Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

02/10/2012 - 06/10/2012

Production Details

The team who brought you the sell-out success of Love is a Street Fight in February 2012, is back with their first full length production!  

Creative duo Ashton Brown and Kat Glass formed their Theatre and Production Company – I’m Not Content Productions – together in 2011 as a platform for emerging talent. Now they are bringing their own writing to life with their production of Bucket Boy at the Basement Theatre, running from October 2nd to 6th.

The script is described as a quirky psychological drama. The story follows central character Noah Situla as he finds himself reliving the same day 99 times. Noah must discover why he is reliving this day; how he can end the cycle; and why on earth everyone seems to be calling him ‘Bucket Boy’.

It integrates multimedia, original music, and creative staging to tell a story of love, loss, and acceptance. Writers Ashton and Kat cite their influences as including; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, and The Wizard of Oz.

The concept and script was written “50/50” by both Ashton and Kat and, though both have had numerous short plays performed, this is the first full length play either of them has written. “We knew that we wanted to write a full length play together, so we began with just the title of ‘Bucket Boy’, pitched a very rough concept to the Basement, got our cast on board, and gave ourselves 9 months to develop, write, rehearse, and produce a play. It has been an incredible challenge.”

Bucket Boy is brought to life by a stellar cast of five:
Courtney Abbot (star of NZ television series Girl vs. Boy),
Tom Kane (Ladies Night, Motel Nights),
Jonathan P Riley (Makigi, This Kitchen is Not Imaginary),
Kat Glass (Love is a Street Fight, Inviting Caroline), and
Ashton Brown (Love is a Street Fight, Well Hung, Legless ).

Director Luke Thornborough (The Crucible, Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III) has taken on the challenge of helming the unusual concept, and members of progressive rock band ‘Outside In’ have composed an original score specifically for the script.

Ashton and Kat say that “The script could be described as filmic – it’s quite grand in scope in that it doesn’t follow the usual theatrical confines of one or two locations, and depicts the events of 99 days in an hour and a half. We tried not to let the traditional limitations of theatre suppress our ideas. As a result, it’s been really amazing to innovatively find ways as a team to stage it. We’re really excited to be bringing our production to Auckland audiences.”

Aucklanders can catch Bucket Boy at the Basement Studio from October 2nd to 6th. Tickets are limited so get in quick! 

Bucket Boy  
WHEN:  2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th October, 2012
START:  7pm (Doors open 6:30pm)
WHERE:  The Basement Studio, Greys Ave, Auckland CBD 

FACEBOOK:  (http://www.facebook.com/events/464393826933517/?ref=ts

STARRING: Ashton Brown, Kat Glass, Tom Kane, Jonathan P Riley, Courtney Abbot, and special guest Simon Clark 

STAGE MANAGER:  Amber Molloy
LIGHTING DESIGN:  Michael Forkert
SET DESIGN:  Luke Thornborough and Sam Mence  

Like a teenager on a philosophical scavenger hunt

Review by Johnny Givins 03rd Oct 2012

Passion is not enough!!!  Bucket Boy desperately tries to capture a state of mind, and the emotional journey through the pain of grief. The production tries to create a surreal world of a grieving young man coming to terms with a death.  Unfortunately it fails on several levels. 

Not only does the story repeat an uneventful day for young Noah, but forces us to go through it 99 times to explore his “state of mind”.  He collects buckets on the way!  I expected there to be 99 buckets by the end of the show. Fortunately the writers sticks to Days 1, 30, 35, 95, 6 and 99. 

Noah is played by Ashton Brown. He does try hard, very hard – “tear(ing) a passion to tatters” – with loud arguments as he strides around the stage, filling the theatre with his frustration and frankly getting on my wick!

In the quieter moments, when he actually does a scene connecting with the other actors, we catch a glimmer of vulnerability.  Unfortunately he has blocked our ability to care for him and his quest.  Where was the humour?  What was the human experience the writers were exploring for the audience to share?

Staged in the Basement Studio the show opened thirty minutes late to a small audience.  The set is a large white wall with a doorway in the centre.  Ah yes! Surreal theatre!  Images on the white walls!  Stairs emerge, a single bed emerges, a table emerges, a door opens.  It may have worked in the imagination of the Director. In the real space of Basement it is clunky and lacks the stagecraft technology and experience to make it work for the audience. 

This is ‘experimental theatre’ trying to evoke Noah’s interior turmoil.  Some see grief to be a process: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance (Kübler-Ross). This production works with the concepts of Resistance to real events (Denial), Time Paradox, Predetermination, and Existential change (Acceptance).  The intellectual ideas are interesting but presented in such an unsophisticated script it is like a teenager on a philosophical scavenger hunt. 

