Register 2020

CULTURE Senior Production – Evita

Christ’s College and Rangi Ruru Girls’ School Senior Drama Production

“We had gained special permission from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group in London to live stream a four-camera simulcast of the show to satellite venues in the city. That was unprecedented in Christchurch and enabled hundreds of our pre- booked patrons to enjoy the large-scale spectacle. It was all live on screen, in real-time, as if they were there. It was like our own National Theatre Live.” The effort was worth it. The cast visualised real people in the empty seats. Leads Georgina Scott as Eva Perón, Dominic Edmond as Ché, and Fletcher Anderson as President Perón had extraordinary presence, owning the stage (and screen). Ché swaggered and strutted, immune to Eva’s charms, driving the story along. Eva was magnetic, seductive, enthralling, irresistible. Perón exuded power. And then, to top it all off, Perón understudy Henry Briscoe got to play the role twice, subbing for injured 1st XV captain Fletcher Anderson. Much of the irresistible charm of the show was carried by the ensemble and our vocal and dancing choruses certainly held up their end of the bargain. The precision of the marching soldiers interweaving through the

entitled aristocrats was breathtaking, as was the dancing of the Buenos Aires street dancers, all choreographed by Hannah Clarkson. Harmonies were tightly controlled and fostered by vocal director Nicholas Sutcliffe and the orchestra was magnificent as it contended with the fiendish score under Janet Kingsbury’s baton. The technical crew, led by Ben Davis and Agave Yu, cooperated to work in the three-dimensional space, creating many seamless scene and mood changes. The production was a combined effort between Christ’s College and Rangi Ruru Girls’ School. As co-director Peter Rutherford says, “Our schools have forged very special relationships through the arts, based on mutual trust and respect. Both schools boast specialist performing arts teachers who support each other and who are committed to and passionate about the role of the arts in learning. “ Evita was an extraordinary vehicle for learning and, despite the Covid circus, what a show it was!”

Evita Lyrics by Tim Rice

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber Orginally directed by Harold Prince Directed by David Chambers and Peter Rutherford Christ’s College Assembly Hall 9–13 September 2020 by arrangement with ORiGiN Theatrical on behalf of the Really Useful Group

The show did go on – and what a show!

Ché’s first six words – “What a circus, what a show” – sum up the extraordinary experience of producing Evita in Christchurch during New Zealand’s “go hard, go early” response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 alert level changes, the changing size of “gatherings”, the shift of performance dates from May to September, even the transition from summer to winter sports, all required flexibility and innovation and resilience. We started with plans for a 650 audience in May. That dropped to zero because the company was bigger than the “100 maximum gathering size” under alert level 2. “To maintain morale, we made an ‘alert level 4 lockdown’ Zoom rehearsal video as the cast kept chipping away at home. Without doubt, the toughest moment was when permission to perform to 270 people in three physically separated zones within the auditorium was granted by the Ministry of Health, only to be withdrawn the following day,” says College’s Director of Drama David Chambers.

Robyn Peers Production Manager

Undeterred, Plan D was employed.


Christ’s College Canterbury

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