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September 15, 2008 | by  | in Theatre |
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Empty Pleasures

‘In all the human race not one trace left of my dream.’ Empty Pleasures, the third season of works to come out of the directing course THEA 304, is a triptych of darkly comic plays about the bittersweet gap between wish and reality, expectation and execution.

The first of the three is The Festivities by Anton Chekhov, directed by Bex Weatherhead. ‘Filling the bank with petticoats,’ it is saturated with Chekhov’s signature dry comedy and deep subtextual joy, as we see two men’s plans for afternoon events in a bank go rather awry.

‘I feel amazingly close to you. That’s rather simple, isn’t it?’ Seven Doors by Botho Strauss, directed by Fiona McNamara, gives us several disparate-but-connected scenes of human interaction at both its most united and alienated. Scene upon scene builds to an explosive exposition on the quiet, awkward comedy of the human condition.

We end the night with what may be only the second ever public performance of Happy Birthday, Mister Deka D by Biyi Bandele, directed by Joel Baxendale. ‘A spotlight captures Mister Deka D’s inscrutably grinning face,’ opens this story of two people with a murky past meeting once again and spectacularly failing to meet each other’s expectations. ‘I think it’s pretty funny,’ Baxendale says, ‘but I have a pretty weird sense of humour.’

United by a theme of unfulfilled dreams, these play will make for a lively and provocative evening. Empty Pleasures runs from Wednesday 17 – Saturday 20 September at 7pm sharp in Studio 77, 77 Fairlie Terrace. $12/$8. Bookings – 463 5359, theatre@vuw. ac.nz.

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About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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