Monthly Archives: June 2011

The brothers Size

http://www.silotheatre.co.nz/

The stage is set in the corner of the theatre with seats on two sides. It's essentially bare – there's a bucket of water in the corner. The characters use the walkway around it. One walks as close to the audience as he can.
There are three characters – Ogun, responsible older brother, Oshooshi, his recently out of jail younger brother and Elegba, his friend, recently out of jail.
There are four people on show during this play – the three characters and a drummer. It's a play of rhythm and movement. Characters speak the stage directions – a style that only took a little while to get used to. The rhythms are not just given by the drums
Having the three characters on show gives a different atmosphere depending on who is not 'on stage'.
It's full of atmosphere. Menacing, foreboding, funny, heartbreaking.

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The Small Faces – Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Sang the chorus for most of this afternoon.

Yeah, okay, it’s really the only bit I know.

#earworm

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Timing

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One of the joys of unpacking all my stuff from storage is discovering items that I love. My ‘signature green jacket’ (as my sister calls it), my polar fleece trackies, and the piece of equipment in the photo – my kitchen timer. I consider it to be an essential bit of kitchen kit, right up there with the Edmonds cookbook. I use it for all sorts of things – timing baked goods, letting me know when the boiled water is cool enough to pour over coffee grounds, reminding me that the pasta has been boiling for long enough, alerting me to the fact that the bus gets to the stop in 10 mins and it’s time to leave the house, etc.
If you’re stuck for a housewarming gift then I recommend a timer (especially for first time flatters who may not be used to cooking – it will save potatoes before they boil dry and stick to the pot!)

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Untitled

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It’s #redshoesday today. I have two pairs – one for walking and one for cute. I love the fact that the purpose of #redshoesday is to inject “some colour, some fun and a lot of cheering up” into wintery days. Confession: I often wear red shoes to work. Today I am wearing them with a black dress, a black cardigan. Grey/red tights and a red scarf.

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Late to the party #almighty

http://thealmightyjohnsons.co.nz/

Tonight I’ve been watching the first four episodes of The Almighty Johnsons. It’s about 4 brothers (and their grandfather) who are the human vessels for some of the Norse gods. Their powers are diminished from what they used to be. This could all change if the youngest (hosting Odin) can complete a quest to find the human hosting Frigg. The brothers (and the grandfather) could become fully gods. There’s always a catch to any quest and the catch in this case is that if he doesn’t find Frigg before he dies then all the brothers (and the grandfather) die with him. There are goddesses trying to find Frigg too although I’m not entirely sure why, apart from the fact that gods and goddesses oppose each other.
The programme aired in NZ from February which is about the time I moved into a place without a TV aerial. I’m pleased that I can buy it on DVD so soon after it’s aired so a big “well done” to the individuals that made that happen.
I’m enjoying it and laughing out loud several times in each episode. I think the actors are doing a great job at working the ensemble scenes. The programme has been renewed for a second season…I just hope the rest of this season is as fun as the first four episodes.
#almighty

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Tired

Kris_hoodie

Very tired today and every little thing is getting to me. 😦

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Taku Rua

This is a site specific devised show by performers and designers currently studying at Toi Whakaari. They are given a location, asked to investigate it and create a performance piece relating to it. This year they were given Toi Poneke on Abel Smith street. I didn’t get a programme (they were koha and I only had 30 cents) so I can’t tell you the names of the four pieces. (In fact, my take-away from each of the pieces may be incorrect because I don’t have the details.)
The first one looked at the history of the building when it was being used as the Wellington Education Board HQ. The performers split us into three groups and took us around the space, up the stairs, back down the stairs etc. There were nice interactions between group leaders as we met on the stairs. This piece was the most demanding of the audience as some of us were given characters to play – Jeff, Gordon, Rose – and we were asked questions. There were also three different eras playing out so we had to pay attention!
The second piece was in the airbridge which connects the two buildings that make up Toi Poneke. It was a complete change from the first one. That was busy with lots of talking, bright lights etc. This was dimly lit inside the bridge. The focus was on the houses and lights outside. Three women abstractly describe the history of Te Aro – how the community felt, what they did. It was very effective. The third piece focused on the artists using the space – their process (from verbatim interviews I think complete with ums and ahs), the art, the political environent they work in and what they do. Interspersed with those words were some from John Key and some environmental statistics and words. (Not sure if they were verbatim as well.) The other actors made sounds and used different physical attributes for their characters. (I think one was based on a chicken and the other on a hedgehog.)
The fourth piece was about the public face of Toi Poneke. There were representations of an artist, a courier, people who go to the exhibitions and (I think) a couple of people who were looking to use the space. Much of the piece was in silence. The story was told through movement. Even when words were said they were often used as a counterpoint and beat for the actors to work off. It ends very effectively but to tell you would ruin the effect.
The performers invite the audience to stay and chat after the show. I found it quite awkward as the four performance were quite different and therefore difficult to process quickly. The performance is about an hour long and there are two per night. Each one has given me something to think about plus stand alone images to remember. None felt like it was part of a longer piece – they were all complete stories.

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Travelling without a map

I’m driving down the island this weekend. I love driving the van. It’s comfortable, high off the ground and has a stereo that can be turned up quite loud. It’s not quite as good at handling the corners as a car but I don’t think anyone following it would expect it to be.
I’d forgotten what it was like long distance driving. You have to be relaxed (so it doesn’t feel like you are chasing the vehicle in front or fleeing the vehicle behind) and alert (so you can anticipate any problems before they become problems). The original plan was to cruise down the east side of the island but after asking for people’s favourite scenic drives on Twitter I decided it might be more fun to go the west side of the island and spend the night in Whanganui. I’ve never been to Whanganui….and I’m not there now. Somehow I found myself on SH4 instead of SH3 and heading toward New Plymouth. It wasn’t the plan but with a couple of days up my sleeve I wasn’t too concerned. There were tiny wild animals on the side of the road plus rockfalls to watch out for so it was quite interesting. Then I turned a corner and discovered I was right on the coast. HOW EXCITING! This euphoria lasted about 3 mins – just as long as it took to drive across the bridge past Mokau and to the end of a line of cars stopped by a landslip. The fall was right across the road. As I was turning round the local fire brigade turned up to have a look. I think it’ll be a late one for that crew.
Basically that detour meant that I’d travelled 120km and 90mins to get exactly nowhere. The sun was going down. There’s not much point taking the scenic route if all you can see is white lines and cats-eyes.
I’ve holed up in a basic hotel along the way. I’m happy to be here (now). The Thai ginger pork from the restaurant down the road was delicious. Although there was no way I could have known about the slip I can’t quite silence the little “If only…” voice. The one that says “If only you’d turned around when you first realised you’d missed the turn you’d be in soaking in a bath in Whanganui not stuck in the middle of nowhere.”
I hate it when that voice is right.

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