13 April 2015

beautiful, funny and poignant

This week on *drama on the waterfront, it's your last chance to see Two Mortals at Circa.


With less than one week left of Two Mortals Circa season, would-be-audiences had better seize the day and book their tickets now!

Described by Wellington audiences as  ‘beautiful, funny and poignant’, Two Mortals has delighted through its ability to ‘transport me to somewhere very reflective and powerful’.

Rachael & Mike perform in Two Mortals

Performers Mike McEvoy and Rachael Dyson-McGregor, both members of Melbourne’s Playback Theatre Company, have won hearts here in Wellington, being lauded as ‘excellent performers’, ‘able to be so open and present’, who ‘really took care of us as the audience to engage with such a heavy topic’.

Yet in spite of the weighty subject matter, the show’s been credited with dealing to it using ‘light humorous touches’, ‘playful, child-like game’ and a ‘high level of energy and joy’.

With reports of Two Mortals audiences leaving the theatre carrying balloons and dancing out into the night, it would seem this joy is infectious. ‘There is a great deal of stimulating life in this play about death’, Wellingtonians had best book now for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Two Mortals is on Tuesday-Saturday this week, 7.30pm in Circa Two.

07 April 2015

Reflections from week one of The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Drood, Glorious Drood!

This week on *drama on the waterfront, we hear reflections from week one of The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Just over a week ago The Mystery of Edwin Drood thundered out of the gate at Circa, with a bold and boisterous opening night event that served up a feast of madness, mystery, murder and music to the more than 200 people who joined the cast and crew to send Drood off to the races in style.
Fabulous....Brilliant...Awesome...Amazing...You should see it more than once!
By now, nearly 1500 of you have been welcomed to the Music Hall Royale to meet the incredible suspects, watch for clues and red herrings and decide for yourselves who the Dickens did the deed!
Highly recommended that all lovers of Dickens go see this show.

It’s been wonderfully exciting to see the different possible endings emerge (with some hilariously improbable pairings already proving popular! Most of all, it’s been humbling and gratifying to hear how much fun you’re all having
Stunning in every way and rollicking good fun!

As those of you who’ve seen it will know, The Mystery of Edwin Drood is a massive and spectacular undertaking, needing truckloads of energy, wit, speed, passion…..and people to share it with! We’re still  firing on all cylinders and there are heaps of endings still to be seen, so it’s just as well we’ve got another three weeks to bring you a larger-than-life experience at The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Everyone should go and see this as quickly as they can; it is HILARIOUS!
All photos taken by Tabitha Arthur, with quotes from the audience of this season of The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

01 April 2015

Meat Puppets

This week on *drama on the waterfront, we popped in on the Two Mortals team during pack-in to ask why the performers are wearing headphones and what makes dying so much fun…

Director Geoff Pinfield, composer Beatrice Lewis, and performers Mike McEvoy and Rachael Dyson-McGregor.

Q.  Why do you wear headphones in the show?

Rachael: Two Mortals is made up of a series of interviews collated over two years, which have been edited together to make a thematic story.  We’re using a form called ‘headphone verbatim’, which means the original audio from the interviews is being played into the performers ear.  As the performers, we’re using this to replicate the character’s vocal print- breath, inflection, tone, the way they might smack their lips together or pause mid-sentence. It’s about how they said what they said, not just their words.

Mike: That’s why Geoff (Pinfield, director) jokingly refers to us as meat puppets, because we don’t need to learn our lines, we just regurgitate them.

Q.  It’s not all talk, though, is it?

Rachael: No! What would a show about death be without a stage death? Before the show, we chat to a couple of audience members and their responses are quickly edited into the show. One of the things we ask them is, ‘what would be a fun way to die?’, and then Mike has to replicate that death during the show.

Mike: People have had some pretty interesting ideas so far! My favourites have been dying from eating too much cheese, a plane crash with champagne in first class during a flight home from a romantic New York holiday, and meeting my death while riding a magical beast.

Mike McEvoy and Rachael Dyson-McGregor on stage in Two Mortals.

Q.  Although this will be Two Mortals first New Zealand season, you’ve had two previous Australian seasons. You’ve described the show as having an uplifting effect on audiences, motivating them to seize the day and tackle their bucket lists. How has working on Two Mortals affected your own lives?

Mike: There was a moment early on in making the show when Rachael and I started making lists of what we’d do if we only had one minute to live, or one hour, or one day. It was a lot of travel, sky diving, a bit of streaking, some manifesto writing…

Rachael: Massive parties for everyone we knew, and I thought I’d like to go into the desert and do a drag show…

Geoff (from somewhere above us on a ladder): I’ve done that one.

Rachael & Mike: Have you??

