City of the Future

Hamiltron - City of the Future

(Design thiefed from mrvintage.co.nz)

The programme for the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival has been released. The whole festival runs from 17 February to 1 March 2012, and it’s held within the grounds of the best thing Hamilton has to offer. There are so many beautiful areas, especially the themed gardens (Chinese, Japanese, Indian, American modernist, etc), and many of the shows take advantage of those onnections.

For instance, in 2010 I performed inside the Victorian Garden Conservatory as the pianist in Austen Found: The Undiscovered Musicals of Jane Austen – a slight anachronism in name (Jane Austen being from the Regency period some decades earlier), but very similar in culture and setting. read more

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The weekend

So it’s the weekend – the time between two runs of shows, and the time in which I can do a load of washing.

Last night was the close of The First Asian A* B* – it was a reasonably successful season, considering that shows from Auckland seldom get the same audience numbers as Wellington shows. There’s just not the same degree off on-the-ground promotion.

Tonight is the opening of Zomburlesque. Out of the band of six players, I’m the only one not to have seen any rehearsal of the action yet. But I’ve received descriptions from those who have… I reckon it’ll be epic. read more

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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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    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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    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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