Gods and Heroes: Improvised Myths

BATS Theatre, Wellington

20/02/2010 - 24/02/2010

NZ Fringe Festival 2010

Production Details

Gods & Heroes Relocated to Mt Victoria by the UN! 
Ancient Greek Pantheon Seen Milling About In Togas;
New Zealand Mortals Baffled By ‘New’ Mt Olympus

A large angry man, clad only in a toga, was seen hurling thunderbolts at other similarly-clad beings atop the Mt Victoria Lookout last weekend. When stunned Kiwis, visiting one of their more beloved sites around town, asked one of the women what was going on she replied “Zeus is having a hissy fit. Again”. Another large man, clad in a massive lion’s hide, was seen wrestling animatedly with what he claimed was a 9-headed Hydra. It was, in fact, a stuffed kiwi plushie from Kirkcaldie & Stains.

Gods & Heroes: Improvised Myths is a brand-new improvised show, featuring Wellington Improvisation Troupe’s (WIT) most experienced players. The Greek Gods and Heroes you know and love now have a new home, atop Wellington’s own Mt Victoria. Witness the creation of new myths and legends as the daily squabbles and dramas of the Gods and Heroes invariably spill over into the world of the Kiwi mortals.

“Our Gods and Heroes are just like humans – they have the same strengths, the same weaknesses. They bicker and fight just like any family. They reflect our own stories, which is great material for improv”, says Christine Brooks, Director for the show.

"WIT has built a reputation for character-based improvised theatre that focuses on storytelling, through three seasons of its sold-out improvised soap opera, The Young and the Witless, and Gods and Heroes will build on this," she said.

WIT’s best character improvisers bring you Gods & Heroes: Improvised Myths from Saturday February 20 to Wednesday February 24 at 9:30 p.m. at BATS Theatre as part of Fringe 2010.

WIT is an improvised theatre group that has been performing shows in the Wellington region since 2003. WIT has over 30 active members and they are also producing two other shows for Fringe 2010: The Improvathon and the popular format, Micetro.

BATS Theatre
Saturday 20 – Wednesday 24 December 2009; 9:30pm
$16 Full / $13 Concession / $10 Fringe Addict
Bookings at BATS Theatre:
Phone (04) 802 4175 or
email book@bats.co.nz

Christine Brooks
Geoff Simmons
Simon Smith
Paul Sullivan
Anton van Helden

Ingenious group creativity

Review by John Smythe 21st Feb 2010

WIT graces Bats with a new improv concept: the ancient Greek Gods have relocated from Mount Olympus to Mount Victoria (Wellington) to see out their days.

On opening night the Gods that gather are the king-of-them-all, Zeus (Geoff Simmons); the queen and mother of some of his kids, Hera (Karen Anslow), the god of pleasure, Dionysus (Anton van Helden); the goddess of love, Aphrodite (Christine Brooks, also director); the god of medicine, Apollo (Mark Scott); the god of the underworld, Hades (Brandon Brooks, also producer); the strongest of all the heroes, Heracles (Simon Smith) and their messenger, Hermes (Paul Sullivan).* 

The whole evening gets built around offers from the audience: an emotion, a modern phenomenon and a topical issue. We get fear, twitter and – at the insistence of a particularly persistent audience member – naked bicycling.

Underlying the apparently random improv are some strict disciplines that ensure a range of scenarios are established, developed and brought to some resolution. No ‘god’ apportions roles or dictates the action. It all happens through a process of evolution whereby, although free will appears to be being exerted, the immutable laws of improv apply.

This guarantees that while nothing is predestined, destinies are reached, most of the time. As with the survival of the species, there may be some attrition along the way.

Thus, on this night, fear is found in Newtown, a naked cyclist in the green belt gets a picnicking couple from church all of a flutter, twitter is exposed as the means by which all information gets shared while true emotions are avoided … Gods try to comprehend the Kiwi way of life, Heroes get into trouble at the Zoo, Zeus and Hera rediscover their lost passion in the green belt …

With great fluency – and a merciful lack of the shouting that so often afflicts adrenalin-pumped improvisers – the players move from their god-roles into mortal roles and back again. Flashbacks, songs (Karen Anslow in especially fine form) and an enigmatic oracle adorn proceedings and it all comes to a satisfying conclusion exactly on the hour.

Another small miracle of ingenious group creativity.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
*On other nights some may be substituted for the goddess of wisdom, Athene (Merrilee McCoy); the god of the sea, Poseidon (Ralph McCubbin-Howell) and/or our own god of the sea, Tangaroa (Wiremu Tuhiwai).
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council