The Foreign Monologues

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

25/05/2011 - 28/05/2011

Production Details

Come watch new writing at it’s finest! 

Eight new monologues. Eight new writers. 
Eight new perspectives on the world. 

Overwhelming love, desperate loneliness, gangsta culture, misogynistic mimes, murder and cannibalism – no stone is left unturned!

WRITERS – Aman Bajaj, Katrina Chandra, Roberto Nascimento, Linda Olsson, Jessica Stafford, Benjamin Teh, Marina Volkova, Sharu Delilkan and Tim Booth

PERFORMERS – Isla Adamson, Aman Bajaj, Alvin Maharaj, Roberto Nascimento, Yulie O’Great, Jessica Stafford, Marina Volkova, Jane Yonge

May 25, 26, 27, 28; 7pm
The Basement – Lower Greys Avenue. Auckland

Pay what you think it’s worth after the performance. 

The only thing you risk is your time

Review by Sian Robertson 26th May 2011

This is the latest instalment in the ‘Monologues’ series, directed by Thomas Sainsbury and showcasing the work of new writers. For most of them it’s their first time writing for the stage.  

The theme is ‘foreign’, though it is only loosely adhered to. Most of the monologues focus on people who have immigrated to New Zealand, some of whose stories have little to do with being foreign.

It isn’t as juicy overall as previous ‘Monologues’ shows I’ve seen, such as The Sinful and The Awkward Monologues (not to mention The Xmas Monologues, all written by Sainsbury). Some are patchier than others, but such is the nature of the project – a kind of guerilla theatre that provides a forum for new writers who are willing to jump in the deep end to learn their craft. Also, you pay what you think it’s worth at the end, so the only thing you risk is 70 minutes of your time. 

In particular, I didn’t really follow the third monologue, Victor Spoils (written by Katrina Chandra, performed by Yulie Great). At first it’s a guy complaining about his girlfriend, though it’s not clear why he’s so upset, except that she reminds him of his father. Then he launches into a semi-coherent tirade about war, intolerance and genocide – a worthy subject of outrage, for sure, but what is his point?

Linda Olsson has written an understated piece about Emile Kurtz (played by Isla Adamson), an old man far away from the ‘old country’ who is now learning to live alone since the death of his wife (which has its pros and cons) and feeling more than ever what it is to be really isolated.

Footprints To New Zealand is a series of short, 1-2 minute, sketches written by Tim Booth and Sharu Delilkan. Alvin Maharaj plays several immigrants living in NZ, of different nationalities and from various walks of life. Included are an opportunistic, gold-digging wife; a Phillipino-baiter; an aspiring cook, and simply an observer of the strange ways in which locals sometimes react to foreign faces. Maharaj switches nimbly between characters of both sexes in the fast-moving series of monologues-within-a-monologue that is easily the most explorative of what it is to be foreign. 

Thank You Come Again, written by Benjamin Teh and performed by Jane Yonge, is about a Singaporean woman who snags men to escape unhappy situations. She is not a very likeable character, but her cool description of her husband’s usefulness, and her complaints about ‘yappy’ people, are darkly funny, until it dawns on me that she’s a bit yappy herself.

Written and performed by Marina Volkova, Volodya is about a wistful but resolute Russian woman who weaves a succinct story of love thwarted by distance and propriety, with equal measures of bitter and sweet, and a happy twist. 

Jessica Stafford’s The American Monologue, about an American woman describing the horrors of working in an office cubicle, is dry and witty. From creepy colleagues to tedious gossip to a hopelessly uninspiring boss, she keeps her brain from turning to mush by indulging her imagination and writing about it all. (Stafford performs as well.)

Roberto Nascimento has written and performs Hans Staden, a monologue based on an autobiographical book by a German explorer. Hans Staden was captured by cannibals in Brazil and married one of them, only to be kidnapped by well-meaning Frenchmen and returned home against his will. It is all the more bizarre and funny because it’s supposedly a completely true story.

A. I. East is the ‘gangsta’ name of a young Indian man living in New Zealand. He has abandoned his studies as a gifted bio-medical engineer in order to join the ‘East Side Mt Roskill Gangstas’ and get a tattoo of Tupac, because he is fed up with being seen as a nerd. Writer and performer Aman Bajaj delivers a hilarious piss-take of a wannabe gansta who wears all the right gear and talks the talk (with a thick Indian accent) but somehow can’t get away from being a goofy nerd. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.  


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