BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington

26/07/2013 - 10/08/2013


Production Details

And the taps go drip, drip, drip . . . 

Rhys and Phoebe live together at 10 Stencil Terrace, where their tap is dripping. Rhys wants to do something. Phoebe doesn’t. Together and apart, they’re shaken into action/inaction as Atlas buckles under the weight of the world.

Truths are uncovered from behind the mysterious shadows. The brilliant mind of Joseph Harper creates a masterpiece where an apocalyptic warning becomes a story involving premonitions and thrown boxes.

Activists, statues, plumbers, and hundreds of millions of dead butterflies fall into our lives as we wait for it to snow, and the taps go drip, drip, drip. 

Young & Hungry celebrates theatre made by emerging artists, enjoyed by all!

Young and Hungry is an opportunity for young practitioners to experience and learn the basics of theatre creation with the guidance of established industry professionals – all while having a sweet as time.

Young and Hungry is in its 19th year of mentoring young theatre enthusiasts in all disciplines – acting, directing, stage management, marketing and set, lighting, sound and costume design.

Our shows for 2013 are weird, hilarious, trashy and surreal with world premieres of plays by Joseph Harper (Atlas/Mountains/Dead Butterflies), Nic Sampson (Dragonlore) and Georgina Titheridge (Trashbag).

BATS Out-Of-Site, 8.00pm
Friday 26 July – Saturday 10 August
(no show Sun/Mon)
Tickets: $18 / $14 / Groups 6+ $13 / School Groups 6+ $10
Y&H Season Passes: $45 / $36 / $30 

50 mins

Disturbing equilibrium

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 29th Jul 2013

Atlas /Mountains /Dead Butterflies is Theatre of the Absurd and is about the plight of the world and our pathetic attempts to save it. 

Joseph Harper’s environmental play also has a set largely made out of cardboard. At the start members of the cast are making butterflies out of plastic bags, while Atlas is sitting very uncomfortably at the back struggling to keep the Earth on his shoulders.

In Rhys and Phoebe’s apartment a tap is dripping. Rhys is vaguely disturbed about plastic bags and the environment: Phoebe couldn’t care less. Rhys is offered a job folding pamphlets to save the bottle nose dolphin by an overly keen member of Green Aotearoa. A plumber is called to fix the tap, dozens of boxes are thrown into the room and butterflies die and Atlas tumbles.

Though performed with plenty of attack by its cast of six, and given a suggestion of an optimistic ending by the playwright, the play is so heavily laden with a message that it seems more like a piece of performance art rather than a dramatic presentation.


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Stimulating articulation of an eternal internal battle

Review by Ben Blakely 28th Jul 2013

Existentialism can be characterised by the following (lifted from Wikipedia in true millennial fashion): “a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world”. It’s not a new concept but it is one that each generation has to come to terms with at some point. The idea that everything is pointless and nothing you can do will change that is quite confronting and overwhelming at times. 

So how do you deal with it? Do you just ignore it and live as you always have done? Or do you try and make a difference by fixing it? But what’s broken? Maybe nothing is broken or maybe everything is.

This struggle is hard to articulate but many have tried and theatre especially has a rich history of Absurdism which I think of as a sibling of Existentialism. The struggle is the same but the answers (if there are any) are more ambiguous and uncertain.

Altas / Mountain / Dead Butterflies, either consciously or not, continues in the footsteps of Absurdism. It is a beautiful, heart-breaking, and overwhelming piece that is my favourite of the three plays at the Young and Hungry Festival of New Theatre. 

Atlas (Ryan Knighton) is a man / person / entity with the entire universe literally on his shoulders. He’s been living this way for a while now – almost forever and is getting tired. He is worried that if he lets go and gives up then the universe won’t be able to prop itself up. But he has a plan. 

Rhys (Aaron Pyke) and Phoebe (Isobel MacKinnon) live in a house with a dripping tap. Rhys is concerned about the world, life, the meaning in both, and how he can fix what is broken. Phoebe doesn’t understand why Rhys cares so much and why these things bother him.

Rhys, in trying to fix everything, becomes overwhelmed by all that needs to be done. What seem to be innocent enough tasks, like signing up to help Green Aotearoa deliver flyers, turn into monumental feats that have no chance of ever being completed. Special mention must go to the interactions between Rhys and the Green Woman (played with fantastic energy and enthusiasm by Ash James), especially during the sign up phone call.

Phoebe faces her own journey when she meets Concrete Man (Michael Hebenton), a man who knows that everything is meaningless and has made peace with it. This challenges the normally steadfast Phoebe. Maybe everything isn’t as she once thought. 

Then there is the tap. A plumber named Hope (Esme Oliver) has her own thoughts on this – but she’s optimistic in the face of mounting evidence that it’s getting a whole lot worse.  

Meanwhile snow is on the way.

The chaos builds on many levels – becoming almost unbearable both for the characters and for us as the audience watching. At these points my heart is racing and I am incredibly anxious, which is a testament to the combination of lighting, sound, and stage work. 

Pyke is incredibly engaging as Rhys. The way in which he is able to draw the audience in and tell us what he’s thinking and share with us his fears and explain his state of mind is mesmerising. It is done in such an honest and sincere way and no doubt is the work of a great actor / director combo in Pyke and Ralph Upton.

The stage effects are created with great success by the use of many a plastic bag in all kinds of configuration deftly manipulated by actors Oliver, James and Hebenton, who shift between their characters mentioned above and the elements: a dripping tap, lots of water, snow, or anything else required to complete a stage image. 

Much can be said about this fantastic play (goodness knows I’ve said quite a bit already) as it deals with such massive issues that humans have been pondering probably forever. Why are we here? Why does no one care? Why does anyone care? 

The characters in the play may come to their own conclusions but what I think is most important about this work is that it generates discussion. It is questioning and asks us to do the same, and it articulates an internal battle that is going on in a lot of young people’s minds as they come to terms with how they can save and care for a world that sometimes doesn’t seem to want to care for them.   

Atlas / Mountains / Dead Butterflies is what Young and Hungry is all about. All involved in the piece should be extremely proud of what they have achieved. 


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