SCENES FROM A NIGHT
06/03/2013 - 09/03/2013
This is theatre, direct. These are the real people, and the real stories…
Scenes from A Night examines the results when a group of very different people are thrown together on one night and are forced for the first time to not just acknowledge each other’s presence, but also their shared experience. A night of laughter, music, and realising exactly what we do have in common with each other.
The Hobson Street Theatre Company, based at the Auckland City Mission, has a unique take on the stories of the city, and will expand your perspective on the life of Auckland.
“This was theatre, direct. These are the real people, and the real stories…The cast have a joyous giving spirit, and I felt privileged to watch them share their lives and experiences.” Theatre Scenes, 2011
Wed 6 – Sat 9 March, 8.30pm
DURATION: 60 mins
VENUE: Auckland City Mission
TICKETS: Adult $15, Conc / Group $12
An undeniable core of truth
Review by Nik Smythe 07th Mar 2013
I haven’t been into Hobson Street’s City Mission premises since being a starving actor in the 90s when I’d avail myself of the occasional food parcel from the reputable establishment. This week however, for the first time I’m aware of,* the interior has been transformed into a theatre by in-house company Hobson Street Theatre Company, for a small slice of drama about as ‘down-home’ as it gets.
Scene: a pub – authentic-looking enough that I actually try to order a drink before realising it’s just the set. As the audience convenes, various locals arrive in character and at some vaguely determinate point the play begins.
It’s ‘kapai karaoke!’ night at the Prince of Wales bar, and all the regulars are here to show off their vocal chops (if the staff can just manage to get the TV monitor working properly). Thereby, the ensuing action is interspersed with competently sung renditions of various predominately reggae-style tracks, as well as a couple of philosophical soliloquies from the amiable young English barman.
Among the characters present we are witness to the spontaneous betrothal of a long-suffering couple (who already have six kids), the reunion of childhood mates, and a remorseful hirsute derelict ‘Budgie’ who milks his buddies for all the drinks he can scrounge on the basis of his broken heart since his sweetheart Elsie disappeared.
Typically there are hidden agendas and secret twists under the surface, which naturally become apparent as the evening progresses and the beverage count increases. While in many ways celebrating life as we know it the local watering hole, there’s a clear underlying message – though not patronising or preachy – about the inherent downward spiral of excessive consumption.
I don’t actually know which name goes with which face in the cast, but across the board the company of Amelia, Boni, Bronwyn, Daniel, Jem, Kelly, Maeve, Rory, Shadow and Wilf weigh in with unpretentious aplomb during the all-too-short half hour. More than merely ‘at least they’re having a go’, they succeed in expressing an unusual quality of realism-based performance.
As the blurb attests: this is theatre, direct. These are the real people, and their real stories… Whether or not the stories played out are directly autobiographical – I note there is no playwright credit – there’s an undeniable core of truth to the performances. Indeed, any technical shortfall among the various players’ acting skills is easily reconciled by their genuine character and charm.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
*[Actually the HSTC produced Homeless Economics there in the 2011 Auckland Fringe – ed]
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer