Sellers and Holten are opposites. Sellers is white trash, a self-made millionaire with the money to transact most deals. He’s into drugs, women and enjoys the power that money gives him – the ability to buy whatever he wants. Holten is a left-leaning maths teacher in a small low decile school. He has a modest salary and money problems. Sellers hires Holten to tutor his 15-year-old son Nathan, who is clever, but failing at his prestigious school.
Sellers wants Holten to improve Nathan’s grades so he has a show of winning a custody battle with his ex-wife – and he’s prepared to throw money at the problem. But can Holten be bought and at what price. And will successful grades make Nathan any happier? Will it get the attention he desires from his father or just another financial payout?
The scene chosen shows the developing relationship between Nathan and Holten and how their values around education differ given their disparate financial backgrounds. This scene will be set against Mīria George’s ‘Urban Hymns’ to further highlight the effects of socio-economic background on happiness and relationships.
Dave Armstrong has won the award for Best New New Zealand Play at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards three times (‘Niu Sila’, ‘The Tutor’, ‘Where We Once Belonged’) and Best Comedy Script at the 2003 AFTA Television Awards (‘Spin Doctors’). Dave also won the fiction category of the 2008 Royal Society Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing with his story ‘Waimate’, and he was published in Six Pack Two (2007). He was the 2007 Victoria University Writer in Residence. His musical play ‘King and Country’, which marks New Zealand’s role in the WW1 Battle of Passchendaele, played festivals throughout New Zealand, and the radio adaptation won best dramatic production at the 2008 Qantas Radio Awards. He adapted Sia Figiel’s novel ‘Where We Once Belonged’ for stage production by the Auckland Theatre Company for the 2008 International Festival of the Arts in Wellington and for a season in Auckland. Subsequent productions have included a tour to Australia.
Co-creator of the TV comedy ‘Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby’, which has screened in New Zealand and Australia, Dave’s other television credits include ‘Spies and Lies’, ‘Skitz’, ‘Spin Doctors’, and ‘Bro’town’ (script editor).