I Ain't Nothing But / A Glimmer In The Dark, She Said

Shed 11, Wellington

17/10/2006 - 26/10/2006


Production Details

By Whiti Hereaka / Devised by Open Book Productions
Directed by Grace Hoet / Amanda Hereaka

Open Book Productions present:

Is it two plays, one, or maybe three? Award winning Open Book Productions present I Ain’t Nothing But and A Glimmer In The Dark, She Said. Two separate plays performed simultaneously, two different styles of theatre, one door between them and what (or who) goes through?

Sharing cast, soundtrack and props, each play is performed on either side of a wall. Audiences see both plays, one after the other. Utilising music by CL BOB and featuring a multifarious collaboration of some of Wellington’s finest. 

In Whiti Hereaka’s comedy I Ain’t Nothing But, the devil plagues a young man’s flatting experience leading him to question his existence. A Glimmer In The Dark, She Said, devised by Open Book Productions, is set at night yet bathed in moonlight. The woman sleeping is dreaming of the young man.

Two plays for the price of one – See them in any order to create your own adventure.

It’s at Shed 11 (just North of Queen’s Wharf, on the road side of The Loaded Hog)
but you book through BATS – book@bats.co.nz  – and meet upstairs at The Loaded Hog.

I Ain't Nothing But

Will                 Julian Wilson
Lucifer            Te Kohe Tuhaka
Lilith               Kate Fitzroy
Evie                 Katlyn Wong

A Glimmer in the Dark, she said

Devised by:
Amanda Hereaka, Nancy Brunning, Fiona Truelove, Julian Wilson, Te Kohe Tuhaka, Kate Fitzroy, Katlyn Wong, Grace Hoete, Jennifer Proctor-Hegglun

With assistance from:  Emily Keddell, Will Harris

Rae                  Nancy Brunning
Clare               Fiona Truelove
Will                 Julian Wilson
God                 Te Kohe Tuhaka
Lilith               Kate Fitzroy
Evie                 Katlyn Wong

Executive Producers  BATS Theatre
Producer/Co-Director            Amanda Hereaka
Director                       Grace Hoete
Playwright                  Whiti Hereaka
Sound design              Simon Bowden, Blair Latham, Nils Olsen (CL BOB)
Lighting designer       Joshua Judkins
Stage Manager           Jennifer Proctor-Hegglun
Marketing Design       Viv Bernard
Publicity                      Lily Chalmers
Illustration                 Stephen Templer
Set Building                Tony Quayle, Abe Hereaka
AV                               Neill Bryce, Ezra Keddell, Rob Larsen
Operators                    Simon Raynor
                                    Marlena Campbell

Commissioned by       BATS Theatre

With funding from     Creative New Zealand
Gaming machine funding:
New Zealand Community Trust, Lion  Foundation, Trust House, Unison Trust
Draping Expertise      Themes
Seating            BAS Grandstands
Yellow ducks supplied by       Great Little Events
Front of House Venue            The Loaded Hog

Theatre ,

Approx 1 hr 30 min, incl. interval

You'll be puzzled

Review by Lynn Freeman 08th Nov 2006

Two plays by two sisters, performed simultaneously, sharing a cast, props, soundtrack and a stage separated by a door – it just has to be a STAB commission by Bats theatre.

These joint plays by Amanda and Whiti Hereaka, one devised from the other’s scripted piece, are a great concept and each have some delicious moments – but they just don’t deliver what they could and should.

Two actors stay in character for both plays – poor angsty and pathetically unsure of himself Will (Julian Wilson) who’s in the midst of an existential crisis (understandable given that he may or may not exist), and lonely Rae (Nancy Brunning) who may (or may not) have created him in her dreams.

Lonely rubber-duck-collecting, socially inadequate Will is being pursued by his two female flatmates but has eyes only for a woman who, yes you guessed it, may (or may not) exist.

It doesn’t matter which order you see the plays in, Whiti’s scripted I Ain’t Nothing But, or Amanda’s devised A Glimmer in the Dark, she said. You’ll be puzzled either way.

The cast puts their everything into both plays, with Brunning and Wilson both making us care for their Rae and Will, while Te Kohe Tuhaka’s double act as God and Lucifer shows his skills as both orator and comedic actor. Kate Fizroy, Katlyn Wong and Fiona True love are strong in support.

The scripted work suffers from being too light to inspire a fully-fledged devised work.

