27 February 2012

Encore at Circa: It’s all new!

2012 has been hectic so far – setting up a new restaurant during the busy seasons of The Motor Camp, Esencia del Flamenco and Meeting Karpovsky has been no easy feat. But it is all coming together nicely, and we are very happy with how things are going. And we have received some lovely comments from patrons on the new, fresh and coastal d├ęcor, the comfortable outdoor bean bags, and the fantastic food, coffee, wine and service.

We are pleased to offer show-specific dinner and beverage specials that tie in to our current productions. Throughout the season of Peninsula, treat yourself to Lamb Chops with ratatouille, Madeira jus and lemon scented cous cous for $30 and a glass of Barren Rock Pinot Noir 2009 Otago for $10.

To have a look at our full food and beverage menus, please click here.

We’d love to see you for lunch, dinner or a Sunday roast – please give us a call at 801-7996 or send an email to enquiries@encoreatcirca.co.nz to book.

Jacinta Saeki
Encore at Circa

22 February 2012

Peninsula Giveaway

We're so excited about our production in the 2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival, we just had to do a giveaway to get you just as hyped up as we are!

So ... drum roll please ... we're giving away a double pass to Peninsula on Wednesday, 29 February (which is also Leap Year, another reason to celebrate). How awesome is that?!?

To enter, all you need to do is tell us - by commenting below - who is the choreographer for Peninsula (the answer can be found in an earlier post on drama on the waterfront). Simple as pie! The winner will be drawn on Friday, 24 February. Good luck!

20 February 2012

Peninsula: A real story to which everyone can identify

Choreographer Luke Hanna tells drama on the waterfront all about his experience working on Peninsula, Circa’s contribution to the 2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival.

DOTW: What is the story of Peninsula?

LH: The story revolves around a boy, Michael, and his life in rural Canterbury. The arrival of a new teacher in town sends ripples through the community. What excites me about this story is the complexity of the relationships and how a new arrival can inspire such a change.

DOTW: Describe your role as a choreographer.

LH: I have only recently started working with actors in theatre. As a choreographer, I am not interested in a ‘dance routine’. I look at the big picture and work with the actors’ natural movement. For example, when there are two actors working in a scene, they are subconsciously moving in similar ways. My job is to bring this to their attention and then further explore the movement to play with the theatricality of the scene.
One challenge presented with this play is the double casting of actors. I have been working with the actors on the physical transformation from one character to the next. This helps clarify the shifts in character, space and situation throughout the play.

In the rehearsal room: choreographer Luke Hanna (far right) working with the cast of Peninsula.
DOTW: What has it been like working with the cast and crew?

LH: It has been a pleasure to work with such a great cast and crew. I have felt welcomed and my input respected, which is really important, as I have not been there full time. I enjoy working with actors, and observing how they work differently to dancers. The rehearsal space is normally a hot, sweaty, fun and hard working environment. I owe a big thank you to Jane Waddell for asking me to be part of this project.

DOTW: What is your experience?

LH: I graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance in 2006. Since I graduated I have worked with various companies in Australasia, including Black Grace, Dance North, and most recently Australian Dance Theatre. During my time with these companies I have toured extensively through Europe, USA and the Pacific. My return to Wellington has allowed me to explore my role as a choreographer. I have been fortunate to work with the Playground Collective on their STAB season of Tinderbox, and collaborating with The Black Seeds for their new music video.

DOTW: Why should audiences see the Peninsula?

LH: I am excited for audiences to see Peninsula as it is a classic New Zealand play about real families, real people, real places, and above all a real story to which everyone can indentify. The play carries the energy of a children’s playground with moments of true beauty.   

Peninsula opens Saturday, 25 February as part of the New Zealand International Arts Festival. The season continues after the Festival until 31 March.

For performances: 25 February - 18 March TICKETEK PH: 0800 842 538
PLEASE NOTE: Tickets can be purchased from Circa on the day of performance subject to availability

For performances: 20 - 31 March CIRCA PH: (04) 801 7992 

13 February 2012

The Motor Camp: Surf the wave of more than 240 people in a small space letting loose, laughing and genuinely having a good time

You know him from last year’s Circa One show, The Birthday Boy, as well as those Countdown ads, and now Phil Vaughan is inspiring riotous laughter in The Motor Camp. He takes a moment to tell drama on the waterfront all about playing the crass and vulgar Mike Hislop for the second time at Circa.

DOTW: This is your second time playing Mike Hislop in The Motor Camp at Circa; has the experience of playing this character changed for you at all? Have you learned anything new about him the second time around? What do you think of him?

PV: I think playing Mike Hislop a second time round has allowed me to let go and have a lot more fun exploring the boundaries of how far he as a character can go. From the success of last season, we all know the play works and as crass and vulgar as Mike can be it becomes clear to audiences that his heart is in the right place. So this time round knowing that if I keep him grounded with his heart in the right place people will understand him, accept his flaws and let him get away with quite a lot.

I think Mike is a guy who does the best he can with what he’s got and what he’s dealt. He’s very loyal. Mikes the kind of guy that if you get him for a friend he’ll come round and chop ya winter woods for ya if for some reason you couldn’t. Probably ever year till ya leg got better.

