Everything Anyone Ever Wanted

Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

21/06/2016 - 25/06/2016

MATCHBOX Season 2016

Production Details

We wanted to see, but were made blind. So electrified by infinite possibilities, we rendered ourselves useless, unable to motion a single step towards greatness. Our flesh fatigued and our heads weary but wired, we gave in to the exhaustion of our own expectations.

Award-winning collective Black Sheep Productions return to Q Loft with a show every bit as provocative and surreal as their 2014 work Apt Y Idos.

These tenacious Auckland performers and designers incorporate dance, dialogue, song and film with an original and haunting musical score. The result is an introspective and poignant immersion into the minds of today’s disenchanted twenty-somethings, whose aching nostalgia won’t settle for the maxim “it’ll all work out in the end.”

Everything Anyone Ever Wanted depicts insatiable Millennials sinking under increasing levels of anxiety, job insecurity, and rising housing and education costs. A restless generation detached from religion and ever more dependent on technology.

Are we delaying the transition from childhood to adulthood all in the unending pursuit of ‘happiness’? Can we reduce such a complex notion to a single word?

In witnessing the vulnerability of others, we may find a beautiful connection.

“…an assured and polished production … beautifully executed.” (NZ Herald – review of 2013 Black Sheep Productions’ How To Make Friends and Still Appear Normal)

Everything Anyone Ever Wanted is presented as part of MATCHBOX, the Q Theatre creative development programme.

Q Theatre is an independently owned and operated performing arts venue committed to the sustainability and success of arts and culture. Every year Q co-presents a season of works through its creative development programme, MATCHBOX (formerly known as ‘Q Presents’). MATCHBOX enables the best emerging and professional New Zealand performing artists to bring their ideas to life on stage. Through a three-step selection process Q curates a MATCHBOX Season that pushes boundaries, showcases Q’s transformative venue, and delivers unique experiences for audiences.

Tuesday Jun 21  to Saturday Jun 25 2016

Tue – Sat: 7.30pm

Ticket price:$10-$45 (booking fees may apply)
Buy tickets here: https://nz.patronbase.com/_QTheatre/Productions/6667/Performances

Performers: Sofia McIntyre, Benjamin Mitchell, Emmanuel Reynaud, Rosa Strati


Produced by Black Sheep Productions in partnership with Q Theatre as part of MATCHBOX

Supported by: Creative New Zealand, Wellesley Studios, Blair McTaggart Photography, All You Can Eat Productions

Assistant Producer: Chloe Klein

Contemporary dance , Dance ,

1 hour

Everything Anyone Ever Wanted: Subjugating the fear of living

Review by Sarah Knox 22nd Jun 2016

We sit facing the uncovered windows of the Loft at Q Theatre, with a direct view out onto Queen Street, on a winter’s evening. I am prompted to ponder that escapism is often cited as our excuse for going to the theatre, where we can sit in the dark and disconnect from our own lives for a time. However, in this moment, we are forced to stay present with the world we have left. Life continues, buses pass, doors open, people pause on the footpath as if they have lost their way home from work. Performers Rosa Strati, Sophia McIntyre, Ben Mitchell and Manu Reynaud are our most powerful conduits to the world outside, as they stand watching life pass them by. Sugar Ray’s lyrics pass through my head:

One way
In the eyes of a passerby
I’ll look around for another try
And’ll fade away

The space is set with dusty white footprints that lead, well, not quite anywhere. A staircase of opaque tubes track up and across the space above the performers’ heads. An incomplete path, also leading nowhere. An apt metaphor for the programme notes which convey millennials’ inability to reach towards their own potential. Three large connected panels hang on stage left. It looks depressing, like a window with rain splatters, looking out to a grey sky. I can’t stop looking at it: as a mirror it dwarfs and compresses the performers into cowardly renditions of themselves, and yet transparent, it illuminates the normality of life going on outside.

Natalie Maria Clark, supported by composer Sean Kelly, set designer Christopher Stratton, and assistant producer Chloe Klein, has trumped her previous works (Apt Y Idos and How to Make Friends and Still Appear Normal). Everything Anyone Ever Wanted is a quietly raging work that explores the banality / frustration / joy / façadery of being a millennial. Everything Anyone Ever Wanted is a poignant opening dialog to a conversation that we are all  likely already having (or have had) with ourselves. It is big. And it is hard. There are no selfies, no candy crush, and no YouTube tutorials. All we have is a brave look at the challenges 20 somethings face in just getting by, in dealing with ambition and potential, plagued with a sense of failing hope.  As a 30 something, I can easily relate.

The dancers are strong, assured movers, subtle performers who are genuine, authentic humans. It is a pleasure to see Manu Reynaud back in performance after leaving Footnote a couple of years ago.  Weighted and fluid, he corrals the group, boxing them in and simultaneously trying to escape.  Rosa Strati contorts and splays, confused; she is joyful and then hopeless in the space of a split second. Sophia McIntyre flies unbounded and then looks us calmly in the eye with so many expressions at once that we are arrested and unsettled. Ben Mitchell clambers, uncomfortable, uneasy, unexpected, underwhelmed at himself and the group.

At times, I want sections of the work to take a bit more time, to really build up and run their course, and to give us time to sink into the images: suffocating in relationships we want to get out of but can’t, you know the ones, the ones that suck us dry and we know are unhealthy, but can’t help thinking might be as good as it gets. Not knowing, nor being brave enough to ask for help, but really we know the help is inside us already. When someone makes a bad joke at our expense and we laugh politely to keep the peace, those words haunt us eternally, so maybe they were true? And even in the most crowded room we feel alone.  So we share the pity party of watching the mundane obscenity of someone else’s life, and being grateful it isn’t yours, whilst also being incredibly entertained.  We walk over one another, only to get nowhere. And in the end, we all get fucked over by life.

It’s not all bad though, because this generation of artists, the 20 somethings, are a powerful force. Not only in the performance environment but also more widely in the New Zealand dance industry. To their credit these people are also running various dance groups and organisations, teaching and mentoring, producing shows for other choreographers, and generally being excellent artistic citizens. And as they do it all they are teaching us a thing or two about how to ‘be’ – inventing new ways to relate, communicate and collaborate. They are always open, they are generous and they are kind.  Even in their exploration of the heavy ideas of Everything Anyone Ever Wanted, we can feel their desire to prove and to improve, and their ability to connect.

Anyone working in the arts knows it takes extreme grit, vulnerability and bravery to create a show with ideas that plague and expose you, and to put your name on it.  Natalie Maria, you have succeeded beyond what your programme notes suggest you feel you are capable of.  At the end of the show, a close friend sitting next to me turned and said something like “more of that: women, just getting shit done”. And yes, I agree, Natalie Maria, more of that, please.

Everything Anyone Ever Wanted is on at Q Theatre, 21-25 June. 


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