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Good Actor Challenges Joseph Gordon-Levitt To Acting Battle

The New Zealand Fringe Festival is on the horizon and one of the institution’s most seasoned performers is spoiling for a battle… an acting battle!

Tickets are on sale now for three events in this year’s Pōneke Festival by Tāmaki Makaurau-based actor George Fenn but they are hoping for a little bit of action on the side. Fenn has their sights set on Hollywood Superstar Joseph Gordon-Levitt who has moved his TV production to New Zealand to escape the Covid-19 pandemic in the US.

“I’ve always been a fan of his,” says Fenn. “I just think it would be great to put all those MTV Movie Award nominations to the test!”

Best known for his role in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, Gordon-Levitt has been on everyone’s mind since he arrived in Pōneke in October 2020. Over the last few months, he has made headlines for praising Jacinda Ardern, selling out a screening of Mank at the Roxy and vibing in Island Bay. There is no doubt that Wellingtonians are ecstatic about having the acclaimed actor in their midst.

Fenn is no slouch in the acting department either. Since they cut their teeth with improv troupe Playshop in 2012, they have carved a path characterised by improvisation, innovation and interactivity. George's acclaim includes:

  • Spirit of the Fringe Award for Router Sidewalker (NZ Fringe Awards 2017)
  • Most Unique Show and Outstanding Performer for Sexy Ghost Boy (Christchurch Comedy Carnival 2018)
  • Most Original Concept and Best Design for Double Georgie Pie – The Ballet (Nelson Fringe Awards 2018)
  • Bad Boy of New Zealand Improv (Uncontested)


Fenn says they would love to put these skills to the test in the ring with Levitt in February or March. They propose both meet in a semi-public location and compete in a hyperbolic arena designed to test and measure an actor’s mettle.

“An acting battle is the gold standing for thespians to engage each other in honourable competition. Whereas traditional actor challenges are decided by the Academy, the more authentic method of assessment is one-on-one cage matches which test the 3 good acting qualities: moxie, grace and taking direction.”

The challenge will come as a shock to nobody who knows Fenn’s history of eclectic, interactive work. When asked what made them reach out, Fenn, 27, says. “Joseph reminds me a lot of myself when I was younger. And it’s not so much a “reach out” as calling out into a cave and listening for an echo.” Fenn encourages Gordon-Levitt to reach out to them online via the ‘No1NZ-Acting-Battling’ account on Gordon-Levitt’s collaboration website HitRecord. Gordon-Levitt is also advised to wear comfortable clothes he can move in.


Last time Fenn was in town, they graced BATS Theatre with five different shows as part of 2019’s Inter-Fenn-tion. For Fringe 2021, they have three shows lined up:

Solo Yeet
6pm, 1 – 3 March 2021
Circus Bar, 17b Allen Street, Te Aro
$7 – $10
https://fringe.co.nz/show/solo-yeet
An entire improvised theatre show performed by one person who you must assume has something to prove.

Wanted; Blaze of Glory
6pm, 5 – 8 March 2021
Circus Bar, 17b Allen Street, Te Aro
$11 – $15
https://fringe.co.nz/show/wanted-blaze-of-glory
Whether you like Bon Jovi or not, you have to admit, his songs have words in them. George Fenn proves this in this diabolical remix. An alternative comedyfeverdream for the courageous and the shot through the heart.

RISK
2pm, 6 March 2021
Toi Poneke Arts Centre, 61 – 69 Abel Smith Street, Te Aro
$30
https://fringe.co.nz/show/risk
This three hour intensive which practically explores the difference between real risk and perceived risk, and how to keep yourself and your audience safe while pushing comfort zones in all directions.

 

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