BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington

02/03/2013 - 07/03/2013

NZ Fringe Festival 2013

Production Details

The night is in the retelling.

“How did you get here?”
“I was trying to find an invisible party…”

Light Sleepers’ Wake invites you into a smoky, dingy, bourbon soaked bar that can only be found by the city’s loners. Drawing on the work of Edward Hopper, Tom Waits and T.S. Elliot, the show explores what it means to be twenty-something, drunk, and trapped in a genre not your own. Using an original script, music and poetry, Light Sleeper’s Wake is an extension of the curiosity and anxieties we share.

A show shaped through searching, Light Sleepers’ Wake is imbued with a sense of discovery; it is an exploration of being lost and overwhelmed. As graduating students in theatre, Light Sleepers’ Wake asks important questions for a new generation of both practitioners and adults going into the world. The play-world seeks to harmonise with the fears of twenty-somethings finishing their education and moving out into employment and responsibility. 

Light sleepers’ Wake seems to have come into existence of it own accord; it’s been such an organic, playful, process. In reality, though, the work has clearly been pursuing our love of a kind of elusive theatrical poetry, and been driven by some serious anxieties about our place in the world.” – Director Jonathan Price.

The show is an original devised piece by Bright Orange Walls for the Wellington Fringe Festival 2013. An hour long performance with bar stools, gin bottles, Venetian blinds and smoke, the magic of the show is sure to affect and entice.

Bright Orange Walls is a new Wellington based theatre collaboration made up of eleven members with experience in creating theatre. Coming from the Victoria University Theatre programme, Long Cloud Youth Theatre, and Toi Whakaari, we are all students of theatre who take pride in the fact that our performances don’t just represent our creative endeavours, but our educational ones as well. Visit our blog at to follow our discoveries as we head towards the Fringe Festival.   

2nd – 7th February 2013
at 8:00pm.
BATS out of site

Great promise

Review by Helen Sims 03rd Mar 2013

Light Sleepers’ Wake is a devised work from new company Bright Orange Walls. Set in a dark city approaching the apocalypse, various characters struggle to make choices which could have very final consequences. As they continue with normal routines in a rapidly changing environment, they connect in unexpected ways, some with kindness and others with cruelty.

The four performers (Tom Clarke, Pippa Drakeford, Jonathan Price and Maggie White) play a number of characters including an abnormally cheerful radio host, an eccentric woman in an oilskin coat hunting for an item which holds mysterious meaning to her, a young woman who clutches her radio and sings, a bartender and his ageing dog and a murderer.

Directed by Samuel Phillips, they all perform with great energy and commitment, but at times delineation between and development of characters could be clearer.  The exceptions are the radio host and eccentric collector, who are beautifully realised and progress throughout the show.  

The set and lighting is very dark. Four sets of black horizontal blinds are manipulated by the performers to create both solid and transparent walls on the stage. Full black trash bags line the stage and are poked through by the oilskin coat wearing eccentric woman. Simple everyday items are imaginatively used as props.

The lighting is moody, successfully creating a noir atmosphere, although the darkness does mean I often can’t see the actors’ faces, making it difficult to feel much connection with them. 

There are some excellent scenes in the devised work, in particular the brutal interrogation scene and the bar scene. However, overall I do not understand how the scenes and characters ‘fit’ together in a single story or around a unifying theme, or the relevance of the title.

This work has great promise, and I hope the company continues to develop it and try to achieve a greater sense of interconnection and tell the story the programme note tantalisingly sets out. 


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