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New Directors Hungry for French Fries

New Directors Hungry for French Fries

Five hugely diverse directors will present excerpts from five different plays all in the one evening. French Fries is on at Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School in the first week of March.

The directors, all second year students in the Master of Theatre Arts: Directing programme taught co-jointly by Toi Whakaari and Victoria University, have arrived in Wellington from around New Zealand and beyond. Megan Peacock is from Hawke's Bay and her theatre background includes lighting design and directing in theatre, musical theatre, and opera productions as well as co-ordinating the Performing Arts course at the Eastern Institute of Technology. Kerina Deas co-founded the Nelson Youth Theatre Company, before graduating with her BPA from NASDA in Christchurch. She has worked as a director, performer and teacher. Harriette Cowan was based in Sydney working in an executive office before leaving that lifestyle and “returning to earth” to pursue her passion of creating, directing and acting in theatre. Sally Richards was living in Belfast working as a professional actor and teacher, mounting numerous productions to acclaim as well as managing an acting career. Andrew McKenzie has been living in Otago and the Bay of Plenty, where he had worked as a secondary school teacher as well as mounting independent productions and acting.

“The diversity of our class – which accepts only six applicants a year – makes for a rich and stimulating artistic environment”, said Andrew McKenzie. The sixth student Willem Wassenaar comes from the Netherlands where he had been working extensively in youth theatres and university theatre.

French Fries, contains excerpts from the plays The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, The Maids by Jean Genet, A Poster of the Cosmos by Lanford Wilson, Tape by Stephen Belber and Sexual Perversity in Chicago by David Mamet. “We called it French Fries because we wanted to acknowledge the international flavour of the plays and create a companion piece for Hot Dogs, which Sally Richards and Willem Wassenaar directed in February,” said Megan Peacock.

The content of the plays is as diverse as the directors' backgrounds. The Glass Menagerie is a play where hope is a denial of reality. Set in St Louis, 1937, it’s a roller coaster of love, loss and survival. The Maids is an artificial world full of ceremonious behaviour examining the appearance of reality; A Poster of the Cosmos explores the hysteria surrounding the AIDS virus in 1980s America; Tape rewinds as three high school friends reunite and play out a twisted game of memory and perception, and Sexual Perversity in Chicago is a comical and razor-sharp romp through the ins and outs of sexual politics and dating in 1970s Chicago.

“I think the choice of plays is a great indicator of the range of styles, tastes and strengths we have in our class,” McKenzie says. “It should make for a highly enjoyable and stimulating evening of theatre.” The directors will be working with Year 3 Acting students from the drama school, as well as students from the Performance Technology courses.

French Fries, at the SEEyD space, Te Whaea National Dance and Drama Centre, 11 Hutchison Road, Newtown.

Performance Dates and Times: Wednesday 1 – Saturday 4 March, 7.30pm

Admission: $10/$5

Bookings: Automated booking line 04 389 9056


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