Kim Dotcom 'a very funny dude'
How MegaChristmas writers got their starBRIDGET JONES
He said he was never going to be a part of it, but the creators of MegaChristmas think Kim Dotcom is a natural comedian.
After organisers spent months chasing him, the internet tycoon agreed to star as Santa in the Basement Theatre's pantomime-style play, with a few conditions.
"When we met up with him he said 'oh I love it, it's so great. Except my part's not very funny guys, we need to re-write it'. And he had a whole bunch of suggestions that were just really funny - he's a very funny dude," said co-writer and star Nic Sampson.
Along with his writing partner Barnaby Fredrick and the team at the Basement Theatre, Sampson hounded Dotcom with Twitter messages, letters and emails trying to convince him to take up the role written especially for him.
They even waited in line as Dotcom turned on the Franklin Rd Christmas lights just to get some face time.
"It was stalking basically. We sent him a lot of emails, but he is a busy man and probably gets requests like this all the time... to play Santa."
It worked, as the Megaupload founder changed his mind after reading the script.
"The turning point came when he read the work Nic and Barnaby had done and thought it was hilarious. So yes, persistence played a huge part in it, but it's a credit to the material they have written," said Kimberley Crossman, who plays Santa's nutritionist in the play.
MegaChristmas is the fourth annual fundraising production for the inner-city theatre.
The story follows Sampson's Rudolf and Crossman travelling the globe trying to find a lost Santa. Along the way they run into some familiar faces from 2012, including African leader Joseph Kony, the Mars Rover, and an odd character named Bi-Polar Bear.
And apart from Crossman and Sampson, the cast changes every night. Audiences could see anyone from Shane Cortese, Jacinda Ardern, Michael Hurst or Beth Allen on stage - they won't know until the show starts.
Sampson said it could be a recipe for disaster, but it would always be entertaining.
"The actors only get two rehearsals and that's the exciting thing about it. They come in, and hopefully know there lines but they might forget them, or they might go rogue, which a lot of them tend to do, which is hilarious to watch.
"It's great when it succeeds and it's almost better when it fails, because it's fun to see people get themselves into a massive hole and try and get their way out of it. And we are there during the play to pull it back, if someone is setting fire to something, or someone takes their pants off."
For Crossman though, there were a few nerves.
"This is my first play since school, so I'm definitely a bit anxious about a few things - like projection of voice, and being able to do it every night as well.
"But I'm in very safe hands... I think one of the biggest challenges for me will be not cracking up every night at the improvisation that happens."
WHEN: Runs from December 12 to 21
WHERE: Basement Theatre
- Auckland Now