A Bit Dramatic

BATS Theatre, The Propeller Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

12/10/2023 - 12/10/2023

NZ Improv Festival 2023

Production Details

Directed by Noelle Greenwood

Oh, Artemis!

Bossy. Nag. Lazy. Quitter. Hysterical. High-maintenance. Too much.

A Bit Dramatic follows the stories of three women, at formative stages in their lives, and explores how the labels we acquire throughout our lives shape our actions, decisions and the people we become.

Inspired by real journal entries, improvisers will navigate the labyrinth of challenges women face when making their way in a world not built by or for them. From the absurd and comedic to the tender and raw, and everything in between. This is a show for anyone that’s ever felt the weight of a label dragging them down.

12 Oct, 6.30pm, BATS Theatre

Noelle Greenwood (she/her)
Liz Talbot (she/her)
Caitlin McGrath (She/her)
Mark Grimes (he/him)

D’ Woods

Improv , Theatre ,

60 mins

Scenarios sympathetic to women and the labelling they can suffer from

Review by Margaret Austin 13th Oct 2023

This Brisbane-based improvisation group has a few days earlier requested a diary entry from prospective audience members. The players – Noelle Greenwood, Liz Talbot, Caitlin McGrath, Mark Grimes – want to use the material in their show. I find myself wondering just how such content will be incorporated. Perhaps the clue is to be found in the show’s title. Not that I would expect an improvised performance to be anything but dramatic.

As it turns out, though, the performance has another point of difference – it isn’t being played for laughs. After four previous evenings of improvisation in which I’d laughed long and merrily, and even maybe heartlessly, here is content usually presented in a scripted work of some weightiness.

There’s a selection of diaries piled on three chairs and from these we will get stories based on extracts. Original authors will not be named of course. The extracts are duly read out as prefaces to the action – they’re lengthy and I have trouble retaining details. That’s diary writing for you.    

The first is perhaps the best explored. A newly graduated doctor – female – seems embarrassed by and uncomfortable with her own success. Hmmm. Her boyfriend is by turns puzzled and supportive. “You’re not the butt of my jokes,” he protests. Hmmm. “I don’t want to be the first family member not to get a PhD,” she says, a line that has me smiling and frowning at the same time. Further exposure of her vulnerability will be familiar to many of us.

The theme is established. We are witnessing scenarios sympathetic to women and the labelling they can suffer from, and which can hold them back, marring both self-image and relationships. A young woman whose mother has died and who has lost her way, is comforted by her father. Another woman who just loves sourdough, succeeds in having her own baking business.

We finally get some humour from a mere male – a plumber – who is so impressed by a mere female knowing the difference between a spanner and a wrench that he asks her for a date.

This is a performance which acts not so much as a kick but as a salutary reminder, or if you like a kick start. There are no fixed male and female roles in life any more than there are in improvised theatre.


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