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Drama, tears and laughter applauded at festival


PHOTOS/Cowan Photography

9 MF-Otamplays4b-445A recent display of Kaipara’s dramatic and thespian talent has received admiring reviews from crowds that attended the three day theatre festival. 

Otamatea Repertory Theatre’s (ORT) One Act Play Festival featured four separate plays on stage April 13-15.

ORT vice president Katrina Dyer says with the theatre being between half to two thirds full over the three showings, the 60 strong theatre team were ‘really happy with the turnout’. 

“Although they weren't full houses, audience feedback was very positive with comments saying how it was such a fantastic range of plays and emotions,” Katrina says. “One patron told me how great it was to see so many young people involved and not sitting in front of screens.”

Theatre goers expressed their appreciation of the quality of performa9 MF-Otamplays3-753nces by actors, specifically the costumes and humour of the dithery, stuttery characters in the ‘New Wing at Elsinore’; the witty dialogue and quirky characters of ‘Trash and Treasure’; the passion and dynamic acting witnessed in ‘The Argument’ inspiring some viewers to buy copies of the book ‘The Strange Attraction’ which the play had been partly based on; and the raw emotion provoked from ‘I Never Saw Another Butterfly’, a tragic portrayal of children’s lives in the WWII Jewish ghetto, Terezin.

“People commented to me on how beautifully ‘Butterfly’ was played, with one saying that it was so emotional, they cried all the way through it,” Dyer says. “Another stated that the play should be mandatory viewing in schools and asked if we had actually thought of touring with it.”

Directors were also delighted with how the plays were performed, with director and writer of ‘Trash and Treasure’, Maura Flower, saying she plans to ‘tidy it up’ and enter the script in a play-writing competition. 

“I was fairly happy with how the play went and it seemed to be well received by audiences… so we’ll see how it goes.”

First-time director George Skelton said he was ‘absolutely thrilled’ with the actors who came on board for ‘The Argument’.

“They were superb and made the whole experience come alive. I have been stopped in the street by people who have said very sincerely, that they should be in Hollywood,” he says. “The positive response is encouraging me to want to write another play. I have also been asked by people who missed out on the shows asking if we can run them again.”
‘New Wing’ director Sue Skelton, also a first-timer, says she was ‘stoked’ to have mainly all new actors to work with and enjoyed their eagerness.
“They all came away with 'what’s next'… one enjoyed it so much he wants to work behind the scenes on ‘Into the Woods’, our next production in July. Enthusiasm has been generated.”

Katrina Dyer’s daughter Brittany, who made her directing debut with ‘Butterfly’, says she could not have been more proud of her acting team during the show weekend. 

“The characters seemed to become a part of each actor and with each rehearsal they went above and beyond with who they were portraying… they worked tirelessly to put on a show that I believe did exactly what it was intended to do – to get people to see war from a survivor’s perspective,” Brittany says. 

9 MF-Otamplays1-8719 MF-Otamplays4a-488

“I knew this was a journey that I was going to learn a lot from, and boy was I right! I would like to thank my cast and those who stood behind me to give me the encouragement and support to keep this whole thing going, I wouldn't have been able to do this without you all.”

9 MF-Otamplays2-806A lot of effort is put in to the shows by the ORT team, leading up to and during the shows Katrina says, and show weekend is always a buzz as it is the time when everyone shines.

“I love seeing the children in the plays and the new people of all ages coming in to tread the boards for the first time; it’s great to see they are looking forward to the next production,” she says. “Although it is always sad to see the last show in a run end, the results of the plays is by far the best… it was a real success.”

1: Dramatic despair in ‘The Argument’.
2: The quirky characters of ‘Trash and Treasures’ garage sale items. 
3: Fun and great gowns on Hamlets ‘New Wing at Elsinore’.
4b: Young actors in ‘I Never Saw Another Butterfly’ bring depth and emotion to the tragic tale.

“I love seeing the children in the plays and the new people of all ages coming in to tread the boards for the first time; it’s great to see they are looking forward to the next production.”
- Katrina Dyer


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