Written by Gina Vanessi
Directed by Gavin Rutherford
Presented by FOMO
at BATS, Wellington
From 31 Jul 2012 to 11 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: John Smythe; Ewen Coleman (The Dominion Post); Lynn Freeman (Capital Times);
When Petra meets Celeste she's strangely curious and excited about this new friendship. What Petra doesn't know, is that the ground she is balanced on is about to shift. Celeste knows Petra: Petra knows Paul: Paul knows Celeste: Petra has been used.
A play about obsession, betrayal and the fault-lines they create.
Presented by FOMO, with thanks to SmackBang Theatre Co. and Auckland Theatre Company, Quiver opens at BATS on 31 July and runs till 11 August.
There are only three actors in Quiver. Alex Greig will be playing Paul, an advertising executive who has been caught with his pants down at least once. You will have seen Alex Greig many times over the years in various roles at Bats. “Such is his talent that we wanted a piece of the Alex Greig phenomenon too,” says Gina. “Paul is a cock. But he's a nice cock. Alex plays his subtleties very well.”
Gina Vanessi will take on the role of Celeste. When it comes to this character, Gina is a bit coy about saying too much. “I don't want to give too much away about Celeste. But I hope that other women can relate to that need to know and need to feel that is so deeply ingrained in her. It's heightened reality. It's super-reality! But I don't think she's so over the top that no one will recognise her.”
Jaya Robertson will play Petra, a yoga-posing vegetarian who unwittingly lets herself be drawn into Celeste and Paul's world. Jaya brings out Petra's youthful innocence in a way that is at the same time both beautiful and sad. “I keep getting more surprises from Jaya that are developing the character of Petra even more.” (from Gina, with a smile)
“I wanted to do more acting” said Gina. And so she wrote a play. Little did she know that it would take two years of writing and re-writing and workshops before she could finally be in it!!
But it was a fun process and now Gina is looking forward to bringing Celeste, one of the characters she created, to life. Is there a similarity between Celeste and the woman who created her? “I think there are similarities, but I hope I'm not as mental!” says Gina. “There are definitely elements of Celeste in me – but she's clearly quite out of control.” Gina relates to the other woman in the play, Petra equally. “I'm as much Petra as I am Celeste” she says, “(even though they're very different!) I go to yoga, I like to meditate. And I've experienced what it's like to be very lonely from time to time.”
Partner Gavin Rutherford is directing – will this actress/director partnership bring some friction into their home life? “As long as Gina behaves herself and doesn't give me too much sh**, I think we'll be ok,” says Gavin.
Quiver has had two workshops. The first with SmackBang Theatre Co. The workshop was over two days and the sun was shining in Auckland as donogh rees directed. “It was the first time I watched other people play with my words,” says Gina. “I was nervous, but I loved seeing the play start to take shape, and Donogh had such a great understanding of what the play was essentially about.”
The second workshop was for SmackBang again but was hosted this time by Auckland Theatre Company – an opportunity Gina as a relatively inexperienced playwright was very grateful for. This time she worked with director Hera Dunleavy and dramaturg Thomas Sainsbury. “The play was pulled to pieces a bit more in this second workshop and I think it's definitely better because of it,” says Gina. The non-linear nature of how time plays out in the script was discussed at length, and how it might not be understood. As a result, many changes were made. The play still does not run in linear time however. “It's a choice I had to make,” explains Gina, “but I'd like to make the audience work a little. It shouldn't be too easy. They should have to think.”
There is indeed a lot to think about in Quiver. With underlying themes and metaphors to do with the end of the world, the set is going to be very contemporary.
Designed by Ulli Briese, there will be a “faultline” with lights for effect. Ulli is a very talented set and lighting designer that many will recognise from his work at Circa Theatre. “In the end, all that I want is for the audience to come away with a sense of hope.”
Featuring: Alex Greig, Jaya Robertson, Gina Vanessi
Designed by Ulli Briese