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Play: Hotdogs On At Newtown

Play: Hotdogs On At Newtown

What: HOT DOGS: Red Cross and scenes from Angels in America
When: 8pm, Wednesday 8th - Saturday 11th February 2006
Where: SEEyD Space, Te Whaea National Dance and Drama Centre, 11 Hutchison Road, Newtown
Cost: $5 / $2 (students)
Book: (04) 389 9056 (automated line)

HOTDOGS is a presentation of the play Red Cross by Sam Shepard and selected scenes from Angels in America by Tony Kushner. The scenes are directed by respectively Sally Richards and Willem Wassenaar, students of the Master of Theatre Arts in Directing course jointly run by Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School and Victoria University of Wellington. HOTDOGS gives a deeply personal, disturbing insight into the psyche of America. The fast food nation cooks up fear, obsession, morality and menace. You are left with an aftertaste of mustard and ketchup – burning your mouth.

“I’ve had crabs for about ten years now and it gets worse every year. They breed very fast. It’s nice, though. It’s like having two bodies to feed,” says Jim in Red Cross. The Obie Award Winning play Red Cross of Sam Shepard explores ‘the vampire quality of language’ as we are invited to enter a world in which the characters writhe in their own obsessions and insecurities and project their needs and desires onto each other. Jim is infested with public lice, Carol’s head snaps off leaving a bloody stump and the Maid flounders in an icy lake. Sally Richards: “Red Cross is an emergency play, an explosive and disturbing insight into the point of human combustion and despair.”

Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize winning play Angels in America explores the sexual, racial, religious, political and social issues confronting the USA as the AIDS epidemic spreads during the conservative Reagan years. Willem Wassenaar: “Imagine a huge identity crisis of a Valium addicted housewife, a closet Mormon gay guy, an arm chair philosopher and a former drag queen diagnosed with AIDS. God is nowhere to help them out as even the Angels are calling for mortal guidance. At the dawn of a new millennium Louis, Prior, Joe and Harper are left alone, while the earth is shaking underneath their feet.”

This presentation HOTDOGS is one of a series of practical directing assignments that constitute a substantial component of the second year of study, and focuses primarily on the acting. The actors are third year acting students of Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School.

Sally Richards (BTheatre (Hons), DipTeach) has recently returned from Belfast where she was a director, actor and teacher. She has a particular interest in the theatrical experience that exists in real time and is also fascinated in the art of solo performance, of audience collusion and the playing of multiple roles. Willem Wassenaar (MATheatre) comes originally from The Netherlands, where he studied and worked as an actor, teacher and director. His most recent work in New Zealand was Delicates, a site specific show in a Newtown laundrette that will be remounted in the 2006 Fringe Festival.

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