The Dark Room, Cnr Pitt and Church Street, Palmerston North

30/01/2014 - 01/02/2014

Production Details

DARK DEEDS is a mini theatre festival. It will include four short, sharp and funny original plays by local writers, supported by original music from Suzy Hawes. The plays include: The Body by Angie Farrow (a new, previously unseen work) and Til Death Us Do Part, This is Love and Mad World, which were written by Massey University playwriting students. These plays are all linked through the theme of love and relationships and the darkness of the human spirit. DARK DEEDS will run for three nights only, during the height of the beautiful NZ summer! Come along to the Darkroom for a glass of wine. Sit outside and enjoy the evening. Join us for some great original theatre and music.

The Project/Background:

Skin Theatre, who brought you MACBETH back in June 2013, has teamed up with Dr. Angie Farrow from Massey University, Jaime Dorner from Ucol’s Performing Arts Programme and Rhian Firmin from Unitec’s Performing and Screen Arts Programme in Auckland, to bring you DARK DEEDS – an evening of new theatre and music from the Manawatu.

We feel extremely privileged to be working with some of the region’s most inspired writers, directors and actors. We want to create, devise and support original work and continue to provide a forum for theatre that could include directors, actors and artists who are sometimes overlooked.

Skin Theatre was formed because a group of artists in the Manawatu felt that there were not enough strong acting and leadership roles for women in theatre that either challenged or inspired them.

The Darkroom
Cnr Pitt and Church Street Palmerston North
Thursday 30th January
Friday 31st January
Saturday 1st February
$15 Adults
$10 Students (I.D)
Doorsales available – Cash and Eftpos
Tickets available from Centrepoint Theatre
280 Church Street
tel. (06)3545740
OR Online www.centrepoint.co.nz

CAST includes:
Rhian Firmin
Ashleigh Hook
Maree Gibson
Hannah Pratt
Matt Waldin
Phil White
Lisa Swinbanks
Jess Hong
Rosie Anderson
Conil Tod
Ethan Burmeister
Michael Wightman
Toby Lockhart
Ariana Manning  

MUSIC: Suzy Hawes and Annie Webster 
DESIGN:  Lana Sklenars

Theatre ,

Entertaining, offbeat intrigue

Review by Richard Mays 05th Feb 2014

In the course of a short evening, there are crimes committed – resulting in deaths. With a relatively high body count, these are indeed dark deeds exposed in this premiere programme of short plays produced by Skin Theatre. 

The collection of four small-cast ensemble-based plays is performed by four teams of actors, guided by three directors. 

Three of the 15-minute pieces are written by Massey students, and the other by Massey lecturer and established playwright, Angie Farrow. 

The thematic links are easy to spot. Each play, set in its own surreal disassociated darkness, examines the shallow bleakness and sociopathy of relationships, the fragility of connections, and the sometimes bizarre and absurd nature of existence. 

Skin Theatre officially christened the new Dark Room theatre space at Te Manawa last June with its highly-regarded all-female production of Macbeth.  

Kicking off the new theatre year, Dark Deeds reunites members of that Manawatu Globe Award nominated cast with a number of actors returning to Palmerston North from tertiary drama study elsewhere, and joining a core of established local theatre performers, technicians and musicians. 

Opening to a full house was no doubt a highly gratifying experience for these committed practitioners.  

Skin Theatre producer Kelly Harris directs two pieces on the transverse stage. The opening play This Is Love? – by Yarden Kellerman, Hanna Tevita, Chelsea Wolfsbauer and Sydney Wolfsbauer – is the portrait of an abusive relationship which sees the controlling, manipulative and unsavoury Kip played by Phil White, resorting to computer dating sites in order to assemble a small dispirited harem of similar women.

In Mad World by Yarden Kellerman a bleeding woman bursts into a room seeking help for a stab wound, but is stonewalled by its three disconnected inhabitants and their myopic agendas. Instead of inspiring catharsis, the room returns to status quo lockdown when she symbolically bleeds out.