Phil Vaughan in The Motor Camp. Photo by Stephen A'Court.
DOTW: What is it like to return to this play after a year? Has the overall play changed at all? Has the approach of the rest of the cast changed?

PV: The play as a piece hasn’t changed much. We have made a couple of changes that some brain time to let things sink in for a year can bring. We knew what worked so if ‘it’s not broke don’t fix it’, but that gives you the freedom to play a lot more and that ‘play’ can be the most creative and great fun choices come out of that. Our approach last year was let’s do it and make it the best we can which is the same as this year except we know it works so we are privileged as a cast this year being able to just trust and play!!

DOTW: What has been your favourite part of your experience in The Motor Camp?

PV: Without a doubt meeting the hundreds of people who have come to see the show who haven’t been to a play before or don’t normally go to live theatre. It’s been fantastic. I myself got in to theatre later in life and I have fallen in love with the medium. I get a special buzz when I meet people who almost didn’t realize theatre existed but have been told by their friends to come and see our show. They see it and LOVE it and the look on their faces is priceless. They’ll never forget that and neither will I. That’s pretty cool to be a part of.

Phil Vaughan and Olivia Violet Robinson in The Motor Camp. Photo by Stephen A'Court. 
DOTW: You have been working double time for the last few weeks, rehearsing Peninsula during the day and performing The Motor Camp at night; what has that experience been like? Is it difficult to switch from one to the other?

PV: Rehearsing during the day for one show and then performing another at night is a little hard. But really? World War II was hard. This is a joy. Don’t really have a lot of time at the moment for anything else but I don’t mind. For me the tiredness is washed away when you surf the wave of more than 240 people in a small space letting loose, laughing and genuinely having a good time.

DOTW: The Motor Camp is a very funny show that literally sends audiences into hysterics; what has been the most memorable audience reaction to the show, either this season or last?

PV: There is one scene in the show where I show a rather large amount of my body. There was one night when I came out and my mother told me after that the woman sitting next to her exclaimed ‘Oh my God will you look at the state of that!’ Mum said she wasn’t quite up to leaning over and telling her she had given birth to it.

Tim Spite and Phil Vaughan in The Motor Camp. Photo by Stephen A'Court.
DOTW: Aside from your work in theatre, you have become quite recognisable for the Countdown ads; what has that experience been like?

PV: Yes the Countdown ads are quite high profile and I do get recognized a lot for them. I’m very fortunate that that profile can bring other opportunities. And as an actor, it is not often in your life you get to feel a little financial security. The response has been very favourable. A lot of people come up on the street and say they enjoy them, which is nice.

The Motor Camp runs in Circa One until 18 February. All performances in the last week were sold out more than a week in advance, so an extra matinee was added, on 18 February at 4pm. Tickets will sell out, so contact the Circa Box Office or go online right away to book! 801-7992 or www.circa.co.nz.

07 February 2012

Meeting Karpovsky: Helen Moulder

Last at Circa as the Churchill family matriarch, Clementine, in Meet the Churchills, Helen Moulder is back at Circa with the return season of Meeting Karpovsky and takes a moment to talk to drama on the waterfront about the play she created with Sir Jon Trimmer and Sue Rider.

Meeting Karpovsky
DOTW: Please tell us a bit about the story of Meeting Karpovsky.

HM: Meeting Karpovsky is about a woman, Sylvia, and a famous Russian ballet dancer called Alexander Karpovsky. Years ago, when Sylvia travelled the world, she saw Karpovsky dance. The play is set in an attic room full of Sylvia’s daughter’s unwanted possessions and large photographs of Karpovsky and deals with what happens when Karpovsky and Sylvia finally meet up!

DOTW: What can you tell us about your character?

HM: Sylvia is a lonely woman who works in a bookshop and adores the ballet. She uses it to escape from reality, but ultimately it is through the ballet characters she knows so well that her salvation comes.

DOTW: You helped to create this show; where did the idea come from? How did the
creation process work?

HM: Ever since I met him in a TV series we did together called The Fireraiser, I wanted to work with Sir Jon Trimmer. Eventually, spurred on by Cathy Downes, who was then director of the Court Theatre in Christchurch, I plucked up courage and wrote Jon a letter with the suggestion that we write a play together about a woman and a dancer. I didn’t have a full story in mind but suggested it would be a combination of dance and drama and be about a famous dancer teaching a woman to dance and in so doing, helping her thorough some kind of distress. Jon was delighted with the idea and the Royal NZ Ballet agreed that he could work on the project as part of his contract. I then asked Sue Rider, a director, writer and dramaturg I’d worked with in Brisbane, to help us write the piece and eventually direct it. We applied for funding from Creative NZ and over a period of two years, Jon and I met and improvised, Sue and I talked on the phone and emailed each other and eventually all three of us met for ten days in Wellington. At the end of that workshop, we invited theatre and ballet professionals to a showing of the draft script. They gave us lots of very helpful feedback and over the next few months we worked more on the script, preparing it for the first season in Court Two, Christchurch. 