Phoebe (Courtney Abbot) is Noah’s next door neighbour and moves from angular caricature to a real person with affection.  Tim the ‘bum’ (Jonathan P Riley) is a welcome relief in his scenes but is an undeveloped character, based neither in a physical reality or a surreal world.  John (Tom Kane) plays the psychiatrist with a fine precision but is given a melodramatic ending that pushes passion and forgets the truth of a moment of release.

Rebekah (Kat Glass) is certainly more interesting as the deceased trapped in Noah’s mind.  However there is no real connection ‘scene’ to let us appreciate the depth of this relationship to Noah. Love is ‘sitting at a picnic smearing cream on each other face’… Give me a break!

Simon Clark provides a recorded narration over a range of repeated film images projected on the screen and after the first couple of voice-overs we get the idea …  There is also a wonderfully successful final film clip.

The original music is excellent by Jonathan Barnard (Outside In).  It captures the grunge, the confusion, anger and frustration of the story. 

I am not content is an adventurous company exploring new territory.  However this time unsuccessfully. The territory has a range of antecedents in radio, theatre, film and television which could have assisted in the development of this show.  They are working with a fundamental human condition: grief.  The intellectual manifestation may work in print but the theatre demands more. 

Next time, be more outrageous, more experimental, more creative. Passion is not enough!


Mike October 5th, 2012

Not sure if the reviewer saw the same play as I did last night (Thursday), either the reviewers comments were heard and used constructively to produce the excellent play  I witnessed, or the reviewer is in need of a rethink on their basis for review. But I aknowledge the depth of thought and insight the reviewer brought to the play at the same time as disagree with their summation, after all reviewers themselves are subject to review and rarely do two agree in detail. Given that this play was presented by a production company that proclaimed its newness, youth, freshness and taking its first tentative steps into the realm of staging theatrical plays I went with this firmly in mind. 

Therefore on that basis :

The actual physical theme of the play, that of repeating/reliving the same day time and time again, is a well trodden one, used here to good effect, valid relevant and an effective medium into which the story was woven. The staging (set) I enjoyed, even its clunky moments, but was impressed by its effectiveness and given the very limited space in which it had to work the impact it had on the story telling. The projected film clips WERE royal theatre quality, excuse the term, in that I agree with the reviewer, polished poised and hinting at what with practice this troupe could achieve in stagecraft terms with experience and dare I say it, support.

As for cliche or those things that prompted the "give me a break" comments from the reviewer, I did not see these as mistakes or something underdone in the script writing phase but rather well thought out to pitch a "feel". I would have not been suprised to learn, on asking the producer, that during the germation of the script that more thoughtful, deep and meaninful options were considered, trialled and rejected by the talented actors themselves. I was not expecting a royal theatre production, I would have been very disappointed if this crew had tried to mimic such a performance and failed meserably in doing so, rather they were honest to themselves and therefore the audience in what they were presenting.

Final yardstick by which I judged the performance, heard at the bar after the play, from a first time theatre goer

" Did not KNOW WHAT TO expect but enjoyed it, never even knew places like this existed!, when I get asked by people at work what I did last night they just will not believe me, BUT i WOULD TELL THEM TO GIVE IT A GO" 

From what I could overhear he was a printer, never been to ANY professional play, dragged along by a friend who had some connection to the play, and was going to chat to other friends to get them to come along. 

Reviewers need to look at not only the technical and professional features of a presentation but also the enjoyment factor and a plays ability to provide an experience that people walk out happy to have paid their $20 for and willing to recommend to others. I have paid $100's for tickets to performances that I walked out feeling totally diappointed in and regretting wasting my hard earned cash on something that a reviewer recommended as brilliant so it goes both ways. 

Would I recommend it, absolutely and consider it a very well spent $20.

Mary 2. October 3rd, 2012

Perhaps the reviewer reviewed the show (which is his job). 

I for one am glad to see a review that does not take to heart the 'deserve support' sentiment. Critique and analytical insight are vital to an artistic process and a self reflexive theatre company and audience will treat critique respectifully, and allow the reviewer to do their job. In my opinion there are a large number of reviews that offer little in the way of critique/insight and focus more on synopsising a show. If aspects of a show are not functioning to their best ability, or miscommunicating the show's intent, then i'd rather have them pointed out than ignored for the sake of a pat on the back. 

Mary October 3rd, 2012

Perhaps this reviewer had a particularly bad day prior to attending this performance.   I'd suggest he was the only person in the audience who didn't enjoy the play.

The writing was mature and insightful, the acting was of a high quality. 

The set was quite ingenious even if it was slightly clunky.  Please remember that this in the "Basement Theatre", not the civic or the Aotea Centre!!  

Give them a break will you!!!  They deserve it!!  And, they deserve support!

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