Dark Stars – a poignant tale full of black humour

Press Release – Noodle

Written and directed by Arthur Meek, one of New Zealand’s most celebrated young playwrights, Dark Stars is a solo play starring Jonathan Council, who portrays a version of his own life journey.Dark Stars – a poignant tale full of black humour

Written and directed by Arthur Meek, one of New Zealand’s most celebrated young playwrights, Dark Stars is a solo play starring Jonathan Council, who portrays a version of his own life journey.

In seeking his big acting break, Council is propelled by misfortune to a tiny island in the Pacific where he unearths the forgotten story of Australasia’s popular Black Minstrel, Irving Sayles.

Dark Stars weaves together the stories of two African-Americans living a hundred years apart in an examination of racist humour and the price paid for lusting after fame at the expense of dignity.

Sayles was an entertainer with one of the largest minstrel companies in the mid Western US providing audiences with stereotypical presentations of African American culture. After the Civil War in 1888 and aged just 16, he fled to Australia. He subsequently became a well loved figure on the Australian stage moving to New Zealand to continue his career in vaudeville until his untimely death on a Christchurch street in 1914.

“This work has been a true collaboration with Jonathan”, says Meek, “He wanted to bring to life the story of Irving Sayles who was a hugely talented comedic entertainer whose humour was self-deprecating and racist, a product of the segregated world he lived in”.

Dark Stars plays at The Basement, Auckland on February 10th and 11th before heading to Wellington as part of the New Zealand Fringe Festival and then on to Adelaide.

About Arthur Meek

Just 30 years of age and a graduate of Toi Whakaari: The New Zealand Drama School, Arthur Meek has spent the last ten years writing for stage, screen and radio.

In 2011 his play On The Upside Down of the World garnered full houses and rave reviews as part of Auckland Theatre Company’s main bill. In 2010 he co-created Feedback, a satirical newscast for TVNZ. In 2009 he received a record nine nominations at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards for Collapsing Creation, a play based on the life of Charles Darwin.

Meek is a two time Bruce Mason Award nominee and was writer-in-residence at the Michael King Writers Centre. His body of work includes On the Conditions and Possibilities of Helen Clark Taking Me as Her Young Lover, The Lonesome Buckwhips, Sheep (written for the Long Cloud Youth Theatre) and award winning short films including Being John Campbell, Laughtrack: The Benjamin Docker Story and Rangimoana’s Magical Murder Mystery.

About Jonathan Council

Harlem born actor Jonathan Council has been performing professionally in the US for 25 years. He appeared in the film Morning Glory with Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton. In addition to his film and television roles, Jonathan is a founding member of the New York City’s Creative Arts Team – a theatre company targeting at-risk youth. A resident of Australia and New Zealand, Jonathan has lived part-time in Australasia for the past decade and performed his spoken word piece Cultural Refugee at The Basement, Sydney and La Mama, Melbourne.

ENDS

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