Infidelity, jealousy, humiliation and betrayal will blend into an entertaining treat for Mercury Bay audiences when Offbeat Theatre Company’s latest production goes to stage early in August.
“The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband”, by British playwright Debbie Isitt, promises to serve up lashings of laughter tempered with a helping of outrage and some naval-gazing moments”, says director Sharyn Morcom. The play has a cast of just three and is set in a state of ‘suspended reality’, with minimal set and no props (the fifth wall comes down in the opening line). The story follows Kenneth, who has been married to Hilary for 20 years. When he finds himself in the arms of Laura, his little fling quickly becomes out of hand. If you want to know what happens next, come and see the play.
Sharyn says she is delighted with the work the small cast is putting in. “This play is delivered at a fast pace and all the scene changes rely on lights and music. It’s a real challenge for such a small cast to shoulder the action throughout the play. They are pretty much on stage the whole time.” Sharyn encourages Mercury Bay audiences to get their tickets quickly as a change of structure within the Coghill Street venue means a smaller audience capacity. “We really hope our local audiences will get behind us as we have had several setbacks due to Covid and changes with the venue. However, I’ve heard from other small town theatre groups that people are hungry to get back to live theatre, so the tickets could sell quite fast.”
“The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband” has adult themes and is not suitable for children. It will run for five performances from Wednesday,10 August, starting 7pm. Sunday matinee starts 3pm.Tickets are available at Richardson’s Real Estate, Albert Street, Whitianga.
Sharyn Morcom became involved with the Whitianga theatre group in 1997, having had over 30 years’ experience with amateur theatre in both Gisborne and Auckland.
After some local performance work, she supported director Christine Carter, helping with production, marketing and administration and in 2007 co-directed Reginald Rose’s “Twelve Angry Men”. In 2017 she directed Roger Hall’s” Glide Time” and in 2018 John Chapman’s “Kindly Leave the Stage”. Sharyn says while she loved her years acting in comedy, musicals and dramas, she finds directing provides a far greater level of satisfaction. “It’s like the reward you get from seeing your kids do well at something and it means a lot more than knowing you managed to pull off a particular character or performance yourself. For me personally, working with less experienced actors brings the greatest rewards because you can see them growing as you work with them, and I love that.”
Kate Nielsen grew up in North Vancouver, got a BA in Fine Arts (Theatre) from the University of Victoria (British Columbia), and came to Mercury Bay over 20 years ago. You might have seen her in other Offbeat Theatre productions, most recently “Blind Eye” and “Swingers”. She says what she enjoys most about theatre is the way a team of random strangers can work together to create a small, real world out of nothing but some words and an empty space. When quizzed on how she learns lines, her first instinct is to say that it just comes naturally. “But on reflection, I think that the hours and hours of practice, reading, recording, re-reading, writing out by hand in different colours, and roping in family members to read cues, probably helps as well.”
Rachael Mayne says Whitianga is her hometown now and is also where she started acting. Prior to living in Whitianga she lived in Korea, the United States, Japan, Mexico and Guatemala. She teaches English in Whitianga and is slowly learning Japanese, a challenge that she enjoys. She has also learned Spanish and hitch-hiked around Central America. Rachael’s other motivation to travel is rock-climbing. “I’ve been climbing rocks for over 30 years and I do like having adventures,” she says.
She started acting in Whitianga with the Offbeat Theatre, performing in the comedy “Swingers” three years ago. This was directed by Christine Carter. “Christine really pushed me to grow and now I’m rehearsing for “The Woman who Cooked her Husband”, directed by Sharyn Morcom. Sharyn is coaxing me to give this character edge and spark.”
Kaspur Franke moved to Whitianga two years ago. His background includes more than 25 years in events management, promotions, and entrepreneurism, primarily in his native New York City. There he owned and operated a staffing agency, art and music venues, and rehearsal spaces.
His love of theatre and acting started early on in high school and led him to being a cast member at Walt Disney World as a Jungle Cruise Skipper. He’s been involved in Fringe Festival and several Short Film productions and attended classes at Herbert Berghof Studio. Currently he is the managing director of The Monkey House Lounge and Cabaret and is also working on personal script writing projects for both theatre and film. Kaspur is looking forward to playing Kenneth in the Offbeat Theatre production of “The Woman Who Cooked her Husband”.
Whitianga’s Offbeat Theatre has built a reputation for fine performance and good entertainment, with nearly 20 productions over 25 years. Starting off as The Tuesday Club in the late 1970’s, and based at The Health Factory, the group later changed its name to Offbeat Theatre and staged four performances at Mercury Bay Aero Club. It has also performed at Whitianga Town Hall. Returning to the Coghill Street theatre in 2017, Offbeat did “Glide Time”, followed by “Kindly Leave the Stage”, then “Blind Eye” in 2018. The last production before Covid restrictions was “Swingers” in 2019.
Christine Carter, who has extensive theatre background in Hamilton, joined the team in 1995. Christine has since directed a number of plays and pantomimes. The theatre group is fortunate to have Christine, along with Sharyn Morcom, sharing their passion for theatre and giving their time and their experience to direct an enthusiastic and talented group of actors.
Pictured: The actors fine-tuning their performance.