Porirua Hospital Museum, Wellington
19/02/2007 - 20/02/2007
The Red Brick Hall, Wellington
22/02/2007 - 23/02/2007
Written & produced by Phillipa Bonnett
Directed by Rosaleen Moxey
Bloody Heroes is a play inspired by nursing stories and enemas. Nurse turned actor, Phillipa Bonnett, wrote this play for Fringe 07 to celebrate the work of nurses.
Phillipa believes nurses are truly privileged with the work they do. “Nurses are gifted with meeting patients at weird and interesting times in their lives. Bloody Heroes is made up of these stories,” she says.
Phillipa has worked as a nurse for 10 years and recently finished a performing arts diploma through Whiteria Polytechnic. The transition from nurse to actor has been an interesting one. “My creative bone is working and I love it”.
From matrons and hospital corners, to today’s MECA striking nurses – Flo’s sisterhood has changed! Watch the highs and lows of nursing stories unfold.
The Porirua hospital museum, an old psychiatric ward, is a wonderful, historical and unique place to stage a nursing play.
Bedpans, sluice rooms and capes. It wont hurt a bit!
Feb 19,20 2007 6.30 pm
Porirua Hospital Museum
24 Upper Main Drive
Phone Bookings only
Feb 22,23 2007 6.30 pm
Red Brick Hall
Door sales and Phone bookings
To book tel: 04 3808286
Stage Manager: Shaun Martin
Sound and lighting: Rosaleen Moxey
Psycho-emotional enema, anyone?
Review by John Smythe 20th Feb 2007
The thing about clichés is they’re rooted in truth, and in truth your overworked and underpaid nurse is invariably stuffed at the end of a shift, no two ways about that. The other thing about clichés is that, despite that ring of truth, unless they are given some kind of make over it’s hard for the audience not to feel … well, that they’ve seen it all before.
The Porirua Hospital Museum leg of the season (it also comes to The Red Brick Hall – click on the title above for details) makes good use of a corridor with much historical paraphernalia adorning it and many doors affording a dramatic perspective on sudden comings and goings. And if the small audience feels crammed in that space, they’re even more so in the tiny room where the substantive play – if that’s the word – takes place.
Initially I thought the harridan sister with the drill sergeant’s jacket and a slap stick to thrash home the point was there to send-up the clichés of yesteryear before we were offered a more contemporary and compassionate comic insight into the lot of our nurses: the unsung "bloody heroes" of the title. But she turns up again at the end, as over-the-top as ever, presumably to suggest that the more things change the more they stay the same.
Meanwhile the hard-working cast of four treats us to 20-something characters in a range of nursing-related scenarios ranging from the Critical Care Unit to geriatric / hospice care with some psychiatric nursing thrown in. These are stitched together in a patchwork of styles ranging from revue sketches through standard TV medical drama fare to some genuinely touching, if sentimental, moments.
That new playwright Phillipa Bonnett had 10 years in nursing before her two years at drama school (NZ College of Performing Arts) is clear. What is less clear is who she has written this entertainment for. It may well work as something of a psycho-emotional enema for those who have been embroiled in ‘the field’ but there is little that’s fresh for the more objective observer, especially given the plethora of medical dramas and satires on TV these days.
That said, Bonnett, Adam Koveskali, Shaum Martin and Marlayna Saunders (OTT Sister notwithstanding), directed by Rosaleen Moxey, show versatility and sensitivity where it counts.
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