DOTW: Meeting Karpovsky was produced at the Court in 2002, Circa in 2003 and then toured the country in 2004. What can you tell us about those early productions? What were your highlights?

HM: Having the opportunity to dance with the wonderful Sir Jon Trimmer has been the most exciting thing about this project. I first saw him dance in Petrushka in 1969, and never dreamed I would one day be up there on stage with him. It’s been and still is a truly beautiful experience.

Being able to bring my colleague, director Sue Rider, over from Brisbane to work on the project was another highlight. I worked with Sue in Australia in the early 90’s and loved her innovative and challenging productions, so was thrilled that she was able to come on board.

Then touring around NZ with Jon was great fun. He would point to tumble down old halls in paddocks and say “I’ve performed in there!” It inspired me to create a solo show, Playing Miss Havisham, again with Sue Rider, so I could do the same thing! One of the most rewarding shows we did was in Auckland to an audience mainly of deaf people, with a New Zealand Sign language interpreter.

DOTW: What can audiences expect from the return season at Circa?

HM: Jon and I are having a wonderful time, renewing our onstage relationship. With director Sue Rider’s expert help we have reworked the play with a fine tooth comb, cutting extraneous stuff, refining details, so that it's a richer and more satisfying piece. It's like revisiting an old friend but with fresh eyes. Because we have done the play before and know it works, we can play with confidence and trust and it's a very happy experience. So if you’ve seen it before, do come again, we would love to see you.

DOTW: I understand you will be once again going on tour, can you tell us where/when you will be going?

HM: Yes, we are and here are the details:

Feb 28, 29, March 1 7.30pm St Peter’s Hall, Paekakariki
Bookings: (04) 298 8621

4 March 4pm Aratoi – Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, Masterton
Bookings: 06 370 0001 OR info@aratoi.co.nz

8 & 9 March 7.30pm All Saints Hall, Palmerston North
Bookings: (06)358 2203 OR info@allsaintsnz.com
Fundraiser for Church Activities

23 & 24 March 7.30pm St Andrew’s Hall, Cambridge (Cambridge Autumn Festival)
Bookings: (07) 827 6751 OR standrewcam@xtra.co.nz.

26 & 27 March 7.30pm St Barnabas Church, School Road, Ngongotaha, Rotorua
Bookings: (07)3572107 OR stbarnabasclose@xtra.co.nz

29 March – 1 April Thur – Sat 7.30pm Sun 6pm Howick Little Theatre, Auckland
Bookings: www.iticket.co.nz OR (09) 534 1406

More info on www.willowproductions.co.nz

Meeting Karpovsky opens in Circa Two on 10 February and runs until 25 February. To book, call the Circa Box Office at 801-7992 or go online at www.circa.co.nz.

Meeting Karpovsky: Sir Jon Trimmer

The extremely talented long-term mainstay of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Sir Jon Trimmer, talks to drama on the waterfront about the return season of Meeting Karpovsky with Helen Moulder.

Helen Moulder and Sir Jon Trimmer rehearsing Meeting Karpovsky in a Paekakariki garden.
DOTW: Please tell us a bit about the story of Meeting Karpovsky.

JT: Sylvia is a Balletomane who has seen the great dancer Alexander Karpovsky perform 127 times. Her collection of Karpovsky photos is one of her joys. One day Karpovsky appears in her house and slowly he brings her out of her present state of mind with the help of dance, a little trauma and some kindness. The play has a bitter sweet side to it, but it ends well.

DOTW: What can you tell us about your character?

JT: My character I find is kind, tough and helpful. Karpovsky could be imaginary in Sylvia’s life – we are not sure. He is a pleasure to play.

DOTW: You helped to create this show; where did the idea come from? How did the creation process work?

JT: It was a very enjoyable creation for me. Working with two brilliant artistes brought home to me once again why I enjoy being part of Theatre. I was able to create my own Karpovsky, which was then moulded into a richer character by Sue Rider, a marvellous director. I enjoy the way the three of us threw ideas around.

DOTW: What can you tell us about the early productions?

JT: The earlier production had a sterner Karpovsky – he was not so nice to Sylvia. It was almost a case of tough love.

DOTW: What can audiences expect from the return season at Circa?

JT: Our reworking is very interesting. Being almost ten years older we all have a different feel, a different way of approaching these characters. There is as much humour as before. Sylvia is not quite such a lost person as in the last production and Karpovsky is showing a slightly gentler side. It makes for an interesting story.

DOTW: I understand you will be once again going on tour with Meeting Karpovsky, can you tell us where/when you will be going?

JT: After the Circa season, we take Karpovsky on the road, opening first in my home village, Paekakariki. St Peters Church Hall is a beautifully kept turn of the century building, roughly 1905. While not large, it has a wonderful atmosphere for smaller pieces such as Karpovsky. We move on to Masterton, Palmerston North, Cambridge, Rotorua and Howick in Auckland. I’ve always found audiences in smaller towns very rewarding.

Meeting Karpovsky opens in Circa Two on 10 February and runs until 25 February. to book, call the Circa Box Office at 801-7992 or go online at www.circa.co.nz