A blend of mystery and music
Storyteller Duncan Sarkies reckons his novel The Demolition of the Century is the best thing he's written so far - which is why he's putting it on stage, adding a bit of music and giving it new life.
The Wellington writer has teamed up with musician Sean O'Brien, aka Joe Blossom, to reveal the mysteries of the novel and croon a few tunes as part of the New Zealand Festival's Writers Week, which starts tomorrow, aka Joe Blossom, to reveal the mysteries of the novel and croon a few tunes in between for the New Zealand Festival show of the same name.
"The show itself is my spinning some stories from a novel I wrote called The Demolition of the Century while Joe Blossom plays music that I was listening to while I was writing that novel.
"There's a bit of Tom Waits, Oscar Brown Jr, a bit of Nina Simone, bit of Gene Vincent, bit of Charlie Feathers – an interesting mix of music."
Sarkies is no stranger to transforming his writing into stage performance, but is particularly pleased to be giving this story – "about a character called Tom, who's lost everything and is looking for everything" – new life.
"It's such a funny thing throwing four years of your life into something – there's so many novels out in the marketplace and when you've got someone as successful as Eleanor Catton you disappear, all other things disappear alongside it, so it's so nice to give it another life. I've always known that this is the best thing that I've written and it's been a real buzz for me but it's a bit weird that it's been my little secret. So it's so nice to share it."
Sarkies describes the story as a mystery with funny bits and vignettes from the show include a detective story about a horse with no sperm, a scene from relationship counselling, someone trying to escape from Annie: The Musical, someone crawling around a basement looking for socks, and a showdown at the demolition of an old theatre.
"On some levels it reads like a bunch of short stories and the mystery for the audience will be how does that fit together? But we'll take them on an emotional story for sure."
The Demolition Of The Century, March 11 at Hannah Playhouse in Wellington, March 13 at The Dowse Arts Museum in Lower Hutt, March 14 at Aratoi in Masterton, and March 15 at St Peter's Village Hall in Paekakariki.
The Dominion Post