Returning from Unitec studies, Rhian Firmin directs Til Death Us Do Part by Josh Eilken, Kate Petherick and Bradley Slater, a quirky film noir take on the eternal triangle with its twists, turns and revelations.

Rhian performs in Angie Farrow’s compelling The Body directed by UCOL’s Jaime Dorner. Again there is a mysterious death to solve, but here, the real and virtual worlds collide and cross over. There’s convincing humour, emotional and physical theatre work from the cast, especially from Michael Wrightman as the hefted about dead-weight body.

With musical entre-acts provided by Suzy Hawes’ five-piece band and sultry-voiced vocalist Annie Webster, Dark Deeds provides an evening of entertaining intrigue for those who appreciate theatre’s largely untapped potential for exploring the offbeat and out-there.


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Unreal alternatives

Review by John C Ross 01st Feb 2014

Here’s a bracket of four experimental theatre pieces, where – what the hell – writers, directors and actors can play around any way they like, so long as what they do is enjoyable, in one way or another; challenging, effectively engaging and holding an audience, and somehow hanging together, on its own terms.

As the programme has it, “Nothing’s real. Maybe it never was.” Now that’s a worry.

This Is Love? by Yarden Kellerman, Hanna Tevita, and Chelsea and Sydney Wolfsbauer, matches the mature male Kip (Phil White) with a compliant but sulky woman he calls “Lady Jane” (Ariana Manning) and with two younger women (Date #1: Rosie Anderson; Date #2: Jessie Hong), whose ventures into online dating lead them into his deceptions, and clutches.

Evidently, as an ex-anaesthetist, his past experiences at exercising control over patients have led him to wish to extend his power to having totally controlling relationships with women. I say “evidently” because the monologue in which he articulates this was a bit rushed, for my aging ears, and I may not have got all the gist of it. It’s so vital it did need to be articulated quite clearly. 

Still, can this be ‘love’ when he can compel compliance, yet can’t induce his “Lady Jane” to be pro-actively loving towards him? And the ironic contrast between what the girls trying out online dating hope for, in seeking ‘love’, and the chilling outcome, is quite dark. At any rate, the piece is generally adequately directed (by Kelly Harris), and acted. 

Till Death Do Us Part by Josh Eilken, Kate Petherick and Bradley Slater, has a young-ish woman, Nigella, uncertain whether she’d really wanted to enter into a conventional, life-long heterosexual marriage so she’s impulsively shoved her fiancé Cory over a seacliff. She bonds with a female partner, Jordan, and when Cory turns out to have survived they chuck him over again, with the tide out. As you would.

It’s a strong piece, not over-explained, or over-realistic, and strongly acted, by Hannah Pratt (Nigella), Matt Waldin (Cory) and Maree Gibson (Jordan), directed by Rhian Firmin.

Mad World by Yarden Kellerman, also directed here by Kelly Harris, has a bizarre action in which a young woman, Mikele – who for reasons unknown has been dangerously stabbed – blunders into a room in which there are three mentally ill people, Samuel, Tammy and Reuben, engaged in various kinds of compulsive behaviour. Her life could be saved easily enough, but is it? 

It is convincingly acted by Rosie Anderson (Mikele), Conil Todd (Samuel), Lisa Swinbanks (Tammy) and Ethan Burmeister (Reuben). Is the world outside this room sane? 

The Body by Angie Farrow, directed here by Jaime Dormer, is the most elaborate and challenging of the four plays, in its interchange between the ostensibly ‘real’ dramatic world and the alternative worlds of some kind of computer game, and of people playing that game.

Libby (Ashleigh Hook) and Sonia (Rhian Firmin) get access into a flat and find the dead body of their friend Jonathan (Michael Wrightman). Another man, Harry (Tobias James Lockhart), appears, inexplicably since the flat is umpteen storeys up, and the “worlds” seem to swivel around. It’s strongly directed and acted.

Some continuity is provided by the music and singing of a group of musicians and singers, led and directed by Suzy Hawes. 

For an amateur production, with minimal but effective designs by Lana Sklenars, in the Darkroom adjunct to Centrepoint, this is pleasingly respectable.


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