Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

20/02/2013 - 23/02/2013

Auckland Fringe 2013

Production Details


Three Actors Program fledglings kick off their training wheels and hit the ground running with the premiere of their theatre company’s original new show ‘Elevator’. Directed by Cameron Rhodes and featuring Michele Hine, Jess Sayer and Lauren Gibson, Elevator runs from the 20th – 23rd of February 2013 at the Basement Theatre.

Elevator is the story of 3 women – each with a very dangerous secret. When Harper, Samantha and Bree are trapped in a broken-down elevator, keeping their secrets becomes harder than any of them thought.

The masks are up. The smiles are on. Everybody has a story and they’re sticking to it.

Penned by Jess Sayer, Elevator explores the idea of claustrophobia in all its many forms. The characters in Elevator are not only trapped physically, but are also trapped in their own perceived wrongs. In secrets. In lies.

Elevator speaks to the idea of society categorizing people they don’t understand just to avoid dealing with them. Harper, Samantha and Bree have been put in their box, and now its up to them to find their way out.

Cameron Rhodes has been working for over 23 years as an actor in Theatre, TV and film, and as a voiceover artist. Since graduating from Toi Whaakari in 1987, he has appeared in over 75 productions, at theatres that include the ATC, Silo Theatre, Downstage and Circa.

Michele Hine is has been a professional actor, director and acting teacher for 35 years. She has acted extensively in TV, film and theatre, most recently as Carol in GO GIRLS series 2 and 3. In the past year she has also been seen on stage in the title role of THE HOUSE OF BERNADA ALBA, THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, TOYS and won a Hackman theatre award for her portrayal of Jude in THE IDEA OF AMERICA.

Junket Theatre was founded in 2012 by Jess Sayer, Lauren Gibson and Simea Holland. The trio met at The Actors’ Program, a new initiative started in Auckland in 2012 by a prestigious board of industry professionals. Junket Theatre was born because its founders saw a need for new New Zealand work with a voice that pushes boundaries and asks questions of its audiences. The company has a vested interest in tourable work, with a strong emphasis on writing and theatrical performances that will hold their own on an increasingly global stage.

Jess Sayer was the recipient of the 2011 Playmarket B4 25 Award for her first play “FIX”. She has since been shortlisted for the esteemed Adam NZ Playwriting award in 2012 with her second play Beautiful Coincidences. Her play “FIX” was also selected for the 2012 Read Raw.

Lauren Gibson was the recipient of the 2011 Chapman Tripp Award for Most Promising Female Newcomer for her work in Circa Theatre’s production of ‘August: Osage County’. After working in Wellington theatre for the past 3 years she made the move up to Auckland to join The Actors’ Program.

Simea Holland is the third and final co-founder of Junket Theatre. She graduated from South Seas Film and Television School in 2011 and is currently training at The Actors’ Program.

Auckland Fringe runs from 15 February to 10 March 2013. For more Auckland Fringe information go to www.aucklandfringe.co.nz  

ELEVATOR takes place
20th – 23rd February, 8pm
Duration: 60 mins
Venue: The Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Avenue, Auckland CBD
Tickets: Full Price – $15, Concession – $13.30 Bookings: http://www.iticket.co.nz/events/2013/feb/elevator

1 hr

Catharsis of the Confessional

Review by Matt Baker 25th Feb 2013

3 women trapped in an elevator. It’s a simple yet possibility problematic premise, however, Jess Sayer’s script, as reflected in her writer’s notes, finds freedom within structure, and, consequentially, an incredibly engaging story.

Sayer’s razor sharp wit is acutely vocalised by not only herself, but also by fellow actresses Michele Hine and Lauren Gibson. The combination of Sayer’s vulnerability, Hine’s protective nature, and Gibson’s sardonic attitude makes for what, at first glance, may seem a tedious dynamic, but the sequences of constriction and release within the text allows for a great amount of variety for these actresses to play. [More]  


Make a comment

Strong roles for women

Review by Heidi North 21st Feb 2013

It’s a tough concept to pull off: three characters confined to a physical space the size of an elevator, in a theatre with seating on three sides. What this means in practice is not much room for physicality and a lot of blocking.

At its premiere, while the first part of the play did lag slightly, yet felt a little forcibly hyped (much lying down and standing up was involved) to make up for the confined space, by the middle the cast had relaxed, the tension had ramped up and I was hooked into their world.

Harper (Jess Sayer) and Samantha (Lauren Gibson) are best friends, who are stuck in an elevator with Samantha’s mother Bridget (Michelle Hine). The women all have secrets, which are slowly revealed.

Jess Sayer, under the tutorage of Stuart Hoar, has written a strong script full of witty one liners, which drew many laughs from the packed opening night crowd (a game of I spy in a broken elevator anyone?) and enough punches to give each actor a decent character arc to sink their teeth into, and they all approach their roles with relish.

On the most part, the cast carry the play well. Any lingering doubts I have regarding the depth of the relationship between Bridget and Harper are assuaged by Michelle’s Hine’s excellent speech towards the end of the piece. And I love the script’s bold last line. Excellent stroke.

It’s a mild grumble, but on a set that is already difficult to see people clearly, Lauren Gibson’s hair falling in her face did frustrate me. And I do wonder about the wisdom of Jess Sayer’s costume of sheer tights and a short skirt, considering so much of the action involves her sitting on the floor with her legs up, which seems unnecessarily awkward for the people in the front row.

On the whole Elevator achieves its intentions, to showcase three strong roles for women, and the audience was right there with them in their claustrophobia as we sat in the tightly packed theatre on a hot Auckland night. 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council