That’s right!  Rather than just boringly decide which play to do next year, we’ll be playing them off against each other, right here on this ’blog, for your pleasure!

Avid regular readers (come on, there are dozens of you, admit it!) will have seen in the last post we hypothesized a number of possible scenarios for The Bacchanals’ activity in 2012.  Other People’s Wars opens on April 17 at BATS (why don’t you e-mail them on book@bats.co.nz and try and book now?!  Go on, it’d be hilarious!), David is hard at work on a new text of The Clouds as you read this (hard at work = drunk in the bath with a book), and the reverse-gender Importance of Being Earnest virtually plays itself, so consider those both a go also.  But we’re really keen, after the sublime fun of Julius Caesar, to do another church hall/community centre touring Shakespeare, probably around May/June, but narrowing them down is hard because not every play is an ideal contender.

The requirements are that it be a) low tech, i.e. something that doesn’t need more prop/set items than can be comfortably shoved into a car; b) a decent ensemble piece, or at least a piece where everyone gets one decent role (yeah, Julius Caesar didn’t exactly fulfil that brief, but hey, it had the fun crowd scenes!); c) a tolerable length, i.e. two and a half hours max, as opposed to three plus!  Additional desired (but not essential) qualities are that it be a play saying something significant and pertinent about the world at this very moment (well, it’s a given that almost every Shakespeare play does that, but by example: Julius Caesar was always going to be more relevant to Wellington in November 2012 than, say, As You Like It) so we’re looking not so much for the timeless as the topical; it’d be good to have a play that hasn’t been staged in Wellington recently (so no Love’s Labour’s Lost) or won’t be in the International Arts Festival (that said, Troilus and Cressida’s on the shortlist!); and it’d be nice to have a play with decent female roles.

The current shortlist comprises TEN PLAYS, and over the next few weeks (as David re-reads them all with fresh eyes!) we’ll be loosing them on each other, one-on-one, and the play that emerges from each round with its opponent a savaged bloody heap on the floor of the ring will carry on victorious to the next round – the next round being that we’ll read it aloud as a company to see what we think!

ROUND ONE: ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL VERSUS KING JOHN!

All’s Well That Ends Well hails from somewhere around 1602-4, written during a lengthy period of theatre closure due to plague.  It’s labelled a ‘Problem Play’ these days and grouped with Measure For Measure and Troilus and Cressida.  The misconception is that ‘Problem Play’ means it’s problematic but in fact this is a 19th-century term (popular in terms of describing the works of Shaw and those other lofty long-winded Victorian dramatists) meaning that the plays raise particular moral dilemmas and questions.  I’ve always seen them, in my grand theory of Shakespeare as an evolutionary dramatist continually refining the same story, character and thematic ideas, as a trilogy: All’s Well is the first attempt, Measure is the refinement of the ideas, and then Troilus is the subversion.  Helena, Isabella and Cressida are all versions of the same unjustly-wronged-by-men women; Bertram, Claudio and Troilus all versions of the same petulant young anti-hero; Parolles, Lucio and Thersites all versions of the same slandering braggart; and the King in All’s Well, the Duke in Measure and Pandarus in Troilus all versions of the same stage-managerial arch-manipulator.

In All’s Well, the orphaned Helena, though lowly-born and female, possesses the medical knowledge that cures the French King of a fatal disease and in recompense he offers her any husband she wishes regardless of class barrier.  She chooses Bertram but he is repulsed at the match, enforced by the King, and runs off to Italy on their wedding night saying “’Til I have no wife I have nothing in France”, telling Helena that until she can get the ring off his finger and prove their marriage consummated, he’ll never acknowledge her as his wife.  Poor Helena takes all the blame on herself for not being good enough to be worthy Bertram’s love, fakes her own death, follows him to Italy and, in a dry run of the same device used in Measure For Measure, employs a ‘bed-trick’ whereby Bertram thinks he’s sleeping with a hot young Italian virgin, but in fact is sleeping with Helena.  The King unravels all the tangled plot elements, Bertram is forced to admit Helena as his wife, and everyone lives happily ever after.

