ATC Presents Tom Scott 'mini-festival' In 2019

ATC Presents Tom Scott 'mini-festival' In 2019

Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) will launch its 2019 season in February with a tribute to one of New Zealand's most celebrated political journalists and cartoonists, Tom Scott.

Tom Scott's Ma and Da Season, presented by Giltrap Audi, comprises The Daylight Atheist, written about Scott's troubled but hilarious father, and Joan, written about his cantankerous, foul-mouthed mother.

The plays will be performed in repertoire (alternating nights within the same season) at the ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland's Wynyard Quarter. This mini 'Tom Scott festival' offers audiences a rare opportunity to experience life from two different perspectives in one very unique and funny Irish immigrant family.

The Daylight Atheist stars one of the country's most esteemed actors Michael Hurst ONZM (Amadeus, Trees Beneath the Lake, No Holds Bard) in a tour-de-force role as aging, alcoholic Irish raconteur Danny Moffat.

In the play, which was an instant hit and performed to sell-out houses when it premiered in 2002, Danny journeys through a lifetime of memories and regrets; growing up as a boy in Ireland, the hopes and disappointments of immigration to New Zealand, to the damage he inflicted on his wife and children. It's a drunken, rollicking yarn based on Scott's childhood and told with pain, humour and astonishing humility as it swings from uproariously funny to witheringly brutal.

ATC Artistic Director Colin McColl (Filthy Business, Nell Gwynn, Billy Elliot the Musical) will direct The Daylight Atheist.

"The Daylight Atheist is a kiwi classic - it's edgy, poignant, nostalgic and very, very funny. I am delighted to be directing the inimitable Michael Hurst in this role-of-a-lifetime. It'll be an extremely entertaining and wild ride," McColl says.

Sixteen years after writing The Daylight Atheist, Scott wrote a play about his Irish mum, Joan. It's a role he wrote specifically for Ginette McDonald, who knew his Ma well.

From humble beginnings in Ireland, to a new home in New Zealand with a brood of children, to factory work and homemaking in rural Feilding with an angry, alcoholic husband, Joan's optimism for a simple life never wavered.

Joan is a poignant and enthralling love letter to a mother from an ungrateful son, performed by real-life mother-daughter acting power combo Ginette McDonald ONZM (The ABC with Honora Lee, Rage, Lyn of Tawa) and Kate McGill (The Haka Party Incident, The Brokenwood Mysteries, Auckward Love), who play the older and younger Joans respectively. McDonald and McGill previously performed the play together, at Circa Theatre in Wellington, with resounding success.

Joan director Tim Gordon (The Dinner, Shortcut to Happiness), who also directed the exceptionally popular world premiere season of Joan says, "Ginette and Kate are both terrific actors and the fact that they are blood, I think, helped them portray one character. They not only look alike, but they share many similar characteristics. Plus, they both embody Joan's feisty spirit, wicked sense of humour and blunt honesty."

Tom Scott has been awarded Political Columnist of the Year twice, Cartoonist of the Year five times, and has published six collections of satirical writings and five collections of cartoons. He is perhaps most well-known for co-writing the classic New Zealand comedy Footrot Flats with Murray Ball.

Joining McColl and Gordon in the experienced creative team for both plays are Set Designer Rachael Walker (Nell Gwynn, Venus in Fur, That Bloody Woman), Lighting and Sound Designer Sean Lynch (Rendered, Polo, Jesus Christ Superstar) and Costume Designer Elizabeth Whiting (Shortland Street - The Musical, Nell Gwynn, The Cherry Orchard).

Scott's musician son Samuel Scott, founder and frontman of New Zealand band The Phoenix Foundation, has composed the music for Joan.

The plays are being presented in repertoire 7-23 February 2019 at ASB Waterfront Theatre.

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