Second Afterlife

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

03/10/2014 - 18/10/2014

Production Details

Dan has been it all. Himself on Facebook, a slightly more Emo version of himself on Bebo, a vengeful warrior in Warcraft, and a Spanish seductress on NZDating – but now he’s ready to unplug. To delete his profiles and wipe the slate clean. 

But the internet isn’t about to let him go without a fight. Deleting a profile requires an epic battle through the Second Afterlife, the dark underworld of the internet – a dangerous landscape of broken memes, deleted pages, and the ghosts of profiles past. 

Director Leon Wadham (School Night, Go Girls) leads an exciting cast in this poetic, ass-kicking comedy for the digital age. 

“An absolute joy to behold. A modern, exciting quest narrative with intriguing, well-developed characters, Second Afterlife will totally absorb you” – Salient  

Second Afterlife
The Basement Theatre, Lower Grey’s Ave, Auckland CBD
7pm, 3 – 18 Oct
Sunday matinee: 4pm, 12th Oct

CAST: Jackson Bliss-McCauley, Katie Longbottom, Ravi Gurunathan, Jarred Blakiston, Jessica Stubbing and Anthony Crum

Sound: Thomas Press (mentor), Mel Collocott
Set: John Parker (mentor), Claudine Mailei, Grace Neely
Costumes: Sara Taylor (mentor), Francesca Wilson, Zara O’Rourke, Natasha Hoyland
Lighting: Jane Hakaraia (mentor), Casey Crowley, Shivani Lee 

Tying laces before loose ends #1

Review by Matt Baker 07th Oct 2014

No stranger to creating dramatic parallels with the real world, McCubbin-Howell explores the evolution of online profiles in what is more or less a theatrical adaptation of Scott Pilgram Vs. The World.

Even when considering this as a youth production, it takes a few moments to adjust to director Leon Wadham’s style for the piece, which requires a necessary juxtaposition between the two worlds, but isn’t fully realised due to the already heightened nature of the characters existence in the real world. [More]


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A great story immaculately played

Review by Jan-Maree Franicevic 05th Oct 2014

Well here we are! A piece of theatre with its heart in the right place and its head screwed firmly on! This is the teenager I wish I had been. Man, talk about some good goofy proper laugh-at-yourself Kiwi comedy. This is the kind of comedy like we have seen so rarely, penned and played as well as some of the comedy of Billy T James. 

I know, this is a gushy way to kick into a review but to be honest I decided I loved this show as soon as I walked in. 

Saturday night and we are kicking off the Auckland season of the Young and Hungry Festival of New Zealand Theatre 2014. I am really excited as I think about all of the great Kiwi theatre practitioners who have been born through this programme which, after twenty years, has accrued institutional status.

We walk in to party debris, a stage littered with Waikato Draught bottles! I am captured! Living and working in The Waikato and being an avid imbiber of Waikato Draught I am pretty used to being mocked for my choice in beer, and also pretty used to not being able to purchase it north of the Bombay hill. So this has really got me thinking about what is going to unfold. 

This is a great story – by Ralph McCubbin Howell – about what happens when you try to leave Facebook. At least on the surface it is. There are significant parallels with many of the first world’s dilemmas and some strong themes borrowed from classics. I always think if you are going to borrow you have to innovate and inspire with it, and this work does. 

Very much in the ‘now’ and speaking to a generation I will admit I know very little about, we meet Dan (Jackson Bliss-McCauley) who has lived more than 50% of his waking life staring at a computer screen, most recently Facebook. He has successfully managed to miss much of what has actually been going on in front of his actual face.

He is having the obligatory end of high school party. He makes a bad family choice with the high school ‘me’ girl Sadie (played beautifully by Jessica Stubbing) and has an epiphany. It is time to leave Facebook. Or is it?

Dan travels to a Cyber World Hades where he is challenged to face up to his virtual reality: duels with all of the various digital incarnations he has manifest.

Every part of this journey into himself is well executed and immaculately played. Director Leon Wadham has everything to be proud of; the design is breath taking, he has given an energy and sparkle to his cast, and drawn richly from them. I particularly enjoy watching Dan and The Guide (a scene-stealingly good performance from Anthony Crumb… brilliant!) trip into and out of You Tube. 

There are serious LoLs throughout, many directly out of recognition. This is a teenage rite of passage story, I relate on that level such is the polish of the production, careful not to exclude those who dwell outside the demograph. This is the millennial babes’ equivalent of The Breakfast Club so you know, I get it. But then so does my partner for the night who is ten years my senior with kids just that bit older than these ones. He gets it too. So difficult sometimes to moderate that youth voice and make it audible for an older audience. Done here sensationally and with ease. 

Both the pace of the script and the exceptional work done by both the Tango and Fight Choreographers (Jeremy Birchall and Michael Hurst respectively) make for a very quick show. I take my hat off to the physically fit young cast who make the transitions all seem so effortless. And it is perhaps in this outstanding example alone that the massive merit of initiatives like Young and Hungry mean.

How very good for these youngsters to be able to work with and be mentored by some of New Zealand’s top talents, and at an age and stage where that practical experience really sticks, giving rangatahi a superb resource which will ensure the enduring, innovative future of New Zealand theatre.


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