Pros: Strong female roles in Helena, the Countess of Rossillion and Diana; the play has a really lovely pre-Cymbeline fairy tale quality balanced with a post-Twelfth Night melancholy; the subplot involving the gulling of Parolles has a bitterness to it which makes it more possible for us to sympathise with him than we do Lucio in Measure; the ‘public’ scenes overseen by the King are really strong; and the political/martial elements of the plot are straightforward and undistracting rather than convoluted.

Cons: While nicely morally ambiguous, some parts of the play seem a little simplistic/crude compared to their Measure For Measure cousins; the Clown is pretty weak (Lavatch, which I presume is meant to be a variant of La Vache – his name is The Cow!); it’d be a challenge to make Bertram seem a nice guy to 21st century audiences; and little in the way of great poetry or memorable lines.

King John is a hard one to date.  In the 1990s I liked Honigmann’s theory that the anonymous 1591 play The Troublesome Raigne of Iohn King of England was not the source for but in fact a Bad Quarto of Shakespeare’s play, putting it in the late-1580s as one of Shakespeare’s earliest works.  In the intervening years, my since-developed biographical theory of the trajectory of Shakespeare’s chronology has seen me side with the scholars who put it in 1596, making its attitude to dead sons stem from the death of Shakespeare’s own son that same year.  If it’s from Shakespeare’s first phase of playwriting – from his arrival in London in the late-1580s to the formation of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men in 1594 – then those early years become very very full (Errors, Two Gents, Shrew, Edward III, Titus Andronicus, the three parts of Henry VI and Richard III at the very least); if it’s from 1596 then it’s the only Shakespeare play of the pre-Globe Lord Chamberlain’s Men that was never published in his lifetime (the 16 plays that appeared for the first time in the 1623 Folio are all either pre-1594 when company allegiance and ownership of playbooks changed regularly, or post-1599 when Shakespeare’s company kept much tighter control over their product).  I thought, then, I’d be able to determine stylistically where it fell … but re-reading it this week for the first time in 15 years, I can’t decide because, well, it’s boring as hell.  I’d thought my opinion tainted by the hugely unpleasant time I had working on the 1997 Summer Shakespeare (‘King John In The Dell Is Dull’ was the Dominion review’s headline), but reading it with those memories long-distant hasn’t done anything to improve it.

King John, refusing to acknowledge his nephew Arthur as rightful heir to the throne of England, leads an army against King Philip of France, under whose care Arthur and his mother Constance reside.  After many long speeches, John and Philip agree that instead of fighting, they’ll marry Philip’s son Lewis to John’s niece Blanche, but immediately after the wedding John gets excommunicated for refusing to appoint the Pope’s preferred candidate as Archbishop of Canterbury, France sides with Rome and there is much fighting.  John’s forces win and take Arthur prisoner; John employs Hubert to kill Arthur by blinding him but Hubert relents at the last minute; John has a change of heart and is relieved; but then Arthur falls from the battlements of the castle and dies anyway.  Act Five sees more England vs. France fighting while John dies, poisoned by an offstage monk.  The play’s most famous character is Philip the Bastard, the Geordie illegitimate child of Lady Faulconbridge and Richard the Lionheart, who stands in the background of the crowd scenes and army stand-offs being a smartarse, gets several soliloquies, and finishes the play with a rousing patriotic nationalistic speech.

Pros: the scene where Hubert fails to murder Arthur is great – “Must you with hot irons burn out both mine eyes?” – and Constance has some lovely speeches – “Grief fills the room up of my absent child”.  Plenty of nice epic rhetoric and triple isocolons aplenty.

Cons: Nice epic rhetoric and triple isocolons make for good reading, but they don’t necessarily make for a great play.  I’d remembered the Bastard as being a great character but he actually comes across as a thug and bully, and his soliloquies make him seem simple, not complex.  I think the only way to adequately deal with King John is to treat it as the 1997 Summer Shakespeare did: create a production of visual spectacle, full of vivid costumes and set-pieces, giant battle scenes, music, pyrotechnics and lighting effects, to disguise the fact that as a text it is excruciatingly boring.

