The Pumphouse Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland

26/05/2016 - 28/05/2016

The Dark Room, Cnr Pitt and Church Street, Palmerston North

10/08/2016 - 12/08/2016

Production Details


“We’re all going to die…but not just yet”

The Show:

Simple Truth Theatre is a small company started by Unitec Performing Arts graduate Taylor Griffin and is currently made up solely of Unitec graduates looking to create opportunities for themselves. The core ideal of the company is hard work, dedication, passion and truth and with each show this little company creates – this being the third under its belt already – they begin to discover what that means as practicing artists trying to carve out a niche for themselves, first in Auckland and then New Zealand.

This time around the company is taking on NZ playwright Toa Fraser’s Kiwi contemporary comedy called Bare and are doing a season in Auckland at The Pumphouse Theatre in Takapuna this May.  These Unitec Performing and Screen arts graduates are putting everything they have learnt into action and they have also been booked by high schools in Auckland and later in the year they are taking the show on tour around the North Island to several other schools as well as public seasons booked in both Taupo and Palmerston North. Unitec themselves have backed the graduates and their showing of Bare adding to the faith that Unitec truly creates artists with longevity and enough dedication to commit themselves to their passion fully.

Bare is a Kiwi comedy with a hilarious matrix of urban poetry and streetwise lip. The show is a set of monologues that rap and riff on body image, films, takeaway food, graffiti, English literature and more to create an eclectic mix of kiwi characters that paint a vivid picture of NZ life. Bare takes a snapshot into the lives of simple, real and infinitely relatable people. You’ll often find yourself laughing because you’re reminded of someone you know who is like each different character from an energetic gym babe, to the stressed out BK manager to that guy that works at the movies, watch as two actors take on a total of 24 characters to create a lively, comedic take on this kiwi classic.

A big goal for the company with this show is to create a playground between the actor and the audience and to show that an actor doesn’t need a mass of set and props to create a world to dive into; you simply only need a space, the actor and the audience. With this showing of Bare the team at Simple Truth Theatre are working tirelessly together –in multiple production and cast roles- in their kitted out homegrown rehearsal space that is their downstairs garage to create a piece of collaborative comedic and energetic magic.

Watch as these fresh graduates create a dialogue with students around the country, in order to show them that following your passion and creating a career out of performing arts is very definitely a true possibility.

The Project:

Simple Truth Theatre’s goal is to constantly question and test what makes quality theatre and are always searching for the magic found in live performance. Not only do we pursue the art of the craft but we also value the roots of theatre and what is has to offer in the form of storytelling and being able to communicate effectively. Because of this we are always looking for ways to increase involvement in the arts at all levels. As technology speedily becomes a larger part of our day to day routine, we are losing the ability to relate to one another socially, it becomes even more important to develop the ability to communicate with each other. Naturally we have the desire to work with and inspire the younger generation to participate and find joy in the arts.

The show is extremely innovative in its design in that it will be designed to benefit high schools students as our target audience in accordance to the NZQA drams specifications for 2016. Not only will the shape of the show be tailored to the NCEA specifications for the assessments but it has a minimalistic design and will be able to be performed in a variety of different spaces.

The Pumphouse Theatre, Killarney Park, Takapuna 
Thu 26 May 2016, 7pm
Fri 27 May 2016, 7pm
Sat 28 May 2016, 2pm & 7pm 
Tickets:  Adult: $25.00 | High School Students: $10.00
             Senior (65+): $20.00 | Unitec Student (with ID): $10.00
Phone Sales:  (09) 489 8360 (Pumphouse Box office)
Website Bookings: 

The Darkroom, cnr Pitt & Church Street, Palmerston North
Wed 10 August 2016, 7pm
Thur 11 August 2016, 7pm
Fri 12 August 2016, 7pm
Tickets: Adult: $20.00 | Concession: $15.00  
Phone Sales:  (06) 354 5740

Brianna Jude
James Corcoran

Theatre ,

Beautiful, funny and real with glimpses of sad

Review by Alexandra Bellad-Ellis 11th Aug 2016

Bare is a play where two actors play sixteen different characters. Brianna Jude and James Corcoran take the audience on a journey through New Zealand culture, from fast food, to the gym, to a night on the town. At first the characters seem isolated, and I think the play will be a succession of different characters, each giving us a brief window into their lives and experiences. But as the play progresses we begin to see the links between characters as several become familiar faces: an old Fijian man talking about his life and the things he regrets; a young woman working as a personal trainer; a young man looking for better prospects …

Along the way we meet other characters, building a picture that feels like a typical neighbourhood in a typical Kiwi town. Both actors build characters that are beautiful, funny and real. Each is recognizable on their own, and at no time does the audience get left behind thinking ‘now who is that?’ The audience is guaranteed to see someone they recognize from their own lives, and every now and again we get a glimpse of the sad reality lying behind people’s facades.

