TAPAC Theatre, Western Springs, Auckland

15/09/2015 - 19/09/2015

Short + Sweet 2015

Production Details

Short+Sweet Festival Auckland is a performing arts festival that celebrates the 10-minute performance format across theatre, dance, song and cabaret. Originally out of Sydney, with satellite city festivals all over the world including every major city in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Philippines, UAE and USA.

Held annually in Auckland since 2009 and in Wellington since 2015, it provides a platform for actors, dancers, singers, writers, choreographers, musos and directors to create high quality new work in a professional theatre environment reflecting the Festival city.

Each rendition of the Festivals in New Zealand is a collaboration by over 350 performers and creatives… all volunteers!

A night at Short+Sweet consists of up to ten dynamic 10-minute works and the audience is presented with a feast of styles and subjects. At the end of the night, you, the audience is invited to vote for your favourite work to help determine the top works that make it to the Gala Final.

Check out the full programme at 


Will’s Dramaturg

Writer: Rich Rubin

Director: Sananda Chatterjee

Cast: Raj Singh, Matthew Haines

About the play
Definition of Dramaturg: a literary editor who helps authors with their works and edits texts.

So, when a dramaturg makes a suggestion, right thing for the playwright to do it take the advice… right?.

About the Director
Sandy started with Prayas Theatre in Auckland in 2007 and has been involved in various capacities – Stage Manager, Playwright, Assistant Director. Lately, she’s been part of Agaram’s Mumbai Monologues as a playwright. The art of telling stories fascinates her. Short + Sweet 2014 was her first foray into the wonderful world of bite sized plays, and she loved it.

He’s a Bleeder

Writer: Adam Spedding

Director: Adam Spedding

ITC: Adam Levine Da Loca

Cast: Brayden Jeffrey, Sam ‘Nugget’ Guy, Bernie Voice

About the play
2 guys take a forced break from the war going on around them to cheer up their dying friend.

About the ITC
We’re mates who like hanging out and creating stuff. As a company we are rather new and are excited to be sharing some of our work with you all!

A.I. East

Aman Ba: aj

Director: Thomas Sainsbury

ITC: Junglee Theater company

Cast: Aman Bajaj

About the play
A.I East is a comedy that tells the rise of an Indian Rapper/ Gangta/ Thug and overall Baddas as he shares his journey to the rise to the top of the SWAG Ladder. PEACE! RESPECT!

About the ITC
Junglee theatre company is a young Auckland based Theatre company that brought the runaway award winning hit “Dhoti Baba” to last year’s Short + Sweet Theatre festival . Junglee stands for being wild and we look at reflecting that in our productions in an effort to showcase some fun, new, edgy theatre to entertain audiences.

Ain’t That A Bitch

Director: Jonathan Hodge

ITC: Fox Rabbit and Bear

Cast: Anthea Hill, Daniel Watterson

About the play
What happens when souls touch? The complexity of human interaction can be the source of greatest joy and the most devastating sorrow. There is no map to traverse these delicate, precarious and life changing connections, just instinct, chance and a vague idea of right and wrong.

About the ITC
Fox Rabbit and Bear makes up three. Between us we share a passion for truth, humanity and expression. Jono knows theatre like the back of his hand, Anthea is a fire cracker of enthusiasm and Dan can wrangle anything into a coherent sentence. That’s all you need to make magic, right?

A Flock of Ashes

Writer: Chye-Ling Huang

Director: James Roque

ITC: Pretty Asian Theatre (PAT)

Cast: Amanda Grace Leo, Amanda Tito, Hannah Paterson, Chye-Ling Huang

About the play
A sudden fracture in the political landscape of Little Sparrow’s village leave a chasm for opportunistic bandits, soldiers and warlords to fill. Caught in the middle of a political uprising where everything sacred is burning to the ground, Little Sparrow runs through the chaos clutching a secret that could change everything.

About the ITC
Pretty Asian Theatre (PAT), is a theatre company dedicated to presenting and exploring Asian stories in New Zealand. Founded by James Roque and Chye-Ling Huang in 2013, PAT has since produced FOB by David Henry Hwang (Basement 2013) and Lantern by Renee Liang (Musgrove Studio 2014).


Writer: Patricia Wichman

Director: Patricia Wichman

Cast: Monica Stewart, Kerensa McKinnon, Glenn Degarnham, Jo Clark, Dawn Glover

About the play
A mother and daughter come to terms with Clive, husband and father’s past.

About the Director
Since 2010 Patricia has contributed to this Festival as an actor and/or, a director. This will be Patricia’s first time directing her own writing, in Short + Sweet. She doesn’t really class herself as an ITC as she is currently the only member. Wake was currently written as a devised piece with the contribution of her students from The Green Room’s Adult Classes in Titirangi. Two of the original cast will be and are excited to be, participating in ‘Wake’ for this year’s Short + Sweet.


