Last time they were together — at least on screen — actors Blair Strang and Romy Hooper were a comedy dream team as the mismatched Brian and Courtney, parents of a baby called Sonny Bill, on TV's Nothing Trivial.

This time round, Strang and Hooper hope to give birth to something all together quite different. It's a devil of a play called Morningstar, set a year after Eden was first created, when God returns to Heaven — and the likes of angels Gabriel, Michael, Raphael and Lucifer — to find his family fractured.

Two of their number, Archangel's Michael the Protector and Lucifer the Light Bearer, are battling to divide heaven leading to a conflict so great that the birth of hell results. It sounds like dramatic stuff but Strang, a family lawyer, says it's actually a sadly recognisable scenario especially to anyone in his line of work.

"Dad's gone off and started a second family; now he's come back to his first family but, in his absence, things have changed and there's conflict."


As founder of Sapphire Productions, which put on the comedy Nigel last year, Strang has been mostly behind-the-scenes in recent years but has some high-profile theatre appearances to his credit.

So, he returns to the stage to play Lucifer: "I wanted to do it, probably it's in my personality but I don't know what that says about me," he laughs, adding he's not even worried about the scant costumes the angels wear. "We're not wearing much at all."

Hooper, fresh from a four-month stint with Pop-up Globe, directs. It's her first-time directing and she acknowledges Morningstar — the title is a reference to Lucifer also being a word for a morning star — is a big play to take on.

However, Hooper says being part of Pop-up Globe teaches an actor valuable lessons about organisation and efficiency.

"Being outside of it, not focused on one particular part, I see the entire thing and can work out what needs to be done — like how do you make angel wings? It's about being creative, working together and using what you have to hand."

Written by award-winning playwright Albert Belz, Morningstar has been kicking around for a couple of years but hasn't been produced until now possibly because of its controversial religious themes, large cast requirements and epic story.

Both Strang and Hooper wanted to take it on because, they say, it's a great play.

"These things shouldn't just be written, workshopped and forgotten about," says Strang. "It is epic in scope, but it's a fun challenge to figure out how to do it and not go bankrupt."


The cast also includes Bronwyn Turei (Go Girls), Jacqui Nauman (Auckland Daze) and emerging actors Richie Grzyb (Under the Mountain), Stephen Brunton and Marwin Silerio.

What: Morningstar
Where & when: PumpHouse Theatre, June 7 — 16