03/12/2013 - 05/12/2013
11/12/2013 - 11/12/2013
30/11/2013 - 01/12/2013
27/11/2013 - 27/11/2013
28/11/2013 - 28/11/2013
06/12/2013 - 08/12/2013
14/12/2013 - 14/12/2013
Wellington Theatre Troupe Brings Shakespeare and More on Tour
The Lord Lackbeards promise to meld the classic with the cutting edge, following in the footsteps of traditional touring players.
They will be presenting original practice Shakespeare along-side a contemporary work by award winning Victoria University playwright Henrietta Bollinger.
William Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet, and contemporary work Bedtime Monsters, will comprise the first summer tour by The Lord Lackbeards Theatre Troupe.
The tour will be touring New Zealand’s North Island from November 26th through December 15th.
The Lord Lackbeards are theatre troupe based at Victoria University of Wellington, aiming to bring original practice Shakespeare to a wider New Zealand audience. The decision to tour more widely has followed their successful July tour of Much Ado About Nothing in the Wairarapa. They hope future tours will reach further yet.
The troupe always create work which is both entertaining, accessible, and guaranteed to capture any audience. Although they have primarily focussed on Shakespeare, also they also aim to foster the performance of contemporary work, especially that of Victoria University students. Through touring, they hope to give writers and actors exposure on a national level, while giving their audiences a rare look into the world of Elizabethan performance.
Founding company member Chennoah Walford says “opportunities to tour work to smaller towns are few and far between. We’re taking this opportunity and running with it, and that means a really special experience for both New Zealand audiences and our artists.”
Director Ania Upstill says “Since this is primarily a touring production, we’re not focused on costumes or set. Instead, we’re spending time on what we have: allowing the words to take on their full power and keeping the audience in the room. Also, like in Shakespeare’s time, we’re doubling up on the roles. All of the seven actors involved have multiple roles, so costume changes are fast and fun.”
Bedtime Monsters is a new work by Victoria University student Etta Bollinger. This tour will double play’s world premiere. How much thicker is blood than water when you are drowning?
Sisters Adeline and Greer were inseparable as children. After Adeline and her ‘full of potential’ boyfriend Mark were confronted by their teenage pregnancy, the sisters found their relationship fracturing. Now with seemingly insurmountable distances between them the sisters are drawn back together by an unexpected change in the tide. In a cold and unsympathetic world they are unsure where they are drifting.
Of Bedtime Monsters, actor Cassandra Tse says “I’ve really enjoyed working on this project because it’s been both fun and challenging to bring these incredibly complex characters to life”.
Performance Dates, Venues and Times
[Tues 26 November 6pm Napier Soundshell Romeo and Juliet]
Wed 27 November 6pm Napier Soundshell Bedtime Monsters
[Thurs 28 November 2pm Gaiety Theatre, Wairoa Romeo and Juliet]
Thurs 28 November 6pm Gaiety Theatre, Wairoa Bedtime Monsters
Sat 30 November 2pm unHinged Productions, Gisborne Bedtime Monsters
[Sat 30 November 7pm unHinged Productions, Gisborne Romeo and Juliet]
[Sun 1 December 2pm unHinged Productions, Gisborne Romeo and Juliet]
Sun 1 December 7pm unHinged Productions, Gisborne Bedtime Monsters
[Mon 2 December 6pm The Cargo Shed, Tauranga Romeo and Juliet]
Tues 3 December 6pm The Cargo Shed, Tauranga Bedtime Monsters
[Wed 4 December 6pm The Cargo Shed, Tauranga Romeo and Juliet]
Thurs 5 December 6pm The Cargo Shed, Tauranga Bedtime Monsters
Fri 6 December 7.30pm New Place Theatre, Hamilton Bedtime Monsters
Sat 7 December 3pm New Place Theatre, Hamilton Bedtime Monsters
Sat 7 December 7.30pm New Place Theatre, Hamilton Bedtime Monsters
[Sun 8 December 3pm Medici Court, Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Romeo and Juliet (koha show)]
Sun 8 December 7.30pm New Place Theatre, Hamilton Bedtime Monsters
[Tues 10 December 7pm St Peters Hall, Paekakariki Romeo and Juliet]
Wed 11 December 7pm St Peters Hall, Paekakariki Bedtime Monsters
[Thurs 12 December 7pm The Moorings, Wellington Romeo and Juliet]
[Fri 13 December 7pm The Moorings, Wellington Romeo and Juliet]
Sat 14 December 3pm Aro Valley Community Centre, Wellington Bedtime Monsters
Sat 14 December 7.30pm Aro Valley Community Centre, Wellington Bedtime Monsters
[Sun 15 December 3pm Aro Valley Community Centre, Wellington Romeo and Juliet]
Chennoah Walford – Adeline
Cassandra Tse – Greer
David Lafferty – Thom
Tom Kereama – Mark
Ania Upstill – Goblin
Michael Hebenton – Goblin
Katie Boyle – Goblin
Total immersion in human experience
Review by John Smythe 15th Dec 2013
Half a century ago Bedtime Monsters might have been crafted as a naturalistic ‘kitchen sink’ drama, contrasting the lifestyles of Adeline, the struggling younger sister who short-circuited her life by getting pregnant as a teenager, and her older sister Greer, who took off to London on the fabled OE and wasn’t there for her, as she had been when they were little … Using ‘fly on the wall’ conventions, their past would have been reported through adult reminiscence and a bubbling up of recriminations in a ‘slice of life’ play stuck in one room.
Now playwright Henrietta Bollinger brings key elements of each sister’s story – and those of their male partners – into multi-located present action with the same actors playing themselves as adults and as children, and director Shannon Friday stages it in the round, using simple ‘poor theatre’ conventions. It works a treat.
