Loser is a well-crafted winner
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.
On a roll:
Thomas Sainsbury’s latest play Loser is being staged at the International Comedy Festival.