BATS Theatre, Wellington

01/04/2009 - 09/04/2009

Production Details

San Francisco – Where a man can be what a man needs to be.  

A groundbreaking theatre event offering a unique GLBT perspective about our community and our place the wider world.

Fabulous Arts Aotearoa New Zealand (FAANZ) is a production co-operative intent on quality, relevant Queer Theatre in New Zealand. In their inaugural production FAANZ is proud to present BUD.

In between the shadows of McCarthy America, BUD stumbles upon Jean Genet’s long banned homoerotic film Un chant d amour. On a bright Sunday afternoon he pulls down the blinds of his three-room apartment and all his unnamed and unclaimed desires come to light within a 16 MM frame.

BUD is director Ronald Nelson’s technical project as part of his second year of training at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School’s MTA course – and will employ cutting edge projection, audio, film and live web streaming.

This work presents sexually explicit situations, images and language. 

Wednesday 1 – Thursday 9 April, 8:30 pm
BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington
Tickets: $16 full / $13 concession
book@bats.co.nz or 04 802 4175   


Louis Solino:  Performer
Pat McIntosh:  Artistic Producer, Sound & Set Designer
Paul Tozer:  Lighting Designer & Operator
Chelsea Adams:  Stage Manager 
Waiton Fong:  Graphic Designer
Luis Portillo:  Film Consultant
Jarrod Kilmister:  Make-up Artist
Paul Jenden:  Costume Designer
Conrad Johnston:  Web Developer
Rajeev Mishra:  Webcast Director
Brianne Kerr:  Publicist

Baffled at Bats

Review by Lynn Freeman 08th Apr 2009

Listening to the audience after the opening night of Bud was illuminating, after a rather puzzling 40 minutes. 

"I was just getting into it"  "Is there a second half?"  "I haven’t even finished my drink yet."

It wasn’t the brevity that confused me, in fact I was glad of it.  An opening scene of a naked man doing press ups then languidly dressing – so precisely it felt like it took half an hour to put on his socks alone – is not gripping theatre. 

After that things became more interesting, though just as repetitive and bewildering.  The on stage action occurs against intriguing clips from Jean Genet’s banned film Un Chant D’Amour projected onto the back of the stage.  

The performer Louis Solino moves beautifully, as befits a lifelong dancer, and he gracefully wheels shuttered blinds around the stage into different configurations.

There is a striking noir feel to Pat McIntosh’s set and Paul Tozer’s lighting. Those blinds are a great and effective idea but they do create serious sight-line issues depending on where you’re sitting. 

But what does it mean? Even the narration added to the mix, while well written, is baffling rather than illuminating. "A man can be what a man needs to be."  Then again, you do get a strong sense of isolation, exactly how gay men in the 1950s must have felt. And with the blinds opening and closing we are reminded of how much was and had to be hidden from public view.

But we needed more of everything – narrative, film, movement, to really make the most of the theatrical experience.

Nelson, remarkably, is still a student at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School’s Master of Theatre Arts in Directing course.  This is a bold and beautiful work and one where we clearly see he has his own style.  

This is the first production by FAANZ (Fabulous Arts Aotearoa New Zealand), a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender arts initiative and their next show is already scheduled for September at Bats. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


Jean Jeudi April 10th, 2009

 " An opening scene of a naked man doing press ups then languidly dressing... is not gripping theatre.  "
Chacun a son gout, madame...

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Doesn’t quite outstay its welcome

Review by John Smythe 02nd Apr 2009

We don’t normally review the technical projects of second year Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School MTA directing students but given Ronald Trifero Nelson’s BUD is playing at BATS and charging for tickets, it seems appropriate.

Written and directed by Nelson, BUD blends live action with film and audio. The promo material and credits suggest live web streaming is also part of the mix but I didn’t notice any.

An intriguing set, designed by Pat McIntosh and splendidly lit film noir-style by Paul Tozer, largely comprises half a dozen mobile steel-framed slim-line venetian blinds, queued up diagonally from downstage to upstage. In a gap between them, half way up, a naked man (Louis Solino) lies on his back, sleeping … waking … stroking his skin …

He rises, goes through a rather robotic exercise regime, steps a little to the side and repeats them – about 5 times. This brings him to his neatly folded clothes which he proceeds to put on, slowly and methodically: the free and sensuous body is encased, albeit in a stylish 3-piece suit with overcoat, scarf, hat and dark glasses (costume design: Paul Jenden).

Strident music blares as the man strides in geometric lines … and starts removing clothes … just down to an open-necked shirt, thankfully. And clips of a 1950s b&w film start screening on the back and side walls and sometimes on the blinds: Jean Genet’s long-banned Un Chant d’Amour, in which (I discover more from Googling than from observing the disrupted images) two men in prison, separated by a brick wall, achieve sensuous communication by poking a straw through a gap and blowing cigarette smoke through it.  

The narrating voice is American and speaks of being looked over "like a steer at an auction", of going into a barn, of wheat, of going into the house … then they are French fellas headed for New York City, driving a Buick … and San Francisco is revered as "where a man can be what he needs to be."

Meanwhile his only dance partner is one of the framed blinds … The ending is sudden, signalled by the applause of a plant in the audience (which feels like a cheat to me).

Louis Solino is beautifully focussed and controlled in his movements: a compelling physical presence whose actions command interpretation.

So what does it all add up to? An evocation of the state of being illicitly gay in the 1950s; the secrecy, insularity and loneliness of the experience, counterpointed with a persistent awareness of the sensuality of the male body; of loving men, provoked by the film …

So far so good, and probably adequate for a technical exercise, although I feel the potential of the blinds as screens, filters and as tantalising disrupters of things we want to see, could have been explored further. And I note that sight-line wise, what is seen and obscured will be very different according to where you sit.

At 35-40 minutes (similar to the very different Dolores) it doesn’t quite outstay its welcome. Nor does it create as much as it could, as a performance work involving character, story and a binding theme, with the resources at its disposal.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


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