07 May 2012

Chekhov in Hell: Victoria Abbott and Simon Leary

Actors Victoria Abbott and Simon Leary have followed each other from high school to
university to drama school and now are making their Circa debut together in Chekhov in Hell. Emotions 
come to a head in the following interview ...

The cast of Chekhov in Hell. Photo by Stephen A'Court. (Front row: Victoria Abbott and Simon Leary.)

                                    Lights up on VICTORIA and SIMON. They cradle imaginary coffee cups and have the demeanour of the hosts of an early morning breakfast show.

VICTORIA:                 The one and only sports exchange I went on in high school was St Andrews College Vs. Timaru Boys High School. I was the only girl in the exchange as the “token girl” in the theatre sports team.

SIMON:                       I was in sixth form, or year 12 as they call it now. It was to be one of my many exchanges in my illustrious school career, representing Timaru Boys as the captain of “The First Four”. The challenge was set to take place in our school library.

VICTORIA:                 Simon wore a ridiculous shiny grey shirt and their team was equipped with their own props and costumes.

SIMON:                       For the record, the shiny shirt was a costume. (We’ve talked about this Vic.)

VICTORIA:                  The shirt also made appearances in subsequent meetings.

SIMON:                        All theatre-sports related.

VICTORIA:                   The tournament began. It was like The Hunger Games.

SIMON:                        Except [SPOILER ALERT] the boy and girl from opposing teams didn’t fall in  
                                      love and join forces to win together.

VICTORIA:                   The judges consisted of two teachers from Timaru Boys High and one “external” 
                                       judge from their sister school.

SIMON:                         We won by a point!

VICTORIA:                     ...Surprisingly.

SIMON:                          Many years later...

VICTORIA:                     Three years later.

SIMON:                          In the Edinburgh of the south...

VICTORIA:                    Otago University.

SIMON:                          In the foyer of a highly publicised THEATRICAL EXTRAVAGANZA!

VICTORIA:                     Allen Hall Lunchtime Theatre...

SIMON:                          We met again.

VICTORIA:                     I nearly didn’t recognise him without his shiny shirt...

SIMON:                           I hadn’t done theatre sports for over a year...

VICTORIA:                     We auditioned for The Capping Show.

SIMON:                           And both got into the main sketch.

VICTORIA:                      It was a friendship to span the ages.

SIMON:                           She followed me to Toi Whakaari.

VICTORIA:                      That’s true. Simon is my hero and –damn it – he’s the reason I get up in the 

SIMON:                            We were both cast in The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later at BATS.

VICTORIA:                       And now we’re working on our first ever Circa production as 2/5 of the cast                                                    
                                          of Chekhov in Hell.

VICTORIA:                       We play 11 characters each.

SIMON:                             From an internet guru to a group councillor.

VICTORIA:                       A chav with a heart of gold.

SIMON:                             An Irish policeman.

VICTORIA:                       We’re giving away our secrets.

SIMON:                             You’re a good / listener.

VICTORIA:                        Listener.

SIMON:                              No / you are.

VICTORIA:                        You are.

SIMON:                              Stop / it.

VICTORIA:                         Stop what?

SIMON:                              Talking at the / same time...

VICTORIA:                         Same time as you? I’m not...

SIMON:                              You are! You always do this, you never let me speak! I’m sick of it!

VICTORIA:                         Simon, wait!

                                            SIMON storms out of the room crying.

VICTORIA:                         What else did you want to know?

                                             SILENCE. CURTAIN.

NARATOR:                         Victoria and Simon look forward to a long awaited break from each other 
                                             while Victoria performs in West End Girls in Circa One and Simon fades 
                                             into obscurity, clinging to his Chapman Tripp.  

*Paraphrased and transcribed by Simon K Leary. 

The cast of Chekhov in Hell. Photo by Stephen A'Court. 

Chekhov in Hell opens in Circa Two on Saturday, 12 May. Opening night is SOLD OUT, but there are $25 Specials on Friday, 11 May and Sunday, 13 May. To book, call the Circa Box Office on 801-7992 or go online at www.circa.co.nz. 

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