In addition, three roaming ‘Goblins’, as they are listed in the programme, become seen by me as ever-present manifestations of Adeline’s underlying fear / sadness / depression at how adult life has turned out, although sometimes they are the ‘grey grumps’ who inhabit the world when the sisters are coping and happy. Plus they add the odd voice: of children, arguing parents, tube station announcers … (It emerges – and is confirmed by post-play research – that they are the cerebral residue of the book Adeline most liked Greer to read to her: Maurice Sendak’s Outside Over There.)
As we find our seats, a young be-suited man sits in the centre of the circle as if awaiting interrogation. The sad-eyed Goblins with dark shadows under their lifeless eyes – Katie Boyle, Michael Hebenton, Ania Upstill – are adrift in the space around him, within and beyond the ring of chairs. Also on the move, with differing dynamics, are a brisk young woman trying to find her way using a cellphone app, a contemplative man taking a stroll and a deeply sad young woman who is given to gazing in desolation at the seated man. Even before the play proper starts, The Lord Lackbeards have set up lots for us to enquire into and discover.
It turns out Mark (Tom Kereama) is suffering yet another doomed job interview, he is in a relationship – not that he liked to call it that, given his parents’ track record – with Adeline (Chennoah Walford), they have a baby, Sophie, and he’s too proud to ask his brother for a job. The stress of their current circumstances – concisely characterised with a laundry basket of baby clothes – is contrasted with flashbacks to their lively, energetic and uphill courtship.
Sheets create a canopy for the sisters in their childhood bed where Greer’s role as loving protector of the younger Adeline is firmly established – then tested when Greer goes away on a school camp.
Greer (Cassandra Tse) is now in London where she meets – in a Tube station – Englishman Thom (David Lafferty), who works in Foreign Affairs. Despite intending to return to NZ, Greer misses the birth of Sophie and her first two birthdays …
It requires a bit of work on our parts, keeping up with the changes in location and timeframe and registering intentions and desires compared with what actually happens. I do get a bit lost trying to follow exactly how Thom’s job drives their fortunes and what it is that Greer does before they too become parents. And – once Greer has returned to NZ with Thom – a random encounter between compassionate ‘rescuer’ Thom and down-on-his-self-esteem Mark, when neither knows who the other is, sits oddly amid what we’ve been given to understand about the distance between their respective places.
Being, as I understand it, Bollinger’s second play (the first was called A Cripple Talks about Anatomy), it’s not surprising she’s wanted to include every possible relevant, interesting and useful detail. Although there is a ‘tip of the iceberg’ feel to what we see, less could still be more. And the question of viewpoint – whose subjective reality is being shared with us? – may also prove a valuable discipline in further writing. But there is no doubt a strong and perceptive playwright, whose understanding of the truth and pain of human existence inevitably produces insightful humour, is emerging here.
What makes this 80-minute play and production so compelling is the actors’ total immersion in the ever-changing emotional states through which their characters pass, aided by the fluency of the staging. For all the meta-theatrics there is no doubt they, and we, are fully engaged with the true human experiences the playwright seeks to share.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
Excellent writing and talented acting
Review by Gin Mabey 04th Dec 2013
An in-the-round seating configuration is from where we watch Lord Lackbeard’s ‘Bedtime Monsters’, written by Henrietta Bollinger, directed by Shannon Friday.
Actors in zombie-esque clothing and deep, dark bags under their eyes roam the space, making sucking noises (like dementors), with dead eyes and slow movements. This is quite an intimidating and impressively terrifying way to start the show, but they don’t approach us; I realised quickly they are safe.
These shadows of people slowly retreat into the background as the ‘real’ characters introduce themselves through snippets of their lives. We have a couple of teen parents (Chennoah Walford and Tom Kereama), a nervous young lady in London on her OE (Cassandra Tse) and a friendly London chap (David Lafferty), and the two ladies as young children.
Throughout the show, the heavily-breathing symbols of… something… provide borders and movement, with sheets, to give us a child’s fort, a dinner table, a motion of waves or just ebbing and flowing in general. They are a solid backdrop, a well-choreographed aspect, and they float about seamlessly. It’s refreshing to see actors not speaking but being effective still, thanks to their focus and use of breath.
I must mention David Lafferty who plays the English boyfriend. His acting has an extraordinary ease, absolutely seamless; not one overdone syllable, not one unnaturally-felt move. He is strangely fabulous to watch. I would like to have seen more interaction between his character and others, his particular way of subtly asserting himself could make for some powerful and less clichéd scenes with characters outside of his partner.
Chennoah Walford, too, is hard not to watch. She is strong in voice, movement and conviction; she gives gutsiness and inspires empathy in me during sentimental couple scenes I might otherwise get bored with. More layering in the tone could be a great addition too.
One scene that sticks out is a small one, but very effective. Two sisters and a brother-in-law-to-be speak at a dinner table that revolves, as they revolve with it. Without giving it away, one sister realises her life has been belittled, or merely brushed off, or possibly been an embarrassment to her older sister. This is a brilliant conflict, tension and thematic meeting point in the play. Walford, Tse and Lafferty deliver this brilliantly, giving the great script a real burst of life.
I really would like to see more interaction between all characters together, instead of in couples or trios. I think there is enough meat within the very situations of the characters, the movement of the plot and the questions inadvertently bought up. In terms of the script, I feel these questions or ideas could be pushed further into effect with something other than slightly philosophical dialogue; I feel at times that the characters are spelling out what is clearly already there. The overall writing is by far good enough not to be over-cooked.
What a talented group of proactive, talented and dedicated young performers.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer