Monthly Archives: November 2009

Unnatural things are happening (part one)

Flintlock_musket_ecard_2009

Flintlock Musket by Kirk Torrance was my most anticipated play of the year.?? It delivered everything I want – drama, dance and a teeny bit of magic.?? I loved it!??

First confession….it's finished.?? Yeah, sorry.?? I know that it would have been more useful to write the review in time for you to get tickets.?? Here's the good news – it's just the start of the season!?? So you should be able to see it next year.?? (You might have to travel to say, Whangarei, but it really isn't that far…actually I have no idea what the next plans are so don't start booking a trip now.)

Flintlock Musket was picked up as part of the STAMP development programme.*?? It was workshopped a couple of times last year.?? This November was the premiere season for what STAMP are saying is Part One of a three year plan.?? THREE YEARS!?? That's at least three more times that I'll be able to see it.??

Super. Excited.

Second confession…I know some of the people involved in bringing the show to the stage (varying degrees of closeness.) I don't think that's coloured my judgement of the play but I can't be sure. You make the call. (Also, I'm breaking it down into pieces cause it's past midnight and this post is already too long.)

So – it's set pre musket-wars NZ and the story is that the chief Aoraki (Maaka Pohatu – that's him in the middle) has sent his son Toki (Jarod Rawiri) off to fight another iwi on his behalf.?? Toki is upstaged by the Aoraki's mokai-pakeha/pet, Mason, (Jason Whyte – on the left) who is rewarded for his part in the battle with the gift of Aoraki's whaangai daughter and slave, Hine (Nancy Brunning – on the right).?? Supporting characters are played by Scott Cotter (watch for his death/s!), Taane Mete and Wairangi Herewini. There's an ensemble (Jack Gray (also Movement Director) Tamihana Paurini, Regan Taylor, Maria Walker, Nancy Wijohn) who provide support and punctuation to the dramatic bits.?? It was inspired by Macbeth so it's not a spoiler to say that death, and destruction, and DOOM, rain down upon the protaganists.

There are a whole bunch of talented people working on this show.?? Rachel House (Director) manages to wrangle the performers around the vast open set (designed by John Verryt; lighting design by Jeremy Fern).?? She has a large cast to direct plus there's music (Tama Waipara, Sean Lynch and Tweedie Waititi) and movement to incorporate as well.?? There was a fairly tight rehearsal period (seems like there always is) which must have been particularly difficult for a completely new show like this one.?? There are complicated space/time movements within the script.?? These weren't so clear to me on opening night but by closing night those changes were more defined.

In Part two: some comments about the cast and performances

*?? "Flintlock Musket was developed as part of a Playmarket's Pasifika Playwrights Programme and THE EDGE Double Shot Programme" according to the programme.

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Caught in a net

Kris_outside_the_wellington_ci

As part of the Kiss My Arts thing I have to visit somewhere (anywhere) and then write a post about it. I've been down in Wellington so the generous week allowed kinda turned into a bit of a nightmare.?? The work thing that I was at was held at Te Papa and everyday I had to walk past the City Gallery.?? It's hard to miss at the moment what with the measles and all.?? It took me far too long to think that could be the solution.

The City Gallery is hosting an exhibition – Yayoi Kusama: Mirrored Years.?? She's a Japanese artist who was first big in the 1960s and has steadily produced work ever since.??

She's focused on perception, the concept of infinity and polkadots.?? I found it all quite surreal and awe inspiring.

Highlights of the exhibition for me:

: the room with the large clouds.?? Nice juxtaposition of very detailed screenprints on the walls with large fuzzy puffy balloons on the floor.

: the infinity room on the ground floor.?? It was like being suspended in space only all the stars are colured and twinkly.

: being able to get into the art and walk around it.

I love me some theatre

I’m super excited to be on the longlist for the Kiss My Arts social media experiment in Auckland facilitated by THE EDGE.  In 2009 I made a real effort to get to plays and theatre around Auckland.  I subscribed to the Silo Theatre season, went to a couple of Auckland Theatre Company things, bought tickets for some of the STAMP shows, even got to the Unitec grad show.  I regularly go to LATE at Auckland Museum and since I have a friend in Auckland Choral and a sister in the Atamira Dance Collective I go to see them too. 

In my application I wrote something like “I understand the transformative power of theatre.  I like to connect people with culture and to watch the effect it has on them.”  That comes across as a bit wanky and it could be…except that I DID experience a revelation as the result of going to a show.  I couldn’t talk about it to anyone else because the experience was so intensely personal. So I wrote a note and stuck it on Facebook.  It got a positive response (including convincing several people to come with me to the show when it plays in the NZ International Arts Festival.) 

The thing is though…all the other things are a confusing mish-mash of traditions and behaviour that I just can’t get through.  Comedy? Art? Music? Ballet?  Anything that isn’t people-I-know-in-stuff?  *shrug* I don’t understand it and I’m too lazy to get out of my comfort zone which is why I’m stoked that I’m being considered to transition from ‘arts novice to cultural aficionado’.

As part of Kiss My Arts I have to blog about the stuff I do.  I’ve been tweeting reviews, so expanding beyond the 140 might be a bit of a challenge.  However, I’m up for it.  AND, regardless of whether I’m in or I’m out I’ve decided that I should do it anyway and I want you to join me.

Kiss My Arts peeps *mwah*