The set is minimal, with a simple brick wall creating the set and giving a place from which the actors emerge in their different characters. The lighting is also simple, with sound cues that add to the onstage action and help us to move between the characters and storylines. All of these technical elements work well and suit the tone of the play.

Written by Toa Fraser, Bare made its debut in 1998 and has picked up several awards. The play had lost none of its spark, still feeling as current and on the button as it did when first performed. Auckland-based company Simple Truth Theatre has taken this play around the North Island and is finishing their run in Palmerston North – where it runs until Friday. 


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Less is More

Review by Nathan Joe 29th May 2016

Toa Fraser’s Bare has been performed multiple times since its 1998 debut, confidently making its claim as a Kiwi classic. Simple Truth Theatre, comprised by a group of Unitec’s most recent acting graduates, have pulled together a mostly bare-bones production of the play in an eager act of artistic passion, intending to take the show around the North Island.

Playing 24 different characters, including a parking warden, Burger King worker and Shakespeare-loving grandfather, Brianna Jude and James Corcoran show off their capable acting chops as chameleons, each and every interpretation driven by clear characterisation and idiosyncrasies, both vocally and physically. At times, some of their choices border on the obvious, robbing characters of nuance, but the over-the-topness serves the comedy well. The infamous sex scene between romantic couple Dave and Venus is a particular standout, showcasing athleticism as much as acting. [More


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A solid, worthy rendition

Review by Nik Smythe 28th May 2016

When Bare was first put on in the late nineties it was an up to the minute contemporary tale, riddled in typical Toa Fraser fashion with references to music, films, celebrities and other pop-culture symbols of the day.  I confess I expected these references be updated to maintain the sense of relevance in our time now (as they were for Bare for Christchurch at the Civic: the large Red Cross charity production five years ago), and to avoid potentially confusing younger audiences who might not ‘get it’. 

Instead, nearly two decades later, the script is unchanged and Bare is now a period piece: Titanic is at the top of the box office, Reality TV is a rapidly growing new-ish industry and minimum wage is $8.50.  Far from alienating, it simply highlights the strength of Fraser’s extraordinary, convoluted, hilarious and sensitive play. 

Co-directed by Simple Truth Theatre’s co-producers Taylor Griffin and Rhian Firmin, Brianna Jude and James Corcoran sink their teeth into this desirable opportunity to portray an assortment of characters that would challenge anyone’s range. 

Besides her central turn as Venus the physically obsessed gym freak, Firmin’s roles include Tina the teenage homegirl getting an education; Shelley the bitter BK employee with issues at home; Rachael the diplomatic BK manager with hysterical tendencies; a poetic parking warden-cum-existential philosopher; a would-be politically militant history professor and a sassy drunk woman vociferously defending her right to urinate in public places. 

Corcoran has two central roles as Dave the generation X cinema employee, intelligent but unqualified, and the old, unnamed Fijian man with a twinkle in his eye belying his deep-set regrets.  His other portrayals include a vein-poppingly uptight American TV producer, ‘Smokie’ the swaggering homie tagger and Sean the overly gregarious bloke-next-door.

The duo works hard to effectively populate the story with its eclectic cast of characters. As one might expect, the actors fit some roles more naturally than others but overall the standard of credibility is high, showcasing both the young recent Unitec graduates’ evident skills as well as the strength of Fraser’s now classic script. Some quite moving and/or disturbing accounts from certain characters pack a momentary visceral punch, before the tone quickly lightens up again, never lingering on pathos for more than a beat or two. 

The majority of scenes are monologues; not self-reflecting soliloquys as such (although a good deal of self reflection does take place), Generally we only witness one side of each character’s conversations.  A couple of exceptional scenes between Venus and Dave are played physically from opposite sides of the stage, modelling the original production.  It’s an ingeniously engaging convention, allowing us to focus directly on each of their front-on reactions as their intimacy increases to an entertaining climax, as it were. 

Myriad interweaving plots and sub-plots predominately all link back to the old Fijian man, with most being his neighbours and members of his family, or their friends and acquaintances.  On this my third viewing of Fraser’s play, I’m still unsure how the warden or the drunk woman connect to the rest of the dramatis personae, but I’m not that concerned as they fit well into the microcosm of Bare’s diverse community.

The minimal production design facilitates the eclectic performances and their fluid transitions.  Co-producer/director Firmin’s set design comprises a brick-wall style screen backdrop and one portable square rostrum. She has also designed the similarly varied sound design, punctuating many a scene with sonic poignancy.  Likewise, Zach Howells’ lighting design serves its purpose with exemplary unobtrusive subtlety.

The actors themselves would appear to have had a field day (perhaps literally?) sourcing for themselves a plethora of appropriate costumes and accessories to aid with their sundry roles.  All in all it’s a solid, worthy rendition set to engage a new generation in their ensuing North Island schools tour.


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