Play of the Month: King of Stains by David Geary

King of Stains was part of the 1996 Festival of New Theatre directed by Dale Corlett and Kirsty Hamilton. It premiered at BATS Theatre on the 18th July 1996 along with Stigma by Rebecca Rodden, Don’t Call Me Bro by Briar Grace-Smith and Camelot School by Bernard Pflug.  Among the original cast were Jackie Van Beek and Bevin Linkhorn. It was brought back to the stage in the Y&H 10 year celebration festival in 2004 directed by Damon Andrews. 

Reviewers attending the 1996 performance said; “King of Stains is one of the finest plays I have seen this year”, “A witty comedy of manners of the X generation, it is profoundly funny as it explores attitudes to death as well as to sex” & “David Geary’s skill is such that seemingly irrelevant details casually dropped into the dialogue at the beginning of the comedy become important and hilarious character traits by the end.”


Friday night. Wellington. Full moon. Six lonely people go crazy. The most dramatic stain removal since Lady Macbeth uttered ‘out damned spot.’

Cast:  6 | Female: 2 | Male: 4


David Geary (Nga Mahanga, Taranaki) grew up in Rangiwahia, a small village in the Manawatu hill country. He developed a love for stories from his school teacher Mum and his first experience 

of “theatre” was listening to shearers spin yarns in his father´s gang. A proud Palmerston North Boys´ High old boy, he pursued law at Victoria University where he discovered Bill Manhire´s creative writing course, theatre studies and the University Drama Club, for whom he wrote several experimental short plays.

David went on to study acting at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, graduating in 1987. Since then, he has continued to be an allrounder – writing, directing and acting for theatre, television and film. His first full-length play Kandy Cigarettes was workshopped at the 1988 Playmarket Conference. In 1991, his comedy about a women´s rugby team Pack of Girls premiered at Downstage, and became a national hit in both professional and amateur theatre. 1991 also saw David win the Bruce Mason Award for Most Promising Playwright.

In 1992, Lovelock´s Dream Run was workshopped at the Australian and NZ Playwright´s Conference in Canberra. It premiered at the Auckland Theatre Company to critical acclaim, with further productions throughout the country and in Australia. David then had further success with The Learner´s Stand and The Farm.

Branching out into NZ television, David co-wrote and co-directed the 1991 TV documentary The Smell of Money, which won a NZ Film Accolade. He also worked as a storyliner and scriptwriter for the popular television series – Shortland Street, Jackson´s Wharf, Mercy Peak and Hard Out.

In 2002, David moved to Canada, where he has written short plays – Menu Turistico and A Man Walks Into A Bar … and Oedipus Butchers the Classics for the Walking Fish Festival of Vancouver. These plays have also had successful seasons in New Zealand. He’s continued to maintain strong ties with New Zealand theatre, with A Shaggy Dog Story (2005) and The Underarm (2006) premiering at Centrepoint Theatre.

David published a short story collection A Man of the People with VUP.

News article about King of Stains in the 1996 Festival with picture of actors Jackie Van Beek and Gabriel Davidson