10 May 2018

Real life “great leaders” inspire new Kiwi comedy

From Upbeat, 1:30 pm on 10 May 2018

Stalin, Pol Pot and Donald Trump are the inspiration behind Problems, a high energy, high anxiety local comedy and audiences will be laughing, because we know it’s true.

Written by acclaimed playwright Joe Musaphia and directed by Gavin Rutherford, Problems follows Boris and Stephan, two guards standing in front of their Great Leader’s room while he takes a nap. But it turns out the Great leader is having more than just a nap.

US President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks as he walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington DC, USA, 02 December 2017.

Photo: AFP / Pool via CNP

Joe’s story focuses on how the two guards deal with the subsequent consequences following the death of their leader.

He says he’s fascinated with modern history and loved working on his script drawing inspiration from the chaos depicted in Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore.

Problems is based on a number of “great leaders”; Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, Kim Jong-un included.

Pol Pot pictured in northern Cambodia in 1998.

Pol Pot pictured in northern Cambodia in 1998. Photo: AFP FILE

“Every day we get something more from these people,” Joe says. “Some of the bizarre things they say and claim…I wanted [to include] the dictator in East Europe who wanted to change the names of the months of the year to names of his family. I thought ‘what a twit’!”

And of course US president Donald Trump gets a mention. “It’s unavoidable,” Joe says. “And I’m interested in politics… if you’re writing for the times you’ve got to include your time. It’s as simple as that.”

Problems is on at Circa from May 11-26