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In praise of office parties

  • December 3rd, 2007

I’ve just come home from my second “office party” of the weekend. This one was not really an office party. It was the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards dinner. But “office party” was how one prize presenter aptly described it, based on the audience knowledge of (and warm applause for) all the finalists, and the MC’s comfortable confidence that the audience would understand the sly roasts and in-jokes.

I had the pleasure of hosting a Chapman Tripp table.

Wellington rocks. We have such a richness of theatre.

Home Land, the Play of the Year won lengths ahead of any other. Its lead, Grant Tilly, took the Actor of the Year. The playwright (Gary Henderson) and director (Jane Waddell) each took the awards for their categories.

Grant Tilly devoted much of his acceptance speech to lauding playwrights, and winding up the young actors by claiming that playwrights are more important than actors. [He has since clarified in a note – “…actors are interpretative artists, or re-creative artists, and playwrights are the creative engines of the theatre”.]

But I still feel robbed. Years ago I missed the award night when Grant Tilly plainly got close to vomit mode after acceptance speeches protesting each prize as a tribute not for the recipient but for the cast as a whole, the crew, the sponsors, Mother and Father, devoted partners etc ad nauseum. 

Tilly opened up when his turn came on the podium, saying his award had nothing whatsoever to do with anyone else, that it was full credit to him, not even his Mum had anything to do with it, that he owed nobody else any grovelling gratitude, that they would all have to do much better to deserve anything similar etc. Though tongue in cheek it set the evening alight.

Winding up the youngsters by comparing them with playwrights was good, but not quite so memorable.

The other office party was on Friday at Athfield Architects above the Hutt motorway. Again it was not billed as an office party, but it became clear that we were privileged to be allowed in without a costume befitting an invitation to join the ‘Good, the Bad, and the Architects’. The tex/mex result suited the wonderful adobe ‘mesa’ levels that so intrigue as they step down from Amritsar St to Onslow Road, just above the Ngauranga road.

TexMex is just the best fancy dress theme. Most of the women looked beautiful before they started. In the range of gear allowed by that theme, in the brazier firelight, few did not look look fantastico.

How fortunate that  Ath became our foremost architect and turned his imagination into a concrete and fibreglass maze, before the taste and style police in the WCC could emasculate him.

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