The First Asian A* B* up and running.

Place of birth / Lieu de naissance: TAKAPUNA, NEW ZEALAND

We are two performances into our eight-show season of The First Asian A* B* by Renee Liang. In a show of provincial loyalty, I went onto Trade Me and bought a second-hand 2009 North Harbour rugby jersey as a costuming decision. Its size is L, about 1.5 sizes too large for me, but it works well enough.

John Smythe has reviewed us for Theatreview, concentrating more on the script and story construction than the performances. Laurie Atkinson from the Dominion Post attended opening night; there may well be a review in Monday’s newspaper. (Edit: Dom Post review indeed appeared on Monday.) read more

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#thenewauckland

It’s been only eight weeks since I was last in Auckland, but a lot has changed In Time For The™ Rugby World Cup™. I went for a wander and tweeted my thoughts.

Impression No 1: They tidied up the airport a bit before having guests over. Impression No 2: Approaching Wynyard Quarter from Beaumont St, there ain’t the feeling you’re coming to anything spesh. Impression No 3: Wynyard Quarter looks a bit of alright. But only a bit. Impression No 4: Why, Mr City Link driver, did you run to Commerce St when I pushed bell on Fanshawe? Change for game day? Impression No 5: Queen’s Wharf is looking bloody good. Prices steep but not unbecoming of a major world sporting event. Impression No 6: Britomart Concourse is starting to resemble a real rail station. The sooner they Flinderise it the better. Impression No 7: In 1-2 hrs, pedestrian volumes will justify closing Queen St to cars from Mayoral to Customs. Won’t happen. Impression No 8: [Auckland Art Gallery] exterior looks amazing! But 4 tourists saw the temp site on Wellesley&Lorne and were confused.
Auckland Art Gallery's subliminal suggestion.

Auckland Art Gallery's subliminal suggestion.

Impression No 9: Just left [Auckland Art Gallery]. This is what I’m doing tomorrow [pic].

  • Impression No 10, overheard leaving the Queens Wharf Booze Barn: “That was pretty av, ay.”
  • Impression No 11, from the corner of Darby & Elliott Sts. More of Auckland should be like this. Bits of Newmarket, perhaps?
  • Impression No 12: Aotea Square, significantly underutilised for [the Rugby World Cup]. A good thing?
  • Impression No 13: [Q Theatre] I quite like you, well, the publicly accessible bits at least. Greys Ave end still the same.
  • Impression No 14: [University of Auckland National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries] is setting up some cool shit in Myers Park atm, hope the weather holds up for the Fan Trail.
  • Also, I forgot to mention that it was good to see The Improvisors doing their roaming character thing down at Queens Wharf. Kenny King was Captain James Cook, the others were generic scurvy dogs. read more

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    Southern preparations

    Things to do in Dunedin:

    • Call the uni Accommodation Office about accommodation
    • Call the Music Department about an office
    • Find somewhere to play indoor football. (I grazed two knees and one elbow on astroturf today, but I pulled off some wicked saves as goalie, so it was worth it.)
    • Once I’ve moved there, get a crash course in how to set up a line from Radio New Zealand’s Dunedin studios.

    Also, I might even prepare something for the 2012 Dunedin Fringe Festival. I’m in talks.

    I’ve got to speak to some people about ideas for projects – a couple of playwrights in particular who could be useful collaborators for that music theatre piece I’m so desperate to create. I am in Auckland this weekend so speakings will be spoken. There are also a few application deadlines in the next couple of months which I can’t forget about.

    In the meantime, today I got interviewed on Upbeat, a radio programme I have presented, produced, assistant-produced and supplied content for in the past. For associated music, violinist Sarah Claman (Otago Uni Honours student) performed Ha! earlier this year – so far, the only work of mine to have been performed in Dunedin. Webops kept the music in the podcast (with everyone’s permission, mind). Listen below: read more

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    Big news.

    My life is going to be exactly like this movie.

    I am the 2012 University of Otago Mozart Fellow.

    The Division of Humanities phoned me at work nearly four weeks ago to tell me the news – that phone call is what I like to call “The Ring of the Fellowship”. I’ve kept it secret (from most people) since then, although someone actually managed to guess the truth last night.

