THIRD PERSON TENSE!
By Stephen Papps
Directed by Mark Clare
at The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
From 16 Oct 2012 to 27 Oct 2012
Reviewed by: Nik Smythe; Matt Baker (Theatre Scenes - Auckland Theatre Blog); Janet McAllister (New Zealand Herald);
A SOLO SHOW... WITH TWO PEOPLE
Stephen Papps' brand new work, the weird and wonderful relationship comedy Third Person, Tense!, makes its New Zealand premiere at The Basement Theatre Studio from October 16th.
Riddled with self-referencing and even a hint of existentialism, Third Person, Tense! is a story shrouded in mystery and contradiction – where matters of the heart are mapped on stage in both a comedic and a sorrowful light. Told by one man, direct to the audience, fiction seems to weave itself into the story-tellers life... and like life; no story is ever fully known.
An actor wakes to find himself on the set of a theatre, confronted by an audience expecting a show. He has a hangover; a head-injury and a touch of amnesia. He's also very disturbed to find the prone body of a girl on the stage.
He can't remember her and can't wake her. Then the phone rings...
It's almost hard to believe that given the plaudits Stephen Papps has received throughout his career that Third Person marks his sophomore work as a playwright. Highly experienced and well regarded as a theatre practitioner and actor, Papps is probably best remembered to the public as Misha in the Stephen Sinclair hit Russian Snark and for his role in 1993's End of the Golden Weather, which earned him the “Best Actor” gong at the NZ Film Awards.
In theatre circles though, Papps is most celebrated for his debut work, Blowing It, which saw him nominated for a Chapman Tripp “Best Actor” award in 2000. He then went on to tour the one man show to England, Ireland, Germany, Australia and Scotland in its five year lifespan and earned rave reviews from the NZ Listener, the Dominion Post and Scotland's Metro.
Joining Papps on stage is Christchurch performer Lizzie Tollmache, who has previously worked with Stephen in 2010's production of Much Ado About Nothing. The young prodigal actress has been making a name for herself in the past year with roles in Fortune Theatre's Five Women Wearing The Same Dress, Court Theatre's Scared Scriptless and in the Wellington and Dunedin seasons of The Visitor.
They are under the guidance of Mark Clare, as he assumes the director's chair for the first time since the 2006-2007 tour of End of the Golden Weather, which played not only across the North Island but also in Edinburgh. The realm of surreal theatre isn't something new for Clare – he has performed in the 2006 production of Theatre Beating's The Magic Chicken, and appearing in Inside Out's production of The Threepenny Opera in 2001.
Slightly absurdist, eccentric and a lucid bit of storytelling, Third Person, Tense! is one of the more curious (black) romantic comedies to emerge from New Zealand's theatre world – and an oddity guaranteed to entertain Auckland audiences this October.
THIRD PERSON, TENSE! plays
16th – 27th October 2012,
The Basement Studio, Lower Greys Avenue, Auckland
Tuesday – Saturday, 7pm.
Tickets: $20.00 - $25.00
Bookings through iTicket – 09 361 1000 or www.iticket.co.nz