Performance Times & Dates:
7.30pm, 3-5 & 8-12 May; Earlybird Show: 6.30pm, Tue 8 May
Hall Still Fond of First Major HitElmwood Players hits the stage this week with iconic Kiwi classic, Glide Time, by
Roger Hall. Don't miss it!
Now celebrating its 31st anniversary, this deliciously awkward satire on the banality of office life is still captivating audiences, maintaining its reputation as one of the most performed works on the New Zealand stage.
Glide Time has Timeless Quality
Hall says that while much of the content is now dated (set firmly as it was in the 1970s) the play also has a timeless quality that continues to resonate with audiences.
“A middle-aged audience or younger finds it both historically quaint but also appallingly familiar. Bureaucracy usually remains a thorn in everyone’s side from whatever era, and in the end it is about very real characters that everyone recognises.”
Lots of Laughs
“And, if I may say so, it does have a lot of laughs in it — and audiences do love to laugh.” Which is something that still gives the playwright an enormous sense of satisfaction: “There is nothing nicer than sitting in a theatre hearing people laugh at things one has written.”
Hall Still Going Strong
Hall, who has three new plays being presented this year, says it feels “terrific” to be celebrating the 31st anniversary of Glide Time. He still feels a huge fondness for the play that was his first major hit. “I had been writing for 15 years or so and had had some success with stage revues and had had some plays on television. And it had been a struggle. And then Glide Time changed my life.”
Glide Time history
Enjoying several back-to-back seasons in each of the cities it was first performed, it became the basis for highly successful ‘80s TV series Gliding On and the sequel Market Forces.
Great trip down our Kiwi Social History
Now Elmwood is enjoying the opportunity to bring to life New Zealand’s favourite public servants; the long-suffering John, Hugh, Jim, Michael, Wally and Beryl.
Director Garry Thomas says both cast and audiences are enjoying the freedom of expression in the more scandalous humour of the un-PC” ‘70s.
“It’s a great opportunity for the older audience members to re-live something of the ‘70s and for the younger to understand what living at that time was like. It’s a real slice of Kiwi social history.”
Before The Office there was this office…
Ah yes, life in the stores board of a New Zealand government department during the 1970s…. Which department? — who knows, but it’s all so terribly familiar. Thirty years on, Roger Hall’s deliciously awkward satire on the banality of office life is as funny and painfully truthful as ever.
The officiousness, the creative allocation of little pools of time to quintessential nothingness, the gossip, office politicking, and all those other things that are done to avoid actually working, have managed resolutely to persist, in spite of all manner of perceived improvement and technological sophistication.
Elmwood Players is revelling in the opportunity to excavate the social history of this iconic Kiwi play, which at its premier in 1976 first held aloft a mirror to the dull daily routine of contemporary working life with astonishing success. Glide Time became an immediate and major hit for Hall.
Presenting the routine activities of one working day, spread over several weeks, Glide Time’s heroes are seven public servants who create all manner of diversions to escape the fact that none of them particularly likes their job — or each other.
Director Garry Thomas applauds Hall’s superbly written script. Having worked in a government department himself during the 1970s Thomas says “the humour definitely has an element of truth”.
And with the passage of time the comedy just keeps on getting better. “Set firmly as it is in what we now see as the very un-PC world of the mid-‘70s it has provided the cast and crew with plenty of laughs during rehearsals, which we’re looking forward to carrying into the performances.”
Walk shorts knee high socks, tea breaks
With the relative comfort of hindsight, today’s audiences can laugh with even greater appreciation at the disturbing prevalence of beige, walk shorts and knee-high socks, and the intrays and filing cabinets that bulge with the volume of small forests.
Perhaps we shouldn’t laugh too hard though; let us not forget that it was also the halcyon era of the sacrosanct morning and afternoon tea break, when the official working day did not exceed seven hours and thirty-five minutes, the word “weekend” had a more literal translation, and the micro-pause was the stuff of science fiction.
Don’t miss this opportunity to see vintage Kiwi comedy at its best.
SBS banking (Southland Building Society) is proud to support this production as principal sponsor.
Glide Time Cast List
Director: Garry Thomas
The Welshman in a new land
The jolly dear in the corner
The opinionated loud mouth
The nervy new boy
The overly officious maintenance man
And I mean the By-the-Book Boss.