Article Title:Deconstructing Hollywood in Wellington
Author or Credit:Matt Akersten
Published on:19th November 2008 - 06:19 pm
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Story ID:6772
Text:Kip Chapman as Alex in The Little Dog Laughed Auckland's season of The Little Dog Laughed ended last week, but Wellington's production of the scandalous gay play is still on at the Downstage Theatre, and has now been nominated for four Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards, including an 'Outstanding Performance' for Kip Chapman. Whereas the Auckland cast got to swan around a glam hotel room containing a very comfortable-looking double bed, the Wellington crew must negotiate Daniel Williams' (also award-nominated) stark concrete landscape of deconstructed letters from the Hollywood sign. "Yes, our set's a bit harder," laughs Chapman. "When I first saw it I thought 'my poor bum's going to get sore!' Daniel Williams' deconstructed set "It's an amazing set – our designer has taken the idea of Hollywood and seemed to throw it against a concrete wall. So the Hollywood sign is totally destroyed – which is a great metaphor for what the show is. The image of Hollywood which isn't real." The play deals with Hollywood leading actor Michael Green's 'little problem' – getting discovered having a liaison with rent boy Alex (played by Chapman). What will the magazines say if this tidbit gets out? Will his career be ruined? Chapman thinks so. "You can't be openly gay in Hollywood and still be a leading man – it's as simple as that. I wouldn't be able to name one gay real A-list Hollywood star. I mean, I'm sure there are some in the closet, but not 'out'." Kip with the show's cast The young actor is sure there are real people in Tinsletown who are a lot like his character in the play. "Alex is this damaged kid who decides to take one last stab at taking down his barriers – the ones we all put up during our lives," he explains. "He gets hurt, but realizes it's better to have loved and lost. He's very brave and makes his decision to live in his truth, and although there are harsh consequences, by the end he's evolved and grown up and knows that's the way to live life. It's a great story. "It's very funny, and I think it's extremely relevant. It talks about how you want to live your life. Whether you want to live a compromised existence – like marrying for money for example, or hiding your sexuality." The guys strip for sexy scenes "Naturally we had to ask whether stripping in front of an audience was a challenge for him – as the play features a couple of full nude scenes. "A couple of years ago I would have found it a problem," he admits, "but I did Equus for the Auckland Theatre Company, and have been in lots of film and TV where I've had to be nude – and that's actually worse because they give you those hideous modesty patches! "But we did it in the third week of rehearsal, under bright florescent lighting, and were like 'oh well, sweet as'. If we can do it there, we can do it in front of anyone," he says. "Some of my friends and flatmates are refusing to come though!" The Little Dog Laughed continues at Wellington's Downstage theatre until Saturday 29 November. The production has been nominated for four prestigious Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards - Director of the Year for Willem Wassenaar, Set Designer of the Year for Daniel Williams, Most Promising Female Newcomer for Sophie Hambleton, and Outstanding Performance for Kip Chapman. For bookings, more details and's review of the opening night, visit the links below. Matt Akersten - 19th November 2008    
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