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Bats Presents: Bouncing With Billie


BOUNCING WITH BILLIE Written by Felix Preval and Fergus Collinson Directed by Rachel Lenart Sound Design by Sstimuluss

“I’m listening closely, it takes all of me, every ounce and all my focus to hear”

Theatre Militia presents ‘a play on the words of Fergus Collinson’ - “one of Wellington’s best loved artists, the indefinable jazz painter.” Bouncing With Billie, opening at BATS Theatre on July 7th is a devised work based on and created with one of this city’s most unique personalities. This fragmented portrayal of memory captures moments of intimacy and beauty as a lover withers but passion blossoms. A celebration of love, life, loss and jazz brought to life on the stage through poetry, paint, music and media - “Two years, one month and three and a half days” in love.

Director Rachel Lenart and writer/performer Felix Preval were accosted by Fergus backstage at BATS last year after the company’s debut production Wordvirus. Fergus presented his book, Bouncing With Billie, to the company, from which the initial concept was drawn. Since then, Fergus has become more than “the man in the front row with the bright orange hair, a torch and a copy of our script” - he has become Theatre Militia’s inspiration.

Bouncing With Billie is in part a tribute to all New Zealand AIDS sufferers and their carers. It is a chance to reflect on the progress of the gay movement in this country, exposing the absurdity and irrationality of homophobia and our need to support and further this community’s fight for equality. “The blatancy of prejudice against gays serves as a perfect analogy for human rights violations everywhere” - Director Rachel Lenart.

Theatre Militia return to BATS with their third work and biggest crew to date. Felix Preval (Wordvirus, Auditor!!) Sam Bunkall (Who’s Afraid of the Working Class) and Peter Hills (I Once Was lost) are joined on stage by Jazz diva Katherine Tyree singing Billie Holiday with musical contribution from Sstimuluss.

Exploring sexuality and disability – Fergus has been Deaf since childhood, Theatre Militia hope to contribute something pertinent to the national debate surrounding equality. As opposition to the civil union bill demonstrates, this country is not as tolerant as some of us like to believe. However, this show takes place within the subjective confines of memory; our story celebrates the love between two men at the height of the AIDS crisis in New Zealand while the lovers stride forward none the less. Blind as love is ever.

“I’m seeing the only way to make something special of life is to grab it while it’s happening.” – Fergus Collinson

BOUNCING WITH BILLIE 9pm 7 – 16 July 2005 (no shows Sunday Monday) Tickets $12/15 BATS ph: 802 4175

ENDS

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