The Blackening @ BATS Theatre (23rd June 2009)

Went to join Liviu and friends to a play at BATS Theatre tonight called The Blackening by NZ playwriter Paul Rothwell. Cost $20 for the 1-hour long play that started at 7pm. This was the first play I've seen that had an all-male cast - very dramatic, full of emotions and rather Kiwi (slang and part NZ farm culture). Interesting and not quite like what I had imagined the play to be.

The story was about the return of older brother, Mal, to see his younger brothers, Dan and Brody, in the apple orchard they all grew up in. Dan was filled with hatred and resent with Mal, while Brody couldn't really remember his older brother after his accident (fell from an apple tree). The guy who played Brody did a very good job playing this 19-year-old kid who was not quite there in the head (he wasn't exactly that dumb given his quirky comebacks) - his expression and behaviour was very believable and I couldn't help but feel my motherly side coming out, wanting to just hug him and tell him everything is ok. It was rather humourous yet icky that they used a fox/possum skin with head, legs and tail intact as their dog, and was curling the 'thing' around their necks as part of the play. Eww...made me cringed...I take my hat off the guy who played Mal - he was amazing in his act which included smashing an apple on his head AND getting belted on his leg/butt, at every show. Good on ya mate!

I've been to several plays at the BATS and they usually require some form of thinking i.e. you would have the same person play more than one character and needed to get them right so the whole story made sense. I couldn't quite figure out this character May (Dan's wife and former love of Mal) - parts of the play had the guys playing Brody and Mal put on a dressing gown, as if playing the character of May, yet it didn't quite make any sense and one wonders if there was a gay character in the play. Hmm...

Thanks Liviu for organising this - looking forward to attend more cultured events together (he's my new culture-enthusiastic friend)! :) Oh, and you can pick up a free apple near the ticketing counter as you leave, all part of promoting the play haha!


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