Director: Yvette Parsons

ITC: Marvellous Theatre Group Inc

Lesley Reihana, Christina Pusztay, Elisabeth Degremont, Betsy Kernohan, Ferooz Afshar, Helen Jermyn, Karen Staniland, Kathy Walker, Les Everett, Ora Lefebvre, Pat Quirke, Patricia Noonan, Roz Smillie, Valerie Leech

About the play
Devised theatre piece with an unwilling Corpse, a frolicking free Spirit, an undertaker, a singing waitress and a circling pack of avaricious avian former friends and lovers.

About the Director
We are four years old and mostly over 65.
We are highly motivated & hugely enthusiastic.
We present original material, classical & contemporary works, improvisation, devised theatre and ensemble pieces & anything else that takes our fancy.

The Marriage Bureau

Director: Grae Burton

Writer: Tim Booth & Sharu Delilkan

ITC: Sharu Loves Hats

Cast: Grae Burton, Alvin Maharaj, Amanda Grace Leo, Jay Saussey

About the play
A couple are in love and looking to marry, but the government has a new policy to stamp out war, racial hatred and religious persecution forever. Can our heroes overcome government stupidity and blatant racial stereotyping to be together? Will love win out in the end?

About the ITC
Sharu Loves Hats consolidates Sharu Delilkan’s production work i.e. theatre producing, publicity, marketing, reviewing, journalism and occasional play writing.  Following their debut Footprints to New Zealand (Judges’ Choice for Week Two and 2014 finalist), Sharu Loves Hats is proud to support another slice of life drama written with her husband Tim, for the second consecutive year.

35 Year Old Whiskey

Writer: Ashton Brown

Director: Ben Moore

ITC: Self Deprecating Eclecticism

Cast: Ashton Brown, Ben Blakely, Ross Stokes

About the play
Two apparent strangers. with hidden intentions, meet in a motel room . As the small talk falls apart, the agendas unfold and things are certainly not what they seem in this dark comedy.

About the ITC
After his stand up comedy was referred to as ‘Self Deprecating Eclecticism’, Ashton Brown decided to call a theatre company just that. And here they are. A brand spanking new theatre company. They will do more shows in the future.

35 Year Old Whiskey

Writer: Ashton Brown

Director: Ben Moore

ITC: Self Deprecating Eclecticism

Cast: Ashton Brown, Ben Blakely, Ross Stokes

About the play
Two apparent strangers. with hidden intentions, meet in a motel room . As the small talk falls apart, the agendas unfold and things are certainly not what they seem in this dark comedy.

About the ITC
After his stand up comedy was referred to as ‘Self Deprecating Eclecticism’, Ashton Brown decided to call a theatre company just that. And here they are. A brand spanking new theatre company. They will do more shows in the future.

Verdana’s Debut

Writer: Aroha Awarau

Director: Joanna Craig

Cast: Rebecca Parr, Estelle Clifford

About the play
Playwrights Rachel and Jackie are the best of mates but their friendship is tested when Rachel isn’t exactly in love with Jackie’s new play. This is a fun insight into a tricky situation that many writers find themselves in.

TAPAC, 100 Motions Road, Western Springs, Auckland
15 – 19 September | 7.00pm

Theatre ,

Five or six contenders

Review by Nik Smythe 16th Sep 2015

The second set from this year’s ‘top 20’ [‘top 19’ as it turns out] ten-minute plays comprises a typically eclectic mix of humour, drama, whimsy, gravity, truth, conceptuality and more humour. 

The line-up includes two plays about estranged families, two about aspiring playwrights, at least three about the quest for love and/or relationship, plus a few about mortality including two set at or after funerals.  The closest thing a running theme I think would have to be personal identity and fulfilment – arguably a factor in just about any story ever told about people. 

(Apologies in advance for not identifying the players’ names in a number of these productions).

The Marriage Bureau by Sharu Delikan and Tim Booth presents a comedic Orwellian present-future-style bureaucratic administration process driven by statistics and other such spurious ‘information’. Alvin Maharaj is the ennui-ridden authoritarian functionary, processing the marriage licence application of initially bright and optimistic wedding hopefuls Grae Burton (also director) and Jay Saussey, and an actual supercute white curly lapdog. 

The complex set-up results in Amanda Grace Leo’s long-suffering secretary secretly performing charades to the would-be husband to lead his responses to the minister’s questions, in the hope he may award his first non-rejection in quite some time.  A little forced at times, it ultimately succeeds equally as insightful socio-political commentary and hilarious physical comedy. 

James Crompton wrote, directed and performs I Went Looking for Love, a Southern-American simpleton’s earnest tale of his protracted search for, as one may infer from the title, love.  Talking passionately in broad, imprecise terms, his naïve saga reaches a wholly obvious conclusion, its predictability redeemed by the narrator’s credible innocence.  Also, his ‘get-what-you-give’ message is worth reiterating.

Verdana’s Debut by Aroha Awarau is a scenario familiar to many, in which Rachel (Estelle Clifford) offers solicited feedback to her playwright friend Jackie (Rebecca Parr) about her latest production.  Clearly less than enraptured by it, Rachel is unsuccessful in feigning enthusiasm and on deeper interrogation struggles to identify any positive details.  The highlight of the amusing, if clichéd scene is Jackie’s stirring account of the personal triumph she achieved in selecting the programme’s font. 

