FINAL WRAP UP
Two Day Plays (NZ) – Draft Two
Judges: Murray Lynch; Ken Duncum; Steph Walker; Michael Wray
Hosts: Simon Smith; Cohen Holloway
Producer: Dean Hewison
at BATS, Wellington
From 6 Sep 2009 to 27 Sep 2009
Reviewed by Michael Wray (4), 29 Sep 2009
As with the heats, two design elements have to appear in each 10 minute play, along with two randomly assigned props. The design elements on offer for the final were 30 seconds of stage-generated music, a 30 second period where all of the characters have to be in physical contact and a Heimlich manoeuvre.
Week three audience favourites Long Cloud Youth Theatre opened the proceedings with Madame Kreuzung. Their props were a lacrosse racquet and a silicon strapless bra.
Madame Kreuzung is a tall matriarch. When I say tall, I don't mean the common-all-garden variety of tall; I mean about 20 feet tall. And her skirts are big. Big enough for all sixteen of her kinder or children to live in. Make that seventeen, because the first thing she does is to give birth to new child.
The children play a game, holding a talent contest, apparently to see who wins the right to eat some food. The awarding of some chicken to one child kicks off a feeding frenzy that soon turns violent. For this one child must be punished and a girl is pulled out of the audience to assist with the beating of the culprit. She does so well at this task, that the girl is adopted as child number eighteen.
Madame Kreuzung sings a lullaby and soon falls asleep, giving the children licence to play with more mischief. One girl performs a wicked imitation of Madame Kreuzung, spurred on by her siblings until Madame awakes.
The children react to the punishment, turning on their mother, ultimately killing her. The brave new world of freedom is too much to take and one by one - all but one - they return to the late Madame Kreuzung's skirts.
Combined judges and audience pick from week one and original Two Day Plays runners-up, Newtown Ghetto Anger presented Suspicion at Huffington Manor. They had drawn a gold mask and a towel rail as their props.
Four prestigious explorers are gathered together for a meeting of the League, headed by their host Lord Huffington and his butler. It seems that someone has been murdering explorers and Lord Huffington has identified that the culprit is in their midst... but which one could it be? The explorers are incensed. One of them killed two dogs sledding to this meeting. In London. During summer. And damn hard work it was too. All to be the victim of an accusation?
Chelsea Wolverhampton, Massey Ferguson, Channel Croissant and Dr Ohio Smith (the latter looking suspiciously like Dr Indiana Jones) all protest their individual innocence, while casting aspersions on the other. "I'm not a murder and I'll kill anyone who says I am."
Their protests are to no avail; Lord Huffington appears at the upstairs balcony declaring the explorers to have fallen into his trap. He has only to pull a lever for the room to fill with molten lava, killing them all and they have no way out. Oh wait, yes there is. If only he'd remembered to lock the door.
The second pick of the judges from week one was Bull at a Gate, the only company to have presented a solo work. Using a nut-crusher and a photo frame, they performed The Tragic Tale of Goodie Rectomme and Thomas Proctor.
Goodie Rectomme is turning down the last rites. "Anything to confess? Yeah, stick the last rites up your ass!"
In a rectangle of light, representing a grave, Goodie Rectomme is giving us her last confession. She fell in love with a man called Thomas Proctor. Since he died, 27 years ago, Rectomme has been pining for him. Those 27 years have taken their toll. Goodie Rectomme has consumption, tuberculosis and osteoporosis.
Thomas was from a good family and a man of the cloth, which she thought meant he was a cleaner. He taught the lute to Goodie Rectomme. Soon she was plucking like a pro. Unfortunately, it caused quite a fuss around town. The gossip was loud enough to attract the attentions of Theobold Grimes, professional witch hunter. Goodie Rectomme refused to confess despite being tortured, so Grimes turned to her lover and crushed poor Thomas' manhood with a nut-crusher.
As the dying Goodie calls out to her lover, his spirit emerges from the audience - a plaster suitably placed over his manhood - and plays his lute for her one last time.
After the interval, Lead Hat, the judges' choice from week three, performed Busting Out 2. Their props were a cup holder and a bike seat.
