THE LAST LETTER
Meteor Theatre, 1 Victoria Street, Hamilton
15/10/2014 - 18/10/2014
A new play made by Hamilton talent
“People are worth it, and even the ones that aren’t will teach you something about yourself…”
Written by Hamilton Playwright Melisa K. Martin, The Last Letter was shortlisted in 2012 for Auckland Theatre Company’s development season The Next Stage. Melisa co-directs alongside Jacinta Parsons, who is also producing. This is the first staging of The Last Letter and it’s presented to you by a fresh, local and talented cast, with familiar faces and newcomers alike.
The Last Letter tells the story of 20-something year old Clear and the consequences of her actions throughout a period of grief, loss and confusion. She is haunted by her deceased brother who won’t leave her until she has read his Last Letter, which she keeps on her always. In the meantime, she destroys a friendship, loses her morals and alienates everyone around her. Then there’s dear Henry, with whom Clear shares nothing AND everything. It’s real life like it’s never been shoved in your face before…
The play is blunt, bold, gritty and gripping – this gutsy experimental production is one you’ll not want to miss!
Supported by Good George Brewing.
This play contains language that some may find offensive
and scenes of a mildly sexual nature
Meteor Theatre, 1 Victoria Street, Hamilton
Wed 15 – Sat 18 October 2014, 7:30 pm
Running time 2 hours with interval
CONCESSION Seniors 65+ and Students with ID, Community Service card holders: $12.00
Clear - Emma Koretz
Chuck - Carl Watkins
Henry - Jono Freebairn
Betsy - Jessica Hannam
Joseph - Cameron Kosoof
Jemima - Hannah Doherty
DIRECTORS - Jacinta Parsons & Mel Martin
PRODUCTION MANAGER - Jacinta Parsons
STAGE MANAGER - Missy Mooney
BACKSTAGE CREW - Jahna Tangiora, Kristi Bernards
SET/STAGE DESIGN - Jacinta Parsons & Mel Martin
LIGHTING DESIGN & OPERATOR - Guy Domett
SOUND DESIGN - Mel Martin
SOUND OPERATOR - Hannah Pope
PROPS DESIGN - Jahna Tangiora
COSTUME DESIGN - Mel Martin & Jacinta Parsons
ADVERTISING/MARKETING - Steve Carpenter & Jacinta Parsons
GRAPHIC DESIGN - Mark Curtis
2hrs including interval
A strong, naturalistic character piece
Review by Ross MacLeod 15th Oct 2014
It sometimes seems the medium of theatre is more willing, or more capable of handling the topic of death than film or television. We know that the ghosts on stage aren’t real and yet the actor lends them life, and the rawness of emotions in the same room are often more powerful than on screen.
The Last Letter tells the story of Clear (pronounced Clare) and how she copes, or fails to cope, with the death of her older brother Chuck. While the play never mentions it directly, events are less about Death and more about the other big ‘D’, depression. Rather than address her issues, we watch Clear shut down and push away her friends in a believable but never heavy-handed manner.
In the lead role, Emma Koretz shines, delivering a naturalistic and multifaceted performance. She lets her character and dialogue stand, never playing up for laughs or for tears. Quite often Clear is frustrating, standoffish and generally unlikable but Koretz never makes her unsympathetic, and in doing so holds our attention. We hope, like her ghostly brother, that she will pull her life together. Ranging from giggling anticipation to drunken misery, her performance is strong throughout.
Opposite her, Jono Freebairn plays Harry, a long time online friend, and holds his own with a believable character, not always likable but someone whose feelings and flaws we can relate to. The show works on a philosophy of show don’t tell, so we never get much detail into Harry’s life but Freebairn’s performance certainly gives us a view into his character.
As Chuck, Carl Watkins carefully treads the line between apparition and figment of imagination, confident yet compassionate. As best friend Betsy, Jessica Hannam is coarse but charming, keeping her characters from falling into Kiwi bogan-girl cliché while still ticking all the boxes. Cameron Kosoof and Hannah Doherty round off the cast, having fun with their thoroughly unlikable characters but keeping them grounded, though occasionally lapsing into some stilted dialogue.
It’s oddly enjoyable to see a cast of characters all have moments of unpleasantness yet retain humanity.
Overall The Last Letter is a strong, naturalistic character piece that lets the world unfold without pushing a point. The humour is less laugh-out-loud than it is silently chuckling in my head but it stops things getting too dark, making for an enjoyable ride. With a great lead performance and familiar Kiwi archetypes, it’s well worth checking out.
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