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21 Jul 2009
Print Version
STAB 2009 COMMISSION A MYSTERIOUS BEAST  

Who did it? Why? What the hell is going on? Is this for real?  

All questions you'll be asking yourselves when you encounter the BATS Theatre STAB commissions this October & November.

Now in its 14th year, STAB is annually challenging and entertaining audiences with new works that push Theatre to the limits. This is the only time BATS ever wears the producer hat, and we are stoked with the courageous Theatre practitioners that come to BATS every year with amazing visions.

Past STAB commissions have gone on to tour to regional arts festivals and win numerous Chapman Tripp awards. We are tremendously proud of this; in fact STAB 2008's Apollo 13: Mission Control and 2007's The Kreutzer are both being staged in the next month (in Auckland and Christchurch respectively). Wahoo!

This year we bring you more of those leaps in to the unknown that have come to represent STAB:

Live at Six (17 - 31 October) is a newsroom thriller written by Dean Hewison & Leon Wadham, and directed by Conrad Newport (Niu Sila, The Cape, King and Country). When a scandalous video of a TV news anchor is leaked online, the competing stations use the same footage to create two vastly different news stories, each pushing their individual agendas and racing towards that 6pm deadline - all in real time and live on stage.

As the editors struggle under real time pressure to reach a legitimate deadline, the rest of the cast must contend with newsroom politics, exploited friendships and fraying tempers.  The same question is on everyone's mind: who leaked this video, and why? 

Combining the thrilling time-pressure of live video editing with the realities of New Zealand's media culture (this year marking the 20th anniversary of TV3), Live at Six promises to be a relevant, exciting, immediate and engaging experience. 

The second show is a bit of a mystery...literally.  Well, we can't seem to find the artists we commissioned to make the work.  They've sort of...disappeared.  If anyone's seen them... we did get this cryptic email a couple of days ago:

'This is all just make believe, nothing is what it seems. 

Some possum emerges from the rubbish and warns me about tomorrow morning while I smoke my last cigarette in the alley.  The thump from the music inside makes me nauseated and that reminds me: I still have to clean the vomit out of the female toilets before going home.  I should stop getting pissed at work.  The possum mutters something about mediocrity and my biggest fear...it's all a blur, and then he disappears. 

David Lynch and Haruki Murakami discuss the finer points of Buddhism at a corner booth, while that camouflaged woman who walks Cuba Street sings an obscure Phoenix Foundation song on the Karaoke stage.  Weird.  

It's all just make-believe anyway.  Seriously, none of it's real.  Just entertainment.'    

Well, I'm sure you'll have lots of questions when it comes to opening night on Wednesday 11 November (not to mention what happens in the surrounding few weeks). 

STAB is funded by Creative New Zealand, and BATS Programme Manager Steph Walker enthuses "For 14 years CNZ have let us choose projects that are complete mysteries to them. And with the amount of talent and shows that have come through BATS over the years, we're pretty sure they trust us by now... long may that continue!"

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