Archive for the Fitz Bunny: Lust For Glory Category

Writers and Readers Week schmoozing

Posted in Fitz Bunny: Lust For Glory, I can write stuff as well, you know, Shameless Namedropping on March 8, 2012 by brunswick

I spent a pleasant evening at Playmarket talking to Robert Shearman, playwright, Alan Ayckbourn collaborator and Doctor Who writer. He’s here for the Writers and Readers Week, and is nice enough not to be annoyed that everyone wants to talk about Dalek and not the 18 plays he’s written. I also had a good talk with Murray Lynch, who runs Playmarket and enjoyed FB:L4G last year, and finally got to meet Ken Duncum.

That is all.

FB:L4G photees!

Posted in Fitz Bunny: Lust For Glory, Lovely pictures on October 30, 2011 by brunswick

Two photos by Anita from today’s performance of FB:L4G. Brecht, eat your heart out.

 

 

 

 

Nukie!

Posted in Fitz Bunny: Lust For Glory, Lovely pictures on October 29, 2011 by brunswick

Oh horrors! What a thing to find in Mt. Victoria!

Even if it does turn out to be a coffee machine.

The original Nukie was over three metres high, the largest prop that anyone could remember being used in a BATS production. Although I saved the rest of the props, at the end of the run Nukie had to go on a skip, which I believe is how they dispose of nuclear weaponry in Russia.

This replacement is considerably smaller, but much more portable. It consists of $11 worth of wood and a cunning mechanism made from cardboard from a tea box. And a small dot of velcro.

FB:L4G WGTN 2011

Posted in Fitz Bunny: Lust For Glory on October 25, 2011 by brunswick

FB:L4G is on at the Whitireia Theatre, 25 Vivian Street, on Sunday 30th at 2pm and 8pm. Adult tickets are $16, students $11.

It’s being performed by students of the Dance-Sing-Act programme, using the original props from the 2007 production. Should be interesting. I haven’t publicized this more widely because it’s supposed to be for families and friends of the students, but the theatre is frankly enormous, and needs filling. I’ll be at both performances to film them.

FB:L4G 2011. Oh, have I mentioned this yet?

Posted in Fitz Bunny: Lust For Glory on September 14, 2011 by brunswick

I dropped off the original props (including a giant carrot) for FB:L4G at Whitireia Performing Centre on Vivian Street yesterday. One of their classes is putting it on in late October. I’ve written a new song for it and it’s been updated for the upcoming election. There’s only going to be two performances, so I’ll keep you posted on when and where to get tickets.

Closer by Patrick Marber

Posted in Fitz Bunny: Lust For Glory, Unwarranted criticism on June 28, 2011 by brunswick

Closer
by Patrick Marber
Whitirea Theatre until July 1st

An intimate evening spent in the company of appalling people, and I’m not talking about the severely dressed and somewhat sniffy mid-week audience. This 1997 play about the sexual machinations of a quartet of privileged London bozos was filmed in 2004. I’ve never seen the film or any of the handsome Imaginary Bees actors before, so at least I came to this production with only my own violent personal prejudices and a bad case of sleep deprivation, much to my bodyguard Anita’s concern.

I was interested in seeing the inside of the performance space at Whitirea for my own reasons (of which more later), and initially I thought the cold fluorescent space we walked into with a few chairs arranged around the perimeter might be it. How daring to stage it with a refreshments table centre stage! How casually the audience stood around in their black coats! Alas, dear reader, this was the lobby.

The actual performance space we were ushered into was a cavernous black concrete rectangle, with bleacher seating along its long sides, and Penny Angrick’s rib-like wooden partitions (the set’s, not Penny’s) dividing the stage along its length, with enough space between the slats for the actors to stroll through, loiter, bump and grind, miss seeing each other, eavesdrop, and lie to each other. There was rather a lot of that sort of thing.

