Play overcomes pitiful start

16:00, Feb 24 2014
The Caretaker
NOMINATED: Mark Jensen starred in Torbay Theatre’s production of The Caretaker, which is up for seven awards.

A play is up for seven awards, despite its opening night being cancelled after only two people turned up to watch.

Actor and director Mark Jensen says it was "all doom and gloom" for the Torbay Theatre cast of The Caretaker when they were forced to cancel their first show.

"Everyone was quite devastated."

They gave up waiting for an audience and went to the pub instead.

But numbers grew and by closing night the theatre was almost full.

"Word of mouth is an amazing thing," Mr Jensen says.


"We thought, we've got something here that's quite special."

Torbay Theatre put forward The Caretaker for the amateur theatre awards run by Auckland Community Theatre Trust.

Mr Jensen says it is an amazing accomplishment for a small theatre like Torbay to receive seven nominations.

The play is up for best set design, props, costumes, lighting, lead male actor, lead female actor and director.

As well as acting in and directing the play, Mr Jensen also designed and constructed the set and the cast worked on the costumes and props together.

Mr Jensen says it is "just wonderful" for cast member Sue Donnell to be nominated for the best female lead award, as she died earlier this year.

He says her nomination is even more amazing because The Caretaker, a Harold Pinter play, usually has only male roles.

"I was blown away by the way she portrayed her particular part."

The winners will be revealed at the Auckland Community Theatre Trust Awards Night on March 8 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Shoreside Theatre is also up for eight awards and the Mairangi Players have five nominations.

North Shore Times