THE VERDICT: do vivid costumes and set pieces, giant battle scenes, music, pyrotechnics and lighting effects to disguise a boring text sound like a Bacchanals show to you?  Let’s go for moral ambiguity and bed-tricks over hot-poker-in-the-eleven-year-old’s-eyes.  All’s Well That Ends Well defeats King John easily and goes through to Round Two, while King John sinks back into obscurity.  Sorry John, I’ll take you off the shelf again in another 15!

Next time: Round Two – Edward III versus Troilus and Cressida!  Can the Black Prince defeat the mighty Ajax?  Which is seedier – Troilus’ seduction of Cressida or Edward’s seduction of the Countess of Salisbury?  Place your bets now!

That’s right, folks – hot on the heels of our Chapman Kip victory, we also won some Chapman Tripps!

Huge congratulations from all of us here at the bunker to the brilliant Dean Parker for winning the Outstanding New NZ Play award for Slouching Toward Bethlehem on Sunday night, and to the magnificent Phil Grieve for his Outstanding Performance Accolade for his portrayal of Muldoon.  As for the other nominees, David and Alex … well, as Homer Simpson would say, “Who wants to eat a loser?”  Here’s a blurry picture of Phil not as Muldoon but backstage as Caesar before the final performance of Julius Caesar in the Pit:

Yeah, all our plans to update the ‘blog daily during Julius Caesar went out the window after week one.  What can we tell you?  It all seems so far in the past now! 

It was good fun performing at the Tararua Tramping Clubrooms where we rehearsed Yours Truly and I.D. in 2005, Hamlet in 2006 and King Lear in 2007.  Sorry about the terrible giggles we all got when Salesi crashed that handshake in the final act.  Here’s a photo of us just before the show started.  Look at all those chucks!

Ahh, how we love the Island Bay Community Centre.  David bought a banjo that day and tried to play it at the interval.  And we had a nice drink at a pub afterwards.  Does this photo imply a blossoming romance?

We enjoyed returning to the Newtown Community Centre where David once directed The Tempest (when he was 19), played Starveling in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (when he was 11) and saw his old dad (who would have been 80 this month!!!!) in numerous amateur shows, most notably as an ugly sister in Cindarella, when he was very very young.  Here’s an atmospheric backstage photo from Newtown.  Can you identify the actors?? 

New venue the Hataitai Bowling Club was a strong contender for favourite venue of the tour.  Really cosy and intimate, and a lovely sunny evening.  Look at how incongrous our stuff looked in there!

The following night we enjoyed a gale that threatened to take the roof off of The Long Hall in Roseneath – being so exposed to the elements in such a brilliant space made for a pretty weird show with a shouty first half, but it’s an amazing space and we’ll be back!  Elle is enjoying the wind here as we wait for keys to the venue, but I don’t think Jean’s having such a great time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Khandallah Town Hall!  With its upper level!  Hooray!

The Vogelmorn Hall in Brooklyn on election night … the show was fun even if the election was not so great.  You tried your best Phil & Annette, but seriously: the cast of Julius Caesar stood a better chance of leading Labour to victory than anyone in the top 20 of Labour’s list (except Jacinda.  She should be leader!  Go on!).  I could show you numerous photos of Bacchanals swearing at the telly on election night, but instead here’s Gareth and Salesi about to head home. 

Later that night Gareth fell down a bank, and Jean fell down the same bank trying to rescue him.

Ahh, the Monday night return to our spiritual home – The Pit! (you thought we were gonna say BATS, didn’t you!)  Cramming that many people into that tiny a space was pretty mad – so mad that David couldn’t take an in-focus photo (William may have some though!).  Mental mental times!

