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THE PUMPHOUSE THEATRE: What's On

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to Sea

Tim Bray Productions' stage adaptation of Edward Lear’s most famous nonsense poem, The Owl and the Pussy-Cat, comes to The PumpHouse in the April school holidays.

Edward Lear was a 19th century English artist, illustrator and arguably the most well-known of the nonsense genre writers. 

He was a sickly epileptic who suffered greatly from what the Victorians called ‘melancholia’ – to us, depression. Despite his lifelong health problems he managed to carve himself out an impressive career. Initially recognised as an illustrator and painter, he was employed by the Zoological Society of London as its ornithological draughtsman. Lear’s first literary publication ‘A Book of Nonsense’ (1846) which popularised the poetry genre of the limerick is remarkably still in print. Originally published in 1867, ‘The Owl and the Pussy-Cat’ featured Lear’s own illustrations of the tale.
Lear invented many new words and is notable for bringing the term ‘runcible spoon’ to the English lexicon. After 150+ years in print, Lear’s poem is now a classic and a regular addition to children’s bookshelves.
Lear fact 1: He was known to introduce himself with a long nonsense pseudonym - Mr Abebika kratoponoko Prizzikalo Kattefello Ablegorabalus Ableborinto phashyph.
Lear fact 2: His birthday, January 29th is International Owl and the Pussycat Day.

Absent Friends by Alan Ayckbourn
North Shore’s Tadpole Productions’ first stage offering for 2014 is Absent Friends, by Tony Award-winning British playwright Alan Ayckbourn. Set in real time, at a party, it portrays the complicated and awkward interrelationships of a group of friends grieving (or not) for the loss of one of their number. The play offers a drama punctuated by tragic-comedic moments and when first performed in 1974, its static realism marked a change in tone and design from the author’s previous busy productions. Ayckbourn is one the world’s most popular and prolific playwrights and is still writing and directing his own works. Tadpole’s April production of Absent Friends sees a couple of familiar faces in Katherine Kennard (Nothing Trivial) and Ingrid Park (Go Girls) taking to The PumpHouse stage for the first time.
Update on PumpHouse
construction projects
It’s been a noisy old time at the theatre over the past couple of months with two significant improvement projects underway to the building and amenity. At the time of writing, the iron for the new roof of the theatre is being fixed into place and the asbestos on the annex and verandah is about to be uplifted. Steel has been installed in the roof for earthquake strengthening which should reassure everyone sitting underneath it from now on and we are excited by the prospect of a roof that doesn’t spring a leak every time there’s a stormy deluge.
Meanwhile, the new patron toilet block is taking shape with the construction team taking great care to preserve the heritage feature of the original pipe that supplied the early 20th century North Shore residents with water from Lake Pupuke. The plumbing and drainage is in, the concrete floor has been laid and the framing is going up.  It may seem strange to be excited at the prospect of new toilets but after years of fielding complaints from patrons about the limitations of the previous outhouse-style facility, the staff at The PumpHouse will be relieved (no pun intended) to direct people to the new loos without feeling the need to apologise for the primitive state of them beforehand.
Tiger the PumpHouse cat has been keeping his distance from the noise and dust and will no doubt be a very happy boy when the last of the power tools has been bundled into the trucks and driven away. Unfortunately for him, his favourite rooftop sleeping nook is soon to be sacrificed in the interests of water-tightness. Being an extremely vocal and opinionated cat, he’s sure to make his feelings clear on the matter loudly and at length in the coming weeks.
The French Rendez-vous Cafe has been stoic in the face of the rackety power tools, diggers and building detritus. Fans of their delicious crepes have not been put off by the works going on nearby and you shouldn’t be either. It’s business as usual at the Cafe. As they say in France “plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose”.

by Channel Editorial

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