Silo Theatre, Auckland

12/04/2007 - 12/05/2007

Production Details

by Toa Fraser
directed by Oliver Driver

The iconic NZ play that first catapulted an emerging inner city theatre into the cultural limelight returns on April 12th with a new season of Toa Fraser’s BARE, to celebrate the 10th Birthday of Auckland’s much-loved Silo Theatre.

The remount of BARE acknowledges the theatre’s ten year milestone, and in true Silo Theatre style the brave decision has been made to cast two emerging actors in this highly demanding production. Under the direction of Oliver Driver, Morgana O’Reilly and Curtis Vowell take up the challenge of bringing 15 different characters to life in a snapshot of Auckland culture complete with its prejudices, dilemmas and delights. Love, sex, family, friendship, youth and bad multiplex movies are laid bare in this hilarious and touching 80 minute work.

From humble beginnings as Auckland’s first gay nightclub, this back-street theatre has firmly established a reputation as the breeding ground for the finest emerging and established actors, directors and designers. Silo Theatre began its life in 1997 under the direction of Sharyn Duncan and was opened in direct response to the demise of Auckland’s much loved Watershed Theatre in 1996. Over 10 years the theatre has gone from a venue for hire to a fully produced annual season of theatre under the guidance of current Creative Director Shane Bosher.

In 1998 whilst struggling to establish a brand and a home audience in a city condemned as a cultural wasteland, Silo Theatre to give an unknown writer and two young actors the opportunity to premiere a new NZ work. Toa Fraser’s BARE was a major hit making Aucklanders sit up and take notice of this determined little theatre as it gave one of NZ’s most revered writers his first taste at success. From its 1998 Silo Theatre debut, BARE went on to tour extensively through NZ, Australia and the U.K. launching the acting careers of Madeleine Sami and Ian Hughes. Toa Fraser would also go on to write the much-acclaimed NUMBER 2.

with Morgana O'Reilly and Curtis Vowell

Theatre ,

1 hr 20 min, no interval

Energetic and fervent

Review by Louise Tu'u 19th Apr 2007

Considering the history of Toa Fraser’s Bare and its legacy, the first element that strikes me in the Silo’s 10th anniversary production is the number of props onstage. Having witnessed the original production nine years ago at the Silo, and a graduation production of the same play in South Auckland last year at Te Wananga o Aotearoa, this current incarnation is already in sharp contrast. What seems like an inner-city theatre office is now onstage, with the addition of two actors, casually hanging out on the couch.

Fraser’s recent rewrite of Bare is obvious from the opening shout outs, including to one Madeleine Sami, the original actress in the hit production. They go on to include contemporary Z-grade celebrities such as Rebecca Loos. The playwright’s self-referencing begins with one character refusing to see Fraser’s recent film No.2, giving the reason that "no real Fijians were involved". The theatrical catharsis had only just begun.

With the play starting with the lighting operator yelling out the first cue, the actors rise from their flaccid existence to open with a barrage of urban appellation. Volatile energy is one of Toi Whakaari alumnus Curtis Vowell’s strengths, from his portrayal of the hilarious tag artiste, Smokie to the gentler rage of the animal tangles monologue. His presence is a balance of subtlety and spectacle, being unobtrusive whilst watching his fellow actor perform.

Also fresh from performing in Based on Auckland, recent Unitec graduate Morgana O’Reilly proves to be a delight to watch, with her most memorable characterisations including the fast food manager and the affluent, poodle-loving, croaky-voiced Scharon. It is interesting to note that when characterising "ethnic" characters such as Sirena and Venus, a vocal style almost identical to Madeleine Sami begins to surface.

What continues to be captivating is the actual interaction between the two actors. The exploration of the theatrical space is constant, with a strong sense of casualness, familiarity and comfort. Movement, whether it be throwing pieces of bread across stage or rolling cigarettes, provides an absorbing juxtaposition to the spoken dialogue. Time and its passing become noticeable with changes of characters, pacing of lulls and overlaps.

Bare’s strong Pacific flavour was recognisable and treasured in this current embodiment. The dramatic tensions, embedded in the theme of family with Venus’ "jet ski" to her grandfather’s "heroic, old trawler", are still symbolic of the play’s strongest and poignant connection. Given the development and emergence of Pacific arts practitioners, the play does not disappoint in that self-deprecative acknowledgement.

An energetic and fervent production.


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council