2b or nt 2b / 4 Billion Likes!

Circa Two, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington

17/05/2014 - 01/06/2014

Production Details

Two plays – one award winning, the other brand new – are an exciting youth theatre initiative between Circa Theatre and 1st Gear Productions.

2b or nt 2b

“A comic gem” – Dominion Post
2b or nt 2b … should be everywhere” – Theatreview   

Six classic characters from Shakespeare, Chekhov, Ibsen and Sophocles meet as teenagers on whatsthepont.com – all finding their lives a little too difficult.

Antigone (Antigone), Hamlet (Hamlet), Hedda (Hedda Gabler), Irena (The Three Sisters), Helena (A Midsummer Nights Dream), and Masha (The Seagull) vie with each other for the position of Most Tragic Life Story and meet IRL with the intention of ending it all.

Dysfunctional families, unrequited love and longing for escape, using original text and texting, quotes and questions, literature and laughs – 2b or nt 2b is a comedy that creates a contemporary setting and an intriguing new interpretation for these tragic lives. 

Together can they find ways to change their scripts and write themselves a future? 

Pick of the NZ Fringe Festival 2008
Chapman Tripp Theatre Award nominee Best New Play 2008  

4 Billion Likes!

A new solo comedy with songs starring Neenah Dekkers-Reihana, (TIgers of Wrath, After Juliet)

Sixteen-year-old Chloe Anderson from Hamilton starts a blog to immortalize her historically totally important thoughts, and her deepest dreams of winning X-Factor.

External events open her eyes to the need to see more in her life than how she can lose 2kg and become a star.

“Did my auntie know what would happen if I started a blog. Did she know I might start to think?” 

NB: Trigger Warning – both these shows contain potential traumatic subject matters. 

17 May – 1 June
7.30pm Tues – Sat and 4.30pm Sun (no show Mon)
Circa Two, 1 Taranaki Street, Wellington
Tickets: $30 / 25 / 20 (school groups 10+ $15 each)
Bookings: 04 801 7992 or Circa Theatre website 

2b or nt 2b CAST
Bronwyn Ensor:  HEDDA
Neenah Dekkers:  MASHA
Michael Trigg:  HAMLET
Alice Orchard:  IRENA
Sylvie McCreanor:  ANTIGONE
Georgie Sivier:  HELENA

4 Billion Likes CAST 
Neenah Dekkers:  CHLOE
Maxwell Apse:  Musical Arrangement
Neenah Dekkers:  Music Composition
Neenah Dekkers and Sarah Delahunty:  Lyrics

Stage Manager:  Kate Burian
Lighting Design:  Lydia Easter
Lighting Mentor & Programmer:  Matthias Mard
Set:  Anna Lowe and Russell Nelson
Sound and Lighting Operator:  Kate Burian  
Publicity:  Brianne Kerr
Graphic Design:  Dink Design
Publicity Photography:  Stephen A’Court
Box Office:  Linda Wilson
FOH Manager:  Suzanne Blackburn

Running time: 2b or nt 2b is 60mins (15 min interval) 4 Billion Likes! is 50mins 

2hrs 5mins, incl. interval

Timeless tale of youthful dilemmas

Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 19th May 2014

That teenagers in crisis today are no different to tortured souls from classical literature is clearly evident through Sarah Delahunty’s clever and astute play 2b or nt 2b currently playing at Circa Two.

The familiar line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet that is the title of the play is the question that the six young people are asking, all of whom link up online through www.whatsthepoint.com. [More


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Two important plays

Review by John Smythe 18th May 2014

It’s six years since Sarah Delahunty and her 1st Gear Productions won Pick of the Fringe and a Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards Best New Play nomination with 2b or nt 2b. I said back then that it“needs to be everywhere” (did it really only have three performances?) and now I feel it needs to be adapted as a digital film and at least sold to all NZ Secondary schools if not distributed world-wide.

In the process of characterising five classical heroines and Hamlet in contemporary txt-generation terms, 2b or nt 2b confronts the phenomenon of teenage suicide head-on. As such it would be an invaluable resource in the curriculum.

