360-degree challenge

KELLY DENNETT
Last updated 05:00 10/01/2014
360 Show

FULL VIEW: An artist’s impression of 360 at The Civic theatre

360 Show
CLEVER CO-ORDINATION: Anders Falstie-Jensen, 36, is juggling the biggest stage show he’s ever produced.

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Anders Falstie-Jensen is juggling more than blunt knives.

The Glendene resident is producing the biggest show of his career bringing 360 to The Civic theatre.

The circus-like show demands cannon shooting, flying carpets and even seal wrangling and is unlike anything else that's been produced at the theatre before.

While Mr Falstie-Jensen isn't onstage he is juggling things backstage.

He says the biggest challenge of all has been the co-ordination of about 100 people across various departments.

This is partly because of the unique stage design.

The Civic has a 2500 person capacity but just 80 tickets per show will be sold in order to fit audiences into a small pit in the middle of the stage where their swivel chairs will allow a 360 degree view of the action.

"That's the cool thing about it, it's a big show but it only seats 80 so it's intimate and encourages a bit of sociability among the audience," he says.

"They'll literally be in the middle of it all."

The theatre's deputy director, Melanie Smith, says the seating is distinct and original "as if grouped in the base of a whiskey glass".

"It's never been installed in The Civic or any of our other venues and is unique enough for us to assume it would be an exceptionally rare arrangement elsewhere," she says.

But it's proved a tricky job for sound and lighting designers and a huge amount of co-ordination on Mr Falstie-Jensen's part.

He's confident it will all come together on the night though.

"All the nuts and bolts are the same - it just means our spreadsheets are much bigger and everything gets more expensive," he says.

"It's making sure everybody has what they need and they're on budget and on time."

Written and directed by Carl Bland, Ben Crowder and the late Peta Rutter, 360 was originally performed at the New Zealand International Arts Festival in Wellington in 2010.

It follows the story of a family of circus performers.

It's now reaching Auckland for the first time for a two-week period beginning Monday.

Despite the short season Mr Falstie-Jensen is planning to be part of the show for a long time yet.

"The hope is that it will get picked up by other international festivals because there are only so many places in New Zealand it can go," he says.

In the interim the drama studies graduate is working on a script of his own. He'll be producing for The Edge fulltime but he's likely to leave the knife juggling to the performers and focus on behind the scenes action for now, he says.

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