting - particularly of leading man Sam Snedden as Segismundo - was outstanding.

It's a visceral story of fate versus free will in the Polish aristocracy. The Queen's son Segismundo is cursed by the prophesy that he will bring ruin on his country if crowned, so has been imprisoned all his life. Now in her last days, the old Queen decides to give her son one chance - and frees him for a day… but will his anger lead him to take revenge, or will the rightful heir rise to take the throne?

We also particularly loved Rosaura (Rachel Forman) the female revolutionary disguised as a man, and the dark and atmospheric lighting design by Jeremy Fern.

Check out some of Auckland's best new acting talent in Life is a Dream, on until Saturday 11 April.



We love the title! This new play by Thomas Sainsbury (his first in NZ after moving to the UK) started at the Cross Street Studios yesterday and is on until this Wednesday 18 March. We're hearing good things about it.

The story charts the downfall of three flatmates and their insatiable appetites for everything consumerist.

Firstly there's Britney Mann, an obsessive of anything cute. She wants nothing more than babies, hundreds and hundreds of babies. She's had two already, and that's only the beginning. Then there's Rupert Long, a compulsive eating/drug addict/alcoholic extraordinaire whose heart, at the tender age of 21, is a heart attack waiting to happen. And finally there's Malcolm Squash who works every hour to feed his gargantuan habit of shopping. Everything new and shiny he must buy, as if his life depended on it.

After living beyond their means for too many years, the flatmates must change their habits, dodge Baycorp, go to extreme measures to make money, and continue ignoring their problems until it all becomes too much.




At the Herald Theatre from this Thursday 19 March, Back Story brings you the results of a two-month workshop where eight actors construct their own narrative. You'll see a vibrant young cast aiming to bring audiences "a work which embraces who we are, where we live and celebrates our inheritance."

Concocted by the good people at the Silo Theatre, the info they've sent us about Back Story is a little overblown - "Storytelling has existed as long as humanity has had language," we're reminded - but the cast look cool and we're always up for a voyeuristic thrill. It's on until Saturday 11 April.


…and don't forget STRAIGHT ACTING

It'll be Drama Central on K' Road on Saturday night - more so than usual!

The winner of Steven Oates' new contest at the Naval & Family pub will kick-start their acting career with a part on Shortland Street and a one-year contract with a talent agency.

"Come along and show your knowledge of film and TV and have your acting skills put to the ultimate test," says Oates.

The winner will receive a small part on TV2's long-running soap Shortland Street, along with a year-long contract with Talento Talent Management, and a professional photo shoot with 'photographer to the stars' Robert Trathen. There are also many other spot prizes to be won, says Oates.

The Straight Acting - Search for a Star contest, a fundraiser for LGBT support network Rainbow Youth, begins at 10pm this Saturday 21 March, and continues for four heats each Saturday until the grand final on 18 April.

Matt Akersten - 16th March 2009