Apoc­a­lyp­tic Hell’s Teeth four years in the mak­ing

SARS OUT­BREAK IN­SPIRED PLAY

Central Leader - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

In 2096 New Zealand is blighted with an un­known epi­demic that wipes out al­most the en­tire pop­u­la­tion.

The coun­try is iso­lated from the rest of the world and the only com­mu­ni­ca­tion sur­vivors re­ceive is a sig­nal from the mys­te­ri­ous Par­al­lel 38 in Kaitaia.

It comes through a biochip worn un­der the skin that we’ve come to rely on af­ter sell­ing our­selves to the rest of the world as a per­fect test pop­u­la­tion for new tech­nol­ogy.

North­land is where sur­vivors think they’ll find help, only to find things are not as they ex­pect.

Ac­cord­ing to The Tell Tale Theatre Com­pany’s de­but pro­duc­tion Hell’s Teeth this is how the apoc­a­lypse will play out in New Zealand.

The mul­ti­me­dia show at Mt Eden’s Crys­tal Palace Theatre mixes film and spe­cial ef­fects with live per­for­mance.

It’s been four years in the mak­ing.

In 2008 the found­ing mem­bers of the theatre com­pany came up with the con­cept for their end of year show with TA­PAC’s Out Loud youth theatre group.

‘‘Be­cause of what it was and when we did it we couldn’t ful­fil the pro­duc­tion con­cept with the orig­i­nal,’’ writer and di­rec­tor Ros Gard­ner says.

Like most of those in­volved, Hell’s Teeth ac­tress and pro­ducer Madeleine de Young couldn’t let it go.

‘‘Even though I hadn’t seen the play or been near the script for a num­ber of years there were scenes I still knew off by heart, and they weren’t nec­es­sar­ily mine ei­ther,’’ the San­dring­ham res­i­dent says.

‘‘You just can’t leave it, it has such a strong emo­tional pull.’’

The cat­a­lyst for the orig­i­nal play was the Sars out­break.

While cinemas have been over­run with apoc­a­lypsethemed films in the past five years the com­pany says it wanted to do some­thing unique to New Zealand.

‘‘They’re all about Amer­ica go­ing down. That’s not a prob­lem and they can go for it but the thing is we are such a spe­cific place,’’ Ms Gard­ner says.

The Tell Tale Theatre Com­pany is a mix­ture of am­a­teur and pro­fes­sional ac­tors.

By day Miss de Young is a univer­sity stu­dent study­ing health science, English and pol­i­tics.

Found­ing the com­pany hasn’t been easy.

‘‘Hav­ing to ring peo­ple up and ask them for things has been a huge learn­ing curve. We’re start­ing to see where we can go with it. We’ve been talk­ing about a show for early next year which should be a lot of fun,’’ she says.

Photo: EMMA WHIT­TAKER

Dark fu­ture: Hell’s Teeth di­rec­tor Ros Gard­ner, left, and ac­tress Madeleine de Young.

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