Heroic Faun Number One

The Basement -return season, Auckland

23/06/2010 - 30/06/2010

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

19/03/2009 - 21/03/2009

Fringe Bar, Cnr Cuba & Vivian, Wellington

01/03/2011 - 05/03/2011

Auckland Fringe 2009

NZ Fringe Festival 2011

Production Details


He was a featured extra in a feature film that never featured. Until now.  

Heroic Productions present Heroic Faun Number 1 as part of the Auckland Fringe. Greg Cooper (The Complete History of New Zealand Abridged, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe) was the most important featured extra background faun with no dialogue in all of Narnia and nobody saw him.

Four years later Greg is coming out of the wardrobe to explain why.

This is the story of one actor’s journey from a life of dressing up as giant promotional products to dressing up as a featured faun in the giant multi-million dollar blockbuster film The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It is the cautionary and comedic tale of an idealistic actor corrupted by the camera, call-sheets and catering.

Written and performed by Greg Cooper this one man therapeutic tour de force will feature horns, green tights and glued on body hair all mixed together with multiple parts and a pinch of prosthetic paranoia. Complimentary plastic swords will be provided for select members of the audience and hardcore faunography will screen if budget allows.

Half man/half deer, oh dear.

The Basement (Lower Greys Ave, Auckland CBD)
Thursday 19th – 21st March
9:30pm – 10:20pm
Tickets $20/$15
Tickets available through Aotea Centre Box Office (09) 357 3355 or www.buytickets.co.nz

The Auckland Fringe runs from 27th February to 22nd March 2009.
For more Auckland Fringe information visit www.aucklandfringe.org.nz

Heroic Faun No. One
June 23 to June 30 (all performances 8pm)
$25/$20 Book at iTicket on (09) 361 1000 orwww.iticket.co.nz 
The Basementwww.basementspace.co.nz 

The Rebel Alliance presents Heroic Faun No. One 
The untold story of the bravest faun in all of Narnia 

The Rebel Alliance, the company that brought you Grace (‘Artistic excellence’ – Theatreview), The Orderly (‘Solo theatre as it should be’ – Capital Times) and A Night of French Mayhem ‘(Bold and innovative’- NZ Herald) is back! 

Heroic Faun No. One was the superb runaway hit of the Auckland Fringe Festival. Its ultra short 3 night sell out season at The Basement didn’t just didn’t just settle for creating a ‘buzz’ or a ‘positive word of mouth’.

No, it caused a ‘rambling frenzied rave’. Now reworked, re-designed and re-everythinged it’s time to rejoice, because the rebels are bringing back the faun.

Heroic Faun No. One is the true story of writer and performer Gregory Cooper’s rollercoaster ride when he is cast as a featured extra in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Life changes overnight as he ascends from obscurity to wearing James McAvoy’s discarded wig while witnessing the weird wooing of Tilda Swinton by Centaur Sandro Kopp, the notorious extra banned from the set of Lord of The Rings by Peter Jackson himself. Theatreview labeled the season as ‘Unforgettable’. 

Gregory plays himself in the unique and hilarious insight into the wild vortex of blockbuster filmmaking that nearly drove him insane. Most recently Gregory was seen in ATC’s production of Le Sud as Lyndsay Marshland and last year he directed Peter Feeney’s cult show A Night with Beau Tyler, which toured NZ extensively.

Heroic Faun No. One is directed by Russell Pickering, a rebel veteran who performed in both The Bomb and A Night of French Mayhem. This is his first time directing a Rebel Alliance production. Incidentally, Russell, was also an actor in Narnia where he played the featured extra part of… Heroic Faun No. Three. 

The Rebel Alliance producer Anders Falstie-Jensen saw Heroic Faun No. One when he was stage managing The Fringe Festival at The Basement in 2009. He knew at once that he was looking at the next Rebel Alliance production. “It was extraordinary that Greg and Russell had made the show, literally on a $50 budget. It was simple, clever, utterly charming and people were spellbound. I saw it every night of its 3 day season and immediately knew that I wanted to help them bring it back.”  

