ASB Waterfront Theatre, 138 Halsey St, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland

21/04/2017 - 24/04/2017

Production Details

Auckland theatre company launches new Festival FOR YOUNG THEATRE MAKERS

Emerging writers, directors and performers get their time to shine on the spectacular ASB Waterfront Theatre stage with inaugural Here & Now Festival.

In celebration of the move into its new home, the ASB Waterfront Theatre, Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) presents a new youth theatre festival HERE & NOW, kicking off in April.

HERE & NOW is a four-day takeover of the ASB Waterfront Theatre, featuring some of the most exciting fresh talent. ATC’s former festival for young theatre makers The Next Big Thing had highly successful seasons at the Basement Theatre for the past year eight years. Now, as the company has its own state-of-the-art theatre, HERE & NOW has taken a popular event and made it even bigger.

The first show in the HERE & NOW line-up is BOYS adapted from Greg McGee’s Foreskin’s Lament by award-winning theatre-maker Eleanor Bishop (The Playground Collective, Jane Doe) who directs alongside Julia Croft (If There’s No Dancing In The Revolution I’m Not Coming, Power Ballad).

A group of sixteen young people have re-imagined our 1980s state-of-the-nation play about masculinity, using contemporary material ranging from the Chiefs ‘stripper scandal’ to Wellington College’s recent online incident, to re-examine sexism and masculinity in New Zealand today and ask – what has changed?

“To get the opportunity to make a large scale work on a main stage is rare as a young director in New Zealand. ATC’s Here & Now Festival provides a critical pathway from emerging artist into the professional arena and a chance for young theatre makers to create work that that says what we want, and need, to say, right now, and in a spectacular space,” Eleanor Bishop says.

Artistic Director Colin McColl said, “Nuturing young audiences and young talent to ensure a vibrant future for our theatre industry is important to us all at Auckland Theatre Company. I’m thrilled that we have exciting theatremakers like Eleanor, Julia, and Alice to lead these projects and that they’ve stepped up the the challenge of presenting their work in our new home the ASB Waterfront Theatre. They bring a rigour, energy and determination to their work which is refreshing and infectious – for the company and audiences alike.”

21 – 24 April 2017
ASB Waterfront Theatre, Cnr Halsey and Madden Sts, Wynyard Quarter
Friday 21 April 2017: 1pm & 7:30pm
Saturday 22 April:  7:30pm
Sunday 23 April:  5:00pm
Monday 24 April:  7:00pm
DURATION: 70 minutes, no interval.
Suitability: Recommended for ages 15 +

Advisory: Contains frequent use of strong language and themes of sexual violence. Discretion advised. 

To book:  0800 ATC TIX (282 849)

Creative team  
Adapted by: Eleanor Bishop 
Directed by: Eleanor Bishop and Julia Croft 
Set designer: Dan Williams 
Sound designer: Te Aihe Butler 
Costume Designer: Rose Miles-Watson 
Lighting Designer: Ruby Reihana-Wilson

Matthew Kereama 
Bronwyn Ensor 
Simon Gilchrist 
Anita Erikson 
Caitlin Smith 
Jaya Beach-Robertson 
Arlo Green 
Kierron Diaz-Campbell 
Isaac Kelly 
Tatum Warren-Ngata 
Ava Diakhaby 
Kyle Shields 
Dylan Thuraisingham 
Kevin Chen 
Kaitlin Mahar 
Todd Water  

Youth , Theatre ,

70 minutes

Torn Foreskin

Review by Nathan Joe 04th May 2017

Having premiered originally in 1980, Greg McGee’s Foreskin’s Lament might be the quintessential Kiwi drama, putting our nation’s favourite sport under the microscope. Despite its reputation, it lives in a state of antiquity like most of the New Zealand theatre canon, sitting on the shelves often to be appreciated rather than performed. While it would be interesting to see how Foreskin’s Lament translates into a 2017 context, co-directors Eleanor Bishop and Julia Croft have done more than simply update the text. Instead, they’ve taken the dramaturgical scalpel to it and pulled it apart, filling up the subtexts and absences with their own pressing concerns. The resulting play, adapted by Bishop, is simply and aptly named Boys.

The first act is what you might expect from a straightforward update of Foreskin’s Lament moving the play into the present day, filled with contemporary language and references, and bringing to mind the term ‘locker room talk’. While this approach would likely be a respectable production, showcasing the play’s timelessness, it’s the subsequent deviations that are the most satisfying and arresting. As the males leave the stage of the first act, with only their dirty laundry scattered across the locker room, the play turns inside out. We’re suddenly and unexpectedly ushered into the realm of postmodernism. [More


Make a comment

Boys tells us we haven't come so far after all

Review by Janet McAllister 24th Apr 2017

This intense deconstruction of Foreskin’s Lament reminds us why Greg McKee’s classic 1981 critique of New Zealand’s toxic masculinity is still acutely relevant today.

While the original focused on the fallout for broken rugby players, Eleanor Bishop’s assured extension concentrates on the women disrespected off-field: given the Chiefs’ scandal and even Ponytailgate, Boys tells us that we haven’t come so far after all. [More


Make a comment

A refreshing breath of youthful energy, craft and commitment that still asks, “Whaddarya?”

