31 October 2011

Sex Drive: Lots of thigh slapping

The lone male in a cast and crew of women, Tim Spite tells drama on the waterfront about the current Circa One production, Sex Drive, and shares what he would do if he won $10,000 in Lotto.

DOTW: What is the story of Sex Drive?

TS: Three women who work in a poultry packing plant win 10 grand and decide to pool their money to start a mobile sex toy shop in order to win themselves some autonomy over their paltry existence.

Tim Spite in Sex Drive. Photo by Stephen A'Court.
DOTW: What can you tell us about the characters you play?

TS: I play the poultry factory owner, Gordy; a garish bully and a bit of a perve. I also play Lance, one of the women’s son, who is, by contrast, intelligent caring and a bit shy.

DOTW: How does it feel to be the only male in a cast with five women?

TS: Not to mention the Director, Stage Manager, Costume Designer and Lighting Operator being women too! Well, I have three sisters and two daughters. It feels perfectly normal.

I’ve never seen so much competitive baking at morning tea. I was well looked after!

Lyndee-Jane Rutherford and Tim Spite in Sex Drive. Photo by Stephen A'Court.
DOTW: Given the subject matter/props, there must have been a lot of laughs in the rehearsal room; do you have any funny stories you could share?

TS: When the whole group tried on the vibrating butterflies was pretty funny.

DOTW: How have audiences reacted to the play so far?

TS: Lots of thigh slapping. I’m sure someone nearly died laughing on Saturday. They’d didn’t sound well at all.

Tim Spite in Sex Drive. Photo by Stephen A'Court.
DOTW: Finally, what would YOU do with the money if you won $10,000 in Lotto?

TS: I’d build a secret sex dungeon in the back yard and kit it out with all the latest sex toys.

Sex Drive runs until 12 November. To book, call the Circa Box Office at 801-7992.

24 October 2011

Drowning in Veronica Lake

The sole performer in this captivating play, Alex Ellis answers some questions about what it is like to drown in Veronica Lake.

How did you get involved with the show? 

Phil (the playwright) was googling 1940's film director, Preston Sturges one night and stumbled upon (as you do on Google) an article about Veronica Lake, who had starred in one of Preston Sturges' movies. The article, about her body being smuggled across the USA/Canada border after she died and her ashes being found in a junk shop 40 years later, was so bizarre and far-fetched that it lead to another article and another and another...

There was so much scandal and rumour surrounding her life and although she was one of the biggest Hollywood stars in the 1940s she virtually disappeared unlike her contemporaries, like Rita Hayworth or Marlene Dietrich. She seemed like the Lindsay Lohan of the 1940s and such an unknown entity that we had to find out more. And once we knew more there seemed no doubt we had to write the play. And I couldn't pass up an opportunity to play such a Hollywood glamour girl – who would?!

Have you worked with any of the company on any other shows?

Phil Ormsby of course, Phil is the other half of Flaxworks and a playwright who has written all four of Flaxworks' productions. Nik Janiurek has also been our lighting designer for a couple of our previous shows – he is amazing! But I had never worked with Simon Coleman, the director, or Elizabeth Whiting or Sara Taylor before (our dress designer and creator). I would most definitely work with all of them again if I could. You know some things just come together like a well oiled machine to create magic and that's what happened here! Veronica Lake magic...
I guess I'd never worked with Veronica Lake before either, she's pretty amazing too but the drinking, the men, she could drink us all under the table...

And what about your role…any particular challenges?

So many Challenges! I am the solo performer which is always a slightly scary prospect, realising there’s only you out there with no safety net. And although I have performed a solo show before you can never escape the fear and the adrenaline rush of taking to the stage alone! Playing a real person was also a challenge. We made a conscious decision not to try and copy Veronica Lake exactly or turn the performance into a tribute show but I do feel a responsibility to portray my interpretation of her with some love – I don’t want to make her perfect but I do want to show her some respect.
There’s also the American accent…
and not being able to move from the spot for the entire show…
Ha! Challenge schmallenge, I love it all!

Alex Ellis as Veronica Lake.
What sort of audience reaction have you received so far?

Amazing, people have really loved the show. I think people have been impressed by all aspects of the production, (which is wonderful for everyone involved who put so much effort in to making the show!). Most of all I think people are surprised by it and by Veronica Lake. She was an amazing woman who lived a spectacular life that didn’t always go to plan. A true story, full of glamour, booze, the wrong men and money… what’s not to love?

What will be the strongest idea we will take away from the show?

Be careful what you wish for...
All that glitters is not gold...
Things are not always what they seem...
Apart from the cliches those basically are the themes for the show. It's the Hollywood curse of thinking someone has it all and then realising the truth is not always what you see and that the pressure can be too much.

