Circa Theatre is back in full swing with its winter season. One of the main productions is Elling, a play based on a book by Ingvar Ambjørnsen. It’s set in Oslo, and is about the lives of two middle-aged men in a loony bin. It stars some of the usual stalwarts of Circa, including Gavin Rutherford and Bronwyn Turei.
But first, as always, dinner. Field & Green is a regular pre-theatre haunt, being within easy walking distance of Circa and convenient for parking. We arrived at 5:00pm for an early dinner of fish goujons and confit duck (me), and soufflé and gnocchi (Nicola). All delicious. We both finished with their excellent ice creams, and left with plenty of time to reach Circa. Whilst waiting, and as is almost inevitable in Wellington, we bumped into people we know – one from Zealandia, and our ex-next-door neighbours from our time in Ira Street. New Zealand only has two degrees of separation.
The play starts off with the two protagonists in the asylum, but pretty soon it transpires that they are being turned out into the real world, or at least into a flat in Oslo, provided for them by the Norwegian government. They are visited by a fairly odd social worker, who threatens and cajoles them into trying to live an ordinary life. Challenges such as buying groceries and sitting in a café are faced and overcome.
It’s all an uplifting life-affirming comedy as these two characters cope with the day-to-day problems in their own unique ways. They end up making friends, and having relationships, and are finally given the all-clear by the authorities: they are now considered “normal”.
We left, feeling duly uplifted and affirmed.