The Mall

Cast (minimum) 3 m 3 w doubling; total of 22 characters
ISBN 978 1 877319 068
Teachers' discount $17
RRP $22.50

The Mall
Thomas Sainsbury

In this ingenious commingling of darkness and high comedy, the bland, peculiar and quietly desperate inhabitants of the local mall go about their days, unaware that a food court attendant is planning their destruction.

Dean's diary tracks the would-be film-maker's progress through his tedious days in a dead-end job in the cinema complex, alleviated by attempts to find the right medication, and sneaking into the tail end of movies he is certain he could make better "sitting on the crapper". His general fantasies of death and destruction - which make him feel strangely alive - are accompanied by a more specific desire to kill his hated supervisor and/or their bigger boss, Adam ...

Sound bites of breaking news clips surf across the dial, bookend and punctuate the eleven days the play covers, characterising a wider world awash in often violent events over which we have no control, to which we too easily become acclimatised and inured.

"To say Thomas Sainsbury is an exciting new talent in New Zealand theatre is an understatement. He's the most challenging, down-to-earth, funny and refreshingly unsettling playwright/director I've come across in years. He's also a powerhouse of productivity … "Sian Robertson

"The Mall is a stunning achievement in the way it reflects our world, wound on just a notch or three from were we are now ... or is that future here already? … an extremely compelling black comedy."John Smythe

"The plays … reveal the sharp, distinctive voice of a playwright with something to say, and saying it with a theatrical flair that is refreshing and stimulating."Dominion Post

"I love fringe theatre and I love small and alternative venues; that's my kind of theatre - grunge and raw."Thomas Sainsbury

"Thomas Sainsbury is a remarkable talent … clearly blessed - or cursed? - with a compulsion to make plays ... At 25 his score of plays written and produced is into double figures … I can see him fast becoming a classic playwright of his generation ..."Theatreview

"I tried to think about times in my life when I was angriest. I suddenly remembered all the hideous jobs I'd had working for big corporations in which employees were considered units to squeeze the most productivity out of."Thomas Sainsbury

"The script was a gem. It never stopped delivering, it knew all the buttons to press with its audience and its young cast."Dean Parker

"Theatre is not about being safe - it is about expression, and artistic endeavours sometimes need to be intrepid. We honestly believe the ideas in this play need to be presented to the public, but that is never going to happen if we stifle ourselves from the get-go."Thomas Sainsbury

"While other kids were kicking a ball around, Thomas Sainsbury was making up plays in his head. By the time he was nine these imaginings had found their way on to the stage. Now, at 25, he is our hottest young playwright, provoking audiences with his dysfunctional characters and dark comedy."Felicity Monk

Born in Matamata, Thomas moved to North to study English Literature and Theatre at Auckland University. Since completing his BA he has been involved as a writer, director and performer for both university productions and the underground theatre scene in Auckland. After graduating he formed the theatre company Fingerprints and Teeth Productions. With this company he has written and produced his plays Main Street, Basement, Caustic, The Mall, And then you die, Loser, The Feminine, Luv, Beast, and Gas.

In 2007 Thomas directed the University of Auckland Outdoor Summer Shakespeare, won Playmarket's Young Playwright competition for the fourth time, and has represented New Zealand at the Biennial World Interplay festival in Townsville, Australia.

Recent productions in NZ include Loser, Luv, Beast, The Mall (also published by The Play Press), Caustic, Main Street and The Feminine, with three new plays – Cindy and Eric go to Hell, Dinner Party Money, Little Blonde Hen and The Christmas Monologues all having premieres in Auckland in 2009, with GAS and The Christmas Monologues also having further seasons in Wellington.

Several plays including The Christmas Monologues, ...and then you die, and A Simple Procedure have had seasons in London and Australia, and several are also currently being adapted for the screen.

In 2010 we will see at least five new plays from him, including The Sunday Roast, Dance Troupe Supreme, The Canary and Fifth Floor. He has won Playmarket’s Young Playwright of the Year four times and was a finalist for the Bruce Mason Award and the Playmarket New Play Award in 2008 and 2009. The Canary also won the Special Prize for an Auckland playwright of a development season at the PumpHouse Theatre in 2010.