Seriously, a huge thank you to everyone who’s supported The Bacchanals in 2011 – we couldn’t have had a better year.  And it’s been a long long time since the company has felt stable and secure enough for us to promise with certainty: we’ll be back in 2012, bigger and better than ever before! (well okay, maybe not King Lear levels of bigger and better!  But still!)  Plans are afoot, plots are being laid, licences are being signed and scripts are being secretly read in rooms with drawn curtains, while hushed conversations of confidential casting plans and surprising new theatrical spaces fly through the ether, conveyed in text message and e-mail like pigeons delivering missives and then being eaten so no one can intercept the information tied to their spindly legs.  We can confirm with alacrity (well, we haven’t paid for the licence yet nor signed contract with theatre, but it’s been announced to Julius Caesar audiences so it has to be true!): Dean Parker’s adaptation of the controversial new book Other People’s Wars by Nicky Hager will open at BATS Theatre on April 17, 2012, 8pm!  There will be AT LEAST two other things next year!  And that’s not including the premieres of Paul Rothwell’s You Be The Angel I Be The Ghost or Jonny Potts’ The No Nonsense Parenting Show! (which aren’t technically Bacchanals shows, except that there are Bacchanals in them!)  A reverse-gender version of The Importance of Being Earnest you say?!  A new text of Aristophanes’ The Clouds?!  Karel Capek’s Rossum’s Universal Robots, played as an expressionist melodrama?!  Charlotte Simmonds’ Making Out With Jon Toogood to be played as an anti-Young & Hungry play at the same time as Young & Hungry to expose what a crock of teen-angst self-indulgent crap most Young & Hungry plays are?!?  Tartuffe but with everyone played as characters from The Simpsons?!!? (Orgon as Homer makes sense, as does Cleante as Ned Flanders, but does that mean Tartuffe is Mr Burns, Sideshow Bob or Moe?)  Another touring Shakespeare which may or may not be All’s Well That Ends Well, The Merchant of Venice, Timon of Athens, King John, Much Ado About Nothing, Pericles, Cymbeline, Troilus and Cressida or Antony and Cleopatra?!?! (you could vote for your preference right here right now on this ‘blog!)  A Christmas musical?!?!?!?!  It’s all too overwhelming and unbelievable.  But some of it will happen, and you read it here first!  Unless you found this ‘blog posting after the official website has been updated, or after the shows themselves have actually happened, in which case – hope you were there, and that they were great!

Next time: Official Announcements of The Bacchanals’ Exciting Programme For 2012!!!

That’s right, now that Julius Caesar is over, we can focus on the REAL reason people perform plays and make art!

Apologies for abject failure to update this ’blog through every day of the Julius Caesar season, but honestly, the web statistics tell me that our readership isn’t exactly skyrocketing and since no one posts comments on any of the ’blog postings, many at Bacchanals HQ (we operate from a hut deep in the jungle!) fear that regular ’blog updates are not a useful expenditure of our time and resources, not when we can be planning our counterstrike against the Tamil Tigers.  There are photos aplenty of Julius Caesar in all its guises to be painstakingly uploaded to our ’blog, website, twitter and MyFace pages, but for the interim, let’s bask in the glory of winning awards!

Last night a strong Bacchanals contingent (eight! eight of us, I tell you!) represented the company at the annual Chapman Kip theatre awards at BATS, at which we won a strong contingent of awards (six! six awards, I tell you!).  Here are the exciting results of The Bacchanals’ labours in 2011:

  1. The cast of Slouching Toward Bethlehem won the Theatreview Award for Best Ensemble Acting of the Year!
  2. Jean Sergent won the Award for the Best Actress to play a feisty socialist grandmother in the 1930s and a well-dressed gay man in the 1980s in a play about Robert Muldoon…ahem…of the Year!
  3. The award for Best Dancing In A Play went to Robert Muldoon and Mickey Mouse in Slouching Toward Bethlehem (apparently this was a mistake and it should have gone to some dance show, but as Salesi said, it was a dance show, not a play, so it can’t win Best Dancing In A Play when it’s not a play but a dance show!  We’re keeping that award, meatbags!).
  4. Hannah Nielsen-Jones won the award for Best Stage Manager of the Year for No Taste Forever!
  5. Phil Grieve won the Award for Best Actor/Actress playing a Political Figure in an Election Year for his portrayal of Muldoon in Slouching Toward Bethlehem!
  6. And finally, Alex Greig won the much-coveted Lifetime Achievement Award.  About time!

