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8 AUCKLAND CITY HARBOUR NEWS, MAY 31, 2013
Explosions of Shakespeare in the mind
10 QUESTIONS WITH
Much ado: Two of New Zealand's freshest young writers, Dan Musgrove and
Natalie Medlock, join forces with celebrated actor and director Michael Hurst,
pictured, in No Holds Bard.
Photo: ROBERT CATTO
Acclaimed actor and director Michael Hurst returns to The
Basement Theatre with his first solo show No Holds Bard next
month in preparation for his appearance at the Edinburgh
Fringe Festival in August. The show explores the inner
workings of a deranged actor's mind as he battles several
ghosts of Shakespeare's leading men. Reporter Jess Lee
spoke with him about treading the boards once again.
Go to aucklandcityharbournews.
co.nz and click on Latest Edition to
see a trailer for No Holds Bard.
1. Describe the show.
In the fetid bedsit of an actor s
mind, four great Shakespearean
characters compete for Hamlet s
right to be or not. Eventually they
wrestle for supremacy in one man s
body. Tights, schizophrenia and
blank verse. Not to mention fried
eggs, profundity, knockabout com-
edy and scintillating verbal repar-
tee combined with sweat and swear-
2. How did it feel taking to the
stage for the first time last year
in a solo show?
I always have nerves before
performing but it would certainly be
true to say that the first perform-
ance in Wellington last year was
nerve-racking. Partly because of
being alone and on my toes out
there and partly because it is a per-
sonal, even if at times demented,
statement and so I want what is
said to have maximum impact. It
was, and in a way continues to be, a
3. Who has been your favour-
ite Shakespearean character to
It has to be Hamlet. Both times I
have played it (at 35 years old and
again at 46 years old) I hit on the
accessibility of the language and it
is this that dazzles the audience --
the writing. When the audience can
understand the actor as Hamlet,
then that actor is akin to a high
priest tasked with the significant
responsibility of leading the congre-
gation safely through a dark and
complex ritual to a space of trans-
formation. Pretty cool.
4. How has the show evolved
during its run?
It is much more complex now in
terms of the character delineation
and in terms of the presentation of
the central character, a rather sad,
mystified and explosively schizo-
phrenic version of me. He has
become clearer to the audience and
therefore the effect of the plot, such
as it is, has intensified which is a
good thing. It s probably fair to say
that the gags and pratfalls are bet-
ter, funnier and more frequent.
5. What's been the best feed-
back received about the show
from audiences so far?
Sir Ian McKellan came to see it
the other night and stayed after-
wards to talk to me. He really liked
it and my work which was most
gratifying. He said that he had
never seen anything like it and that
it was like having a flint constantly
struck in his mind setting off Sha-
kespearean explosions all over the
place. But the reaction is always
one of surprise, some trepidation,
then hilarity leavened with fear and
sympathy, I think.
6. How do you feel about tak-
ing the show to Edinburgh?
Excited, terrified, trepidatious,
keen, hungry, a little giggly at times
and fortunate to be able to do it. I
have no idea what they ll make of it.
7. How does it feel to be syn-
onymous with Shakespeare in
I don t really think about that. I
just love it and I do it.
8. What piece of advice would
you give yourself as a young
actor starting in the industry?
The same advice I gave myself
back then in the mid 70s -- the work
comes first. Work will get work. All
of the rest of it, success, celebrity or
whatever, are only the accoutre-
ments of the craft, the trappings.
9. Can you describe your first-
I was so naive that I thought that
the artistic directors of the Court
Theatre in 1976 (Yvette Bromley,
Bryan Aitken and Randall I W
Wackrow) might not know Shake-
speare s A Midsummer Night's
Dream. When I condescendingly
explained to them that I was doing
the introduction of Pyramus and
Thisbe, they unanimously exclai-
med Oh lovely! Our favourite! . A
world of folly opened up in front of
me as I realised that of course they
would know Shakespeare and what
was I thinking? I trembled and
bumbled through the speech in full-
on Lancashire accent and ran away
as fast as I could. In a word, the
experience was, from my perspec-
tive, a salutary one, if humiliating.
Mind you, I got the job.
Definitely to be.
No Holds Bard will play at The
Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave
from June 4-15.
Go to iticket.co.nz or call 316 1000
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Full sails: More than 250 people attended Mercy By Moonlight aboard a Fullers
ferry generously donated for the evening cruise. The event raised more than
$14,000 which will go directly to sponsoring surgeries on board the hospital
ship Africa Mercy. Surgeries often performed include those to remove massive
tumours and corrective surgery for girls and women with permanent birth
injuries. The vessel is operated by Mercy Ships and in August is beginning a
new 10-month field service in the Republic of Congo. The ship provides free
surgeries to the poorest of the poor, thanks to the volunteer crew and the
generous support of donors worldwide. Pictured at Mercy By Moonlight are
Mercy Ships nurse Nicholas Booth of Hillsborough, left, and Larry Robbins, of
Digging in: Westmere girls Lara Flood, Stella Loghlin and Rosa Burrell help with planting on Motuihe Island.
Planting day: James and
Tyson Gillbanks of Pt
Chevalier do their bit at
Ricoh's 10th Big Green
Day Out on Motuihe
One hundred and 30 volunteers took
part in Ricoh's 10th Big Green Day
Out on Motuihe Island on May 19. The
Big Green Day Out is an annual event
organised by Ricoh involving its staff
family and friends. The exercise has
become one of Ricoh's most
successful corporate events
attracting more than 1100 volunteers
who've planted nearly 20,000 trees
since it was first started. Participants
have also helped with beach clean-
ups and nursery work. The day is
designed to help raise awareness
about sustainable development and
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