Billy and the Curse of Falling Limbs

Our goal was to take our fresh-off-the-page production that featured as part of the Wellington Fringe Festival in Febuary 2016 and develop and refine it for a run at Bats Theatre. While the story remained intact for the second round at Bats, we made a number of changes.

The biggest overall change was casting two additional actors, Alex Greig as ‘the Miner’ and as ‘Fatman’, and Elle Wootton as ‘Little Man’. We also addressed several weaknesses, most importantly, that the play as a whole felt unbalanced. The introductory scene was out of proportion with the rest of the play. Our solution was to expand on later events taking place in the story that we felt we had brushed over originally. Changes were also made in the areas of set and prop design, puppet and character details, and scene structure.

While we had great responses from our audiences, there are improvements we would like to work on for our next round of this play in the areas of costuming, story logic, and stage layout. While our scene transitions improved from the first season, we only became consistently smooth during the last performances. I also hope to promote the show more actively next time, as our audience numbers were disappointing.

Despite the imperfections, I’m thrilled to have brought our dark fairytale to Bats Theatre, and we are extremely grateful for the support of EAT. The opportunity for this season has improved our play beyond our expectations. The story means a lot to us, and we have already been invited to restage it as part of the Kia Mau Festival at Circa. We would like to perform the show in Auckland, and have been discussing ways to lighten our set for the purpose of touring it. We are deeply committed to this play and believe it resonates with a wide audience.

Building on these developments, I have been working on extending another play. Being a filmmaker also, the idea of crossing media with our stories is another consideration, and scripts are in development.

Meanwhile, Mia van Oyen has recently been offered a significant role on a short film funded by NZFC. She has also been making progress in the world of dance, and has recently collaborated with director Heather O’Carroll as part of the Womens Theatre Festival play readings at Circa Theatre. Joe Dekkers-Reihana has gone on to play several roles on two Pop-up Globe productions.

Stuff Review by Ewen Coleman

“Mia Van Oyen is is great, full of confidence and physically adept, in her role in Billy and the Curse of Falling Limbs.”

“It is impossible to pigeon-hole this type of show into some sort of form or genre, with its physicality, varying types of puppetry and great lighting effects, suffice to say it is a very intriguing and entertaining piece of theatre.”
Theatreview Review by Tim Stevenson

“Innocence, eccentricity and downright villainy delivered with confidence and skill.”

“[Mia Van Oyen] is a well-chosen, well-delivered mix of sensitivity, innocence, resourcefulness and humour.”

“The strong, experienced cast clearly revels in the opportunity to explore the extremes of their fantasy roles.”

“This is a smooth production that delivers its mostly dark material with confidence and skill, thanks to well-thought-out design and a talented and versatile cast and production team.”
Art Murmurs Review by Hilary Penwarden

“The quest narrative is given powerful new depths by a fantastic cast and ambitious design.”

“The lights, action, set and sound are in complete union – a moment of triumph that has this theatre-nerd in awe.”

“I thoroughly recommend this thoughtful, magical and relevant production to audiences young, old and everything in between.”