Review by Johnny Givins 22nd Apr 2017

There is a revolution going on at ASB Waterfront Theatre as BOYS blasts its way on stage.  Sixteen young actors break all the boundaries of ‘theatre’ and present a refreshing show which reinterprets the ‘power of theatre’ in 2017.  It is fresh, authentic, confronting and challenging. 

The women are pissed off!  The Feminist Revolution invades the theatre with personal power, intelligence and in-your-face questions: “WHADDARYA?”

The team starts with the iconic landmark play Foreskin’s Lament by Greg McGee.  I saw the original production at Theatre Corporate and it was revolutionary in 1980!  That was 36 years ago!  BOYS asks the question, “What has changed?” 

Foreskin’s Lament challenged the NZ concept of masculinity and became the 1981 Best NZ Play as it confronted the issues of politics, sport, male bonding and the imperative to “win at all costs”.  Performed all over the country before and during the social unrest of the 1981 Springbok Tour, the play shocked and enthralled audiences.

BOYS is set up to do the same today!

The material they use is wide-ranging, concerning the abhorrent male treatment of women in recent legal and media events.  They work with such stories as the Chiefs football team, ‘Roast-busters’, Wellington College boys, Tony Veitch, John Key’s ponytail-pulling and Donald Trump’s “locker room banter”. 

BOYS opens with the classic (edited) first scene of Foreskin’s Lament in the rugby changing room: a wooden and corrugated set with lots of dirty rugby sock and detritus of the game.  All the characters are there: Clean, Foreskin, Tupper, Irish, Larry, Mean and Ken.  The young actors make a good effort to play the characters with passion and energy. 

However there is none of the nudity that confronted audiences 36 years ago.  These characters actually don’t get naked or wet but wear microphones and earpieces.  It’s clearly theatre, with actors ‘acting’ the role. So already we are into ‘observing’ a scene. 

The drama unfolds until the boys start to leave, looking forward to the game and after-party as Clean says, when told the ‘Ngapuk’ lads usually bring their ladies, “Fluff it is then.”  The scene is full of the ultra-male chauvinism, homophobia and locker room fun. But FLUFF is a time-jump code word worthy of Dr Who.  All the bells ring and the world changes. 

Suddenly the air is filled with big bass and guitar noise, the set disappears as a huge pink curtain appears and a line-up of 21st century women stand in defiance. “We have had enough of this bullshit,” they seem to say. The women breakthrough the time continuum and take over!  It is a marvellous moment which has the audience, mainly under-30, cheering!

The women clear the men from the stage then state their case that Nothing Has Changed. Using documentary theatre-style interviews, the women play characters from the recent abuse stories with power and feminine anger. There are also some powerful personal stories from real-life events of the women actors.

However, the male actors are not let off!  They come back and a wonderful deconstruction of Foreskin’s Lament takes place, as the actors play characters’ lines from the script in surreal isolation. They then play themselves telling their own personal stories as they reveal the female harassment behaviour common with their male friends. It’s a sort of confession time but brings the whole issue of “what has changed?” into focus. 

It is modern theatre that starts with ‘playing’ characters and ends up with being ‘real’ as actors. The revelations bring a truth to the show that stuns the audience.  Nothing beats truth on stage and here we have young actors revealing it ‘in the moment’.

There are some striking and powerful stories which are dramatic and give a sense of real connection with the audience. However, under all the ultra-masculinity of the Foreskin’s legacy that remains apparent in the society we’re part of, there lurks a new type of man and perhaps new forms of relationships between men and men, and women and men.

BOYS is powerful theatre, adapted and written by Eleanor Bishop from the Greg McGee play then devised with and directed by Eleanor Bishop and Julia Croft, both award-winning and international theatre champions.  They have worked closely with the cast to explore personal and published stories and develop the production so that the ensemble ‘owns’ it.

The clever set, by Daniel Williams, which moves from the changing room and ends up with a bare stage right to the wings, fulfils the development of the show. Lighting by Ruby Reihana-Wilson moves from standard theatre to rock arena colour to stark white. 

It is the ensemble that deserves the accolades.  Although the Foreskin’s Lament scene doesn’t reach the power and punch of original, they do work it well.  However when the gears shift, and they are on more modern ground, the talent of the actors is powerfully focussed. The deconstructed pieces have conviction and a clear understanding of the issues they are dealing with in the text. 

The performances illustrate the modern actor working the script, clarifying the underlying politics, philosophy and meaning of their performance.  They take personal responsibility and ask us to take that on too.

BOYS is a refreshing breath of youthful energy, craft and commitment. And it still asks the question: “Whaddarya? Whaddarya? Whaddarya?”

BOYS only on this weekend at ASB waterfront Theatre.

For the record the ensemble is:
Men: Dylan Thuraisingham, Matthew Kereama, Simon Gilchrist, Isaac Kelly, Kevin Chen, Kierron Diaz-Campbell, Todd Watters Arlo Green, Kyle Shields;
Women: Anita Erikson, Tatum Warren-Ngata, Kaitlin Mahar, Caitlin Smith, Ava Diakhaby, Bronwyn Ensor, and Jaya Beach-Robertson.


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council
Waiematā Local Board logo