GIVING UP

Victoria Theatre (The Vic), 93 Victoria Rd, Devonport, Auckland

10/05/2014 - 11/05/2014

Production Details



Enter the mind of a madman… 

Art and live performance lovers of New Zealand are invited to a resurrection like no other – at Auckland’s historic Victoria Theatre over two days; May 10th and 11th. 

Supported by a formidable army of talent, prolific artist, writer and film maker AntGlyph – aka Anthony Piggott – invites the audience to participate in a journey through the mind and life of the artist through film, live performance and music, with all three theatres in action for a marathon of 12 hours each day.

“Intimate scenes are witnessed, love is explored in graphic detail, passion is captured and smeared on the walls. This is an explosion of ideas… from a very troubled mind combined with an insight into human nature that goes beyond stating the obvious.”

The audience will each be able to experience their own unique journey through Ant’s imagination.

Featuring a 90 minute rotating play – with six performances each day, thirteen performers playing 26 roles, art installations, screenings of films made by the Fledge collective over the last three years, live performances by Fledge musicians and much much more… whatever time you arrive, and whether you stay two hours or 12 – we guarantee an experience like no other.

Giving Up tells the story of a boy who grows up in 1970’s Dunedin, who discovers more than he expects to about life and sexuality, at his older brother’s flat party.

His journey is an inspirational but challenging and sometimes life threatening one, through the world via Hong Kong and Shanghai, ending in Manila in 2013. It deals with sexuality and art, love and loss, relationships and inner peace, drugs and rock and roll, youth, old age, and madness.

The entire performance draws heavily on the talents of the young artists of Fledge.

Fledge Productions is an event management company which could also be described as a collective of artists, a production company, a recording house or a creative agency. Ultimately, however, Fledge is dedicated to unleashing and celebrating the creative process, nurturing new talent and creating ground-breaking work – be it music, film, literature or art.   

Ant continues to be a director of Fledge along with Ben Campbell and Hera Hjartardottir, now supported by CreativeNZ and currently involved in a program called ‘Art Beat’. The Art Beat program integrates art and entertainment into Christchurch city’s rebuild and since the pilot programme first ran from November 2012, the Art Beat music programme has included over 500 performers of multiple genres.

Says Ant, “To me art is not just the canvas that hangs on the wall of a home or a gallery.  Art is not just the installation of ideas.  Art is the process – the ugly beginnings, the rough sketch, the ridiculous idea, the delusion… this all leads to a finished piece.”

Read more about Ant Glyph and his previous work as founder of Madant Productions, on the Fledge website at: http://fledge.co.nz/ynot-piggott

‘Giving Up’ by Ynot Productions; in collaboration with fledge; Victoria Theatre, Devonport, Auckland, May 10th & 11th.

Victoria Theatre – The Vic
Devonport, Auckland
Saturday May 10th / Sunday May 11th 2014
Tickets from $20 through www.thevic.co.nz


Director:  Tony Piggott
Producer:  Sarah Burren
Co Producer:  James Reid
Director of Photography:  Toby Ricketts
Sound Engineer:  Ande Schurr
Editor:  Hayden Booth
Lighting Designer:  Simon Garrett
Costume Designer:  Jacqui Harrison
Production Designer:  Rick Cave

CAST
James Crompton
Dave Capstick
Anthea Hill
Jaya Beach Robertson
Jim Cawthorn
Morgan Bradley
Kate Castle
Niwa Whatuira

Music Director:  Hera Hjartardottir
MUSICIANS 
Ben Campbell
Moses Robbins
Jed Parsons
Kurt Preston
Kris Wilson   



More a deconstruction of self and theatre than film

Review by Stephen Austin 11th May 2014

This weekend, there is something quite unique going on at The Vic theatre and cinema, across Auckland harbour in the quiet suburb of Devonport. 

Artist Ant Glyph, aka Anthony Piggott, and his fellow collaborating artists from Fledge – a collective of musicians, artists, performers and technicians based primarily in Christchurch – have installed something of a ‘Happening’ in the old theatre/cinema space, out of which something new is going to develop. 

It’s described as a “deconstructed film thing”, and it is certainly that if you look at it from the perspective of the site-specific nature of the work. 

Arriving early, I wander upstairs to the other smaller cinemas and find an empty DJ space spinning quiet thoughtful tracks and in the other many music videos, short films & filmed events from the Fledge team’s many interesting years of working together, up on screen.

Right on performance time we’re allowed into the main space downstairs and the hall is awash with deep, evocative blue hues, a small white-cowled band to side of stage, a naked female being intricately body painted at the other, while the main stage is set with forced perspective panels as backdrop, two trestle tables and hand-made bench seating laid out with wine and bare food essentials, Last Supper styles. 

Religious ritual is certainly how this starts out.

After a brief filmed introduction into the idea of how words form as glyphs and there are only a set number of these markings to denote any given thought or action, the cowled cast shuffle down the aisle to the stage in a ritualistic fashion and seat themselves.  It’s all somewhat ominous. 

Once in, they launch into the hefty text, each carrying their own copy, that explores the life, memories and self-conscious musings of the author in a rather evocative and stylised fashion. 

Text moves swiftly and easily between different locales and times within the artist’s life, centralised on growing up in Dunedin in the 1970s and the turning point of taking drugs at a party at his older brother’s house which changed him immutably.  It also explores his deep-seated ideals as an artist in later life, his political and religious beliefs, the discomforts of sexuality and especially the confrontations of addictions – hence the title: Giving Up

There are individual insights and specifics thereof that are all very well, but the singularity of the piece defeats the larger objectives of the whole and seem a bit at odds with the collective approach of creation from this tight team. 

The gathered actors are all giving to the piece, playing various shades of the individual psyche at the core of the script and bringing plenty of their learned and natural craft to bear, whilst engaging and provoking in various shades throughout.  They are performing this ninety minute piece every two hours, both days, from midday to midnight, which must be something of a herculean effort to sustain over a whole weekend, no matter the self-discipline or personal fitness. 

However, despite meta ideas of the text being explored, with having scripts in hands as props, the impulse is always there to rely on it for clarity, so it is used as crutch by most and distracts as the performance goes on.  Ultimately this makes the execution of the work feel like a rather slick staged reading or rehearsal. 

The most outstanding part of the whole 90 minutes are the technical elements.  Sound is richly and immaculately balanced, controlled and coordinated by sound designer Toby Ricketts to create a backing to the performance and give the musicians their due respect within the space relative to the microphoned actors.  It is also lit very colourfully by a nicely integrated rig that evokes the required response within the whole theatre, while keeping the on-stage performers as the primary focus. 

As presented, this is more a deconstruction of self and theatre than it is a “deconstructed film thing”.  Despite being told that this is a finished work as it stands, I don’t quite understand the nature of what is being ultimately aimed-at for as the end product of this process (and I get the feeling that may be true of the writer/director too?). 

Is this simply the creation of another piece of history within the larger artistic narrative of Fledge Productions that we are being invited to witness?  If so, I’m interested enough to see what that will be when it is released into the world, but feel it might be a bit too demonstrably staged to make for an engaging film piece.  Right now, it’s in slightly too much of a state of flux to be able to be recognised as a complete work of art, even though it engages and speaks to many truths on both the personal and collective levels.

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