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CHALLENGE ACCEPTED

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13
Written by Mike Bartlett
Directed by Sophie Roberts
presented by The Actorsí Program

at The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
From 6 Nov 2012 to 10 Nov 2012

Reviewed by James Wenley, 9 Nov 2012
originally published in Theatre Scenes - Auckland Theatre Blog

I got a sneak preview of 13 when I went to the shows at the upstairs Basement Studio the night before. A cacophony of shouts and screams impossible to ignore rose from the floorboards below. Whatever was happening downstairs, it sounded explosive.

13 is an audacious choice of play for The Actors' Program graduation showcase: the first public performance from the first year of actors from a program that has arrived to radically shake up acting training in New Zealand. Much rests on the fortunes of these 14 actors to demonstrate the program's success. No pressure then.

13, by British playwright Mike Bartlett is a very challenging prospect. The characters are challenging: some actors are required to invest in multiple roles, some need to maturely convince in roles with playing ages much older than their own. These characters are juicy too; troubled, vulnerable, oh so flawed. But more than this, 13 is a play of challenging ideas. And it's the big ones: politics, culture, religion. All presented against a contemporary London with a vacuum of meaning and generational unease. We see protests, state violence, filicide.

13 is the perfect showcase of artists with not just something to prove, but something to say. [More]  
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