BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington

17/09/2013 - 17/09/2013

NZ Improv Festival 2013

Production Details

What’s really going on behind those cheery smugdates we all see on our Facebook timelines? In scenes inspired by real-life Facebook updates, the Divas explore this pervasive social medium where everyone’s lives are on display – but the truth is a lot harder to pin down.

Join The Improv Divas, New Zealand’s only all-female all-improvised comedy act – from Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT) – for an entertaining evening of on-the-spot storytelling.

With 17 shows in 5 days, the New Zealand Improv Festival is bound to tickle your tastebuds.
Book your tickets now at BATS Theatre (Out of Site)
($18 / $14)
or email book@bats.co.nz to see all three shows in one night for $36! 

Date(s) – 17/09/2013
9:30 pm – 10:30 pm

Update inventiveness

Review by John Smythe 18th Sep 2013

It is in the Bats Out-of-Site bar, before their show starts, that the Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT)’s Divas garner their ‘ask fors’, in the form of pseudo Facebook status updates stored on a laptop.   

From these stimuli Kate Wilson, Mary Little and Nicola Pauling invent an entertaining range of scenarios, to complete the first night of the NZ Improv Festival’s week-long programme of ‘never before’ and ‘never again’ scenettes.

“Got stood up [sad face]” finds all three stranded in a café, waiting – for the same guy, it turns out. “Keep holding on and just stay strong” sees Pauling playing against deep inner feelings while trying to appreciate the good things in nature, with Little offering a ‘Mum’ flashback that gives it psycho-emotional depth.  

Workplace settings are employed to explore “It hurts having someone in your heart but can’t have them in your arms”, “Wish today was already over” and “I ain’t a bitch – I do, however, do tricks for treats”.

A welcome change in pace comes when “I’m as gay as the day is long” provokes a touching email exchange between two sisters. The family feel continues at a funeral-planning meeting of three bereaved sisters, responding to “There is no containment for sorrow; it cannot stay inside forever.”  

A live audience ask for the name of a Facebook group produces “Bring Back Deep Space Nine” and much amusement arises from the realisation the group that gathers is unfamiliar with that particular Star Trek series. Which doesn’t stop them attempting to recreate the opening scene of the first episode: the only fizzer moment in the show.  

“If I had a donkey life would be perfect” brings a well-mimed centre stage and leads to some sage philosophy. “Popcorn for dinner womp womp” stimulates a bemused and amusing water-cooler conversation that escalates into something else.

Perhaps the most challenging update of the night is “Guys, just so you know, I’m probably going to die tonight.” It turns out to involve taking a solo parachute jump and testing a friendship in the process.

Another live ‘ask for’ reveals the Statue of Liberty as the site for a photo opportunity and we find ourselves privy to the inner thoughts and feelings of three travel buddies who pretend to each other they’re loving this time together.  

What the trio are skilled at is nailing true feelings and states of being without feeling compelled to invent wall-to-wall dialogue. Some of the best bits are in the silences; the spaces between …

The main danger of this format is that the responses can be quite predictable. I can’t help but wonder if each update was randomly juxtaposed with something else, would the outcomes be more interesting?

The show is neatly bookended with Little prevaricating about posting her own status update while Wilson and Pauling, as her inner voices, harangue her: the old update put-down syndrome. 


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