People’s Cinema, 57 Manners Street, Wellington
26/02/2014 - 02/03/2014
A POSSUM WALKS INTO A TOMB
A new theatre work by writer, performer, and comedian Alice May Connolly (Vampimple, Gunplay, We Just Want People to Like Us).
Tragedy strikes and a possum flees her home only to find herself in the tomb of an Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh.
‘tut’ is an enchanting story of two very different creatures misunderstanding each other most of the time, yet when the youngest and coolest dead pharaoh alive invites them to throw him a party, they form a ‘special’ bond.
Influenced by myth, fairy tale, and dance, Connolly brings a new slice of low-fi imagination to the 2014 NZ Fringe Festival. “I really like to dance”, she says, “I find it makes me feel the most present I can be, it’s a great feeling and I’m very self-conscious of not being it. There’s a link between my love of dance and this memory I have when I was six of enthusiastically asking my Dad to take me to church that I want to explore. I think it’s got something to do with this incredible sanguinity I haven’t been able to shake for ages.”
‘tut’ is being developed through EAT (the Emerging Artists Trust), with guidance and mentorship from Gavin McGibbon (Hamlet Dies at the End, Holding On, Con).
‘tut’ precedes Hamish Parkinson and Eli Matthewson’s Velcro City at People’s Cinema. An evening of Surrealist Comedy awaits.
‘tut’, will be performed during the 2014 Wellington Fringe Festival,
26 Feb – 2 Mar, 7pm,
People’s Cinema 57 Manners Street.
Entrance is by koha.
To secure seats email Alice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whimsical response to eternal question
Review by John Smythe 01st Mar 2014
A young writer /performer /comedian’s “attempt to present some of [her] anxieties about death and the ‘afterwards’” is an admirable starting point for making a play. For Alice May Connolly to achieve it through an afterlife meeting between ancient Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun (the titular ‘Tut’) and a recently deceased possum from New Zealand suggests a fine creative mind is at work.
‘Tut’, played by with due gravitas by a splendidly head-dressed Hilary Penwarden, is eternally bored. The ebulliently naïve Poss, played by Connolly herself, is ready to live it up at the everlasting ‘after party’. In fact she wants to form a dance troupe (a promising set-up that’s never paid off).
As per the rules of Egyptian metaphysics, ‘Tut’ tells us at the outset, it is ritual disembowelling that has endowed him with immortality. Poss, on the other hand, not being ‘road-kill’, has guts. Her afterlife is therefore finite. “The soul of a body with guts fades to nothing,” ‘tut’ tells her.
En route to their meeting, Poss reveals her true predatory nature while trying to spin us a myth about a time of bliss when all life forms peacefully coexisted as “best friends in a benevolent community”. Yeah right. But what is it she has just eaten?
While ‘Tut’s never-ending story condemns him to perpetual fishing, Poss has lived in fear of motors on the ground (a good cross-cultural falcon gag here) and in the air, whence comes the green rain …
Then there’s the goss about Cleopatra (comin’ at ya) and the revelation about why Tutankhamun and his wife failed to have children (leading to the best simile I’ve heard in a long time).
Childlike drawings displayed per an overhead projector which also makes merry with a mirror ball, and songs composed and accompanied by Oliver Devlin who also creates the sound effects, contribute to the intriguing whole, staged in a deceptively casual manner under the direction of Linsell Richards.
It is always an excellent premise in a two-hander play for each character to have something the other wants, and it’s this that brings resolution to ‘tut’: a whimsical response to one of humankind’s eternal questions.
A ‘koha’ show that deserves to be rewarded, it’s on for two more nights.
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