In this upcoming UC Connect public lecture, University of Canterbury academic, playwright and director Dr Christina Stachurski will discuss the process of researching, planning and writing a comedy especially for (and of) our city.
“For a play to work, its main character has to have a problem to solve, a goal to achieve, or a mission to accomplish. After the earthquakes, Christchurch people had a simple goal – to get their houses fixed or rebuilt. Yet bureaucratic bungling, shysters and dodgy agendas created a widespread living nightmare,” Dr Stachurski says.
“Reputable studies show that laughter improves mental health. An international expert, John Vorhaus, tells us that good comedy is based on the truth and pain of the audience’s shared experience. In that case, post-earthquake Christchurch has to be prime material for a play to make you scream with laughter and feel a lot better afterwards.”
An award-winning playwright and theatre director, Dr Stachurski researches and teaches Drama and Creative Writing in UC’s English Department. Her first play, Hot Stuff, won the Aoraki Festival Play Writing Award in 1996. Her second play, Domestic Blitz, was selected for the Adam Play Reading Series at Downstage Theatre (2004), followed by SKOOL! for the Aotearoa Playwrights’ Conference (2006), and Pitcairn for Auckland Theatre Company’s The Next Stage in 2013.
After growing up in a rugby-mad small town in Taranaki, Christina Stachurski experienced culture-shock amongst the polite middle classes at the University of Canterbury. This experience started her thinking about novels and plays as social and cultural guidebooks as much as stories. Later, she completed MA and PhD degrees exploring ethnicity, gender, sex and violence in New Zealand literature. Her book, Reading Pakeha (Rodopi 2004), was published in New York and Amsterdam.
UC Connect public lecture: ‘EQ f***ing C’ – A Revenge Comedy in the making, 7pm on 14 September at the University of Canterbury, Central Theatre Block.