SHORT + SWEET 2014 Theatre WEEK TWO
02/09/2014 - 06/09/2014
WEEK TWO | 2 – 6 Sept
The Water’s Edge
Writer: Michael Lill (AUS)
Director: Carl Drake
Cast: Alison Everett Mills & Steven Ciprian
Carl performed in two plays at last years Short+Sweet and both made it through to the finals where he was awarded Best Actor Runner-Up. Carl has also directed a number of hit plays over the last 4 years most recently being The Fox on the Fairway at the Dolphin Theatre. He is excited to be returning to Short+Sweet this year and is immensely looking forward to directing.
About the Play – The Water’s Edge explores the impacts and effects of early onset Alzheimer’s Disease.
I Wish My Mum Had Two Broken Legs
Writer: Cara Jeffery (AUS)
Director: Jessie Lawrence
Cast: Courtney Abbot, Kelly Gilbride, Tessa Jensen & Alex Jordan
Jessie Lawrence is a recent graduate from Unitec’s Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts – Majoring in Acting. She was able to direct some short plays throughout her time at Unitec, but after spending a number of years harnessing her craft on stage, she is ready and excited to be back in the “Director’s Chair” – happily off stage.
About the Play – A young girl’s perspective on growing up with a mum who has Depression.
Beatrix Potter Must Die!
Writer: Patrick Gabridge (USA)
Director: Matt Baker
Cast: Britta Brandt, Ben Van Lier & Jamie Linehann
Matt is an actor, director, and theatre critic with a Bachelor of Performing And Screen Arts from Unitec and a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts from the University of Auckland. He is represented by Kathryn Rawlings & Associates and is the inaugural New Zealand member of the International Association of Theatre Critics.
About the Play – A desperate farmer travels back in time for an unusual solution to his plague of rabbits.
Writer: Abby Howells (NZ)
Director: Padma Akula
Cast: Mustaq Missouri & Ben Moore
Padma’s involvement with performing arts began in 2005 as an Assistant Director in Auckland; which fueled her passion for Theatre, Film and travel. Padma has also long been involved as an executive member of Auckland’s theatre company, Prayas Theatre. Most recently she Co Directed Mumbai Monologues for the Auckland Gay Pride Festival 2014; which received sensational reviews.
About the Play – Wesley arrives home to find a cat from his past waiting for him, seeking revenge.
Writer: Russell Bell (UAE)
Director: Jesse Hilford
Cast: Stephanie Kear, Brooke Petersen & Daley Winterstein
This is Jesse’s third time in as many years participating in Short and Sweet Theatre. Previously I directed Riding the Red which was a Wildcard finalist (2012) and The Blue Balloon (Top 22 2013). I have also directed short plays in The Legacy Project (Pride Festival 2014) and Auckland Fringe Festival 2013. This is Jesse’s third time in as many years participating in Short and Sweet Theatre. Previously I directed Riding the Red which was a Wildcard finalist (2012) and The Blue Balloon (Top 22 2013). I have also directed short plays in The Legacy Project (Pride Festival 2014) and Auckland Fringe Festival 2013. This is Jesse’s third time in as many years participating in Short and Sweet Theatre. Previously I directed Riding the Red which was a Wildcard finalist (2012) and The Blue Balloon (Top 22 2013). I have also directed short plays in The Legacy Project (Pride Festival 2014) and Auckland Fringe Festival 2013.
About the Play – We’ve always had friends, we’ve always had love but now we have Facebook!
Writer: Bruce Brown
Cast: Jordan Blaikie & Edwin Beats
Produced by Winter’s Collective
About the Play – Ever slept with that random guy you just met at the club so you don’t have to sleep alone? George has… Or have you used sex with complete strangers to solve your problems? Caleb has… A story about the currency of sex and those band-aid solutions that hold us together.
Footprints to New Zealand
Director: Grae Burton
Writer: Sharu Dellikan & Tim Booth
Produced by Sharu Loves Hats
Cast: Alvin Maharaj
About the Play – Footprints to NZ is uniquely written from both an Asian and Pakeha perspective. Featuring a multitude of true-life characters encountered over more than two decades, this journey of displacement, culture, curiosity and prejudice, culminates in an acute appreciation of their chosen home, Aotearoa.
You May Now Diss The Bride
Produced by Foxymorons
Cast: Chelsea McEwan-Millar, Natasha Daniel & Kelly Taylor
Foxymorons is an all-female theatre company comprised of 3rd year Unitec acting students Natasha Daniel and Kelly Taylor, and actress Chelsea McEwan-Millar. You May Now Diss The Bride is a new devised piece for Short+Sweet Theatre Auckland, directed by Matt Baker.
About the Play – The bride has cold feet. Luckily, her bridesmaids are there to support her. Too bad they’ve never met before and have nothing in common… except their own stories about her.
The Next Great American Novel
Writer: Natasha Yim (USA)
Director: Annie Whitakker
Cast: Carl Drake, Merrin Cavel, Amber-Rose Henshaw, Alice Yuletich, Chris Nicholls, Dion Greenstreet & Jordin Lincoln
Annie has been involved in the performing arts since high school – she started out in musicals and has been performing, stage managing, tech-ing or directing pretty much ever since. Previous directing experiences include Neil LaBute’s “This is How it Goes”, Aaron Sorkin’s “A Few Good Men”, Yasmina Reza’s “The God of Carnage”, Dave Armstrong’s “The Kings of the Gym” and was the director of the Auckland premiere of “The Breakfast Club” June 2014. Annie is thrilled to be included in this year’s Short & Sweet
About the Play – Artie’s attempts to write the next Great American novel is constantly interrupted by his family’s demands and uninvited creative input.
