Earnest 1st night audience “loved it”

Yes, the select discerning audience to the opening performance  last night were impressed and excited by what the actors and production crew have achieved. They mentioned “funny”, “stylish”, “got the period just right”, “great costumes”, “this deserves a much bigger audience” and this despite the lighting board overheating in 2nd half and losing 1/2 lights.  (problem diagnosed, will be fixed for tonight).

Just 2 sleeps till “Earnest” opens!

IMG_0761_edited-1Yes we open on Thursday for our 2 week run. This time including a Sunday matinee (4pm). Tickets available from Rona Gallery, or from the website www.bctt.org.nz.

Further information from http://bctt.getshopped.com/

New Committee

Following the AGM and the first meeting of the new committee the Troupe’s new committee is:

John Marwick, Co-ordinator

John Jones, Treasurer

Sue Jones, Secretary

Anne Manchester

Barry Mawer

Carol Thompson

Espeth Harris

Florence McFarlane

Fran Baldock

Manny Garcia

Peter Baldock

Peter Hughson

Sandra Gillespie, Minutes secretary

Yvonne Gray

Oleanna Gryphon season Cancelled

One of the cast has had a bereavement and cannot continue with the season. So unfortunately it’s had to be cancelled.

Apologies to all who were looking forward to it, but we’re sure you will understand.

All tickets purchased from the  BCTT web site will be refunded by Paypal to the credit card used to make the initial purchase.

The Importance of Being Earnest – one role left

Yes, we had a great turn-out for the auditions. The show is now fully cast, with the exception of Cecily. The actress I’d like to cast in the role  currently has conflicts with the planned Sunday rehearsal times. So still a chance for other aspiring Cecilys (contact bctt.org.nz@gmail.com).

Audition/Casting Call for The Importance of Being Earnest Sunday 10th July.

These are on Sunday 10th July in the Green Room, Muritai School for details see http://bctt.org.nz/the-importance-of-being-earnest-september-2011/.

Please pass this on to anyone you think may be interested.

Another Oleanna Review

A review by Maggie Rainey-Smith from her blog: http://acurioushalfhour.wordpress.com/

This is a terrific performance by the Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe. They describe the play in the promotional flyer thus ‘this play about political correctness gone wrong or maybe it’s about the misuse of power has divided audiences around the world’. Well, I don’t think Mr Thompson [Employers Association] has quite managed that, I think he has united audiences in New Zealand who think his ideas dated, unscientific and well, as mentioned before, laughable.

David Mamet’s play is not so funny, more compelling, and thought-provoking. The acting is outstanding and all the more impressive because one of the actors, Damian Reid, was stranded in Melbourne due to the ash-cloud from the Chilean volcano, and John Marwick, Director of the play, stepped in and read the lines (to perfection) of the Professor. The student, Carol, is mesmerizingly played by Sarah-Rose Burke who has to develop the character of Carol over eighty minutes in a stunning yet subtly splendid performance. It is the first time I have seen the play and cannot compare this production with any other, but it was brilliantly rendered so that your sympathies are constantly moving (well mine, anyway) from one character to another. The wardrobe too, played a fascinating role in the development of the character of Carol, the student, who starts the play as a confused almost hapless student in her ankle-length little black socks and slipper-style shoes, and in the next act she is wearing fabulously hot shiny red shoes and the final act wearing lace-up boots, in the powerful position of being able to threaten the Professor’s tenure, and finally, much worse, for both of them.

Oh, the ending is superb, and having looked up the play, I see that the ending is often changed sometimes, depending on the Director…

“The danger with the play is that it can easily seem a partial, loaded, one-sided attack on the student and on female solidarity in general .But Pinter’s production scrupulously avoids that trap by giving equal weight to both sides of the argument.”

And so too, does John Marwick’s production.

I was reminded of ‘Disgrace’ (J.M. Coetzee), both the book and movie, which explore the sexual power relationships both within a university and in a compelling story of forgiveness in a rural apartheid setting.

If you live in the Wellington region, it’s worth booking a seat in the intimate theatre up on stage at Muritai School, to be at the very least disturbed at the very best, spellbound and provoked.

Oleanna Review

From Tanya Piejus

Oleanna by David Mamet
Directed by John Marwick for Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe
Muritai School Hall, 23-25 June, 30 June and 1,2 July at 8 pm, doors from 7.30 pm

Given the hoo-ha raised this week over Alasdair Thompson’s inappropriate comments about ‘women’s sick problems’ once a month, it’s apposite that Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe is performing David Mamet’s controversial treatise on old-school male power versus radical feminism.

Mamet’s controversial script is based on the real-life case in the US of Anita Hill who alleged her supervisor Clarence Thomas had made provocative and harassing sexual statements while she was a student.

It can be read in two ways: as a teacher who misuses his power and seriously damages a vulnerable student, or as extreme political correctness that ruins the life of someone who only had good intentions. By the end of this production, audience opinion was divided between the two with one commenting that it was a parallel statement of both.

This is testament to director John Marwick’s skill in delivering a startling two-hander to a modern audience. Mamet wrote the play in the early 1990s and Marwick has avoided the easy option of making it a period piece, instead blurring the lines even more between who is right and who is wrong.

Two-handers are a challenge for any actor and this one is particularly so with its staccato, cut-off dialogue and unrelenting theme. Both Damian Reid as university professor John and Sarah-Rose Burke as his deceptively naïve student Carol  carry their roles with assurance and skill, steadily weaving two solidly opposed characters who draw the audience’s sympathies back and forth between them.

Reid imbues John with an insufferable academic pomposity that is nevertheless well-meaning. His systematic ruin at the hands of Carol is painful to watch, but you can’t help feeling by the end of the piece that he should have known better.

Burke’s Carol is on the one hand vulnerable and helpless, and on the other sly and domineering. Her deft portrayal raises as many questions as it answers, as she twists and manipulates John’s intentions to her own agenda and that of the sinister ‘group’ she claims to represent.

The actors work on an intimate 60-seat traverse stage tucked away behind the blacks at Butterfly Creek’s usual performance venue, Muritai School Hall. It’s a brave and wise choice of staging, bringing the audience uncomfortably close to the one-room setting where all the action takes place. In fact, the final violent act of the play was so close to the front row that it freaked out the audience member closest to it.

This simple setting could be too limiting, but Marwick’s expert direction makes good use of the small space and the blocking never feels too static. However, the same can’t be said of the lighting design which doesn’t vary between scenes and wastes an opportunity to emphasise the shifting timeframe and tone of each.

The other niggle is with the scene changes which are unnecessarily laboured. Presumably, this is to give the two cast members time to change their costumes, but this could have been handled better with simpler variations in wardrobe that wouldn’t have the audience resorting to chit chat to fill the gaps. The original music by Ray Dickinson was, however, an appropriate and atmospheric filler with its piano and ticking clock.

But these technical quibbles are very minor in what is otherwise an excellently performed and rendered production of a challenging script which will leave the audience arguing over long after they’ve left the auditorium.


Oleanna star returns

Damian Reid, who plays John in Oleanna, finally managed to get back across the Tasman and tonight he and Sarah-Rose gave a powerful first night together performance to a very appreciative audience.

Oleanna star trapped in Sydney

Damian Reid who plays John is stranded in Sydney by the volcanic ash cloud. Tonight’s opening night performance is going ahead with the Director John Marwick reading John. Those booked for tonight can get a ticket for another night at no extra charge – and, if they wish, they can also attend tonight’s performance.