The play opens with a group-delivered paean to melancholic despair; to the terrible emptiness all six characters share. We are then made privy to their varying states of solitary misery, before fate – in the guise of a chat room – brings them all together on The Bridge to Nowhere.

Shakespeare’s disaffected Hamlet (Michael Trigg) calls a Help Line to put his all-consuming question and the automated response – “To help me direct your call, please tell me what you’re calling about” – precipitates painfully comical results.

Sophocles’ Antigone (Sylvie McCreanor), daughter or Oedipus and traumatically burdened by her family history, is equally unimpressed when she’s put on hold to the strains of ‘What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love’.

From Chekhov’s The Seagull, Masha the emo (Neenah Dekkers-Reihana) is “in mourning for [her] life” as she keeps vigil at her laptop, waiting for Konstantin to log on to Facebook while ignoring boring Medavenko’s persistent texts.

Feeling lost in a metaphysical forest, the ardent Helena (Georgie Sivier) from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in unrequited love with Demetrius, fears dope has addled her brain.

When Chekhov’s Irena (Alice Orchard), from Three Sisters, seeks a solution to wasting her life away in Foxton when it’s all happening in New York, the Help Desk person asks, “Have you tried turning it off and on?”

All are feeling alone and alienated until Ibsen’s Hedda (Bronwyn Ensor), in a bid to gain power at last over her own destiny and that of others, appoints herself Head Girl of the whatsthepoint.com chat-room.

Much fun is had with their online aliases. As Hedda tries to align them to her final solution, compulsively appropriating Hamlet’s best lines in the process, the competition as to whose life is the most tragic – they each get one minute to tell their story – is darkly and insightfully hilarious.

All six actors capture the ideal tone and cadence for their character and sustain it to the less-bitter-than-expected end, almost. Only in the last few minutes do they liberate themselves from their stuck positions, despite Hedda’s wielding of the lethal weapon Ibsen bestowed upon her.

As well as offering brilliant entertainment for all age-groups, 2b or nt 2b is a very important play that really does have the power to make a difference to its target audience.

Anna Lowe and Russell Nelson’s set design of silver-grey plastic pallets arranged in various configurations, including for the second play, works well along with Lydia Easter’s lighting design. Bright-coloured soft furnishings are added for 4 Billion Likes, to evoke the bedroom of young Hamilton blogger Chloe Anderson.

Starting with Chloe singing her naïve and original song ‘Who Am I?’ in an X Factor-style talent quest, this is a rite-of-passage / coming-of-age story. A wonderfully accomplished performance by Neenah Dekkers-Reihana tracks how the hyperactive and somewhat ditzy Chloe comes to lift her sights to a horizon beyond her weight, hair style and becoming famous, not to mention a boy called Jamie, to focus on a bigger and less self-centred picture.

Much humour is gleaned en route from Chloe’s limited world view and Lynn of Tawa-like Malapropisms. And Dekkers-Reihana’ singing of the songs she composed (lyrics co-written by Delahunty) is superb, not least in its depicting of Chloe’s lesser skills. 

It’s her much-referenced Aunty who has suggested she write her thoughts down in a diary (for which read blog) just in case – like Einstein’s – they turn out to be important one day. Events at school when Chloe was 6, involving boys ‘being boys’, a girl called Bernice and an implicit peer group pressure not to tell, have proved formative and more significant than she realised at the time. It takes events at a teenage party, what happens to a friend called Jade, and the consequent responses of her Aunty, to finally raise Chloe’s consciousness.

The title refers to the number of women and girls in the world, and Chloe’s fantasy they might all read her blog and ‘like’ it. She may still be naïve but at least her boundless energy is now directed in a more humane way.

While 4 Billion Likes is simpler and less multi-dimensional than 2b or nt 2b, its message to its target audience is equally important. As a solo show, it should be entirely feasible for it to tour high schools and (without knowing what 1st Gear Productions has in mind) I hope it does.



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