The Altered States Of Michael
Produced by Momentum Theatre
Michael has been working professionally in New Zealand and overseas for twenty years in theatre, television and film. Recently performing In feature film “Z nail gang” and a season of Peter Larsen’s play, “Albert Black” at The Basement Theatre. He is currently in pre production of short film , “The Gift”
About the piece – We’re not who I think I am. A severe trauma leaves a writer in a world of complex personalities, relationships and a large shipment of Lego.
The (Sweet) Team
Festival Artistic Director: Jonathan Hodge
Festival Producer: Sums Selvarajan
Artistic Coordinator (Theatre): Ahi Karunaharan
Artistic Coordinator (Dance): Jessie McCall
Artistic Coordinator (Dance): Lydia Zanetti
Artistic Coordinator (Song): Robbie Ellis
Associate Producer: Yee Yang ‘Square’ Lee
Tech Adviser & Web Development: WhySquare Ltd
Marketing & Publicity: SWPR (Sally Woodfield)
Good quality acting a notable feature
Review by Bronwyn Elsmore 04th Sep 2014
Ten minute plays are live theatre’s equivalent of literature’s flash fiction. In their concentration on a single issue or event they might seem simple, but they can be just as dramatic and effective as a longer work, and their construction is an art.
There are 11 plays in this second week’s selection, and the best of them succeed very well. In programme order:
In I Wish My Mum Had Two Broken Legs, written by Cara Jeffery, a girl, assisted by three attendant Imagininjas, dreams up what might seem like flights of fancy but they reveal a much more poignant situation. Excellent direction by Jessie Lawrence draws top performances from Courtney Abbot, Kelly Gilbride, Tessa Jenson, and Alex Jordan.
There’s more quality acting from the three women in the following play, You May Now Diss the Bride, a Foxymorons production directed by Matt Baker. It’s Candice’s wedding day and her three bridesmaids meet for the first time, finding out that none of them is a personal friend and they’re all there by default. But though they’re reluctant bridesmaids they have a job to do. Chelsea McEwan Miller, Natasha Daniel, and Kelly Taylor look their parts and put in very believable performances.
In Band Aid Sex, written and directed by Bruce Brown, Caleb and George meet at a gay bar and go back to George’s home for a one-night stand only to find the questions they ask about each other turn awkward. The script fades at the end but the performances of Alex Walker and James Luck are convincing.
The three people in the next play, Tagged, by writer Russell Bell and directed by Jesse Hilford, are friends in the social media sense. Because they’ve met online, they know too much about each other when they meet in person. Now they have to negotiate the social rules around unfriending. Stephanie Kear, Brooke Petersen and Daley Winterstein are all good in their parts, but the stage set is not so realistic.
In The Royal We, directed by Simon Ward, the character Michael has multiple personalities, each of which has its own reaction to a situation he has got himself into. Mike Lowe is not only Writer and sole cast member, but shows himself as an excellent actor in his portrayal of the different characters.
From opening to end there is no doubting audience appreciation of Crossbow Cat by Abby Howells. Mustaq Missouri as The Cat, Cinnamon, and Ben Moore as Wesley who once accidentally shot Cat in the head, meet again years later when Cat comes back intent on revenge. The scenario, the two actors, and Padma Akula’s direction, combine to make this a delightfully funny interlude.
The Water’s Edge doesn’t need even the 10 minutes permitted, in order to portray the beautiful relationship that exists between Daniel and Isabelle. They’re married and have been for a long time, but Isabelle in her growing dementia doesn’t remember. Alison Everett Mills and Steven Ciprian are directed to Carl Drake in this moving piece of theatre.
An Author is trying to write The Next Great American Novel, and we watch the scene he is creating. The trouble is, family life keeps interrupting, and as he is drawn away from the keyboard, his hopeless son, heartbroken daughter and his frustrated wife decide to make improvements. The characters have to obey. Under the direction of Annie Whittaker, cast members Carl Drake, Merrin Cavel, Amber-Rose Henshaw, Alice Yuletich, Chris Nicholls, Dion Greenstreet, and Jordin Lincoln make a fine job of this script by Natasha Yim.
Writers Sharu Delilkan and Tim Booth, with Director Grae Burton, combine their talents to produce the memorable Footprints to New Zealand. It is a series of vignettes dealing with experiences encountered by Asian immigrants to this country. Alvin Maharaj is the sole actor and his playing of the different characters reveals his acting skills. There’s very effective use of two props – a chair and a ladder.
Imagine a Kiwi farmer travelling back in time to 1900 to confront Beatrix Potter. For the good of the country he must stop her turning Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail into favourites of children. He’s brought his rifle so what can stop him? Well, there’s another time-traveller on the way… Patrick Gabridge wrote the delightful farce Beatrix Potter Must Die!, and it’s given the full comedy treatment by Director Matt Baker and cast Britta Brandt, Ben Van Lier, and Jamie Linehan.
Call of the Sparrows, directed by James Roque, is another full on comedy, this one set around a Mah-jong night. It is another play in which a trio of women – Chye-Ling Huang who is also the Writer, Amanda Grace Leo, and Amanda Tito – give three excellent performances.
In fact, the very good quality of the acting throughout is a notable feature of the evening’s entertainment. All 31 actors do full justice to their characters, bringing them to life through their skills.
Eleven plays make up Short + Sweet’s Week Two. Each of them is well worth seeing and together they offer a really enjoyable night out.
Backstage staff are often unsung heroes of theatre and those working for the Short + Sweet festival do a great job getting these plays up within a minute of each other so there’s no delay. And whoever chooses the music between the acts is inspired.
In the gala roundup this Sunday night the best plays from the season are repeated. Chosen by the judges or by popular vote, it promises to be a great programme.
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