Loser is a well-crafted win­ner

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

A young Mt Eden play­wright is prov­ing that age has noth­ing to do with suc­cess.

At 25, Thomas Sains­bury has al­ready been named New Zealand Young Play­wright of the year three times.

His new­est play, Loser, opens at the Her­ald Theatre to­day fol­low­ing sold-out preview per­for­mances last year.

It’s Mr Sains­bury’s ninth play in the past two years.

Loser is the story of a high school 10-year re­union, and the failed dreams and painful mem­o­ries of six dys­func­tional char­ac­ters, in­clud­ing a crim­i­nal, a princess, a nerd, a jock and a freak.

He de­scribes it as “lu­di­crously tragic”, and in­spired by ex­pe­ri­ence of his own high school in Mata­mata.

Mr Sains­bury says he is al­ways sur­prised how lit­tle has changed when he sees peo­ple years af­ter school.

“There are el­e­ments of spe­cific peo­ple I know and el­e­ments of my­self too.”

He has re­cruited an im­pres­sive New Zealand cast, in­clud­ing Ser­ena Cot­ton from The In­sid­ers Guide to Love, Han­nah Mar­shall from Short­land Street and Bene­dict Wall from Out­ra­geous For­tune.

Last year Mr Sains­bury was cho­sen to rep­re­sent New Zealand at the World In­ter­play in Townsville, a con­fer­ence for young play­wrights from around the world.

He says he has been in­volved in drama and act­ing for as long as he can re­mem­ber and is also work­ing on two fea­ture film scripts.

He says he wants to work on movies, which he sees as “a huge chal­lenge”.

Loser pro­ducer Beatrix Coles de­scribes the play­wright as an “amaz­ing and an­noy­ingly pro­lific per­son”.

She says his plays do well be­cause he’s gen­uinely in­ter­ested in what goes on around him.

“If you tell Tom an anec­dote, he wants to know ev­ery­thing about it. This fas­ci­na­tion is what lets him draw such bit­ingly ac­cu­rate char­ac­ters.”

Mr Sains­bury says he has high ex­pec­ta­tions of his work.

“I want to be the great­est sto­ry­teller ever and this de­sire is pro­pel­ling me to achieve what I’m achiev­ing.

“When I pro­duce a play that 500 peo­ple see, I’m not happy again un­til I pro­duce one that 600 peo­ple see.”

Loser opens at the Her­ald Theatre to­day as part of the In­ter­na­tional Com­edy Fes­ti­val.

Tick­ets are $15 through Tick­etek.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

On a roll:

Thomas Sains­bury’s latest play Loser is be­ing staged at the In­ter­na­tional Com­edy Fes­ti­val.

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