Unitec’s 2013 Shakespeare season full of surprises

Press Release – UNITEC

For immediate release
31 May 2013

Unitec’s 2013 Shakespeare season full of surprises

The Unitec Department of Performing and Screen Art 2013 Shakespeare season is a much anticipated annual event for theatre-goers bored with the usual traditional approach to staging Shakespearean classics.

Last year’s all-male Unitec production of Titus was picked up by Auckland’s Q Theatre and is currently being staged at the Loft. Benjamin Henson, one of New Zealand’s most in demand young directors with credits such as Confessions and An Awkward Family Christmas to his name, was back to direct Titus with the same cast, who have since graduated from Unitec and entered the industry as professionals. The production is supported by a crew of mostly Unitec production graduates.

This year’s Shakespeare season which opens at the Unitec Theatre on 7 and 8 June, sees Henson return again to the director’s chair, this time for Hamlet. Experienced actor/director, Jacque Drew has been commissioned to direct The Comedy of Errors. Unitec’s third year acting class have been divided into two cohorts to perform both plays.

Unitec’s Curriculum leader for Live Performance, John Davies explains: “The brief to the directors is that the company reduce each play’s performance time to within 80 minutes, requiring an in depth investigation, a dismantling and reassembling of the play. The results will be unexpected, and with Jacque and Ben guiding this rigorous process, there will be more than a few surprises!”

Both Henson and Drew promise a unique experience for audiences in their modern adaptations of two Shakespearean classics.

“We’re doing a very slick and modern Hamlet, with quite a lot of surreal elements,” says Henson.

Unitec third year acting student Albert Walker, who plays Hamlet, says audiences will relate to Unitec’s adaptation of the play: “What I like about how we’re doing this is we’re removing the fantasy and seeing it as a family drama, people with real problems.” Walker says he had done Shakespeare before at Mt Albert Grammar, but this was the first time he’s played Hamlet. And he’s excited at getting the role. “The role is close to me. It’s about a young man learning to be a man and finding the truth about his parent’s futility,” he explains.

Expect even more surprises with The Comedy of Errors. A sensational set has been created which will take audiences on a fun ride, according to director Jacque Drew, who can name Shortland Street among her many acting/directing credits on screen and stage.

” For Comedy of Errors, we’re bringing back old school slapstick humour but in a contemporary way,” she says.

The Unitec 2013 Shakespeare Season runs from 7-15 June at the Unitec Theatre in Mt Albert, Auckland. Tickets on sale at iTICKET.co.nz.

Season Info

Unitec Shakespeare Season 2013
Hamlet & The Comedy of Errors
7-15 June, Unitec Theatre
Entry 1 (Building 6), Carrington Rd, Mt Albert, Auckland
Tickets at www.iTICKET.co.nz (09) 361 1000. Booking fees may apply
Adults $15, Concession $10, Student $5

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Comedy of Errors: http://www.facebook.com/events/446751305417104/?ref=ts&fref=ts

What’s on?


Hamlet’s dad is dead. It’s all bad news for him.

But if this wasn’t bad enough already, his mum has married his uncle, they’ve cancelled his University course and his girlfriend is ignoring him. His silent protest in wearing black to the wedding isn’t going down very well, and melancholy Hamlet starts to fade into the background, until his best mate comes in with the news he never expected to hear – his dad is back from the grave. And he isn’t happy.

Hamlet has been, and continues to be, the most famous drama in the English language. Vividly portraying both true and feigned madness, the play explores themes of treachery, revenge, incest, and moral corruption. This reduced, contemporary, adaptation explores the play’s core – a family in crisis.
Dates: 7,10,12,14 June 7pm & 15 June 2pm
Directed by Benjamin Henson
Performed by Unitec’s third year actors
Running time: 80 minutes
Not recommended for children under 10.

Albert Walker – Hamlet
Anna Haydon – Rosencranz/Priest/Osric/Player
Cathy Evans – Marcellus/Guildenstern/Grave Digger/Player
Eloise Pengelly – Ophelia/Bernardo/Player
Kelly Gilbride – Ophelia/Bernardo/Player
Faye Rillstone – Horatio
Linda Zheng – Laertes / Player
Nicole Steven – Gertrude
Stuart Shacklock – Claudius
Toby Stewart – Lord Polonius

The Comedy of Errors

Confusion. Chaos. Comedy.

Antipholus and his servant Dromio are well known residents of the town of Ephesus. But another Antipholus and his servant Dromio have just arrived, from Syracuse…

Two sets of twins – separated at birth – come together in the same city. Shakespeare puts his signature spin on a classical comedy structure, setting the stage for a myriad of mishaps, mistaken identities and general madness. Watch the snowball of circumstances roll through Ephesus and grow to epic comic proportions.

Join Unitec’s Year 3 acting students as they combine elements of commedia dell’arte, clowning and slapstick with a healthy heaping of confusion and chaos to serve up a superb Shakespearean comedy soufflé.

Dates: 8,11,13,15 June 7pm
Directed by Jacque Drew
Performed by Unitec’s third year actors
Running time: 90min approx
Lori Wallace – Dromio of Ephesus
Josh Booth – Angelo/Courtezan/First Merchant
Alex Jordan – Adriana
Boni Te Rongopai Tukiwaho – Balthazar/Abyss/Officer/Dr Pinch
Tessa Jensen – Antipholus of Ephesus
Jex Moore – Luciana
Mel Bailey – Antipholus of Syracuse
Jessie Lawrence – Dromio of Syracuse
Aymee Karaitiana – Aegeon/Second Merchant
Amy Atkinson – Duke of Ephesus/Servant


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