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.

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