Coming in from an evening of bad weather, Gus finds the house in utter darkness. He mends the fuse and finds his daughter, Anne - who looks suspiciously like a CPR dummy - alone in a chair. Anne is not allowed out, so Facebook is her only window to the world. Over protective father Gus drinks from his "World's Greatest Dad" mug, tries to feed Anne and then proceeds to read her Little Women.
They are interrupted by a knock on the door. Gus picks up a cloth shopping bag and carefully places it over Anne's head before answering. It's a cyclist, Darren, who has broken his bike and needs to phone for help. The phone has no signal, so Gus goes out to check the wires.
Immediately, Darren starts looking around and calling for Anne. He finds her under the bag and declares her to be more beautiful in person than she looked on Facebook. When he hears Gus returning, Darren panics and grabs the nearest bag to put over Anne.
Gus notices something is different but takes a while to realise what. After breaking his cup, he notices the change with alarm; Darren has covered Anne with a plastic bag. The consequences are tragic. They try everything to bring her back - the Heimlich, CPR - but it is too late.
The second pick of the judges from week two was The Bush Collective. Using a white kettle and an armless teddy bear, their play was The Sisters.
Taj Me is an Eastern deity with six arms, who commands worship and demands the sacrifice of flesh. The problem is that she has lost power and split into three separate mortals - the sisters.
If they can gather enough mojo, they can regain their powers and become whole again. And so they have set up a kissing booth, to which they tempt human males from whom they can extract their mojo.
It's taken 2000 years, but they are finally close and one more victim should do it. The final "donor" is proving elusive to find, so when Adam appears to have been stood-up by his date and instead wanders into their company, it's game on. Except there is a snag. One of the sisters hits it off with Adam. There are flowers and walks leaving the other sisters to yell, "ho's before bro's!"
Adam unwittingly pledges his doom, claiming his love would cause him to sacrifice himself. The sisters take him at his word, reuniting and demanding our worship.
The final play came from the combined judges and audience favourite from week two, Last Man Standing, with The Tautology and The Hare. Their assigned props were an oil bottle and a touch light.
Dr William Burke pushes a wheelchair, declaring "this is it!" He's talking to the unmoving inhabitant of the chair but, being covered with a cloth, we can't tell who that inhabitant is.
A flashback shows us Willy being interrogated by the members of the Science Technology Advance Board. They want to know what the Doc has produced to try and win a STAB grant. In an opposing laboratory, Dr Hare is very excited. Not since Rutherford and Curie has there been such excitement. STAB will be sure to give him the $1.2m grant.
Burke needs to find out what it is so he can steal the idea. And Hare's fancy beakers. Burke phones Hare's assistant, Myra, and tricks her into revealing what Hare has been working on - he's isolated a compound isotope with medicinal properties.
Consulting Teddy Bundy, his "diminutive assistant", Burke decides to break into his rival's lab. He finds his rival sleeping off the effort of working on his STAB acceptance speech beside a beaker of his solution. When Hare wakes up, Burke kills him with the beaker and determines to test the solution on his corpse - pushing him into a wheelchair and covering him with a cloth.
This brings us back to present time, with Burke at the wheelchair about to present to the STAB representatives. A revived Dr Hare reveals himself to the bystanders' surprise - "Herr Hare here how?!" In the commotion, Burke starts choking. Dr Heimlich from STAB is asked to perform his manoeuvre... Heimlich kneels down, points at Burke and firmly announces, "don't choke!"
Surprisingly, the Heimlich manoeuvre seems less effective than usual and Burke dies. Myra remarks it is interesting that the serum balances out its effects by reanimating a corpse and killing a living person in return.
Finally, as the judges retired to consider their verdicts, the HalfWITS performed an Untitled improvisation piece involving the audience-designated bike seat and nut crusher. Dean Hewison then conducted a prize-giving ceremony to wrap up Two Day Plays - Draft Two.
Across the four weeks of competition, fifteen teams wrote and performed twenty-one new plays. For the most part, the standard has been high. Roll on Two Day Plays Three: the next instalment of this new Wellington tradition!
For the final results, click here.
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