Danny and the Deep Blue Sea

Jonty spoke to director, Sara Wiseman, and found out that this show inspired her years ago, within Basement's very own walls!

When did you first come across this play?

About twentyish years ago. It was the play that inspired me to become an actor. I actually saw it being workshopped in the (now Basement Theatre), then called the Jeffrey James Theatre.

What made you want to stage it?

The story of Danny and Roberta affected me so strongly; the contrasting power and vulnerability, chaos and fragility, humour and rage. John Patrick Shanley is truly a poet with a whipping Bronx tongue. His dialogue makes your heart swell and ache. Also I performed the play in the Basement Theatre (then called the Silo Theatre), in 2004 alongside Scott Wills with Caroline Bell Booth directing. The audience response to the production was overwhelming and it still remains one of the highlights of my stage career. DATDBS hasn't been done in Auckland, or anywhere in NZ I believe, since then. Plays like this don't come around very often, so I am excited to share it with Auckland audiences.

What are the central questions, themes, or conflicts that lies at the heart of the work for you?

DATDBS deals with alienation and the redemptive power of love and forgiveness. These two characters are misfits of society; guarded, hurting, frustrated yet aching for a truthful authentic connection. They secretly yearn for a better life and yet don't believe they are worthy of such things, due to shameful events from their past. Together, their defences eventually fall away and that's where the magic happens. It's a rollercoaster ride that can kick you off anytime.

Any memorable moments from rehearsing the show?

You mean the one I am directing or the one I performed? We begin rehearsals tomorrow! I am so looking forward to working with my actors who are both powerhouses. I can't wait for audiences to experience their Danny and Roberta.

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea is on at Basement from 22 Aug.