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Controversial Play Unpacks PR Spin & Politics’ Secrets

Controversial Play Unpacks PR Spin & Politics’ Dirty Little Secrets

BURN HER
Written by Sam Brooks
Directed by Sam Snedden

Ideologies will be compromised, media will be manipulated and politics will be stripped down to its petty core when a man lets his hands wander in award-winning playwright Sam Brooks’ incendiary new play, BURN HER. This second offering in Q Theatre’s MATCHBOX 2018 season boasts celebrated Māori talents Miriama McDowell and Bree Peters leading the cast of this jaw-dropping, adrenaline rush of a show, playing in Q’s Loft from 2 – 18 August.

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It’s election night and a fledgling new party, The Aroha Party led by the charismatic and idealistic Aria, has captured an unlikely seat in the new parliament. As deals are made that pit the reality of government against the high rhetoric of the campaign, a crisis looms that could destroy the party’s future and Aria must decide what or who she is willing to sacrifice for her ambitions.

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BURN HER is a new political drama by Sam Brooks, one of New Zealand’s most exciting young contemporary playwrights. Already known for his searing wit and incisive commentary on modern New Zealand, this bold provocation marks a major leap forward in the scope of Brooks’ writing, out of the living room and into the cut and thrust of modern politics. Selected by Silo Theatre for their Working Titles program and highly commended winner of the 2017 Adam Award for Best NZ Play, BURN HER is an international quality script that evokes the political dramas of David Hare, Shonda Rimes, and Armando Iannucci.

Brooks heads straights into the centre of the zeitgeist, fearlessly exposing the double standards that women are held to in the media, particularly at the hands of men. Bringing forth still fresh memories of Mark Richardson asking Jacinda Ardern about her baby plans just a day into becoming the new Labour leader and the media scrutiny that Metiria Turei faced in her admission about benefit fraud, 2017’s election proved sexism is alive and well in media and politics. Written pre-Weinstein, Brooks explores and exposes the role that PR spin has in controlling the population. Just how dirty does a publicist have to get to make a politician clean?

Taking the role of the ruthless spin doctor George Rush is Bree Peters. Much-loved (and hated) as the master manipulator Pania Stevens in Shortland Street, Peters is delighted to return to the stage opposite the fiercely talented Miriama McDowell (Find Me a Māori Bride, Pop Up Globe, Waru).

Walking straight over the minefield of contemporary gender politics, Brooks’ emotionally-charged scenario places the male characters as plot devices only with the two lead women in the centre of the frame.

A journalist and popular culture critic who is also TV Editor for The Spinoff, Sam Brooks has won the Bruce Mason Award, been highly commended in the prestigious Adam NZ Play Awards twice and won Playmarket’s b425 Competition. His canon of work includes the plays Riding in Cars with (Mostly Straight) Boys, Wine Lips, Stutterpop, Queen and Twenty Eight Millimetres. Most recently, Sam has been going viral for his provocative dissections of Dancing with the Stars.

BURN HER is the second of three collaborations between Brooks and director Sam Snedden this year. In February they united for the Auckland Pride hit Twenty Eight Millimetres and in November, will create the graduation production for The Actors Program.

Snedden is perhaps best known for his work as an actor with Silo Theatre and his long stint as the Business Development Manager for The Basement. His directorial credits include Abigail’s Party and The Opening Night Before Christmas. For this production he has cast an ensemble of top-shelf talent including Andi Crown (Awkward Love, Abigail’s Party), Roy Ward (Nell Gwynn, The Brokenwood Mysteries), Geordie Holibar (Twenty Eight Millimetres, Shortland Street) alongside promising newcomer Amelia Reynolds (Pop Up Globe, Stomach).

BURN HER is a not-to-be missed theatre event, the second in Q Theatre’s much-lauded MATCHBOX Creative Development Programme. Fearless, literate, relevant.

BURN HER plays Loft, Q Theatre
August 2-18 2018
Tues-Sat, 7pm | Sun, 5pm

Book at qtheatre.co.nz/burn-her or 09 309 9771


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