Small-town mystery coming to the city
The bright lights of Taihape are coming to Palmerston North. The play, that is. The 50-minute one-hander, The Bright Lights of Taihape, written and performed by Palmerston North expat Loren Mason, will be on at The Dark Room, on the corner of Church and Pitt streets, from October 5 to 7.
Described as a ‘‘comedic character-driven story’’, it tells of what happens in Taihape in the lead-up to the famous annual Gumboot Day, when all the town’s gumboots are found to have vanished, believed stolen.
Such an act of dastardly sabotage cannot, of course, be allowed to go unpunished, so a search is immediately instigated for both perpetrator and gumboots.
And in the best tradition of whodunits, suspects multiply, ranging from a local tearaway who has form, as they say in police circles, to the mayor’s ‘‘toffee-nosed daughter who is home from boarding school’’.
Mason, 28, who went to acting school in Auckland, gets to play eight characters during the play, which is also scheduled for three nights in New Plymouth, where Mason is now living.
She said she hoped to put it on in Taihape as well, but that depended on finding a suitable venue – the Majestic Theatre has been mentioned – and timing.
Mason said she was inspired to write about gumboots by what she saw and heard during road trips through Taihape. ‘‘And there was this small town thing, where everyone seems to know everyone else.’’
So you put the two together and the genesis of Bright Lights began forming.
Mason said she hadn’t been to a Gumboot Day at Taihape, but now she was living closer to the town, hoped to remedy that.
An earlier play she wrote, Ticking Time Bomb, also explored the odd and the quirky lives of small town characters, based around the watch shop her father used to own on Palmerston North’s Broadway Avenue.
Bright Lights is directed by Trish Phelan, who also worked with Mason during Ticking Time Bomb and web-series Game Over.
Her directing credits also include Smashed Palace for Sky TV and Bogans for TV2. Other theatre shows include Touch Wood and Introducing Anna.
There’s dastardly sabotage in Taihape when the town’s gumboots are stolen.