Here’s a play that talks about death and dying, as characters grapple with the pros and cons of euthanasia and the issues raised by the Euthanasia Bill.
Who wants to talk about death and the process of dying? Lots of people actually. Jan Bolwell’s new play ‘Welcome to the Death Cafe’ is set in Masterton at a death cafe meeting. Strangers gather to to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death, in this case euthanasia. (It is the topic du jour as the Euthanasia Bill makes its way this year through the New Zealand parliament).
As the play unfolds we meet people who have been traumatised by family deaths, or who hold strong religious views about euthanasia, or have come to the death cafe meeting with their own very personal agendas. Throw in some song and dance as one of the characters tries to write a musical about death, and you have an hour of entertaining, thought provoking and very topical theatre.
Handstand Productions, a theatre company created by Jan Bolwell, has been devising and touring theatre works around New Zealand for the past 20 years. The works have been created by Bolwell - three solo shows about her family, and three multicast plays dealing with historical figures, such as Frances Hodgkins, Lucia Joyce and Freda du Faur. She has worked with talented dramaturgs and directors and designers who have helped her bring these works to the stage. Ralph McAllister, Kerryn Palmer, Annie Ruth, Lisa Maule and Nicole Cosgrove, among them; and actors such as Perry Piercy, John Wraight, Emily Regtien, Isobel McKinnon, John Smythe and dancer and choreographer, Sacha Copland.