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That Face (Theatre, 2010)

Name: That Face
Character: Izzy
Written by: Polly Stenham
Directed by: Shane Bosher
Show at: Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, The Edge, Auckland
From: 19 Mar 2010 to 10 Apr 2010

01. About Izzy (below)
02. Press Release (below)

  • 01. About Izzy

Izzy (Rose McIver) is a self-absorbed, self-serving power-wielding queen who teaches Martha’s teenaged children, that everything has consequences.

  • 02. Press Release

A tour-de-force from the caustic new voice of Generation Y; Silo Theatre has finally found a play which loudly exclaims the C word: CLASS. Watch a mesmerising eruption of cruelty and humour as a middle class family is eviscerated in That Face, Silo Theatre’s first production for 2010, premiering at the Herald Theatre, THE EDGE from March 19th.

Henry has dropped out of school to look after Mummy Dearest.
Mia is about to be booted out all of her own accord.
Mummy is a beautifully spoken monster, drunkenly indulging her own decline.
And Daddy? In absentia, but rushing home from Hong Kong to fix things as only his money can.
And now it is time for this fractured family to face a reality they have avoided for far too long.

Polly Stenham was only 19 when her play wowed audiences at London’s prestigious Royal Court Theatre, and just 20 when it transferred to the West End – the youngest playwright ever to do so. Told with youthful swagger, tremendous heart and a dark, mischievous sense of humour, Stenham explores the fine line between neglect and active abuse. When Generation Y are forced to become parents to their own mothers and fathers, the adults are enabled to neglect all sense of responsibility. It’s a gobsmacking new take on the age-old battle between parents and their children over who gets to own the future.

Charles Spencer, critic for The Daily Telegraph, described it as ‘one of the most astonishing debuts I have seen in more than 30 years of theatre reviewing … a remarkable and unforgettable piece of theatre.’ That Face won the 2007 Evening Standard Award for Best New Play, 2007 Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright and was nominated for Best New Play at the 2009 Olivier Awards.

That Face will see Jennifer Ward-Lealand as audiences have never seen her before when she takes to the stage as the chain-smoking, pill-popping, alcoholic Martha. A bohemian beauty fixated on her teenage son, this mistress of manipulation borrows heavily from the legendary heroines of Tennessee Williams: “I would rather have led a short life of incomparable luxury and decadence, than a long and boring one…” A far cry indeed from her recent work in The Threepenny Opera, Le Sud and Oliver!

Jennifer leads a company which also includes Rose McIver (currently onscreen as Lindsey Salmon in The Lovely Bones), Chelsie Preston Crayford (The Cult; Ruben Guthrie), Andrew Grainger (The Cult; Ruben Guthrie) and dazzling newcomer Dan Weekes, who makes his professional debut in the hugely challenging role of Henry, just weeks out of graduating from Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School.

Silo Theatre Artistic Director Shane Bosher is thrilled to follow up his critically acclaimed 2009 productions of Holding The Man and Ruben Guthrie with Polly Stenham’s theatrical knockout of a play: “Not since Edward Albee’s The Goat have I read a play which is so remarkably confident and exuberantly theatrical. Stenham writes with a veracity which belies her years and really sticks it to the middle class, exposing the spiritual bankruptcy at the heart of many a well-to-do home. It’s wickedly funny, fiercely passionate and strangely exhilarating. Total theatre for here and now. I can’t wait.”