Also written by Red Scare Marketing
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One woman unravels onstage in Girls & Boys, a captivating tale of a family tragedy. A chance encounter at an airport leads to a whirlwind romance, then cools into an ordinary partnership – two kids, a house, settling down. But when this relationship takes a devastating turn, we are left to wonder – how well do we really know our partners? How can we explain an inexplicable act of violence?
First staged at the Royal Court starring Carey Mulligan, Dennis Kelly’s acclaimed play Girls & Boys has never been performed in Aotearoa. This June, Wellington audiences will be treated to the New Zealand premiere, starring actor and physical theatre practitioner Sabrina Martin.
“She’s such a fascinating, complex, funny, heartbreaking character,” says Martin. While the central unnamed character is the only figure onstage, throughout the play we see her interact with her children and she slowly reveals what went wrong in her relationship with her husband. “It’s distinctly from her point of view and that's a deliberate decision. So often we become obsessed with the perpetrator but here we get to see her full life; this messy, honest, woman battling to understand why this happened, all the while somehow holding onto joy and hope. I can’t wait for audiences to meet her.”
Martin has often worked in non-traditional spaces throughout her career, from her debut solo show, May Contain Sex Scenes, in a hotel room to abandoned buildings and even a palace in Denmark to Art Chemist in a shipping container at The Performance Arcade. Director James Kiesel felt this production would be a perfect fit for the Sustainability Trust eco store, which has the facade of a house installed on its premise: an intimate stage exploring ideas of domesticity.
“While on the hunt for a space, we really wanted to find something that could feel like an old friend's living room, while still being able to accommodate a decent size audience," says Kiesel, a director and choreographer originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "Walking into the Sustainability Trust for the first time and seeing those façades, something clicked; I thought, 'yep, this is perfect'."
Kiesel is drawn towards dark, surreal, or absurdist works and has staged work from Dennis Kelly previously, such as 2005’s After the End, a psychological thriller set inside a nuclear fallout shelter. Kelly is most well-known for lighter fare such as his Tony award winning musical Matilda The Musical (co-written with Tim Minchin), but fans of Kelly will know that his sensibilities skew darker.
Girls & Boys marks Kiesel’s third collaboration with Red Scare Theatre Company after working as a fight and intimacy choreographer on two previous productions (MoodPorn, Battle Hymn). "This work presents an amazing opportunity to guide the audience into falling in love with this person", says Kiesel. "Not through her talent, or her humour, or her wit or crassness or fortitude [although she has all of those things], but because she is being as real and as honest as she can possibly be."
“A central part of Red Scare’s kaupapa is bringing contemporary scripts to Aotearoa through dynamic productions,” says Red Scare artistic director Cassandra Tse. “We’re so thrilled to be giving New Zealanders the opportunity to experience this work from a celebrated British playwright with this wonderful, extremely talented team.”
Girls & Boys is on from the 31 May - 5 June 2022 (No Show 2 June) at Sustainability Trust, 2 Forrester's Lane, Te Aro, Wellington from 7:30pm - 9pm. (90 minutes, no interval). Tickets are available at Eventfinda.
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