After a strong start it seems we will like and relate to these characters, but it’s quickly established that they are sexually incontinent creeps who cheat on each other with great energy and casualness, yet can’t take it when someone does it to them. They live immensely comfortable and sheltered lives, yet are continually unhappy. They let us know this in a variety of ways during the play, and by the end they’ve established their position quite well.

The sole sympathetic character, waifish stripper Alice (played with great passion by the tiny Jessica Aaltonen) is the only one of the four you give a damn about, the rest are awful people behaving badly and could all do with a good slap. The hero is channeling Hugh Grant, which is distracting. The other actress (Alison Walls) is also distressingly tiny, but taller. They fail the Bechdel test by only talking about the men in their brief scenes together. Three of the four look a bit young for their characters, although the acting was uniformly excellent, despite the empathy gap that grows over the long evening. Inexplicably the entire audience is driven out to the refreshment table while the stage is reset for the second half, but the only thing that’s altered when you return is Aaltonen, now wearing a wig and very little else.

It’s a very sad play heroically performed, but by the ending (which felt a bit like Hugh Grant’s long speech at the end of Four Weddings and a Funeral) I remembered a review of the film seven years ago which effectively asked why any of us were supposed to give a damn about these dreadful, vapid people.

Rent

Posted in Fitz Bunny: Lust For Glory, Sound & Vision, Unwarranted criticism on March 5, 2011 by brunswick

Rent (2005)

For some reason this was about the only musical I didn’t watch or listen to when writing FB:L4G.  I think I was too busy wrestling with Steven Sondheim and trying to decide if Evita was any good. Well, I finally watched it*, and I can see why opinion is divided** over Generation X’s very own musical. The plot (loosely based on La bohème) is admirably complex for a musical, but like any project emerging from New York since, well, ever, it’s also utterly self-absorbed and hermetic.

The outside world consists of golden Santa Fe and the small midwestern towns everyone has escaped from – there’s no Southern Hemisphere, no Africa, no Europe, no Asia… the world of the musical is by definition a constructed world, but some of the best musicals have an unstoppable force advancing on their world from outside. Fascism enters the Kit Kat Club in Cabaret, antisemitism scatters the family of Fiddler on the Roof, the Vietnam War looms over the hippies of Hair. The unstoppable force in Rent is AIDS, not an external but an internal threat which attacks each individual at its own pace. Subsequently the focus of the conflict is personal and narcissistic.

The characters of Rent are youthful bohemians (some with super-rich parents) living in squalor for the sake of their world-changing Art. I’m afraid that the examples given of said Art were definitely not worth leaving their hometown and contracting HIV for. Most of the film’s actors were also in the original 1996 Broadway production, which is casting with integrity, although it’s an entirely different proposition to be a struggling bohemian determined not to sell out or compromise your artistic integrity at the age of 34, than at 25. One is rather less pathetic than the other.

Fortunately, like most issues of logic to be found in musicals, this is only a problem if you think about it too hard.

It’s mawkish and often nakedly pretentious (the only time New York and the rest of America gave a damn about what the other was up to was in 2001) but numbers like ‘Santa Fe’ and ‘Goodbye Love’ are straightforward and quite good, without the bombast of, say, Les Misérables, or the running-up-and-down-the-scales-ness (I forget what the proper term for that is – possibly ‘Webberosity’) of Andrew Lloyd Webber. In the bitter ‘What You Own’ it’s revealed that the real enemy is selling out, working hard, making money and – wait, what?

What else are we supposed to do, die nobly in garrets of tuberculosis?

* Nearly six years after the film was made, which is fifteen years after it was set, twelve years after it was written, and nine years after it appeared on Broadway and won a freakin’ Pulitzer. If the film had been made eight years earlier, it would’ve been a bit more relevant.
**One of the rants on the inevitable and hilarious TV Tropes page dedicated to Rent: “Why exactly are we supposed to care about any of these fucking whiny, self-absorbed people with holier-than-thou attitudes?” They may have a point.