Di­rec­tor re­fuses to play it safe

The Southland Times - - Front Page - Ge­orgina Old­field

The chal­lenge of pro­duc­ing a new play in In­ver­cargill is im­por­tant to Phillie Holmes.

Holmes will di­rect the first am­a­teur per­for­mance in New Zealand of The Pil­low­man, a black com­edy. It will be the fourth play she has directed.

Holmes, who is also a com­mit­tee mem­ber of In­ver­cargill Reper­tory, said she was ex­cited to take on a genre con­sid­ered dif­fer­ent from the usual.

‘‘When it comes to a lot of re­gional am­a­teur theatre, peo­ple do tend to play it safe.’’

The Pil­low­man was di­a­logue heavy, which Holmes be­lieved was part of the rea­son no other am­a­teur theatre group had cho­sen to take it on.

The play tells the story of Ka­turian, a writer who was in­ter­ro­gated by de­tec­tives about mur­ders that re­sem­bled sto­ries he had writ­ten. It is set in a to­tal­i­tar­ian state and has a dystopian feel, Holmes said. ‘‘It’s dark. It’s twisted and it’s funny.’’

While the genre was a bit of a gam­ble, Holmes said she wanted peo­ple to give it a chance.

‘‘It’s not a Roger Hall feel-good com­edy, where peo­ple know what they are get­ting. But it is beau­ti­fully writ­ten,’’ she said.

The cast was made up of seven ac­tors and one dancer, all of whom had out­side jobs but a pas­sion for acting, Holmes said.

The Pil­low­man is on from Oc­to­ber 16 to 19 at In­ver­cargill Reper­tory House.

JOHN HAWKINS/ STUFF

The Pil­low­man lead ac­tor Con­rad Broad and di­rec­tor Phillie Holmes in the lead-up to the show at In­ver­cargill Reper­tory House.

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