We won’t fare nearly so well at tomorrow night’s Chapman Tripp awards, but we’ll update you as soon as those corpses stop twitching.  Keep watching the skis!

Next time: we reveal the true origins of Fiona’s whooping cough!

Yes, Julius Caesar landed in Lyall Bay tonight! And it’s after midnight so we can leak Chapman Tripp info!

What a year The Bacchanals are having!  Thanks to all who made it to the Lyall Bay show tonight – we had a GREAT night and we’re all in pretty good spirits now that theatrical award-season creeps near!  In the Chapman Kips we’re currently nominated for Best Ensemble (Slouching Toward Bethlehem), Best Actor Playing A Politician In An Election Year Play (Phil for Slouching Toward Bethlehem), Best Break-up (Jack Marshall and the National Party – STB again!), Best Stage Manager (yay Hannah Nielsen-Jones!!), Best Fight (No Taste Forever!) and the nomination for Best Line in an NZ Play – “The teapot – my arch-nemesis!” – was a rehearsal-room pitch by David which made it into the final script of Love In The Time Of Vampires!  Salesi has fared well in best cross-gender acting and best pash (Public Service Announcements) … And at the more serious highbrow end of things, the Chapman Tripps (the serious ones held in a ridiculously proper theatre space and with everyone being all full of solemnity instead of the ones held at BATS with everyone drunk and silly) feature FOUR Bacchanals-related nominations!  That’s right – Slouching Toward Bethlehem has been nominated for Outstanding New New Zealand Play, Alex has been nominated in the Outstanding Performance/Actor of the Year category (for his performance in The Engine Room, but still, he’s ours really!), as has Phil for his performance in Slouching Toward Bethlehem, and David has been nominated for Director of the Year!

Yeah, who cares about awards?  What you really want is the gossip on the Women Of The Bacchanals, as promised earlier in the week.  This isn’t meant to be a sexist or offensive post.  It’s more to make the point that, well, some of Shakespeare’s plays aren’t that kind to women and the women in Julius Caesar fare fairly crappily.  And I’m sure I speak on behalf of the rest of the Men Of The Bacchanals (yep, those with long memories may recall that was the planned title for our 2006 calendar, conceived on a late night in the winter of 2005 as Josh, James, Alex, Hadleigh and David drank port around the fire in a hotel in Whangarei.  Ah, the glory days!) when I say it grieves me a little every time we perform Julius Caesar that such a brilliant array of female actors get such a raw deal in this play.

Jean plays an assortment of roles originally written for men and also sings before the show starts.  Jean – an Aries – works at the War Memorial, at the BATS box office, has an amazing cat and an amazing voice.  Brianne gets to play Calphurnia which means she has one scene in which her husband mocks her publicly for being barren, and then one scene where he ignores her and goes to work anyway.  In real life, Bri – a Pisces – is a brilliant publicist (she is single-handedly responsible for the number of times we managed to get Muldoon mentioned in The Dominion Post this year) and also has an amazing singing voice.  Kirsty was a slave to the evil corporation known as Ticketek for a long time, but has escaped them and now works at the Film Archive.  Kirsty – a Capricorn – is tall and thin beyond belief, speaks German, and her belching can be heard in the deepest forests of the Amazon.  She also gets to play an assortment of roles written for men.  Her eyes aren’t really that red; it’s all the fault of Photoshop!

Dasha had an unpleasant experience recently where, during an exam (Dasha – a Taurus – studies Law & Psychology when she isn’t working at the Pit or the BATS box office) someone copied all her answers, so the examiners removed them both from the exam and made them sit the exam again.  Dasha passed and the cheater was kicked out of the course!  In Julius Caesar Dasha plays a bunch of roles written for boys, and has the smallest line count of the whole cast.

