Skip to main content

downstage theatre


By Cinema, Video

On Tuesday night I was priv­ileged to host a new ini­ti­at­ive from the Light House Cinema chain – a brief sur­vey of a dir­ect­or’s career pri­or to a spe­cial pre­view of their latest film. In this case, the dir­ect­or was Danny Boyle and his new film, Trance, will be reviewed here on Monday. I had a jolly good time re-watching the films and sourcing clips and even man­aged to pro­duce this little mont­age video by way of intro­duc­tion. (Warning: the audio is the open­ing mono­logue from Trainspotting and so is almost cer­tainly NSFW.)



It’s not the first time that I have fooled around with iMovie this way. Last year I was asked by Downstage Theatre to pro­duce a short video intro­du­cing Sam Neill before his fun­draiser Q&A, An Innocent Abroad.



They are very enjoy­able, these little pro­jects, even though I have to re-learn iMovie every time I do them. Perhaps, if I don’t get one of the two dream jobs I want here in New Zealand I could be put to work on those In Memoriam videos they play at the Oscars every year.

Review: Summer Holiday 09-10 Summary

By Cinema, Reviews

While hunt­ing the site for some links to add to the just pos­ted Winter’s Bone etc. review, I dis­covered that my Summer Holiday spe­cial had­n’t made it here. So, for com­plete­ness’ sake, here it is. Pretty sure, this is an early draft too but there’s no sign of an email sub­mit­ting it.

What a lovely Summer we’ve been hav­ing – for watch­ing movies. While the Avatar jug­ger­naut rolls inex­or­ably on there has plenty of oth­er options for a ded­ic­ated seeker of shel­ter from the storm.

Released at any oth­er time of year, Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones would be get­ting a decent length eval­u­ation (and the head­line) here but with fif­teen films dis­cuss we’ll have to live with the bul­let point eval­u­ation: not un-moving. My com­pan­ion and I spent a about an hour after watch­ing TLB dis­cuss­ing it’s flaws and yet both ended up agree­ing that we’d actu­ally enjoyed the film a lot, des­pite the problems.

Personally, I think Jackson’s tend­ency towards occa­sion­al whim­sic­al in-jokery typ­i­fied the uncer­tainty of tone (I’m think­ing of his unne­ces­sary cam­era shop cameo as an example) but the fun­da­ment­al mes­sage – that the people left behind after a tragedy are more import­ant than the vic­tims – was clearly and quite bravely artic­u­lated. And when I saw the film at a crowded Embassy ses­sion, dur­ing the pivotal scene where the sis­ter dis­cov­ers the evid­ence to catch the killer, I could only hear one per­son breath­ing around me – and it wasn’t me.

Read More

The Guv’ner


A couple of years ago, while I was run­ning the bar at Downstage, I was lucky enough to share a couple of con­ver­sa­tions with act­ing legend (and Laureate) George Henare who was play­ing Dracula at the time. He told us some tales of shoot­ing the New Zealand his­tor­ic­al epic “The Governor” back in the late 70s and I asked him why it was so dif­fi­cult to actu­ally see. He told me that the act­ors’ con­tracts stated that any fur­ther screen­ings meant that they got to be paid again – at the fairly extraordin­ary rate of 100%. I asked him wheth­er he felt sad that so many New Zealanders would­n’t be able to see such an import­ant piece of work – not just the colo­ni­al his­tory but the tele­vi­sion his­tory. “No,” said George, “You want to do some­thing with it, pay me. That was the deal.”

And fair enough, too. Actors have been doing it tough in NZ for years and nowadays they don’t even get prop­er resid­uals or have to threaten to quit so that they don’t become ring tones without per­mis­sion.

But ima­gine my sur­prise when @publicaddress announced that the long lost first epis­ode of “The Governor” was avail­able to watch online at NZ On Screen. Which is awe­some. I just hope that someone remembered George.

Significant Contribution

By Asides, History, Theatre, Wellington

Heartfelt con­grat­u­la­tions to Sunny Amey who, at last night’s Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards, was presen­ted with “The Mayor’s Award for Significant Contribution to Theatre”.

Often on these occa­sions people will say, “without this per­son I would­n’t be here” but in Sunny’s case I believe it to be lit­er­ally true. When my par­ents got mar­ried in 1966, Sunny (and Ralph McAllister) organ­ised the event, cooked the kai (meat­balls and pavlova) and the recep­tion was hos­ted at Sunny’s flat in London. Therefore, she’s always been a pres­ence in my life (although I did­n’t actu­ally meet her until 1993 when I star­ted work­ing for Downstage the first time and she was on the Board).

I’m very happy that I’ve got to know her since, and that Downstage (where she was the first woman Director back in 1970) is where I have landed.