(It transpires Geoff is talking about rigging a light, and while he has done a drag show, it was not in the desert.)

Rachael: All of our interviews are with people who have a day-to-day relationship with death, and what I’ve realised is that these people tell great stories, they’re vibrant, they’re aware of their own lives as impermanent things and wanting to fill them. Their proximity to death has made them more alive.  Death is a beautiful stage of life that we don’t talk about, and then we fear it because we don’t talk about it. If we take these baby steps to include it more in our lives, it’ll actually make our lives richer.

Mike:  Definitely, facing death makes us live better. I’ve found myself being far more honest.

Geoff (still from above): I’ve cycled more dangerously.

Rachael: I’ve worried less about status and career, those things that you realise, in the end, won’t matter.

Mike: And I don’t want to miss out on doing things. Like that diving board out there in the harbour, if I was to leave Wellington without jumping off it, I’d be disappointed. In fact, if Two Mortals sells out at least one night of our season, I promise I’ll jump off the Wellington harbour diving board!

If you’d like to see Mike make good on his promise, make sure to book now for Two Mortals at Circa Theatre.  Theatre Beating, the company that brought you award-winning shows The Magic Chicken, Real Fake White Dirt and On the Conditions and Possibilities of Helen Clark Taking Me as Her Young Lover have a new, near-death experience for Wellington audiences with their critically-acclaimed show, Two Mortals, opening this Wednesday, 1 April, at Circa Theatre.

23 March 2015

Whitirea Students in The Mystery of Edwin Drood

This week on drama on the waterfront, Lyndee-Jane Rutherford and a selection of the students from Whitireia School of Performing Arts spill the beans on their experience rehearsing the joyfully boisterous murder mystery musical, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Q: What is it like working on a professional show for Circa? 
Charli Gatrell (Ensemble): Its intense! Ive done a lot of theatre, but this is six days of rehearsal a week, its not like anything Ive done before. Its a full time job, and I love it! 
Auburn Crombie (Ensemble): Its incredible. I didnt expect to work on a professional show as a first year. Coming in, I didnt think it would start straight away, its honestly like nothing Ive done before! 
Vanessa Immink (Ensemble): Well, its full-time. All the other shows weve done apart from school shows, have been part-time. This is pretty much nine to five every single day. Sometimes were needed and sometimes were not, but its just so cool being in the Circa environment, working alongside professionals and having the Box Office just downstairs. Its very… real!

Q: What do you love about Musical Theatre? 
Ben Patterson (Neville Landless): For me, it sounds silly, but its what I love doing. Its good, because I dont think I could do anything else, but its lucky I got forced to audition for Musical Theatre in high school, which has lead me down this crazy path that I love. 

Q: Is this something you expected you would get the chance to do during your time training at Whitireia? 
Flora Lloyd (Helena Landless): When they announced they were doing The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and they were getting the students to be involved I was super excited! Its my third year studying musical theatre, and its just a great opportunity. I am getting to put on my “Body of Work” and be in a professional Circa show. Its a great experience! 

Q: Whats the best part about rehearsals? 
Flora Lloyd (Helena Landless): Im a huge observer of the professionals working. Its thrilling to see them in their element and learn from them. 
Bronte Fitzgibbon (Ensemble): It has to be getting to know everyone. Usually the third year students are a little segregated due to their work load and timetable, but now we are right there with everyone working and bonding together on The Mystery Of Edwin Drood. 
Auburn Crombie (Ensemble): I couldn’t pick who was second year or third year. They were all so welcoming to us first years and it felt like a big family from day one. It has only been a few weeks and we’re all very close friends! 

Q: Whats it like to work with Lyndee-Jane? 
Vanessa Immink (Ensemble): She is so expressive and enthusiastic! She is like an ever-ready battery that just keeps going, its amazing! She is incredibly invested and is making sure everyone is having a good time and is involved.  She is so detailed about her work but she makes it so fun, you forget youve been working for hours!

Q: How did this project come about? 
Lyndee-Jane Rutherford (Director): Ive worked at Whitireia before with our amazing Musical Director, Michael Nicholas Williams, and our stunning Choreographer, Leigh Evans. We decided to pitch The Mystery Of Edwin Drood to Circa, never for a second thinking they would take it. Michael threw the comment away that we could use the students for the ensemble. Next minute, Circa has said yes and we have the entire three years of performing arts students in the show! 

Q: How do you feel to be directing this massive show at Circa? 
Lyndee-Jane Rutherford (Director): This is possibly one of the biggest productions Circa has ever done. I have moments of absolute terror, times of sheer joy and that grateful feeling - “how lucky am I” -  that I have all these people supporting me. Everyone has been hugely positive, energized and excited by this massive undertaking!