The woman who kissed a gnome. The girl who is also a bomb. The lady so obsessed with stationery she is prepared to kill for it. Or even worse: love for it.
Tiny Deaths will be a beautiful and odd evening of love stories, all as dark as dark chocolate, from award-winning theatre company My Accomplice (Joseph K, Watch, A Play About Space) and playing at the newly-renovated BATS theatre. Wickedly funny and sumptuously grotesque, it’s perfect for a first date. Or a last one.
Uther Dean (Winner: Best Solo, 2014 New Zealand Fringe Awards, Nominated: Best New New Zealand Play, 2014 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards) has written twelve monologues for six of Wellington’s most exciting young women actors. A deep cross-section of the Wellington scene, these six proven actresses (Hannah Banks, Alice May Connolly, Keagan Carr Fransch, Brianne Kerr, Hilary Penwarden and Freya Daly Sadgrove) run the gamut from a Chapman Tripp winner and a Toi Whakaari graduate to alumnae of Wellington’s most exciting companies like The Bacchanals, Long Cloud Youth Theatre, Bright Orange Walls and, of course, My Accomplice.
Co-directors Penwarden and Dean have created a work that celebrates the female talent of Wellington, which is all too often swept under the rug or hidden from sight by the wealth of work predominantly written for men.
“All the most positive working experiences I’ve had in the theatre, and a lot of the best theatre I’ve seen, have been largely female led,” explains Dean, co-creative director of My Accomplice. “I realised that My Accomplice, in its five year life, had, without meaning to, never done a work with a predominantly female cast. It was time to change that.”
“Nobody bats an eye at all the work made by groups made up exclusively of men,” says Penwarden, “but when it’s all or mostly women that suddenly becomes a ‘thing’. The only way we can change that is by making more work like that so people have to get used to it.”
As well as coming from a place of ardent feminism, Tiny Deaths sprung out of a desire to see the actual modern experience of love and sex portrayed frankly on the stage.
“We get a lot of plays that say they’re about those things,” continues Dean, “but, very often, they’re comments on the media’s image of those things. Tiny Deaths is about the actual awkwardness of how to kiss someone for the first time, the squelchy weird bits of sex that no-one talks about.”
“But don’t worry, it’s really funny too,” interjects Penwarden.
Fresh off opening the newly renovated BATS theatre with their Chapman Tripp Theatre Award winning STAB commission Watch at the end of last year as well as their trailblazing Fringe 2015 collaboration with Radio New Zealand Stranger Things, My Accomplice are not letting up or slowing down. Tiny Deaths is the latest in the greatest sustained run of independent, creative, popular theatre creation in Wellington since the days of Red Mole and Trouble.