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Follow The Call Of The Disco Ball In The Rover At Studio 77 - A Re-imagined Restoration Play At Te Herenga Waka

Meet us at Studio 77 for a night of dancing, lust, and disco fever. Escape to a world of young lovers, new paramours, starlets, artists and cons. At Carnival, anything goes when the sun goes down. However, when the unrestrained cavaliers come to play, how many toes will they step on - and how many hearts will be broken?

The Rover (1677) is an adaptation of Aphra Behn’s proto-feminist Restoration comedy - resituated in an iconic nightclub, over one night in 1977. With a narrative exploring distinct ideas of gender and sexuality, the play interweaves three love stories made complex by the spirit of the age, the thrill of the night, and youthful desires for liberation.

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington presents The Rover as the debut production from the Theatre company ‘The Seventy-Sevens’: a collaboration between the THEA 301:Company and the THEA 308: Scenography classes of 2024. The season brings six performances from the 28th of May until the 1st of June, at Victoria University’s Studio 77. In our current post-#MeToo context, ‘The Seventy-Sevens ’ aim to compare the risks and realities of sexual liberation between the 1670s and 1970s, exploring the idea that inclusion does not always amount to equality.

Through the imaginative creativity of the Scenography class, we aim to create intricate set designs, reminiscent of the notorious Studio 54, with costumes and music evoking the time. This is an energetic, rowdy and vibrant production, directed by Nicola Hyland with Design direction by Lucas Neal.

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Actor Nathaniel Smith, who plays one of our eponymous ‘Rover’ roles, Wilmore, exclaims “Everybody’s various skills are coming to the forefront. The time period of The Rover was one of great turmoil and longing to escape from it through extravagance and ignorance - so the parallels to the 1970s club life is obvious. The play is all about escaping life worries, be it for better or for worse or for much much worse, and I believe we’re on track to really achieve something great.”

‘The Seventy-Sevens’ seek to call to attention the ways that female sexual liberation continues to be exploited and manipulated. In the dizzying reflection of a disco ball, escapist dreams become tangled nightmares - will young hearts run free?

The Rover will run from the 28th of May to the 1st of June at Studio 77 on Fairlie Terrace, Kelburn, Wellington. Tickets can be purchased on eventfinder

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