Elle enjoys eating.  We have plenty of file photographs of her eating, but thought we’d put this one in instead (taken, no doubt, just after she’d been eating).  Elle – a Capricorn – works as a dental assistant and gets to play Portia in Julius Caesar, meaning that like Brianne she gets ignored by her husband in her couple of substantial scenes, and then she commits suicide offstage.

So there you have it!  Jean, Bri, Dasha, Kirsty, Elle – we (that is, Alex, Andrew, Benjamin, David, Phil, Salesi, William and Jonny) would like to say, YOU ARE GREAT and sorry the play has such crap women’s roles.  Next time we’ll do a play that serves you better!

Next time: Julius Caesar hits the Tararua Tramping Clubrooms – don’t miss it!

That’s right, it’s time for an update on upcoming venues and performances!

On Wednesday 16 November (happy birthday Mark!) we’ll be at St Jude’s, Freyberg Street, Lyall Bay at 7pm!

On Friday 18 November we’re looking forward to a crazy rocking night in the mighty Tararua Tramping Clubrooms, on Moncrieff Street, Mount Victoria at 7pm – our first time there since rehearsals for King Lear in 2007.  It’s a great space – wonderful and central – and if you’re lucky, we’ll be drinking at The Pit just down the road by 10pm!

On Saturday 19 November we’ll celebrate the birthday of the beautiful brilliant Fiona McNamara by giving the show of our lives in the cosy confines of the Island Bay Community Centre at 7pm!

On Monday 21 November we’ll be at the Newtown Community Centre at 7pm.  A long long heritage with this space – David directed an amateur production of The Tempest there in 1995, performed his first Shakespeare there as an 11 year-old in 1986, and used to see his old dad playing various roles in various amateur shows there in the late ’70s and early ’80s – so we’re looking forward to a good night.

On Tuesday 22 November we’ll be at the Hataitai Bowling Club at 7pm.  Clearly not the Labour stronghold we thought it was, given our posters seem to be being ripped down (admit it, Chris F!), but it’s the home suburb of David and Phil so we’re glad to be able to walk to work!  And what a day – director Peter Hall turns 81, Terry Gilliam turns 71 and Michael K Williams (Omar from The Wire!) turns 45!

On Wednesday 23 November we’re REALLY looking forward to the unique, intimate and atmospheric environment of The Long Hall in Roseneath – 13b Maida Vale Road – and hoping it doesn’t rain or the roof takes off in the wind!  7pm!

We don’t currently have a show on 24 November, but then Beatles birthdays are kinda like religious holidays for some of us. (What do you mean, Pete Best doesn’t count?!  Shame on you!)

On Friday 25 November we’ll be at the Khandallah Town Hall at 7pm! Always fun to venture into the north – do they still have that giant wall to keep out the wildlings?

On Saturday 26 November we’ll be doing a special Election Night show at the Vogelmorn Hall in Brooklyn.  I know, I know, you’d rather be at home watching the Election – but please please please come on down; the election is the whole reason we decided to do this show so we’d love you to be there!!

On Monday 28 November we’ll be at The Pit at BATS.  We know how the assassination will work, but god knows where all the corpses will go in Act V!  But we’ll make it work, somehow!

I know, I know, you were promised a ’blog entry on the women of The Bacchanals and how great they are.  Soon!  Soooooon!!  But in the interim, here’s a picture of Jean, to get things started:

Next time: More Stuff!  More Photos!  More Excitement!  Chapman Kip nominations! Chapman Tripp nominations! And much much more!

The unstoppable juggernaut of relentlessness that is the Julius Caesar tour of 2011 had its second show this evening!

All is well!  Caesar died as expected (although just after the kids who had to be in bed by 8pm had gone home), Rome fell into civil war but was then re-united by the powers of the Triumvirate and David remembered whilst dead the amazing piece of direction he’d forgotten to give before the show that would make the last three scenes SO much clearer.  Next time! (it’s about the traffic of hats between characters)  Thanks to all the folk in Makara who turned out tonight – we had a great time with you guys!

