Re­turn di­rec­tion

Shane Bosher — Di­rec­tor

Metro Magazine NZ - - Calendar - TEXT — IN­DIA HENDRIKSE PHO­TOG­RA­PHY — STEPHEN LANG­DON

You know life’s pretty darn swell when you’re given bucket-list wishes with­out be­ing at death’s door.

One of Auck­land’s most tal­ented di­rect­ing ex­ports, Shane Bosher, has been lured back from Syd­ney by Silo Theatre’s artis­tic di­rec­tor, So­phie Roberts, to help cel­e­brate the com­pany’s 20th an­niver­sary. She pre­sented him with the ques­tion: “What plays are on your bucket list?” Bosher picked two from his list of 20, and is back in Auck­land to di­rect them.

Bosher left his role as artis­tic di­rec­tor of Silo in 2013, hav­ing held the job for more than a decade. He now rents a $380-a-week room in Rush­cut­ters Bay. Fresh from pre­sent­ing Mike Bartlett’s witty take on mod­ern love, Cock, at the Syd­ney Gay and Les­bian Mardi Gras Fes­ti­val, Bosher is now bring­ing the work here, along with the starkly con­trast­ing A Street­car Named De­sire.

Bosher jumped at the op­por­tu­nity to di­rect the Ten­nessee Wil­liams mas­ter­piece, feel­ing it aligned with Silo’s chal­lenger ethos. “Even though it’s from 1947, it has such ex­tra­or­di­nary things to say about how we deal with each other and what hap­pens when com­bus­tive forces come into our lives,” he says.

For Bosher, rel­e­vance — both so­cial and po­lit­i­cal — is para­mount. “I’ve been very clear that I don’t want to cre­ate a cho­co­late-box nos­tal­gic pro­duc­tion of a clas­sic,” he says of Street­car.

Bosher com­pares the play’s set­ting — in post-World War II New Or­leans — to the con­tem­po­rary Don­ald Trump era. “That cul­ture of post-world-war is kind of very sim­i­lar to Trump’s Amer­ica in a way, in that the peo­ple that served in WWII were told that they would in­herit the earth,” he says.

With Cock, Bosher was drawn to its fo­cus on iden­tity and how that is de­fined.

“It is about sex­u­al­ity, it’s about be­long­ing, it’s about power, it’s about how we deal with iden­tity within the rules of liv­ing,” he says.

Time away spent be­ing a lit­tle fish in a big sea has given Bosher a fresh perspective on Auck­land’s theatre scene. The con­sumers of theatre have changed, he says.

“For a long time in Auck­land, when we talked about what the au­di­ence was, it was a per­sona named Cyn­thia. She was 52, lived in Re­muera or Ko­hi­marama and she quite of­ten went out with her friends,” he says. “You also now have au­di­ences who I call lib­eral so­phis­ti­cates, who 20 years ago didn’t nec­es­sar­ily think theatre was for them.”

Though fi­nan­cial mo­ti­va­tions played a part in his com­ing back to Auck­land — “whilst I’ve been re­ally suc­cess­ful over there, it’s still not enough to sus­tain an an­nual in­come” — Bosher is also drawn to New Zealand’s open-mind­ed­ness in sto­ry­telling.

“I think that there is a greater con­ver­sa­tion here about di­verse sto­ry­telling than there is in Aus­tralia,” he says. “Over there, racism is worn with its heart on its sleeve — it’s in­sti­tu­tion­alised racism — whereas here, au­di­ences are be­ing ex­posed to the work of Briar Grace-Smith and Hone Kouka and Vic­tor Rodger on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.”

COCK, HER­ALD THEATRE, JULY 20-AU­GUST 12, AND A STREET­CAR NAMED DE­SIRE, Q THEATRE, AU­GUST 24-SEPTEM­BER 16, SILOTHE­ATRE.CO.NZ

ABOVE— Shane Bosher, back at Silo, pho­tographed at Q Theatre.

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