Posted on September 27, 2014 by Basement
When I hopped on the phone with Gabrielle Vincent, this year’s Young & Hungry Producer, I knew that I was talking to a woman who has spent the past fifteen weeks spinning a lot of plates. The first thing that I wanted to know was exactly how much time it takes to plan something like The Young & Hungry Festival. Gabby explained that while she has been in this process for around fifteen weeks, the main base in Wellington has a team working on this festival year round. Sophie Henderson (of the Basement team) receives plays sent over from Wellington and sets about choosing the shows that will make it into The Basement’s season of Young and Hungry. Gabby explained that even now Sophie is looking through possible selections for 2015.
In our conversation, Gabby mentioned that the role of Producer has some interesting quirks in the world of Young & Hungry. While she is responsible for the typical tasks of a Producer (managing the budget, coming up with campaigns, running the marketing, keeping an eye on ticket sales, and making sure that all of the communication happening amongst the team members is happening smoothly), Young & Hungry is also a teaching situation. Which means that Gabby is not only organizing the professionals who are a part of this festival, but also the 34 mentees who are involved. Gabby couldn’t speak more highly of the directors and mentors who are part of this years Young & Hungry (Leon Wadham, Katy Maudlin, John Parker, Jane Hakaraia, Sarah Taylor, & Thomas Press), and she was excited about rather then overwhelmed by the one hundred and twenty under-25’s who auditioned for a spot in this years festival.
Holly Hudson and Tomasin Fisher-Johnson, who are both actors in Uncle Minotaur, said that the audition process (which involved a fair bit of devising) gave them a sense of “go hard or go home.” Hudson, who was a part of the festival last year as well, added that the auditions really had her thinking about what she was bringing to the table. She found herself taking risks and pushing herself to think outside of the box. Fisher-Johnson, who is new to Young & Hungry and who has never acted in Auckland, added that the auditions were “a bit of the blur,” and that in the group setting she could really see the difference in someone who is and isn’t giving it their all.
Gabby shared that everyone involved this year has certainly been giving it their all. She says that she is so grateful for the mentors who have been a part of the two plays which in her opinion are works of theatre that are at a really high level. She said that with, Second Afterlife, “Leon has done a great job! It is (the play) full on and action packed. It has epic fight scenes choreographed by Michael Hurst.” She said of Uncle Minotaur that she has “never seen puppets like the ones being created for this piece. They are beautiful and odd.” Holly Hudson added to that comment agreeing that the puppets are “beautifully abstract.” And Tomasin Fisher-Johnson feels that they are unlike anything the audience will expect.
However, the wonderfulness of this Festival doesn’t end with just the pieces put on the stage. The creative team is ripe with fantastic ideas to get people excited about theatre, and particularly what young voices offer it. There is an Uncle Minotaur photo booth where patrons can have Daliest/Surrealist photos taken and then tweet them with #hungryas. There will be odes to the digital age in the forms of Nintendo’s, PlayStations, Segas, and laptops with digital and 8-bit games (provided by PopUpArcade) that can be played before, between, and after the shows. On the 11th, Gabby has arranged a party to celebrate this season of Young & Hungry that will have some Nerdcore Rap (so yes, raps about Pokémon), and hopefully a set by Adam Ogle, who has lent his musical talent to the score and Foley styling of Uncle Minotaur.
Talking to Gabby, Holly, and Tomasin has me excited for this year’s festival! As I finish up this blog, I can’t help but tip my hat to Gabrielle Vincent and anticipate the young and vibrant theatre that will hit The Basement next week.
Row D Seat 7 is a blog written by Dawn Glover. Dawn studied acting at Purdue University (USA) earning her Masters of Fine Arts in Performance. She has worked professionally as an actor and singer throughout The States and made Auckland her new home almost two years ago. She is one of the founders of Navi Collaborative and is actively interested in theatre for social change, experimental works, and performance art.