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Peggy Pickit arrives at Circa Theatre

Two countries. Two couples. Two dolls. One kitchen table. Can they change the world over dinner?

The New Zealand Premiere of Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God is opening at Circa Theatre next month and its rehearsal room is full of excitement in preparation.

The show explores two couples meeting up after six years apart for one extraordinary but challenging dinner party. Working in medical clinics on opposite sides of the globe - Martin and Carol in the developing world, Liz and Frank in the west - the couples find they have changed more than they realised during their time spent apart and their secrets begin to emerge. This comedy plays with themes of colonialism and relationships, and how what we don’t say is just as important as what we do. Truth flows freely with wine, but so do secrets, and the couples’ relationships just might not survive the night.

The friends have spent years apart, doing good on other sides of the world, but find themselves caught up in the ephemera of mundane life upon being reunited. There’s adultery in medicine, and loss too, and the characters grate up against one-another, too distant to completely get along, but too similar to disagree.

Director Giles Burton speaks on what interested him about the play, ““I think it is the combination of the subject and the exciting way that the writer tells the story. By breaking the evening down into short bursts, replaying and having the characters commenting on their actions Schimmelpfennig allows us to see peoples’ thoughts and motives from different perspectives, we may think we have a handle on something but a moment later we are shown it in a different light.”

With whip-smart dialogue, bittersweet humour, impossible choices and two dolls, Peggy Pickit steps well beyond the conventional dinner party play to examine the characters’ feelings and lives from multiple angles, and will keep you thinking long after it finishes.

Actor Fingal Pollock, playing Carol, discusses her relationship with the play, “I can understand the alienation that the characters would have felt coming back, so suddenly, into a fully developed nation. The strangeness of things we take for granted - like wine and wine glasses. Extravagant food. Material possessions. All of these things, after six years in Africa, would be alien to the point of obscene to Martin and Carol. After 2 years in Asia I walked into a London pub and was utterly flabbergasted as to the liquor collection on show. Heavens knows what the bartender thought of me as I stared at it dumbfounded!”

A New Zealand premiere appropriate for our modern lives, this play examines colonialist attitudes over freshly baked bread, and discusses quarantines and vaccinations while sharing drinks - it’s irony, of a sort. Are we doing enough to help those who are less fortunate? When is philanthropy just for self-gratification? Is it up to us to care?

“As the wine flows freely, the two couples spend the evening in a kind of circle dance, jealous of what the other has experienced while trying to find some reassurance for the choices they have made.” (Boston Globe).

Directed by Giles Burton (The Ugly One, The Man Who Was Thursday), set design from the amazing Debbie Fish (Burn Her) and featuring a fantastic cast of Patrick Davies (Scarlett and Gold, A Servant of Two Masters), Rebecca Parker, Fingal Pollock (Femme Natale) and Gavin Rutherford (Daffodils, Top of the Lake) Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God will be being performed in Circa Two from the 14th of September till the 12th of October 2019.

Circa Two
14 Sept - 12 Oct
Tuesday - Saturday: 7.30pm
Sunday: 4.30pm
Previews: 12th - 13th Sept: 7.30pm
Prices: $25 - $52

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