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May 7, 2007 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Hunting of the Snark

BATS Theatre, 8 – 12 May, 6:30pm
Full $15, Concessions $12, Groups of 6+ $12, 04 802 4175

Born out of a raucous night in Thailand on whiskey and red bull, The Playground Collective comes to us with what seems to be a decent sense of worldliness and motivation. As Robin Kerr, co-facilitator of The Playground Collective, recently explained to me, the company’s first venture is a newly devised piece based on Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark. Their performance, opening 8th May at BATS, promises to be a fresh venture into the realm of surreal comedy which should appeal to a wide spectrum of theatre-goers.

Though The Hunting of the Snark may be the company’s first outing, the team is by no means new to the Wellington theatre scene. Kerr and Eli Kent, the co-facilitator, graduated from Wellington High together after a string of successes in the performing arts, particularly in Shakespearean drama. Since school, Robin has studied drama in England and, along with Eli, has also taught drama to students in Thailand. Another common denominator between the two is their respective involvements in the Young and Hungry festival, a program set up as a gateway for young thespians into the theatre industry. “But it’s another rung in the ladder”, says Robin. “It needs to keep going.” And so we have The Playground Collective – a company which Robin sees as becoming the ‘next step’ for young performers to take in their quest for a satisfying career.

The show itself is shaping up to be very promising indeed, judging by Robin’s high faith in his team and their commitment. “We are doing this with the people we want to be doing it with. We are doing what we want to do. And we’re passionate. But we couldn’t do it without our sponsors – big ups to our sponsors Vic Books for supporting us, everyone get your books from there!” Such energy is sure to rub off in their show, which is being presented as part of the comedy festival this month. “We didn’t pitch it as a comedy’ Robin tells me. “What we pitched it as was something that never stops being entertaining.” And entertaining the show will be. Following Lewis Carroll’s poem The Hunting of the Snark, the source material for this performance, the story traces a gang of absurd individuals on an island hunting for the ‘snark’; a type of imaginary beast which no-one has ever seen before. There is no doubt that the search will be marred by numerous pitfalls and obstacles – given the Lewis Carroll theme, one might expect mushrooms and Jabberwockies galore. However, The Salient theatre pages can EXCLUSIVELY reveal some of the top-secret features of the show, including the presence of not one, not two, but three life-size puppets assembled from numerous treasures found on Holloway Rd, which Robin describes to me as ‘junk monsters’. With such open and imaginative source material offering countless possibilities, the show should be an intriguing mix of surreal and fun.

With the opening night of their show just around the corner, The Playground Collective seems to be heading down a very positive track. Equipped with a strong drive for success and a hearty dose of confidence, The Hunting of the Snark is shaping up to be a must-see for all of us with an affinity for strangeness and the bizarre. Provided all goes well with this venture, The Playground Collective seems to be one to keep an eye on.


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