Article Title:No ordinary fairytale
Author or Credit:Jacqui Stanford
Published on:20th June 2013 - 10:25 am
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Story ID:13524
Text:“We can promise that this is a play you will experience, as opposed to one you just watch,” The Pitchfork Disney producer Martyn Wood says, as the grim, gothic and homoerotic fairytale opens at Auckland’s Q Theatre. The gist: The mysterious disappearance of their parents years earlier have led to a pair of twins in arrested development. Surviving on chocolate, barbiturates and by spinning fanciful tales of the apocalyptic wasteland that exists outside their London flat, their self-induced solitary confinement is shattered when a sinister nightclub entertainer and his lumbering, masked cohort come calling… Set in an imagined future that increasingly reflects the present - a world of emotional isolation, infantilized adults, sexual panic, fear of foreigners and the impossibility of connection in an age of terror, The Pitchfork Disney may not be a work from this “place” but is very much a work for our anxiety ridden times. Producer Martyn Wood tells us more! Martyn Wood Just how creepy and barbaric is Pitchfork Disney?! Leon's character refers to it like being on a ghost train, and I think that sums it up perfectly - it's an exhilarating ride! It's creepy, a bit unsettling, funny and touching. This isn't your typical horror about monsters under the bed, but is speaking to more contemporary nightmares and anxieties. How challenging is it to bring something this powerful and scary to the stage? Every show you work on brings its own challenges, and I think Sophie and the cast are meeting them head on. It's such a brilliant script that the deeper they dig the more they come up with - hopefully audiences will feel the same way. We have made some quite bold design decisions, so that has been a huge challenge, but one that our design team are relishing and that we think audiences will really enjoy. The roles must be quite tough for the actors? They are, just in terms of the stamina required, and the courage they need to really go to some of those dark places every night. But they are incredibly rewarding roles, and the actors have all commented on how characters like these don't come along every day. As the producer I spend a lot of time out of the rehearsal room making things happen, but every time I go back in to see where the show is at, I am amazed at how much the actors have grown. They are at the stage now where they are chomping at the bit to invite an audience into this strange world we have created. From what I have read, it seems like there is plenty of gay undercurrent in the play – or is it more a tide than an undercurrent!? One of our main costume pieces was loaned to us by a prominent Auckland drag queen, and half the creative team is gay so it's quite a tide! It's not overtly gay like "The Pride" (which Sophie directed for Silo last year) or "Angels in America" which we did in 2007 in Wellington, but it's definitely there and it flares up in some unexpected ways. What can audiences expect to walk away feeling? It's the sort of play that has the potential to affect people in profoundly different ways. I have seen five or six run-throughs now and sometimes I laugh, I've cried a few times, been horrified and unsettled and even a bit titillated. We can promise that this is a play you will experience, as opposed to one you just watch. Is this the type of play it will be tough to get out of your head? Actor Todd Emerson I think so - Todd (who plays Presley) first read the play 7 or 8 years ago and has been trying to get a production of it up ever since. The language is so haunting and beautiful that it kind of burrows in and stays there. We are hoping that the design concept (which is taking over the entire Q Loft, from the street right up into the theatre) will just add to the experience, making it a night in the theatre you will never forget. On personal note, why the move from Wellington to Auckland? I grew up in Auckland, and really love living here. I've been fortunate to work all over New Zealand, and will be off on tour shortly to some of the provincial festivals with a new work. But Auckland is home, and always has been. I studied in Wellington, worked as an actor there for 2 years and returned there in 2010 to run BATS Theatre - I had some amazing times and opportunities in Wellington, but so many of my close friends and collaborators are up here now that it really was time for me to move back. "Pitchfork" was one of the projects that drew me home. How are the two theatre scenes different? What's great about Wellington is that it's a brilliant incubator for new talent. What's great about Auckland is that there seem to be a lot more resources on the ground that we can access in making work. It's hard to imagine making something on the scale of "Pitchfork" in Wellington, but at the same time, none of the core creative team would have developed the skills and experience necessary to pull it off without their Wellington experiences. It seems like there is a lot of young gay talent emerging in NZ theatre? The theatre has always been a place that has attracted gay artists, or any person that feels like they exist slightly out of the mainstream. I don't know that there is any more gay talent around now than there was 10 years ago, but I would like to think that people can be more open about their sexuality now and not feel like it might jeopardise their chances of getting work or limit their opportunities. The Pitchfork Disney: 20th – 29th June 2013 Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen Street, Auckland Performs at 7pm; Extra show Friday 28th at 9.30pm Tickets: $25.00 - $35.00 through Q Theatre – 09 309 9771 or   Jacqui Stanford - 20th June 2013    
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