Q & A with Heike Brunner

Our Heike Brunner is co-producing a collection of one-act plays featuring Tamith Hattingh and Danieyella Rodin at the Galloway Theatre this month.

The theatre evening, called Funerals, Kidnappings, Swizzle Sticks and Other Distractions is an evening of acclaimed playwright Christopher Durang short plays and is directed by Katey Carson, in her theatre directing debut.

Between each of the five short plays we see disgruntled actors set-up the new scene and their short story line archs over the five different plays.

Heike answers some questions about the evening:

Q1: In one sentence each, tell us what your five one-act plays are about.

DMV Tyrant: A man who needs to renew his drivers licence has a Kafka-esque experience at the traffic department.
Funeral Parlour: A unexpected and socially awkward mourner arrives at a funeral to offer his condolences.
The Book of Leviticus Show: A determined young makes a public access TV show about following God’s word to the letter.
Canker Sores and Other Distractions: A spontaneous reunion dinner with unexpected consequences.
For Whom The Southern Belle Tolls: This play is a parody of Tennessee William’s famous play The Glass Menagerie.

Q2: What made you want to get involved with the project?
I initiated the project, as I have been wanting to do more of Christopher Durang’s plays. I absolutely love his writing.

Q3: For those of us who aren’t in the know, what exactly does a producer of a play do?

In the case of this particular theatre production on a shoe-string budget, it’s a passion project. I am lucky to be working with Katey Carson, the director, and Michael Murphey, who co-produced. As a co-producer, we signed the rights contract with the author’s agents, we signed a contract with the theatre, and we put in the money needed to get the project off the ground (i.e. we rented an audition space, arranged a rehearsal venue, bought props and begged and borrowed as much as we could from people who are enthusiastic about the project and happy to help out, for little or no pay). The profit from the ticket sales will be shared amongst everyone who participated, that’s what’s known as a ‘profit-share’.
In the mainstream sense, a producer funds the entire production, or looks for sponsors and partners, and makes his/her money back from ticket sales, without sharing the profits with the cast and crew. They are paid a salary instead. I can’t pay salaries, so my productions are profit-shares, but I’m hoping to figure that part out eventually.


Q4: What made you want to go into a more behind-the-scenes role (like producing) rather than being on stage?

I am on stage in this production – in two of the five pieces. My main reason for producing is so that I can perform the kind of material that I like to watch on stage.  I realised that unless I started producing myself, no one else was going to call me to audition for the kind of stage work that excites me. In 2013 I co-produced Urban Death, a psychological horror-sketch show, because I wanted to do that kind of physical theatre work, and I wanted to bring a show to Cape Town that was unlike anything local audiences had seen before.

Q5: Why should someone come to watch this show?

That’s the easy part: in my humble opinion, Christopher Durang is a comic and satirical genius. The texts are just so good. And we have a wonderful cast of really funny actors to boot – I think Chris would approve.

The show is at the Galloway Theatre from Thursday, 5th November 2015 at 20h00 to Sun, 6th December 2015 at 18:00. You can book your tickets here.


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