Millennial ‘sex in the city’ TV series for theatre student

Massey Bachelor of Arts student Elizabeth McMenamin with Chelsea McEwan Millar, her co-star and co-writer in TV comedy The Fucket List. (photo/Andi Crown Photography)

Two socially disconnected millennials form a friendship based on sharing everything, especially men – the premise for a risqué TVNZ On Demand comedy series co-written and performed by Massey University Bachelor of Arts student Elizabeth McMenamin.

Ms McMenamin, who wrote The Fucket List with fellow actor and scriptwriter Chelsea McEwan Millar and comedian Tim Batt.

“We’re really pleased – over 10,000 people watched it in the first week,” says Ms McMenamin, a distance student currently in her second year of a BA majoring in English and minoring in Theatre Studies.

The five-episode series follows the antics of two twenty-something gal pals and is filmed in their Grey Lynn flat in Auckland. The pair, who go by their own names in the show, make a pact to sleep with each other’s former lovers, of which there are many, they brag! This leads to hilariously awkward moments as they work through the ‘list’ in a game of predatory hedonism that will, presumably, make them best buddies.

Their pragmatic and uninhibited approach to achieving their carnal targets is a kind of 21st century gender reversal and dig at behaviour usually associated with men. What makes it funny is that the exploitative, ego-tripping sex – and the heavy drinking and crude banter that goes with it – is what feminism has long denounced. 

Chelsea McEwan Millar and Elizabeth McMenamin are best friends in life and in The Fucket List. (photo/Andi Crown Photography)

Comic timing a core connection

The snappy eight-minute episodes feature guest appearances by well-known comedians and actors, including Rhys Mathewson, Jesse Griffin, Guy Montgomery and Jackie van Beek, as well as a cameo by reality television celebrity and former Bachelor NZ star Art Green.

Ms McMenamin and Ms McEwan Millar came up with the idea for the show when they entered the 48 Hour Film Project in 2015 with a bunch of friends. Their entry had the elements for what they felt could be developed into a full series. So, they wrote it over the course of a few months, calling on friends and contacts with the necessary skills in the theatre and film industry who helped to produce, shoot and edit the show as “a labour of love”, then pitched it to TVNZ.

The pair have been the best of friends in real life for about eight years, says Ms McMenamin, and have collaborated on a whole range of projects. Their shared sense of comic timing and similar tastes in comedy has helped forge their creative partnership.

Chelsea McEwan Millar and Elizabeth McMenamin share comedy tastes and comic timing. (photo/Andi Crown Photography)

Summer school play to be performed

Ms McMenamin, who is from Whanganui, has studied at various institutions in New Zealand and overseas including the Wellington Performing Arts Centre, the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, United States and Cartor Thor East Studios in Toronto, Canada. Her theatre appearances include a starring role in Auckland Theatre Company's critical smash August: Osage CountyPunk Rock, directed by Benjamin Henson at The Basement Theatre, Zooquatic, and the 2015 Auckland Fringe Festival production of Up on Lowman – the last two she co-wrote with Ms McEwan Millar.

Her on-screen credits include the Torchlight Films feature Hook Line and SinkerSmoko, directed by Ghazaleh Golboloski, and the 2015 short film Ten Tips for a Healthy Relationship.

She says studying English and theatre have helped her with creative processes and ideas, and that studying a summer school theatre writing paper in 2017 to 2018 with award-winning playwright, theatre-maker and senior lecturer Associate Professor Angie Farrow was a great way to hone her writing skills. Her new play, titled You, Me and Baby Makes Three, written during the course, will be performed in September’s theatre showcase in Palmerston North.

Ms McMenamin plans to do a teaching diploma once she has graduated and is keen to teach drama in schools. “I really enjoy passing the torch to other young actors – I love that interaction.”

She and Ms McEwan Miller hope to work on a follow-up series of The Fucket List and are applying for funding.

Check out The Fucket List.

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