29 October 2013

The ImpoSTAR is SHOW STOPPING!

Director Lyndee-Jane Rutherford tells drama on the waterfront about Jason Chasland and his phenomenal one man show, The ImpoSTAR.


Every now and then you come across a performer who is extraordinary, and Jason is one of those people.  I tell people Jason Chasland is a freak of nature, as not only does he have a phenomenal voice, but he can dance, entertain and do impressions.

Jason came to me three years ago and said he wanted to do a show and that he wanted me to be the person to help him create it.  We had a three hour sing off in my lounge.  We laughed, I cried.  I was blown away!  He did 60 impressions for me. Yes, SIXTY.  Some of them were better than others, but how amazing that I had 60 to choose from.  Knowing Jason’s abilities as a performer, I wanted to create something that was surprising, super fun, entertaining and fast paced, but at the same time I wanted to make sure that we supported Jason and his wonderful gift.

The Circa Theatre production is our best yet.  After the Nelson premiere and BATS Theatre seasons we talked to people about what they liked and loved, what they wanted to see more of, some of the comments were surprising and challenging.  All of these critical contributions, as well as our own assessments, are what have helped make the Circa Theatre production a very special piece.

Join us, have fun and enjoy the ride.
Lyndee-Jane Rutherford

ENERGY, ENTHUSIASM, BANG ON DANCE MOVES, A TRULY IMPRESSIVE VOICE …” - Theatreview

“Jason Chasland is SHOW STOPPING!” – The NZ Listener

FLAMBOYANT DREAMS OF STARDOM GET THE SOLO SPACE THEY NEED” - Dom Post


CELEBRITY SATURDAY – Due to illness we’ve moved our Diva Dress Evening! Let your inner diva have a night of fabulousness, 8pm Saturday 2nd November – we will be hosting a fancy dress evening! Attend The ImpoSTAR as your favourite songstress, rock star or musical legend! Prizes for best dressed and drink specials will be available from Circa’s Encore Bar!  AND the wonderful Costume Cave (270 Wakefield St) are offering a costume discount of 10% if you give the password: IMPOSTAR!

The ImpoSTAR is on in Circa One until 9 November. To celebrate Jason's return to health after a brief illness, we're offering $25 tickets for the performances on Tuesday, 29 October and Wednesday 30 October. To book, call the Circa Box Office on 801-7992.

21 October 2013

CON: A world we never get to see

In this week's post, CON playwright Gavin McGibbon tells drama on the waterfront about the inspiration for his new play, opening in Circa Two this weekend.

Playwright Gavin McGibbon.
I woke to a text. A strange text from my good buddy Brian saying “look I really can’t give you anything until next week, hang in there” this was followed by a winking type face.

I text him back basically asking what the heck was he on about and he said, how I was mugged and robbed in Manila, Philippines.

Apparently that’s what I was chatting to people about on Facebook. Clearly my account had been hacked, I had a lovely time in the Philippines (I’ve never been actually). I booted up my computer, went on to Facebook and there I was looking at myself chatting to other people, asking, pleading with them for money. It was surreal, it was like one of those moments in a film where the character gets to see his/her own funeral. To Nathan who was just about to transfer money to help me out, na├»ve but incredibly sweet and kind of you (thank goodness I logged on in time) and I certainly felt touched by it whereas the others more clued up, told “me” to take a hike.

Something about that experience just sat in my head. Who pretended to be me? Who was having chats on my behalf? Who felt this was an okay thing to do? Who would want to make money this way?
And then there it was. A play. A play was forming. Pieces of the puzzle were coming in quick. It was a rush of excitement; I wanted to know who had pretended to be me. And since I wasn’t going to be able to track this person down (nor did I want to, this person seemed a little bit scary to me) I had to create and write a play to try to answer some of these questions.

As a play CON is about a world we never get to see. A world of incredible highs and lows. Where the thrill is outsmarting the person on the street, getting them to do things they shouldn’t, robbing them blind, patting them on the back, leaving them walking home smiling, only to realise they’ve been completely done over. And about exploring what would it take to make a con man think twice about doing this kind of thing.

CON opens in Circa Two on 26 October, with a $25 preview on 25 October and $25 Special on Sunday, 27 October. To book, please visit www.circa.co.nz or call the Circa Box Office on 801-7992.

