Mysterious fantasy – in an attic


Meeting Karpovsky is a mix of magic and mystic.

The two-person theatrical and musical production featuring Helen Moulder and Sir Jon Trimmer comes to Arrowtown this weekend.

Set in an attic, the play is about a woman with too many words and a man who has none.

Moulder plays Sylvia – a once well-travelled woman who now spends her days alone with her thoughts. Sir Jon plays Karpovsky – a Russian ballet dancer.

Director and co-writer Sue Rider says it’s a fantasy; a delicate journey of contrasts.

“You have movement and stillness, silence and chatter, fantasy and reality – awkwardness and grace,” she says.

The play was written by the trio. Rider describes it as a chamber theatre dance piece and says the subtlety of their interaction adds to the performance.

It’s not a predictable story and isn’t a conventional relationship.

“There’s a certain magical quality to it which you can’t necessarily pin down,” Rider adds.

Moulder has been on stage since the age of 12 and initially trained as an opera singer. After a stint in Australia and London she returned to New Zealand working in theatre and television.

The industry is small here and she says she knows a lot of unemployed actors. She trained as a teacher – something to fall back on should acting not work out. She reckons it’s harder to get roles as you get older – so she started writing plays she could perform in.

Her passion is live theatre and with Meeting Karpovsky they created a play to keep peoples’ attention. When the idea popped into her head she instantly realised she wanted to work with Sir Jon.

“Jon has such a strong stage presence, people are riveted by him. This person has a very special quality. I wrote to him with the idea of the woman [Sylvia] and he loved it,” she says.

Sir Jon has performed with Royal NZ Ballet since the late 1950s and was instrumental in the musical choices for the play. Scores from four ballets are woven throughout and add to the magical theme.

Moulder describes live performances as a very special art form and says it is important to engage the audience from the start.

Meeting Karpovsky shows at Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall this Saturday. Doors open 7pm. Tickets $25.