In writer/director Patricia Wichman’s Wake Chelsea Tobin plays Anne, a young ingenue at her father’s funeral. She receives a rude awakening as a number of dirty, nasty secrets from the deceased’s past are brought to light.  Between the bitter wife, snippy grandmother and the gold-digging mistress and ex-wife of a previous marriage, it’s hard to find anyone besides the innocent daughter to really sympathise with. 

A valiant attempt at a dramatic piece in a format that generally seems to lend itself more naturally to comedy, unfortunately the plodding direction is altogether more prosaic than poignant. 

He’s a Bleeder by Adam Spedding is one of the most satisfyingly complete little shows, albeit more comedy sketch than meaningful study.  Under heavy fire, a mortally wounded soldier is disingenuously ‘comforted’ by his self-centred buddies with platitudes and inappropriately-appropriate spontaneous musical numbers.  No profound message, just ten minutes of tactless hilarity. 

A Flock of Ashes is an impressive conceptual post-apocalypse supernatural comedy thriller, with noteworthy costume designs to boot.  Rebel fugitive Little Sparrow (Amanda Grace Leo, again) frantically seeks a hiding place for the last remaining urn of human remains from the local mausoleum, destroyed by a ruthlessly fierce militia (Amanda Tito, Hannah Paterson and Hweiling Ow). 

Eventually, playwright Chye-Ling Huang’s cheeky poltergeist character provides entertaining comeuppance to the hero’s nasty adversaries.  Meanwhile, the involvement of audience members in the concealment and recovery of said urn carries a slight risk of extending the piece beyond the allotted ten minutes, and I’m curious whether they have a contingency for if/when the punters involved are less than forthcoming. 

Following the interval, Rich Rubin’s Will’s Dramaturg is uncannily similar to the premise of Verdana’s Debut; presumably when considering ideas for this platform the aspirant-playwright-seeking-feedback-from-their-peers is an obvious notion within the write-what-you-know philosophy.  The twist here is that it’s a young up-and-coming Shakespeare (Matthew Haines) being given wholly spurious criticism from his dramaturg (Raj Singh), effectively advising he rewrite his latest tragedy into an entirely different plot resembling a much more modern classic three-hander. 

Again more sketch than play, it’s a sufficiently funny and clever look back at what might have transpired if certain decisions were made without the hindsight we take for granted. 

35 Year-old Whiskey by Ashton Brown concerns the first-time meeting of a scruffy young failure (Brown) and the biological father who abandoned him (Ross Stokes).  Tense at the outset, although fortified by supposedly top-shelf whiskey, the bitter son seeks answers and closure about why his successful lawyer dad didn’t want him. 

When a half brother he didn’t know existed (Ben Blakely) emerges, their covert agenda is revealed, seeming at first audacious and ultimately ghoulish.  Containing well-written witty dialogue and decent performances, it feels a draft or two off fully complete. 

Essentially an amusing character study, directed by Thomas Sainsbury, A.I. East is an endearing solo piece written and performed by Aman Bajaj as blinged-up Indian homie Asif. He regales us with his unusual cross-cultural tale in his amusingly affected hip-hop vernacular.  Originally migrating to NZ as a top-ranking medical student, somehow in the time he’s been here Asif and his two best mates have discovered Afro American rap culture, so his aspirations have shifted to becoming the gangsta-king of Mount Roskill.

Ruth Wynne’s The Perfect Man: Model 007 is an entertaining sample of futuristic sci-fi absurdism in which Emily (Wynne) receives a delivery of the life-sized ‘Perfect Man’ android companion (David Capstick) she ordered online.  As she and her flatmate (Gina Timberlake) struggle to assemble (cue cross-dressing options and a giant dildo) and operate him, it becomes clear choosing the cheaper Asian knock-off version was possibly a mistake. 

Directed by Jonathan Hodge, I infer by the lack of writing credit that Ain’t That a Bitch was devised by the small company known as ‘Fox Rabbit and Bear’.  Anthea Hill and Daniel Watterson present a series of chronological scenes exploring the ups and downs of a frustrating relationship.  Hopes are raised and dashed as promises are made and broken, pointedly highlighting the impermanence of desire and intention.  A quiet little drama that would have benefitted from a more believable natural chemistry between the two actors. 

The second week’s programme concludes with another presumably devised work directed by Yvette Parsons.  With by far the largest cast of fourteen game and gamey men and women, Awake! is an intriguingly bizarre, grotesque, morbid and macabre abstract ensemble piece. 

Once again involving a funeral for another man with a chequered past full of triumphs and regrets, as represented by a flock of white-faced, black-clad with orange stockings, vulture-like scavengers, the chaotic service is presided over by a marvellously moribund mortician and a jaded, drunken angel apparently there to offer a connection between this world and the ghostly realm. 

Admittedly hard to follow, it really wouldn’t be Short+Sweet without such a whimsical example of flamboyant madness.

As always, the audience votes for their single favourite at the end.  I considered five or six and ended up choosing The Marriage Bureau for its realised ambition.


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