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Come to a standstill
Accepting that you will never be a rock star, a model or an astronaut is a particularly bitter pill to swallow. Chase it down with the realisation that you and your life are destined to be ordinary, and you have the recipe for a midlife crisis.
Mercifully, writer/director Anders Falstie-Jensen adds enough biting humour to sweeten this brew, making his latest play, Standstill, a veritable feast of tragedy and satire.
Comprised of a series of vignettes, Standstill tells the stories of the every day, of the ups and downs that make life so weirdly wonderful and so dreadfully dull. Anders' acerbic script is brought to life by Rebel Alliance performers Andi Crown, Kevin Keys and Josephine Stewart Tewhiu, who deliver in roles that are challenging in the extreme.
On the eve of opening night I sat down with Falstie-Jensen to discuss the play.
H: Firstly, congratulations on making it to a second season.
A: Well technically it's the third season if you count one show that we did after the show debuted at Fringe Festival. (Laughs) If you count one show as a season it's the third.
H: (Laughs) Well on that technicality well done. Your success seems to be down, at least in part, to your story resonating with the audience. Why do you think Standstill connects so well with your audience?
A: I think in a way it's a really honest play. It's quite brutal in that sense, but it's also very funny. I think most people go through this. It's tough admitting to yourself that you aren't going to be a fighter pilot. It's my own experiences.
H: It's a unique play for many reasons, but particularly the treadmills. What was behind your decision to have your actors on treadmills for the duration of the play?
A: The original idea, when I pitched it for Fringe, I liked the idea of having three people running and sweating for an hour. Then it was accepted and I had to write a play (laughs). With the treadmills, I thought it would look really cool (laughs).
H: Standstill tells something of a personal story, tell me a bit about the inspiration behind that?
A: I've always liked seeing true stories on stage. I love how insanely weird life can be. A lot of the play is based on true stories, like a number of Rebel Alliance productions. And I've always liked plays based on real stories, I like scripted ones too, but I especially like real stories. The play is made up of five vignettes that all linked together thematically. One, the one about the hair cut, is based on an experience my brother had...and another on a French cyclist, and some of it, the experiences are mine.
H: You're something of a slashie in this business. What part of the creative process did you enjoy most?
A: I really like the writing. I like the directing too, being in the room and seeing it come together is probably the part I like the most. If I had the choice I'd prefer to do one.
H: What have you got lined up next?
A: Not quite sure actually. The play is going to Wellington and then Hamilton. I would like to write a new play. There's a Danish play Festen I'd like to do, but that's a really big production. But really, I'll take a breather.
Standstill runs in Auckland from 30th May- 9th June, in Wellington from 14th June- 23rd, and in Hamilton from July 5th-7th.
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By Haley Beatson
7 June 2012