Award-winning Playwright Stars In Crypt-tivating Solo Play, Basement By Thomas Sainsbury
For three nights, the black box theatre at The Meteor will be transformed into a dingy, dank basement for local company TAHI TA’I TASI’s production of Thomas Sainsbury’s Basement. Living there will be award-winning playwright Benny Marama, directed by veteran performer Nick Clothier.
Basement tells the story of Paul Thompson, a telemarketer who rents a basement for a month to live in in order to run away from his many problems. However, it’s been three months and food and water are starting to run out. On top of that, he thinks that someone (or something) has entered his haven. “When I first read it, I found it really funny. As we got deeper into rehearsals however, I found a lot of it resonated with me; the want to hide from your problems until they magically disappear”, says Marama. “The truth is, is that they don’t. Exploring the fallout of that is really interesting to me and I think speaks to a lot of people.”
Writer Thomas Sainsbury is often known for his use of Snapchat filters to create short comedic videos, with his most iconic characters being his impressions of Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges, and characters like Gingerbread the cat. Here, he has written a darkly comedic tale of irresponsibility and hopeful redemption. Says Marama “I’m a huge fan of the characters that he creates. While they’re ridiculous on the outset, there’s something deeper in each of them that is so relatable, which is Paul.”
About the process, director Nick Clothier says “It’s been more about playing around with the space and keeping everything claustrophobic. Given that we live in a post-lockdown world, it’s almost strange to suddenly be thrust into a situation where we’re trapped in a confined space.”
“It’s been a while since I’ve performed and I’ve never performed solo before, so this is either going to be an incredible experience or a massive disaster”, says Marama. “Hopefully it’s the former, but I can deal with the latter if that’s the case.”
Basement by Thomas Sainsbury is on at The Meteor Theatre from July 30 to August 1 at 7:30. Tickets are available at www.themeteor.co.nz/events.