The theme of tonight’s post was going to be ‘The Women Of The Bacchanals’ (or The Bacchae if you wanna get classical!) in honour of Facebook allegations that some of the women in the show are quite hot (it’s a lie – they ALL are).  We even prepped a series of arty photos which would accompany a blog-essay on the many ways in which Brianne, Dasha, Elle, Kirsty and Jean are the most smart, intelligent, funny, beautiful, kickarse women you could possibly have in a production of Julius Caesar.  But it’s 2am and we can’t be arsed uploading all the photos tonight.  (Later in the week when I can sponge off free wireless on campus!!)

Instead, here’s a photo of our favourite letterbox in Makara:

In other news today it was confirmed that we will indeed be performing in The Pit at BATS on Monday 28 November – it’ll be pretty insanely cramped but we’re really looking forward to it!  Otherwise, we’ll see you all at St Jude’s on Freyberg Street, Lyall Bay, this Wednesday the 16th at 7pm!!

Next time: more photos! more venues! as Julius Caesar continues!

 

That’s right – Julius Caesar is alive and kicking!  Julius Caesar, on the other hand, was stabbed last night!

Thanks to everyone who made it to St Peter’s Hall in Paekakariki last night for the first performance of Julius Caesar.  We had a great time and are looking forward to seeing folk at the Makara Community Hall tomorrow (Monday!) at 7pm!  While we promised a picture of blurry rehearsal room corpses, I thought first you might like to see some of the cast and some of the audience with a wonderful CAKE they baked for us – that’s right, koha doesn’t mean give us cash.  The Bacchanals will happily accept baking, fresh fruit and vegetables, gluten-free bread and catfood! 

Here too is the promised picture of corpses.  Not as interesting as a cake, we know!

Well how about this: the endgame of the second game in what promises to be a season-long chess tournament between David and Dasha.  So far the score stands at two victories to Dasha.  Can you see where David went wrong?  Answers on the back of a postcard!

Next time: will the Makara audience bake us an even bigger cake?  Visit us again to find out!  Plus, more confirmed venues!!!

That’s right, Julius Caesar is less than 24 hours away! (24 hours away from BEING STABBED, you mean!!)  Ah, those Italian politicians!

Look, some updated dates & venues:

Saturday 12 November – St Peter’s Hall, Paekakariki!

Monday 14 November – Makara Community Hall!

Wednesday 16 November – St Jude’s, Freyberg Street, Lyall Bay!

Friday 18 November – Tararua Tramping Clubrooms, Moncrieff Street, Mount Victoria!

Saturday 19 November – Island Bay Community Centre!

Monday 21 November – Newtown Community Centre!

Tuesday 22 November – Hataitai Bowling Club!

Friday 25 November – Khandallah Town Hall!

Saturday 26 November – Vogelmorn Hall, Brooklyn!

Expect some more dates and venues soon!

Did I promise a picture?  Oh, okay … um, let’s see what the internet connection will handle.  Erm, have you seen the poster?

Next time: some blurry rehearsal room photos of Roman corpses!

UPDATED on Tuesday 8 November to include new dates and venues!

That’s right! After the full-on set/costume/prop extravaganza that was No Taste Forever! in January, and the Poor Theatre-agit prop piece of NZ history that was Slouching Toward Bethlehem in September, it’s time for the third and final Bacchanals show of 2011, our eleventh birthday year! So no frills-Poor Theatre that it makes Slouching Toward Bethlehem look like a central city piece of prime real estate getting a $90,000 taxpayer bail-out, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar will hit spaces in and around Wellington THIS NOVEMBER with all the excitement and momentum of a thing you didn’t realise was suddenly happening turning up down the road from your house!

It’s election time in NZ in case you weren’t aware, and we thought it’d be nice to remind the country’s public that really, nothing much has changed in 2000 years. Julius Caesar is Shakespeare’s classic tale of how a homeless man living in the central city predicts that a politician will be stabbed in the back by his closest friends, right after an important victory at an international sporting event and a massive earthquake! Timely and precognizant? Don’t be silly – the fault is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings, destined to repeat the same patterns throughout the history of humanity!

