Comedy of folk,happiness and love
Roger Hall’s latest play is a comedy that puts folk dancing on centre stage. A Shortcut to Happiness, directed by Ross Jolly, talks about the lives of a group of immigrants trying to find happiness through folk dancing.
Hall, who was a British immigrant, said the idea for the play originated at a folk dancing session he and his wife attended.
‘‘The play is about discovering the ways of a new country, accepting differences, finding love and dancing your way to happiness,’’ he said.
The play has all the usual Hall trademarks – shrewd observations, much mocking of New Zealanders’ curious customs and plenty of laughs.
‘‘We see New Zealand through an immigrant’s eyes. There are odd little comments there I hope will make us look at ourselves in a slightly different way.’’
Elena Stejko is an appropriate choice to play Russian immigrant Natasha, because she too is Russianborn and came here 16 years ago.
In A Shortcut to Happiness, she teaches a folk-dancing class to supplement her income.
Sacha Copland, the play’s choreographer and dancing trainer, said there were a lot of similarities between the dancing class she holds for the cast and the one in the play.
She said some of the cast initially struggled with the dances, but in time fell in love with them.
Copland said she shared a lot with Elena’s character.
‘‘All dancing teachers have something in common, and dancing is universal.’’
The play includes 11 folk dances..
A Shortcut to Happiness runs at Circa until May 28.
Finding happiness: Actress Elena Stejko as Natasha and actor Peter Hayden as Ned.