Rehearsing The Eight Reindeer Monologues at Taste Merchants, Dunedin, are (from left) Orion Carey-Clark, Rachel Chin and Daniel Goodwin. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
A dark Christmas comedy in which Santa's reindeer confront
sexual violence opens in Dunedin today.
The Eight Reindeer Monologues is a series of venison
vignettes in which Santa Claus is accused of historic sex
Due to the play containing ''potentially triggering content
for survivors of sexual abuse'', Rape Crisis Dunedin
volunteers will attend each performance to offer support,
director Caitlin McNaughton said this week.
''I wanted Rape Crisis involved, because I wanted their
guidance to make sure we were treating the subject in a
sensitive manner. They are also there to support our cast and
make sure they're safe. Some of the cast have to play
survivors of rape and that's a very hard thing to do.''
The play has been developed in association with Rape Crisis
and all proceeds are being donated to the Dunedin centre.
The 1994 play dealt with issues surrounding sexual violence
and was timely after the recent ''Roast Busters''
controversy, Ms McNaughton said.
''It was written 20 years ago, but it's still so relevant. We
hope the play will provoke discussion and further
understanding about these issues and challenge notions
inherent to New Zealand rape culture.
''Sexual violence is something a lot of people shy away from
discussing, or confronting, in a real and constructive way;
especially in Dunedin. People will make jokes about rape, but
they won't sit down and discuss the real issues behind it,''
''I wanted to bring these issues to the forefront in a safe
place and theatre is the way I know how to do that. It's in a
cafe because it's a comfortable, intimate, cabaret-style
setting, with lots of audience interaction.
''I'm excited, but also nervous ... because I know there is
going to be at least one person in the audience each night
upset. But, if people can find something new in it and it
provokes discussion then it has been a good thing to do.''
The play is presented by Dunedin youth production company
Counterpoint, which was formed last year to support young
artists and produce work by young people for young people.
The cast is Luke Agnew, Daniel Goodwin, Ben McCarthy, Nell
Guy, Orion Carey-Clark, Abby Howells, Trubie-Dylan Smith and
- The Eight Reindeer Monologues is on at Taste
Merchants at 7.30pm today, tomorrow and Saturday.