The Forge at The Court in the Pub Charity Studio, Christchurch

02/06/2018 - 23/06/2018

Production Details


Four management consultants have been given 90 minutes to work out if they’re saving the world, being tested by their superiors or designing the blueprints for the next holocaust in Ideation, a boardroom thriller playing at The Forge at The Court Theatre this June.  The Forge is The Court’s studio theatre and will be opening its doors to audiences for the first time this year with Ideation – an icy thriller that is the Black Mirror of contemporary theatre.   

The story follows Hannah, Brock, Ted and Sandeep as they struggle to find a solution to their latest assignment: a hypothetical disease outbreak that begins to look less hypothetical and more like a plan for a future genocide. 

As the tension in the room reaches boiling point, the team begin to turn on each other as they struggle to identify what it is they’re being asked to do – and who knows what.   

For Dan Bain, Associate Director at The Court and the director of Ideation, the rampant paranoia within the story is what makes it so thrilling to watch. 

After reading the script last year, Bain wasn’t sure if The Court would programme the show, but pushed for it to be included in the 2018 Forge season. 

“Last year when I was programming I read something like twelve scripts in two days. I would read about fifteen pages of a script to see, ‘is this even close to what we’re looking for?’ And in that time, I read Ideation – I read all of Ideation. It wasn’t at all what we were looking for, but I had to know what happened. I didn’t think we would put it on, but I kept nudging it and managed to get it programmed, which is quite exciting.” 

Bain describes the play as ‘Formula One style theatre’. “Not only is it an entertaining thought experiment and a fun observation of extreme characters, but it’s also a massive feat that you’re watching on behalf of the actors.”

The actors taking on the challenge include former on-screen Shortland Street couple Laura Hill and Roy Snow as Hannah and Brock respectively, Adam Brookfield as Ted and, making their debuts at The Court Theatre, Shaan Kesha as Sandeep and John Armstrong as Scooter. 

For audiences looking for entertainment that keeps them on the edge of their seat, they’ll find it in Ideation. 

“My hope is that people will leave going, ‘I would have done this,’ and the person they went to the theatre with will go, ‘are you insane? I would do this!’ Because as a play that at its core is a debate, I think its job is to spur further debate.” 

Unlike the answer, the question audiences will be left with after seeing Ideation is clear – what would you do with all the bodies?  Ideation opens at The Court Theatre on the 2nd June and runs through until the 23rd June. 

The Pub Charity Studio at The Court Theatre 
2 June – 23 June 2018  
Monday & Thursday  7:00pm | Tue/Wed/Fri/Sat 8:00pm
All Tickets:  $30 
Bookings: phone 03 963 0870 or visit

Hannah:  Laura Hill
Brock:  Roy Snow
Ted:  Adam Brookfield
Sandeep:  Shaan Kesha
Scooter:  John Armstrong

Playwright:  Aaron Loeb
Director:  Dan Bain 
Set Designer:  Nigel Kerr
Costume Designer:  Tina Hutchison-Thomas
Lighting Designer/Head:  Technician Giles Tanner
Sound Designer:  Thomas Harris
Stage Manager:  Jo Bunce
Properties Manager:  Christy Lassen
Construction Manager:  Bryce Goddard
Production Manager:  Flore Charbonnier  

Theatre ,

A 'sinister corporate tango'

Review by Christopher Moore 04th Jun 2018

Aaron Loeb’s play Ideation is a sinister corporate tango choreographed to the discordant rhythms of ambition, office politics and moral issues which are not only blunted but enthusiastically shredded. 

It seems appropriate that the American playwright is also a senior executive in a large video game corporation.

In this play, currently on stage at Christchurch’s The Forge at The Court, his characters are outwardly engaged in a scenario which, at first glance, is so totally removed from reality that it might easily be a version of the product Loeb helps produce and market. However, beneath the surface of this compact and tightly constructed play lie the seeds of disturbing reality. [More


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Incredibly talky; some themes may have relevance

Review by Grant Hindin Miller 03rd Jun 2018

The word ‘ideation’ means the formation of ideas and concepts, and there is at the heart of this American play an explosion of ideas generated by the dynamics of a team negotiating an appalling challenge.

I like the set: a universal office space with a table, six chairs, bottled water and papers. The audience sits close, around three sides, and a mirrored wall makes up the fourth. This serves as a ‘whiteboard’ and also as a constant observer of the cast of six characters – one of whom is omnipresent but never seen – and of the audience.

The sense that we are being watched is reinforced throughout the piece. An understated ambient soundtrack of industrial echo (an MRI scanning machine?) precedes the opening. There is something unnerving about the sound and, indeed, the mirrored wall. 

It’s all a little unreal and this is the strength, and weakness, of this production. We quickly learn that three of the group, who are here to formulate a disposal system for bodies in the hypothetical event of a mammoth disaster, have just landed from Crete where they sorted out some shady deal using questionable methods. They’re energised, self-congratulatory and are up for a quick-fire resolution of this new speculative problem. They’ve got 90 minutes to come up with a viable disposal system. 

In charge is Hannah, who has made her way through the glass ceiling yet has to constantly reassert her leadership of the team. The ‘boys’ are brash, self-absorbed, dominating; one, Sandeep – a migrant – offers a fresh outsider’s perspective. 

The New York Times describe this play as a ‘comedy’. Whilst there are humorous moments in the piece, particularly at the beginning, this production does not fully succeed as a comedy. Neither is it sufficiently weighty to engage with fully as a serious drama, although its themes have this potential. Why? For one thing it’s hard to care for the characters – we know little about them: one has been married for twenty years, has a mortgage and ‘real friends’; one has two daughters; one has a daughter who has made the soccer regional playoffs; one is an unattached migrant. There is an office affair which is exposed. 

The actors do their best with the script but it’s not an easy script. There are a few theatrical moments (for which we are grateful) but for the most part we are overwhelmed by dialogue in this real time scenario, and it all becomes a bit wearying. I look around the audience and we are not all fully engaged, despite, or because of, the relentlessly circular arguments. If you don’t really care for the characters, or their dilemma, if you don’t buy the premise, then it’s a hard sell. 

The characters assume American accents and this serves to compound the unreality of the scenario. I would have prefer to hear the piece in unaccented voices. I want some ventilation in the script. The actor playing Sandeep, whose voice has the least volume, delivers many of his lines with his back to the audience. 

Ideation feels like a thirty minute one-act play stretched over ninety-five minutes. It’s incredibly talky and at one point Hannah cries, “Who cares?” And, frankly, I’m with her. The twenty-year olds behind me on the way out surmise, “I suppose some of the themes have relevance?” 

I admire The Forge – it’s open theatrical space that is courageous enough to try experimental works. And on a cold damp night the Court is always welcoming – a warm whiff of wine and pizzas; a cozy atmosphere with comfortable chairs. I suggest you go along and see what you make of Ideation. It may really work for you.


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