Lily della Porta
The Aztecs' The Oresteia', cleverly weaves the ten minute time constraint into their performance with a countdown projected onto the back wall making for an exciting, real time race against the clock as the central character, Orestes, speeds home through Wellington City. I am immediately invested and the actors, Keegan Carr Fransch, Karin McCracken and Tom Clarke, keep the stakes high, delaying Orestes with enjoyable Wellington characters who step in her path and humorously personifying her contradicting thoughts. However, I am underwhelmed when the clock reaches 0:00 and nothing happens - the action continues undisturbed.
Kenneth Gaffney presents us with an interesting pick-a-path experience, "'The Warrior, Rogue or Mage?' which has potential to give audience exciting agency in crafting their own theatre experience. Gaffney falls short of giving us as much agency as we can handle, tending to over-explain the game initially. However, he does engage with us successfully and responds well to challenges from the audience, making for an endearing stab at a new form.
What doesn't work so well in ten minutes is an overload of content. Perhaps this is taste, but I am turned off by Pete Hodkinson's one-man conversation 'Calm Down/Get Mad', defending our apathetic generation through a series of current events and popular culture references. Hodkinson is distant from his audience and although occasionally I agree with him, I struggle to relate. At the last moment we are asked "What do you think?" - a welcome change - but the lights go down a second later. It is clear our own opinions are better kept to ourselves.
'Conspiracy Theory' written and directed by Shaneel Sidal, presents the perspectives of an Indian man on the run from the law. Clearly a piece concerned with racism, I am confused by Sidal's use of a stereotypical Indian accent which seems to undermine his argument.
‘Blind’, written and directed by Gina Vanessi, travels through pretty physical imagery and a series of two person scenes. However, the central theme of confusion bleeds into the dialogue and leaves me unsure of exactly what is being discussed.
Brian Hotter's 'No Exit' invites us into a dystopian New Zealand in the middle of a racial and religious war. Although the issues being raised are valid and important, I struggled to navigate the disjointed jumps in character narrative and setting as we are overloaded with information.
‘Fragments’ written and performed by Vanessa Immink and directed by Julie O’Brien successfully presented snap shots of the story of West End star, Pip Kirkwood’s life. ‘Fragments’ provided us with the core details through character and song, well executed by Immink. This works well as a creative solution to adapting a lengthy story into the ten minute format.
JB Malthus offers some stand up comedy in ‘Sir Winston Churchill and Me: A Primer on the Perils of Youth’. Malthus and works hard to engage with us but the audience is slow to respond leaving me wondering if this is the right platform for stand up to thrive. In between distinctly theatrical performances, it is a clear shift in gear and one that we are not prepared to fully embrace.
The question I am left with is how much can we deal with when digesting eleven shots of distinctly different 10 minute performances. Are serious questions of racism, rape and religion given justice in such a short time frame? 'Last Meals: An Appetizer' writen by Keely Meechan and directed by Ben Emerson is close to hitting the mark presenting us with Orange-is-the-New-Black-esque monologues designed to make us think harder about the struggles of female inmates. Jessica Old, Hannah Kelly and Keegan Carr Fransch present three engaging performances and deal well with the weight of the writing but I could definitely sit longer with each character. I wonder if three stories is too many to imbue authentic meaning in such a short time frame.
When I think 'Short' and 'Sweet', My Accomplice nails the brief with a series of charming vignettes physicalising the ten commandments accompanied with witty, well executed voice overs. Polished performances from Hannah Banks and Paul Waggot and a clear theatrical intention makes for an enjoyable, intelligent ten minutes of theatre.