Local theatre group returns to the stage

On the case . . . Kate Low and Luke Robb star in Drip, the next instalment of Benjamin Donaldson’s Cabinet of Karnovach anthology. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The newest addition of Ambiversal’s Cabinet of Karnovach anthology is set to splash on to South Canterbury stages next week.

Drip is a continuation of two original shows, Vanity’s Glass and Omnibus, which were created by South Canterbury playwright and director Benjamin Donaldson and staged last year.

The newest instalment is set around the 1950s and ’60s and follows Chester, who escapes his life on the farm and his not so-nice family.

Chester is obsessed with a radio play and gets the chance to work as a transcriptionist in the studio where it is made.

He works in an old utility closet where there is a dripping pipe that lulls him to sleep. He dreams he is one of the characters in the show and then things start to get darker and darker.

Drip is a one-act play, and, like the previous plays in the anthology, stars seasoned South Canterbury actors Luke Robb and Kate Low.

Donaldson said it had been great getting to add to his anthology and was looking forward to audiences getting to see a continuation of the story.

‘‘We have a million and a-half of them planned out but this is just the next one. Drip was actually conceptualised before the other two but it’s just ended up a later one.

‘‘It’s a nice two-person play but really there are four characters: Luke takes on Chester but also Chester dreaming he is Charles, and Kate plays Katharine, who is the heiress of the radio station and Helen who is a character in the show called Monsters before Midnight.

‘‘There’s a bit of reveal stuff and that sort of thing so we don’t want to give too much away.’’

He said he very much enjoyed getting to the stage and creating original content.

‘‘It means that, one, we don’t have to pay for any licensing, which is a big one, but we also just get to play and there are no rules.

‘‘We’re also using it as a bit of a tester because there is a lot of audio stuff in this, so we are hoping to move a lot of Ambiversal content into more audio drama stuff to send to RNZ or put up online.

‘‘It’s great to have that freedom but we all have a level of industry training in different areas, so we have freedom but we know boundaries.

‘‘I think that makes it really easy — we’re not just going for it hoping that it’ll work. We have such a diverse level of skills between the three of us which is really cool.’’

Low said she, too, was excited to be continuing the Karnovach universe.

‘‘It’s cool to be adding on to the universe that we created last year and the people who would have seen last year’s show will be able to find the Easter eggs we’ve hidden in this show.

‘‘That’s the goal. We just want to keep building on the Karnovach universe and have it become this multiverse with all of these stories that link.

‘‘The cool thing with building an anthology is it’s a way for people to start buying into something but you’re also essentially building an audience from scratch so it can be challenging.’’

Robb said it had been great to get to continually come together as a trio to work on the plays.

‘‘A massive thing we learnt from last year was that all three of us took different directions in how we wanted to pursue the arts, and then we all just happened to come back to Timaru at one point and we got to combine all the different things we learnt.

‘‘It was really cool to be able to take all those skills and put them together to create something new and exciting.’’

He said they had learnt how to do good theatre on a small budget.

‘‘Last year a lot of the audience was surprised with the professionalism of it and the quality from something that was just made by us.

‘‘There might have been that perception of it being original content, so would just be a cute little skit but they were surprised by the depth of it and the storytelling.

‘‘We’ve proven that if you want to do it and you have the skills, you can actually produce something that’s really awesome.’’

Drip will open in Waimate at the Silver Band Hall on Saturday at 7.30pm.

They will then stage three shows from July 10-13 at Roncalli College hall at 7.30pm each night.

The play will run for an hour. Tickets are $25 and are available from eventbrite or the Ambiversal website. Door sales will also be available.