The devised work, while punctuated with some lovely moments, suffers from the previous point, and from being "padded out" to fit the (excellent) soundtrack and the action on the other side of the wall.


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Go with the flow

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 24th Oct 2006

Two separate but related plays, one scripted, the other devised, playing simultaneously for 35 minutes on adjoining stages is the first of the two offerings in this year’s STAB season of experimental theatre.

Whiti Hereaka’s I Ain’t Nothing But is a comedy about Will, a Mr. Bean-like young man, and his invasive and sexually provocative female flat mates, while Open Book Productions’ A Glimmer in the Dark, She Said is an enigmatic variation of the events that occur in the young man’s room expressed through dream, dance, and mime.

STAB productions are usually performed at BATS but the long rectangular space of Shed 11 is probably the only suitable space in Wellington which can be split into two adjoining small stages. The audience is divided into two groups and led from the box office upstairs at The Loaded Hog to one of the two theatres at Shed 11.

Like Alan Ayckbourn who wrote two plays Home and Garden which are played simultaneously in two adjoining theatres and what you see in one play is the off-stage action in the other, Whiti Hereaka and Open Book Productions have intriguingly complicated the situation.

They make the off-stage action a dream of a young woman who is in love with the unknowing young man in the flat even though Lucifer appears up to no good in both the dream and the comic reality/unreality of the flat where he keeps popping out of a closet.

It doesn’t matter whether you see the romanticism of the young woman’s dream or the shenanigans of the rapacious young women and the Devil slipping into the innocent Will’s bed first.

Bit by bit things make sense so that the feathers, for example, that float from the heavens so beautifully in one are seen less romantically in the other. A single rubber duck in one is an object of curiosity, veneration and rivalry, in the other it has multiplied many times. A delightful umbrella dance in Nothing But makes sense when you see some of the décor in Will’s room in Glimmer.

It’s a bit puzzling to start with but, as the programme says, go with the flow and allow Julian Wilson, (Will) , Te Kohe Tuhaka (Lucifer), Kate Fitzroy, Katlyn Wong, Nancy Brunning, and Fiona Truelove to take you into a playful duality of styles that toys with theatrical conventions and an audience’s expectations and you will be thoroughly entertained.


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Intriguing metaphysical ingenuity

Review by John Smythe 18th Oct 2006

Played literally back-to-back at either end of Shed 11 – simultaneously to separate audiences who swap at half time – these two plays share an upstage centre door, a sound design, plastic ducks, some characters and story elements, and a theme of lost and/or found love that flips between denial and rejection, fantasy and reality, good love and bad love.

Commissioned as a pair by BATS for their experimental STAB season, each part may be taken at face value at first, in either order. But once the other is seen, certain dimensions gain greater meaning and resonance. Ingenious.

While the device may owe something to the onstage/ backstage Picnic show from The Netherlands, which we saw at Chaffers Parks a couple of international festivals ago (2002), and Alan Ayckbourn’s diptych of plays House and Garden (1999), Glimmer and Nothing claim their own ground in subject-matter and genre. Indeed they differ from each other in form and content too.

While I have to discuss them in the order I happened to see them, and with some degree of hindsight, I’m very aware that each audience member will experience them differently.

A Glimmer in the Dark, she said – devised by the company and directed by Amanda Hereaka – is a surreal dream play. It involves black gum-booted women with plastic anoraks and brollies, a coffee addict called Rae (Nancy Brunning) – it’s her dream – with her plunger ritual shared (invaded?) by Clare (Fiona Truelove) … A cunningly staged shower scene is one of many visual delights.

A silver-tongued, white-suited God (Te Kohe Tukaha) offers insights into the truth, the universe, physics, metaphysics … The head of a sleeping man is hugely projected on the back wall … When the now awake man – Will (Julian Wilson) – appears in person, he is searching … for what? So is Rae … They search past each other … Will their destinies cross … (where there’s a Will there’s a way)?

I Ain’t Nothing But – written by Whiti Hereaka and directed by Grace Hoete – is a well-crafted comedy of existential angst that features Will as a plastic duck-loving flatmate trying to sleep while a party carries on in his flat. But when the silver-tongued, white-suited one – now called Lucifer – emerges from the closet to reveal that Will has moved on – to what: death? – and this is what they’re celebrating, the prosaic becomes intriguingly spooky.

