23 August 2010

Truth VS Truthiness: Shipwrecked!

Fresh from directing the runaway success of last year’s comedy hit The 39 Steps – as well as the return season earlier this year – Peter Hambleton returns to Circa with Shipwrecked! Peter tells drama on the waterfront about his new show, “a big fat lie based on a true story.”

DOTW: What is the story of Shipwrecked?   

PH: “De Rougemont’s astounding story was first published in the London-based magazine wide World in 1898. There were still enough blank spots on the map into which a man of wit and invention could project his own fantasies, and he found a ready audience. The age of adventure had not died and its chroniclers could make fortunes … there were economically valid reasons for embroidering the truth. So what de Rougemont told weren’t lies as such, they were market-driven reality derivatives. In the end, de Rougemont’s tall tales brought him fleeting fame but a notable absence of riches. After a short career as a living curiosity in which he demonstrated, among other things, that you really can ride a giant turtle, he was reduced to selling matches on the streets of London and died in 1921.” (Taken from ‘Swiss Family Rougemont’ on http://strangeflowers.wordpress.com)

DOTW: What was it about this play that made you want to direct it?

PH: Theatricality.  More and more I find I’m drawn to material that really only works in a theatrical context. By this I mean where an audience gathers to experience something that needs their imagination to be engaged, where they join with the performers and each other in this ritual, and the result is some kind of celebration of our common humanity.

DOTW: What is the most challenging part of directing this play?

PH: Responding with enough creativity to the challenge that Donald Margulies throws down for us - how can we stage a shipwreck with no special effects budget?

DOTW: What can you tell us about the cast?

PH: I can’t believe my luck – these three performers are simply amazing. Marvel at the inventiveness, charm and emotion that Nick Blake brings to Louis de Rougemont. Be dazzled by the mind-boggling talents of newcomers Darlene Mohekey and Jackson Coe – they play over two dozen different characters, play all the music and create the sound effects live – and even do their own lighting!

(top) Jackson Coe and Nick Blake. (bottom) Darlene Mohekey.

DOTW: I understand that Gareth Farr created the music for Shipwrecked!  What part does the music play in this production?

PH: Our sound design for this show is an eclectic mix of music specially composed by the fabulous Gareth Farr, with some other tunes you will recognize, plus a wacky range of sound effects - all sound being performed completely live by our three hugely talented actors. Gareth and I first worked together as composer and director on Shakespeare’s Pericles for Toi Whakaari/NZ Drama School some years ago, and it’s been a joy to collaborate again. Listen for the gorgeous theme tune he has written for Shipwrecked! - I guarantee you will be swept away by it!

DOTW: What can audiences expect from this production?


Shipwrecked! opens 28 August in Circa Two. To book tickets, call the Circa Box office at 801-7992 or visit www.circa.co.nz.

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