14 October 2013

The ImpoSTAR: Q & A with Jason Chasland

The ImpoSTAR himself, Jason Chasland, tells drama on the waterfront about the new version of his hit show, revamped especially for the Circa season.


What was your inspiration for The ImpoSTAR?
My inspiration for The ImpoSTAR came from a lot of the celebrities I play within the show itself: Judy Garland in particular has played a huge role in my life. Variety specials like hers and programmes like The Carol Burnett show, Christmas specials and old vaudeville acts were all a sources of inspiration. The show is also part biographical so it's a journey through the things I have lived and learned as an entertainer.

Who are your inspirations in performance/life?
My inspirations performance-wise would have to be Judy Garland, Marilyn Micheals, Gene Kelly, Matt Lucas, Barbra Streisand, Ryan Murphy, Alan Ball and many others.  Not forgetting my family, who are all very musical and have always been a huge support, inspiration and driving force.

What is the rehearsal process?
The rehearsal process begins long before rehearsals start! With workshopping writing and new concepts, and collaborating with designers. Also researching, breaking down and executing each of the voices and the physicality of each impression. It's long, exhausting and so much fun!

What is your favourite part of the show?
My favourite part of the show constantly changes. There are some great moments that we have created, which we are very proud of, but until the audience is there riding the wave with you it's difficult to say. It changes daily, I swear. Haha!

Have you met any of the people you do impressions of?
I've been fortunate to meet some amazing people and celebrities but I actually have not meet anyone I'm performing. I did, however, see Shirley Bassey perform, met Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter and got a personal note and signed programme from Broadway legend Patti Lupone, thanks to my dear friend Mark Dorrell.

What new element are you most excited for our Circa audience to experience?
I'm most excited for the Circa audience to experience the new design elements! The set, costume and lighting designers, combined with my wonderful director, make up a team of amazing woman who are at the top of their game. They have taken ideas off the page and are bringing them to life in magical ways I never thought possible. Of course the show has been complete revamped with new characters and songs which will have the audience in tears; both sad and happy, we hope!

The show literally has something for everyone. Sounds cliche, but it's absolutely true. I can not wait to share this Circa season with a new audience. 

The ImpoSTAR opens on 19 October and runs until 9 November. There are $25 tickets available for the Preview performance on Friday, 18 October and the Sunday matinee on 20 October. To book, please call the Circa Box Office on 801-7992 or visit www.circa.co.nz.

07 October 2013

MIDSUMMER – “Laugh your way into wisdom” The Listener

Midsummer director Lyndee-Jane Rutherford talks to drama on the waterfront about her process for this delightful play (with songs).


Midsummer (a play with songs) by David Greig and Gordon McIntyre, is ON NOW in Circa Two. This modern gem, directed by Lyndee-Jane Rutherford and starring comic talents Kate Prior and Byron Coll, is being viewed by critics as hilarious and poignant” The Listener.

Lyndee-Jane Rutherford shares with us how, when she first came across the script, she thought ‘Oh wow, this would be a bit of fun’ to direct, but she explains that it ‘turns out to be one of the hardest things’ she’s had to do.  With fast paced comedy and no stage directions, the script definitely challenged her process and directing approach. 

Director Lyndee-Jane Rutherford.
Lyndee-Jane is an ‘instinctual’ director, shaping a piece as it’s worked on the floor. It became evident to her quite early on in the rehearsal room, that her talented cast like to approach text in a different way, which changed her usual approach as she saw how they needed and wanted to work. It involved more ‘working it out then doing it’.

One thing that was pretty much set from the start of rehearsals were the blocks used as part of the set. They were great to play with and an important part of establishing conventions from day one. “It took a long time, we must have had about 1000 photos of different spaces created with the blocks. It was a process of create, create, create, and then peeling it all right back to find the moments that worked.”

Choosing the right materials for the blocks was a journey on its own. “There were lots of conversations with ‘polystyrene men’ and ‘polystyrene women’, to check ‘so can people jump on these? Can they be thrown around? How sturdy are they?’ we got them really wondering ‘What are you using them for?”

Lyndee-Jane Rutherford is excited to share Midsummer with Wellington – with a perfect balance of spirit, nostalgia and hilarity, she thinks audiences will appreciate the uplifting and bloody enjoyable ride.

On for only two more weeks, and selling fast, don’t miss this funny, arresting and touching two-hander”. Dominion Post.

To book tickets for Midsummer, visit www.circa.co.nz or call the box office on 801-7992.