Certainly his flatmate Lilith (Kate Fitzroy) has dibs on his room. And when time rewinds to play back the lead up, the other flatmate, Evie (an extraordinarily supple Katlyn Wong), has very explicit intentions on him. So how comes it that he – later – is reputed to have slept with both women the same night without the other knowing?

I’m not about to reveal that here, except to say it’s very theatrical, lots of fun and over all much of the entertainment arises from trying to work out if we’re in the realm of memory or premonition. And once you have seen both plays and decoded the metaphysics, the realisation of what has ‘really’ happened to Will and Rae should bring a heart-warming sense of resolution.

What a joy to see Nancy Brunning live on stage again, so centred and subtle yet deeply expressive in exploring Rae’s emotional terrain. Likewise Julian Wilson (what a great year he’s had!) compels our belief in Will’s battles and journeys no matter what, with impeccable timing.

Katlyn Wong’s evocation of limber little Evie’s yogic, tantric, nymphomania is a high point in quality physical comedy. Kate Fitzroy personifies Lilith’s more hidden desires with compelling intensity. Quite what white tulle-clad Clare’s true role is within the mix – mostly in Rae’s dream – remains a mystery to me but Fiona Truelove acquits herself well as the opportunity arises.

And exerting his charismatic powers in the theologically fascinating blend of God and Lucifer, Te Kohe Tukaha turns in a winning performance on both sides.

The excellent lighting design(s) by Joshua Judkins combine with the sound design – by Simon Bowden, Blair Latham and Nils Olsen (CL BOB) – to elevate proceedings to non-naturalistic planes.

The BATS / STAB season has produced some impressive work over the years and I Ain’t Nothing But and A Glimmer in the Dark, she said are right up there with the best.

[For more details in how to book and where to go, click on the Production details at the top of this page.]


Rhys Latton October 28th, 2006

"I aint nothing but one clever gimmick in an evocative venue" I obviously went along on a different night to you, John, with high hopes for the evening's experiences. But I'm afraid it didn't take long for me to start to get that itchy "is this all we're going to get?" feeling, which gradually grew into a strong desire to stand up and scream at the top of my lungs "Where is the rigour?!!" STAB shows are one time in the year when we should really expect something special. Something 'cutting edge' - so there's no need for Amanda Hereaka to tell us at the start that we might be in for a theatrical experience that is out of the ordinary, that we would see one naturalistic play and one non-naturalistic play which related to each other somehow and not to worry if we're a bit confused at the interval. However, for me there IS a need for this STAB commission to have more than one clever trick up its sleeve. I watched the naturalistic play first. It was funny in a cheesey wink-at-the-audience, sex-between-flatmates, whooping-fake-orgasm kind of way. It would have fitted in well as a capping review piece, but it was relatively banale in any other way and could be easily compared to the facile fixations of a horny drama student. I'd like to say I had nothing against the execution of the work. The performers carried out the comedy most enjoyably, the stage, lighting and sound design were mindful and humorous in turns. The overall concept and material, however, was like so many other flat-sex skits turned into one act plays that are so very forgettable in the Fringe. At the end of 'act one' I was looking forward to the non-naturalistic piece. Ah. And this was when I started wondering what the creative team had been doing for 6 months. I started, once again, with hope: maybe this work will hold the depth of strong poetry - perhaps it will make the other half seem like a glimmer of insubstantial tinsel. Like you, John, I enjoyed moments - including the umbrella shower. But gradually it became clear that we were merely biding time until the obvious (girl and boy collide) happened. The dances of form, light and space were justified by the shallow logic of waiting for the man to be popped back into this limbo land again. They didn't speak of anything deeper. They had not been honed and repeated as form-based visual theatre must be. It became clear that this world was an accessary of the other shallow creation. STAB shows are about the creation of a new work that is rigourous in its risks and experiments. There are plenty of artists in Wellington and beyond who are champing at the bit to carry a risky new New Zealand creation to its revolutionary fruition. The other week we lost Sally Rodwell, a New Zealand icon in her time, along with her husband Alan and circle of dedicated artists - inspirational leaders of that passionate and revolutionary ideal for theatre and art. That mantel now falls to the passionate and innovative theatre makers of this generation and I'm afraid that for me, Open Book's latest work doesn't begin to push the envelope. I know how gruelling the devising process is however and I would love to hear if the creative team are planning to rework this show to a more dangerous place.

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