This year The Rebel Alliance has several projects in the launch chambers. They’ve just pitched Gravity Hotel, a new play by Sally Stockwell, for AK11 and in November they will present the Auckland premier of Albert Belz’ hit play about Jack the Ripper, Yours Truly. In a casting coup they’ve manage to secure stage legend Stuart Devenie to play the part Dr. Gull, the queen’s physician that stalks the streets of London as Jack the Ripper. 2010 could prove to be quite a year for The Rebel Alliance. 


The Fringe Bar www.thefringebar.co.nz
March 1 to 5 (all performances 8pm)
$15/$12 Book at www.iticket.co.nz or on (04) 974 4111



Clash of ego, ambition, fear and vulnerability

Review by John Smythe 02nd Mar 2011

Highly anticipated after its two successful seasons at The Basement in Auckland, Heroic Faun No One more than lives up to expectations. Greg Cooper’s story and his telling – or rather showing – of it is a Wellington Fringe must-see.

It starts with his The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe audition for the role of Mr Tumnus – already won by Glaswegian James McAvoy. Any actor who has auditioned for anything, let alone an international blockbuster, will recognise the authenticity of this scene.

Ego, ambition, fear and vulnerability clash and curdle from the outset, creating a chemistry that serves the show’s bitter-sweet comedy throughout.

Along with the personal experience – a significant learning experience – we are treated to Cooper’s imagined (or not) encounters with James McAvoy, his luvvie-duvvie agent (Cooper’s, that is), a homophobic fight instructor, acting mentor Constantin Stanislavsky and Sandro Kopp, the polyamorous German artist famed for being banned from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings set only to become a Centaur in this film and carry out his plan to seduce Tilda Swinton (all true!).

Towards the end a nightmare encounter with Aslan himself counterpoints Cooper’s earlier incarnation as the Paddlepop Lion at a children’s adventure park – which was its own kind of nightmare – to show how far he has come.

Photos and film clips augment the simply-staged performance. What makes this 55 minutes of engaging delight work so well is the warts-and-all truth Cooper brings to it, allowing himself to poke wry fun at others by pricking the bubble of his own ego even more so.
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. 


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One-man faun tale goes the extra mile

Review by Paul Simei-Barton 28th Jun 2010

In recent years getting a gig as an extra on a mega-budget Hollywood epic has become an almost obligatory rite of passage for aspiring Kiwi actors – something akin to the way an earlier generation were marked by improv workshops or the inevitable Shortland Street episode.

Gregory Cooper’s melancholy reflections on the long months he spent working as an un-named faun on the Chronicles of Narnia describe how the surreal experience of helping to create a make-believe world can be both arduous and enlightening.

The one-man show engages the audience with an intimate conversational tone and presents a vividly personal memoir complete with data-projector slides, video footage and souvenir mementoes of the journey. [More]
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.


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A sad and humorous musing on the reducing of great actors to mere props

Review by Lillian Richards 24th Jun 2010

I rather like how the title of this play suggests a series of faun-focused plays each on a different faun temperament. Although this isn’t the case and there is only the one play there is a vast array of emotion contained – contained? barely – within it.

Watching Gregory Cooper perform his one man show about the nuances, idiosyncrasies, core cast member encounters, supplication, waste, exhaustion and aggravation of being an extra on a blockbuster Hollywood film such as The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is a thrilling, indulgent, quirky and authentic rollercoaster ride. Much like many plays all in one.

Cooper moves in an arch of good direction – by Russell Pickering – around a set that’s sort of somewhere between Stevie Nicks’ bedroom and a college student’s installation-art-ode to C.S Lewis. Whilst being expertly lit at all angles with great restrained simplicity, to great effect, Cooper’s stage stalking has a fervent energy that tightrope walks towards too much but always pulls back at the clement moment.