Rather than announce all the dates and venues when everything’s confirmed, we thought we’d better get on with it and tell you stuff now since the first show is not far away (we’ll update this as we go) but for now mark these dates, times and places:

On SATURDAY 12 NOVEMBER we’ll be at St Peter’s Hall, Paekakariki at 7pm!

On MONDAY 14 NOVEMBER we’ll be at the Makara Community Hall at 7pm!

On WEDNESDAY 16 NOVEMBER we’ll be at St Jude’s, Lyall Bay (behind the church on Freyberg Street) at 7pm!

On FRIDAY 18 NOVEMBER we’ll be rocking hard at the good ol’ Tararua Tramping Clubrooms, Mount Victoria (on Moncrieff Street, just up from the Courtenay Place bottlestore) at 7pm!

On SATURDAY 19 NOVEMBER (Fiona McNamara’s birthday!) we’ll be at the Island Bay Community Centre at 7pm!

On MONDAY 21 NOVEMBER we’ll be at the Newtown Community Centre at 7pm!

On TUESDAY 22 NOVEMBER you can find us at the Hataitai Bowling Club at 7pm!

Expect announcements soon about performances in Brooklyn, maybe Petone, and anywhere else we can think of! (and hey, want us to do a show in your living room? Send us an e-mail and we’ll do it!)  There was even talk in tonight’s rehearsal (that’s right, the show has had some rehearsals! not many! but some!) of a few guerilla-outings – maybe on the steps of Parliament on election day! (yeah, we’ll get arrested, but so ….?)

All performances are FREE/KOHA – don’t think of this as some arduous sitting down enduring a play crap; think of it as an evening in your living room in which some folk perform a wee play for you while you drink a beer/sip a tea/smoke a cigar. Put some money in a hat at the end so we can pay for the venue and give everyone change for the bus home. Let’s put an end to this ‘entitled artists’ bullshit and rip-and-run instead. Julius Caesar’ll be some folk in a room sharing a story. And if you want to wear your jandals or bring your dog, you rock that shit out and we be down with it.

Tell your friends! It’ll be great. Julius Caesar, with Alex Greig as Brutus, Jonny Potts as Antony, Phil Grieve as Caesar, Salesi Le’ota as Casca, Brianne Kerr as Calphurnia, Elle Wootton as Portia, Jean Sergent as Metellus, Kirsty Bruce as Decius, Andrew Goddard as Octavius, Dasha Fedchuk as Lucius, William O’Neil as Cinna, Benjamin Haddock as Trebonius and Walter Plinge as Cassius. Turn up before 7pm and maybe bring a cushion with you, and we’ll take you to Rome and back in two and a half hours with a cuppa in the middle. See you there!

That’s right, there are only five shows left – hury hurry hurry!!

Thanks to everyone who managed to get along to Slouching Toward Bethlehem last week – we had a FANTASTIC time getting the show up and running and the response so far has been great.  We’re updating the ‘blog – for the FOURTH TIME THIS YEAR (eek!) – to alert you to the fact that there are only five more performances left of this brilliant play before you’ll never get the chance to see it (or at least our production of it) again!

Theatreview says “Don’t miss it!”  !!

The Dominion Post says “At last! A play that isn’t confined to how we relate to our friends, enemies, family and lovers.”  !!

Rosemary McLeod asks in last Thursday’s Dominion Post how we can in all conscience call Muldoon NZ’s most evil prime minister!!

Someone in today’s Dominion Post asks how Rosemary McLeod can in all conscience say we’re wrong?  !!

All of these questions and more will be answered when you book to see our production of Dean Parker’s Slouching Toward Bethlehem right this minute by calling (04) 802-4175 or e-mailing book@bats.co.nz.  We’re on at BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace, Wellington at SIX O’CLOCK SHARP Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and finally Saturday!  Come see the show and stay and have a drink with us afterwards.

It ain’t just a play about men wearing suits.  Here’s a photo to prove it:

Next time: So you missed Slouching Toward Bethlehem?  Never fear, Julius Caesar with the same set, actors, costumes etc. is on the way!!!