Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

05/11/2013 - 16/11/2013

Production Details


“There are people who think that Camino Real was Tennessee Williams’ best play, and I believe that they are right. A play torn out of the human soul.” – Clive Barnes, The New York Times 

Fifteen of Auckland’s most promising new actors showcase their talents with the stunning and emotionally resonant Camino Real, written by the legendary Tennessee Williams, from November 5 at The Basement. 

This production caps a year at The Actors’ Program working with highly regarded arts professionals, including Artistic Board members Sara Wiseman, Michael Hurst, Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Michele Hine, Cameron Rhodes, John Callen, Charlie McDermott and distinguished guests including Ian Mune, Shane Bosher, Miranda Harcourt, Raymond Hawthorne, Peter Burger, Rachel Lang and Gavin Strawhan.

Director Benjamin Henson has selected Camino Real for its mesmerizing romantic characters and ability to transport audiences into the deepest realms of the imagination. 

A fading hotel on a dusty plaza existing out of time, a meeting place for lost souls facing temptation and disgust, heartbreak and love. This dreamscape is peopled with the greatest romantics of history: Casanova, Camille, Lord Byron, all warily circling each other and unable to accept their fate. Into this evocative and visceral carnival comes Kilroy, the quintessential American outsider. The Camino is rocked by his presence as he crashes against its boundaries both real and imagined. 

Camino Real is Tennessee Williams at his creative best. Rarely performed it has enjoyed recent revivals, attracting some big name actors including Al Pacino, Jessica Tandy, Ethan Hawke and Rip Torn, who were drawn to the challenge of bringing these rich characters to life. 

The Actors’ Program is an independent and privately run one-year acting course concentrating on providing actors with the tools they need to be effective practitioners in the world of stage and screen. It delivers a wealth of knowledge to a younger generation of aspiring New Zealand actors. 

Do not miss this unique opportunity to celebrate William’s lost work in the hands of these powerful young actors. 

Starring Andrew Norman, Anthea Hill, Arlo Gibson, Cherie Moore, Eve Palmer, Hannah Paterson, Mayen Mehta, Moana McArtney, Morgan Albrecht, Naomi Cohen, Oscar Wilson, Priyanka Xi, Rhema Sutherland, Ryan Dulieu and Willa Oliver. 

5th – 16th November | 8PM
The Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Avenue, CBD
Concession $20 | Full $25

Theatre ,

Acting on the Camino Real

Review by James Wenley 07th Nov 2013

At the Camino Real, to borrow from The Eagles, you can check in any time you like, but you can never leave. 

To mark the public debut of the second crop of actors from the industry-geared The Actors’ Program, Benjamin Henson directs them in arguably Tennessee Williams’ most experimental and misunderstood work: Camino Real. Written during the period that the House Un-American Activities Committee was at its height (which director Elia Kazan was caught up in), you can catch the traces of the period’s paranoia (“brother” is an inflammatory word) in the play’s shifting narrative and bleak view on humanity. 

Audiences and critics rejected Camino Real in 1953 but it has since gained an afterlife and following, as directors have found in its form a challenging and provocative piece that they can stamp something of their own mark (Williams had said: “Of all the works I have written, this one was meant most for the vulgarity of the theatre”). [More]


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A visceral performance charged with desire, longing and loss

Review by Heidi North 06th Nov 2013

While there are hints of the concerns covered in his better-known works, Camino Real is still undoubtedly William’s most impenetrable work. Considered a freakish, avant-garde misstep at the time it came out (1953), the play is a dreamscape in which an ex-boxer, Kilroy, washes up amid very surreal company on an unquestionably strange shore. In the dusty plaza of an old hotel, lost souls face each other and themselves in the face of temptation and disgust, heartbreak and love.

You can see Kilroy as an allegory for America, powerful but stupid, running around shouting. Lonely. Trying to figure out where he is in a world he’s lost control of.

It’s a wonderful ensemble piece for this year’s graduates of The Actor’s Programme to sink their teeth into. The cast relish their dance with desire, and pull off their parade of degraded humanity. It’s beautifully styled, wrapping the audience up in the haunting world of the play; the women’s make up is messy, red lipstick sliding across their faces, beautifully coiffed hairdos have fallen. The piece is slick overall in the capable hands of director Benjamin Henson. 

Camino Real celebrates a glamour gone sour with the violence of tainted dreams, lost ambition, dashed hope. It’s an interesting work, asking us, what do we have left? This production is relentless in its carnival of tricks, and while the energy stays high for the whole performance, at certain points in the middle the heightened tension does start to feel a tad too overdone.  

However, overall this is an evocative production of a powerful play by a promising cast. A visceral performance, charged with desire, longing and loss. 


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