Heroic Faun is Moth.org on steroids, it’s story telling for adults and by this I mean there is a strange, yet also strangely effective, mixture of props and accents and characterisation matched with direct narrative.

It is this narrative that at times causes me concern because, as a technique, it is a little jarring. The fourth wall is up and we are comfortably watching a performance and then it’s torn down and we were being spoken to directly. The narration feels like an odd additive for a character, perhaps because it is the most truthful representation of Cooper as self and so, in the context of performance being something we are currently not, feels arguably inauthentic. Regardless of this minor technical/ philosophical step sideways, the narration works as a sort of contents page and pulls the play along in a highly concise, logical and professional manner.

A beautiful example of this is a dream sequence (so often uninspiring), which rouses a mid-show round of clapping as it so artfully summarises the play (and Cooper’s life at that time) up to that point. The aforementioned uninspiring dream sequences have a tendency to liberate our tiresome dreams and attempt something so much more esoteric when often we do just dream of the cat licking the dog and the car not starting whilst we stand there smoothing our wet hair. Cooper expresses this banal catalog of warped up things in a hyper real farce without fault.

Funny and thoughtfully edited, the script (written by Cooper) resolves into vignettes held together by a pastiche of different mediums (scene re-enactment, narration, real-time prosthetic application and film footage being just a few) inside which is an undercurrent of adoration for the craft of acting and a sweetly neurotic exploration of the melancholy so intimately tied with trying to act for a living.

Heroic Faun No. One is a sad and humorous musing on the depressing numbers game that reduces great actors to mere props and elevates only the few to ranks of success healthy enough to sustain them. But redeemingly (sic) it is also a well-crafted, highly entertaining show that leaves you questioning the flippancy of so called art and appreciating the loveliness of good work done well.   
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. 


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Review by Jessie Kollen 20th Mar 2009

Heroic Faun No. One; very heroic and very very anonymous.  This hilarious one man show didn’t have a programme and the actor’s name is not included in the Fringe Festival guide, nor did the good old google search reveal his identity in connection with Heroic Faun No.One

With a cringe of embarrassment I recalled that at the start of the performance he had told us who he was, but by the time I realised that I didn’t remember his name, it was too late to call the theatre and ask if there was anyone there who did…  Still, perhaps this is fitting, since the premise of this theatre piece is one actor’s experiences as an extra, playing an anonymous faun, during the filming of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Of course the next morning I made a phone call and got his name and found that he was not so anonymous after all, having been involved with theatre and film for 16 years.  But at any rate I was saved from renting The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, skipping to the end credits and searching for mention of the actor who played Heroic Faun No.One. 

Now I can give credit where credit is due: Heroic Faun No.One is Greg Cooper and even if Heroic Faun No.One was just one of many forgettable fauns (fantastical creatures that are half man half deer) which appear in so many forgettable moments in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Greg Cooper himself is not forgettable. 

From the first audition for the film through to the final battle scene, Greg Cooper brings his own character and all his other characters to red-blooded life with great accents and body language and the neatness of his storyline has all the loose ends tied up nicely for a great ending.

This is certainly the kind of show that actors could relate to, and it felt particularly actor friendly at the beginning; with plenty of references to the ego bashings actors receive at auditions, from their agents and even from small children… But after such bitter (and hilarious) struggles Greg Cooper is an experienced actor, easily capable of holding the happy attention of his audience for the 50 minute duration of his show. 

There were a few moments (possibly because he was telling his own story) when his voice lost the professional pitch that had been working so well and came close to breaking the spell between actor and audience; making it more like he was entertaining friends than giving a performance, but those moments were so fleeting and they fitted comfortably enough with many of his other humourous asides.  

Heroic Faun No.One is highly entertaining and there is good use of multimedia and simple but effective lighting.  Greg Cooper is the only actor on stage, and in playing all the characters in his story he shows that he is more that just a man with the legs of a deer, a prosthetic nose and a wig that makes him look like Rod Stewart; he proves that he really is a real actor.


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