Astroman at the Court Theatre – We talk to writer Albert Belz

One of the prizes in our Winter Read Challenge for teens is three double passes to see Astroman at The Court Theatre. This show is on from 27 October to 10 November. It sounds like a ripper – the 80s, video games, and Michael Jackson moves:

It’s 1983, and young Hemi ‘Jimmy’ Te Rehua knows how to dominate the games at the Whakatāne Astrocade Amusement Parlour. Too smart for his own good, Jimmy has a knack for trouble.

In this vid, playwright Albert Belz talks about Astroman to The Court Theatre’s Artistic Director Ross Gumbley.

We asked Albert a few questions:

How would you describe your play Astroman in a couple of sentences?

A coming of age story set in the small town N.Z. 1980s where a young boy genius discovers what it really means to be brave.

Do you have any tips for teens who want to get into writing plays?

Write with humour about the things that make you most angry.

What are your fave things – games, books, comics, movies, tv etc?

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Kia ora Albert, and good luck to all of you entering the Winter Read Challenge.

More about Albert

A Plum role

Being lucky enough to have some sneak peeks before the opening night of Plum, The Court Theatre’s new play, has really got me giddying up at the prospect of actually seeing it.

Photo of The Muse and Plum
Laura Hill as The Muse and Colin McPhillamy as Plum (courtesy of The Court Theatre)

At the photo call in the Heritage Hotel this week, Laura Hill (the Muse) channelled Wallis Simpson (only younger and much prettier) with a touch of Dita von Teese and was unbelievably at ease while being photographed. Perhaps they have classes at drama school in how to obey instantly when asked for the “1940s off to the future” look.

Colin McPhillamy (Plum) was resplendent in a specially commissioned cardigan featuring every Arran pattern known to an expert knitter. He had taken one for the team in having his normally full head of hair shaved to resemble P. G. Wodehouse’s less well-covered pate, while Laura Hill’s brunette look called forth the question “who’s in charge of the wig”?

And I cannot resist sharing the set model which is made, to scale, before each show so the set construction team, props and tech departments know what to expect when it comes time to build, install and light. Do they keep them all and if they do can I see them? All of them?

Photo of scale model of set
Scale model of the set for ‘Plum’ (courtesy of The Court Theatre)

Plum is a world premiere set at the most critical time of P. G. Wodehouse‘s life. The man who set off to be interned with a copy of Shakespeare, a pair of pyjamas and a mutton chop was accused of lending “his services to the German propaganda machine” and he never returned to England for the rest of his long life.

It’s going to be quite the combination of script, actors, costumes and set. I can’t wait.

Intrigued? Enter our competition and you could win one of six double passes to see Plum, courtesy of The Court Theatre.