    The University Council this afternoon approved the appointment of me and three other Fellows – poet & novelist Emma Neale; artist Nick Austin and children’s writer & poet James Norcliffe (media release). read more

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    Some observations

    Observation the First: It’s only been 7 weeks since I was last in Auckland (I don’t count the terminal transfer on my USA trip), but there’s so much new stuff for me to see this weekend. Wynyard Quarter, Queen’s Wharf, The Cloud, The Improvisors entertaining RWC punters, Auckland Art Gallery, Q Theatre…

    Observation the Second but following on from the First: I’m really glad to see that the city of my birth has started getting its shit together, train systems notwithstanding. I think a certain Mr Joyce should be a little more co-operative on that front. read more

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    T* F* A* All Black

    Rugby, racing and beer… well, just rugby and beer for me at the moment.

    Since everybody else is, I’ll post this link:

    Paul Fagamalo & Benjamin Teh in The First Asian A* B*

    Paul Fagamalo & Benjamin Teh

    Rugby vs Theatre: The First Asian AB

    This interview was done by my good friend and colleague James Wenley. He’s such a good friend that I let him smash the electric guitar my parents gave me for my 12th birthday – all in the name of art. (I should really post the video of that some time.) He runs a website called Theatre Scenes, looking at the theatre scene (singular) in Auckland. Or maybe there are parallel scenes in parallel theatre universes in that city. read more

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    New Zealand Improv Festival

    The cast of The Long Weekend, a brand new show from WIT debuting at the New Zealand Improv Festival.

    The cast of The Long Weekend, a brand new show from WIT debuting at the New Zealand Improv Festival.

    Just announced is the programme for the 2011 New Zealand Improv Festival, being held at BATS Theatre in Wellington from 11 to 15 October.

    There are guests from Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Christchurch. I’ll be playing music for a significant number of the 18 shows.

    Tickets can be booked through BATS Theatre, and there are multi-show deals too.

    In other news, this website (robbie.co.nz) is still under construction. Had to have a WordPress reinstall a few days ago too. This weekend is the time to work on it. read more

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    Welcome to pressWord construction under still

    It was about time for me to upgrade my website – a single HTML page was always just a bit manky. This’ll look a bit transitional for a while as I figure out how to properly customise WordPress, which I’ve never used before.

    In the meantime, I’ve got a lot of fun things coming up in the next couple of months, mostly in Wellington but not exclusively:

    Works with Words – this event at the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival was recorded by Radio New Zealand Concert. Six works by New Zealand composers, including The Lover’s Knot, text by Renee Liang and music by me. Actor Stuart Devenie, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Kenneth Young. (Radio New Zealand Concert, Tue 20 September, 9pm.)
    Paul Fagamalo & Benjamin Teh in The First Asian A* B*

    Paul Fagamalo & Benjamin Teh in The First Asian A* B* (13-18 Sept Auckland; 22 Sept-1 Oct Wellington)

    The First Asian A* B* by Renee Liang – it’s a two-hander play which, for trademark reasons, is not called The First Asian All Black. There’s a season in Auckland first (Basement, 13-18 September) and Andrew Corrêa is doing the live music there. I go up to Auckland for the last two shows to see how he does it, then I’ll be taking over his duties for the Wellington season (BATS Theatre, 22 September to 1 October, 6pm).

  • Zomburlesque – I’ll be doin’ some old-time rag-time out-of-time trombone playing as part of Right Reverend Dr Splitfoot’s Goodtime Brimstone Band. If you didn’t pick it up, the title is a portmanteau of zombies and burlesque. (Bodega, 2, 3, 5 & 6 October, 8:30pm.)
  • The 2011 New Zealand Improv Festival – it’s back at BATS! The programme will be released shortly. (11-15 October.)
  • Austen Found: Zombie Time. I go up to Auckland to perform at the brand new Q Theatre with Instant Kiwis – they’re a group of performers who’ll be doing late-night improv every Friday night at Q. This’ll be my 78th improvised musical, a bit of a mashup along the lines of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. (Fri 21 October, 9pm.)
  • Now, back to finding a decent events listing for WordPress… read more

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