- Written by: Ella Hickson
- Directed by: Simon Vincent
- Circa Two
- 05 August − 03 September
Due to popular demand, the final performances (Friday, 2 September and Saturday, 3 September) of EIGHT will feature all eight characters! The running time for those shows will be 2 hours, 5 minutes (including interval).
EIGHT lives. SIX choices. YOUR night.
Eight matches Britain’s most striking young writer with New Zealand’s hottest young actors and here’s the exciting bit…it’s you that does the matching! Each night is a new show. Literally. This dynamic and interactive theatre event provides you, the audience, with the opportunity to choose your cast of six characters before you enter the theatre. Your choice will be based on who they are, where they come from and, with the partnership of a number of innovative NZ fashion designers, what they are wearing.
With eight brilliantly observed and sharply told monologues by eight distinct and unforgettable characters, 23-year-old London playwright Ella Hickson has defined her generation its own terms. Each character offers a refreshingly offbeat take on growing up in a world where EVERYTHING has become acceptable. They've all got something to say. The question is, do you want to hear it?
1. Millie - Wielding a tennis racquet, quoting Betjeman and offering an indomitable service of meat and two veg; our Millie has just the remedy for recession-weary bankers. Millie wears Madame Hawke.
2. Mona - Daughter of a bohemian mother, Mona is searching for a little security and the vestry of St. Barnabus provides what she needs. But it's a questionable 'divine encounter' that keeps her there; devotion or delusion - you decide. Mona wears Nom*D.
3. Danny - Danny re-lives his tour of duty in Iraq before returning home and taking up his old hobby of body-building - but this time he's doing it in a morgue. Danny wears Workshop.
4. Bobby - Three weeks before Christmas, and down on her luck, she becomes a home-help for local lady, Mrs. Beaton. Together this odd couple discover some Christmas magic in the most unlikely of places. Bobby is dressed by her local op shop.
5. Astrid - After a big night out, Astrid creeps home and slips back into bed along-side long term boyfriend, Ben. In the hush of dawn we hear her confession and have to decide whether she is the cheat or the cheated. Astrid wears Lonely Hearts.
6. Miles - An American glory-boy, Miles was king of the trading floor before Merrill Lynch decided to send him to the London office in the summer of 2005. On July 7th, 2005 Miles boards a bus to Hackney Wick and the American dream explodes. Miles wears Mandatory.
7. Andre - originally Andrew, arrives at his trendy gallery one morning to find his boyfriend has left him in a most unexpected way - but why? Listen as Andre pieces it together, giving us an hilariously damning portrait of the contemporary art world along the way. Andre is dressed by Marvel Menswear.
8. Jude - On a summer exchange in the South of France, 18-year-old Jude is placed with 60-year-old Clara Moretti. Teenage obsession, with all its vigour, plays out with unexpected consequences - idols can't stay idols forever. Jude is dressed by his mum.
Exclusive fashion and dynamic character - choose your perfect night out!
Cast your vote at www.eight-circa.com.
"Superbly simple, slick and effective, you're blown away ... a truly impressive and exciting night of theatre; Ella Hickson is a huge writing talent." - The Scotsman
Running time: Approx 1 hour and 20 minutes (no interval)
Need help deciding who to choose? Check out the preview video on The Dominion Post website for a sneak peek into all the characters!
Cast and crew
Starring Chelsea Bognuda, Jonathan Kenyon, Jessica Robinson, Paul Waggott
05 August − 03 September
Tuesday through Saturday 7.30pm
Sunday 4.30 pm
Running time: Approx 1 hour and 20 minutes (no interval)
$33 Friends of Circa (to 18 August)
$39 Groups 6+
$36 Groups 20+
$25 Under 25s
$25 Specials Friday 5 August and Sunday 7 August
Relevant, Revelatory and Entertaining
Reviewed by Caoilinn Hughes, Theatreview, 7 August 2011
Please note: Contains Spoilers
Four talented performers play eight different characters/ monologues in the production of British writer Ella Hickson's Eight currently running at Circa Theatre. The catch is that we only get to see six of these performances. The play is marketed on its quirk: the audience has to vote which six monologues they want to see before the show. We have to accept the consequences of our choices and heed the feeling of ‘missing out' as being the point: the modern world is full of choices and we continually leave things behind.
The play has received critical acclaim overseas, but this is likely due to its entertaining, at times poignant script and appealing characters rather than its voting device. If the ‘missing out' sensation is all that important, it would be heightened if the other two monologues were going on in another room and we were literally missing out on them in real time. Moreover, the play would be better marketed as an opportunity to see six superb performances in a stimulating, contemporary play.
Jonathan Kenyon plays Miles Cooper: a twenty-something stock broker who gave 10 pence to a man one July day to help him pay for a Mars bar. That man was Asi Mir Hussein, who subsequently got on a bus in London and pressed ‘detonate'. Cooper was the only American on the bus to survive, and it takes him three years of living like David Duchovny to remember that he has a wife and child. He embodies apathy and gluttony: some of the sins of the faithless generation of affluence, which the play presents.
Kenyon performs with the coked-up energy required, and the tailored suit fits pretty well – when he's not opening and closing the suit jacket, that is. There are moments when the difficult script threatens to take over but Kenyon largely has it in his grasp.
Jessica Robinson is pitch-perfect and highly entertaining as Millie; a ‘working girl' who prefers to entertain upper class men who play cricket, enjoy recitations during intercourse and eat food cooked by women in frilly aprons. In a world where women climax to Marks & Spencers adverts, the traditionalist, anti-feminist Millie is struggling to cope with the new status quo. Her mother taught her to how to be the best ‘marital supplement' she can be, and she simply will not give up the dream of entertaining the ‘educated angels of the eighties'.
Robinson is an actress to watch out for; embracing every brilliant line of dialogue as if the script was written for her. It was a pleasure to see her again as Bobby, a working-class mother dealing with the injustices of wealth on Christmas Eve, when all she wants is for her house to be filled with the nice smells and colourful decorations of her employer's house. Robinson is credible and heart-felt in this role, even if the Scottish accent was not quite there.
Paul Waggott plays Andre, a homosexual art director who reflects on the strange adult game of his life while his partner's corpse hangs from a Hermes scarf in the other room. Waggott embraces the character with every flamboyant gesture, whim and rapid-fire witticism. He is credible and charismatic in this role – the only disappointment being that the most weighty lines at the end of the scene are delivered facing the unseen corpse backstage, and Waggott's voice and expression are lost. I would have liked to have seen those lines delivered, as would I have liked to have seen Waggott's other performance as Jude... but I missed out. And I don't feel indifferent about it – so perhaps I'm of a different generation to these characters.
Finally, Chelsea Bognuda is magnetic as Astrid – a woman who drinks and cheats on her partner, to whom she has become invisible. This concept of invisibility is at the core of the play: it is not invisibility in a relationship due to domesticity or accustomisation; it is invisibility due to lack of difference, and the impossibility of having meaning or standing out in a world where nothing is subversive, particularly valuable or exalting anymore. Bognuda is highly engaging in this role, and manages to be comic while remaining genuine throughout.
She is very comfortable on stage in this role and as Emo character Mona in her second performance; a much more stylized piece about the right of ownership which requires great control of language to manage the poetic dialogue.
With some fantastic performances, guided by director Simon Vincent, Eight is not only entertaining but relevant and revelatory, particularly for the younger generation which abounds in Wellington.