There are hundreds of talented creative people in Auckland who seem to take on far too many projects on at once, but actor and producer Ella Becroft is taking it to extremes. She’s appearing next week in Red Leap Theatre’s new devised play, Dust Pilgrim. Head along to Q Theatre to see it, but in the meantime, here’s a little more about what makes her tick.
I’m a potentially lazy person but I’m also a physical theatre actor.
My day usually begins with driving to rehearsal and doing yoga in my puffer jacket (Red Leap rehearse in a shed. Winter = fridge) and ends with watching The Wire, which I just started again from the beginning. So good.
Name your three favourite places in Auckland to eat, drink and play
Eat: Chinoiserie. Pork Belly Buns for ever.
Drink: Somewhere where my lovely friend Dan King can make me delicious drinks. Or The Basement Bar, as some good theatre is usually attached.
Play: Karekare beach with my dog Gus.
Tell us something we’d be surprised to know about you
I’m very talented at balancing a spoon on my nose.
Pick a book and a park you’d like to read it in, anywhere in the world.
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, in London Fields on a summer Saturday.
Tell us a little bit about Dust Pilgrim
Dust Pilgrim is the story of a young woman who lives in a dry and barren landscape with her cigar-smoking, tyrannical mother. Bones rattle in the walls and secrets are hidden in flying suitcases. In a bid for freedom the girl destroys her home and runs out into the desert, finding herself in a world of tricksters, angels, cages and traps.
We were initially inspired by the magic realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his short story ‘The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother’. As we began devising we found our own story – one that explores oppression, and especially the oppression of women, within a strange yet familiar world.
What do you love about working with Red Leap Theatre?
I love creating work that goes beyond the limitations of text, is wildly imaginative, takes risks, is physically dynamic and visually exciting. Red Leap try and do that. The process of making a devised show and story from scratch is ridiculously challenging, but creatively really fulfilling. Besides that they are just really great people.
What else are you working on this year?
After Dust Pilgrim I reignite a short documentary I am making with my production company Votre Arme. We followed Mixit, a refugee and migrant youth arts project, as they created their devised show Bitter Sweet earlier this year. The show used Romeo and Juliet as a jump off point, and similarly we look at what the themes and ideas of the play mean to the young people involved.
Name the three best plays/performances you’ve ever seen and why
The Drowned Man, Punchdrunk. Because the scale of it was ridiculous, the design amazing, and it took place inside the multi-storied Temple Studios in London where you were roamed all alone in a mask as the story happened around you. There were whole floors of rolling sand dunes, forests with hidden trailers parks, whole film sets…
L’immediat, Compagnie L’Immédiat / Camille Boitel. Amazing French physical theatre, beautifully exercised chaos. I left the theatre so happy I cried.
360 – a theatre of recollections, Theatre Stampede & Nightsong Productions. I really loved this show, Carl’s writing is beautiful and the show itself was such greatness.
If everyone in the world had a theme song that played when they walked into a room, what would yours be and why?
Umbrella-ella-ella, because that seems to actually happen on a regular basis. Thanks Riri.
Dust Pilgrim is playing at Q Theatre from the 4th-13th June. GET TICKETS >>