NZ Comedy Festival: Trygve Wakenshaw

Trygve Wakenshaw has tried to write an 'unwritable' show.
Trygve Wakenshaw has tried to write an 'unwritable' show.

Trygve Wakenshaw is from Auckland via performing and studying stints in Paris, London and Oslo.

Where have we seen you before?
I've been performing in Auckland, and sometimes Wellington, with Theatre Beating for the past 10 years. Last year you may have seen me at the Auckland Fringe performing Squidboy. Oh! I've just been on TV! It was a brilliant children's show called Kune's Kitchen. It's my first real experience with making TV and I loved it. I'm a chef called Hugo who tries his best to be an adult role-model for a hungry, farty kunekune pig.

My comedy festival shows are called: Squidboy and Kraken

Due to it mainly being about: Squidboy is mostly about a Squid, but also about a fisherman. But maybe they are the same thing? It's about imagination too.

Kraken, on the other hand, has nothing to do with sea-monsters, or the sea. It is a development of the things I was beginning to become interested by within Squidboy. It is not a sequel but it shares similarities in style and technique that were planted as seeds in my first solo show.

The idea behind it having been inspired by: Squidboy came from a stupid costume. A white polar fleece hood with ping-pong ball eyes. I would wear it while dancing about onstage with the great Auckland band The Hot Grits. I developed this costume by hand sewing some polar fleece tentacles. When I came to make a show, this was all I had. A costume and my imagination.

Kraken was eventually built in trusting my own imagination, not knowing where I was going and listening to the audience to tell me if they were amused, or if they were besides themselves with uncontrollable laughter. It was created not so much with "inspiration" but challenges like a rejection of narrative structure, never apologising for not knowing, and the goal of writing an unwriteable show.

Compared with how I am in everyday life the person you will see on stage is: Squidboy and the fisherman are both characters, so aside from the fact that we look sort of the same, those guys are Trygve pretending to be other "people". In Kraken I'm sort of idiot Trygve showing off like a naughty 5-year-old.

The one thing I worry about the most performing this show is: Listening, trusting myself.

But I think the show is just as funny as: Throwing a piece of fruit into a glass of water just as an old person walks past dressed as a pet dog. The sky is a big tarpaulin which gets whipped away revealing the underside of a giant fish tank.

It may not be for you if you're offended by: Squidboy is inoffensive. Kraken involves full frontal male nudity, [but] it is not sexual in any way. Nudity, but it's inoffensive.

But do head along if your idea of great live comedy involves: Beauty and joy and inspiration and things that you haven't seen before. Come along if you like things that have had international success. Come if you have had a bad day, or a good day.

Or if you are fans of: Dr Brown, Boy with Tape on his Face.

For me, this is NZ comedy festival number: Having done Milk and Constantinople, this will be number three.

Which makes me: Within a realm of higher being which was not possible before. Light pours over my soul like the first rays of sunlight breaking through a crack in the window on the eastern wall of an abandoned bakery.

Where/when: Herald Theatre, Auckland, May 13-17 (Squidboy, 7pm; Kraken, 9pm)

- NZ Herald

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