First love. First blood. First base. First time.
Five young women on the cusp; an explosive first date with adulthood. Written by NZ playwright Courtney Rose Brown, this is a show by women, for women. These are your sisters, friends, daughters and lovers. Come and see what these women are really going through for the first time.
Jonty spoke to director, Stephanie Fink, about The First Time, having its Auckland premiere at Basement in April.
How did the concept for the show come about?
When I was reading the script, I thought the characters were so vibrant and real, and some of the subjects raised are so heavy, that there was a lot of room for non-verbal story telling within the script. Because of my background with Massive Company, I have a real love of physical theatre, and wanted to mash-up Courtney's script with some more personalised work of our own.
What can we expect from the show?
You can expect characters who you actually recognise from your life, characters who you will love and empathise with and maybe also characters you won't like, moments of ensemble where you see the cast loving to be on stage with each other, and some quite confronting physical work.
What have you learnt from developing the show?
Oh my gosh everything! I have mainly worked in devised theatre, so the complexities of a script were pretty new to me. Busting open the words and stories and all the ways we did that was very different to how I go about understanding stories in a devised process, and challenged me to be clear on my vision. Some of the subject matter is pretty confronting, so learning how to explore and then stand up that material in a safe way (for audiences and the actors), was very interesting. How to go through a collaborative re-draft process was great! I literally did a paper-and-tape cut up of two scripts to get the gold from the separate drafts and stick them together.
What reaction are you hoping the show gets?
I hope that people leave with a story from one of the characters in their head. Maybe you know someone like Elle or Mereana (characters in the show), and maybe The First Time illuminated an aspect of your relationship to this person that you want to talk about. Maybe you see yourself in one of these stories and can relate directly to these character's experiences. I'm a fan of the slow burn, those thoughts that sit in the back of your mind, percolating away, until all of a sudden something clicks and maybe this huge problem makes sense, or you finally understand that thing. I hope the show helps people think.
The First Time is on at in the studio at Basement Theatre from 3 - 14 April. Find out more and book tickets here.