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New NZ Writer smashes onto the scene

New NZ Writer smashes onto the scene with scintillating original work.

Matthew Loveranes and his new play MoodPorn is a young writer to watch, and he’s getting some serious attention.

Shorlisted by Playmarket’s Playwrights b4 25 and selected for 2018’s Asian Ink competition, Matthew Loveranes’ MoodPorn has been a script that many have been itching to read. With its intriguing, opaque title and language that beautifully balances poetry with finely observed realism, there’s been an air of mystery around MoodPorn for quite some time. So what is it about? And what’s got the attention of acclaimed performers Heather O’Carroll and Ali Foa’i?

Atlas (Ali Foa’i) and Jane (Heather O’Carroll) are long lost friends from uni. It’s been years since they last saw each other and each are percolating some long-harboured secrets and passions. Seeing each other again seems to trigger an outflowing of emotion, some of it unwanted, and what comes out isn’t always pretty. MoodPorn is a chamber piece about guilt, unsaid feelings and learning to live with your baggage.

“I wanted to write a tender, juicy steak of a play that had different and complex flavours the more you chewed on it,” says writer Matthew Loveranes. With a Master of Arts in Scriptwriting from the International Institute of Modern Letters, MoodPorn marks Loveranes’ first script since graduation. “I went back to a tried and tested recipe: I wrote a chamber piece where secrets have been marinating between two flawed, interesting, vulnerable people. And I’m pretty satisfied with what I’ve made.”

Heather O’Carroll plays Jane and as former Programme Manager of BATS Theatre and a regular of Wellington mainstages, it’s fair to say she’s pretty familiar with what works and doesn’t in theatre. “As soon as I started reading I knew it was something I had to do, after years of being away from the theatre as an actor, it takes something special to bring you back. It has a charm, an intimacy and a truth to it, that I’m always looking for in plays, and MoodPorn has it in spades.”

Playing opposite her is Ali Foa’i as the mysterious Atlas. A playwright himself, Foa’i, was “drawn into the play by the hauntingly beautiful words.” He was also attracted to the role of Atlas because his experience was “essentially an immigrant story to New Zealand which as a Polynesian male I could relate to.”

So what can we expect to feel after we walk out of MoodPorn? Loveranes puts it best: “I want them to see the value of physically going to a theatre and watching a play and seeing a life (or two) unfold before them. I’d love to cause tectonic shifts in how they feel - about the characters, the work, and maybe even the people in their lives. I want them to feel an orgasm of emotions: MoodPorn.”

MoodPorn opens at BATS Theatre from the 23 April to the 4 May in the Heyday Dome. Tickets are $16/$22 and are now available at BATS Theatre.


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