Drowning in Veronica Lake opens in Circa Two on 1 November and runs until 12 November. To book your tickets, contact the Circa Box Office at 801-7992 or go online at www.circa.co.nz

17 October 2011

Wharfside Restaurant: It's that time of year!

Well it’s that time of year again, time to start thinking about booking your Christmas functions. We are already getting bookings in for pre-Christmas groups. Circa puts on a great pantomime for the Christmas season and whether it be for a family group, a work group or a few friends, joining us at Circa and Wharfside makes for a great pre-Christmas celebration.   

We can cater to any group large or small with a la carte dining, set menu packages and for the larger functions, cocktail parties. This is an especially great way to say thank you to loyal staff or clients by treating them to an evening with a difference. 

We always celebrate Christmas with lots of fun and frivolity at Circa/Wharfside. With Christmas trees and lots of decorations, classy Christmas music, and a great Panto by Circa, it really is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit and de-stress from the pre-Christmas turmoil.

As this is our last blog post for the year, we wanted to do a quick overview of our  2011 year at Wharfside Restaurant & Cafe. We have had a variety of events and functions this year including Circa’s 35th Anniversary celebration, several birthday groups, a caberet evening (S’Wonderful 2 – American Woman) and much more. We also had a new chef come on board earlier in the year and he outdid himself with his new menus. 

We want to thank all of our loyal customers and corporate clients and we wish you all the best for the remainder of the year.

Martin & Dee
Wharfside Restaurant

10 October 2011

Sex Drive: Writing Across the World

Playwrights Lorae Parry and Pinky Agnew.
When Pinky and I first had the idea for Sex Drive we were living in Wellington. 

We'd co-written a couple of shows together, as well as political comedy skits for our 'characters', Helen (Clark) & Jenny (Shipley). Our writing routine always started with coffee and muffins and a catch up talk before we sat down at our laptops. And Sex Drive was no exception when, in 2006, we nutted out its storyline.

After completing the character breakdowns, we were about to start writing when, out of the blue, my partner got a 5 year contract in London and within weeks I was living on the other side of the world! No more morning talks, no play and definitely no more muffins.

Before I left we’d talked about somehow finding a way to write the play. All we had was a 1-page scenario and a great idea. Skype perhaps? Email? In London however, I struggled just to get the internet connected, then one day an Irish woman from British Telecom was sorting out my internet problems over the phone, and said, 'I can remotely access your laptop if you like.' And I watched in awe as she did so. Later she said, ‘You can write your play that way, to be sure!’

And that's how we've written the play, once a week, over the last 5 years. It's extraordinary technology. I literally get onto Pinky's computer - though never while she's doing her online banking! We work on the script in real time, while talking on Skype. 

One luxurious week Pinky came to London and we actually sat in the same room writing! But apart from that and some sessions snatched when we’re home at Christmas, the play's been written between different time zones, with Pinky’s morning and my night, and 20,000 kilometers in between.

But even though we're at opposite ends of the globe, we still always start our sessions with our 'morning' talk. And, of course, the coffee and the muffins! As Pinky says, 'It just wouldn't work otherwise!'

Lorae Parry
London, 18 September 2011

Sex Drive opens on 15 October and runs until 12 November. To book tickets, call the Circa Box Office at 801-7992 or go online at www.circa.co.nz

03 October 2011

Spaced Out: An Intergalactic Interactive Improv Experience for Kids!

By Captain Bevin Spacey

Spaced Out, the latest school holiday show at Circa brought to you by The Improvisors, is nearly ready for lift-off!

Our story will follow the adventures of New Zealand’s first interplanetary astronaut as he/she boldly goes where no Kiwi has flown before. As with our previous children’s shows, there will be plenty of opportunities for kids (and accompanying grown-ups) to be involved in the creation of the show, whether that’s by helping us with the special effects or by telling us what kind of alien life-form our astronaut encounters.

The cast will include regulars Pete Doile and Ian Harcourt, as well as newcomers Christine Brooks and Jonno Power. Once again, Tane Upjohn-Beatson will be providing music and soundscapes and Uther Dean’s lighting will be out of this world.

The shows run over both weeks of the holidays (10-22 October), at 11:00am and 1:00pm Monday to Friday, 11:00am on Saturday and no shows Sunday.

Running for no more than an hour (it’s a bit hard to be exact with an improvised show), Spaced Out is most likely to appeal to kids in the 3-12 age range – although anyone beyond this range is more than welcome. And we’ve found in our previous shows that many grown-ups enjoy themselves very much as well!

Come with us to the end of the universe and back in less than 60 minutes!

Tickets for Spaced Out are now available - and at $10 per person, it's a better deal than the movies! To book, call the Circa Box Office at 801-7992 or go online at www.circa.co.nz.