Monthly Archives: July 2011

Awhi Tapu

On the bus ride home after seeing this play I was mentally comparing it to The Brothers Size.* I couldn’t quite figure out why. I think it’s something to do with the inevitability of the story and the lyrical, rhythmic aspects of the script. Maybe it was the connection to three male characters and one quiet ‘other’ off to the side. Perhaps it’s the connection to the helplessness that some people feel about their situation. I found both shows to be powerful and disturbing experiences.

The story is set in a tiny timber town that has been abandoned by the timber company because of a government decree protecting the forest. The four characters – Wendyl, Raj, Sonny and Girl Girl – grew up together. Under Wendyl’s leadership they are waiting in Awhi Tapu for the world to change and their fortunes to improve. Wendyl (James Tito) holds tight to his tenuous control over the group. Raj (Matariki Whatarau) aka. Casper chafes at the restrictions of small town life. Sonny (Tola Newbery) misses his son (his missus has taken him to Rotorua and shacked up with Sonny’s brother). Girl Girl (Kura Forrester) is traumatised by the disappearance of her father and does not speak.

There is wonderful physical work by the actors, supported by the design team. A pallet is used in several different scenes to augment the emotional intensity. Simple objects used in complex ways. It’s terrifically funny in parts and gut wrenching in others. I liked the script used stories within stories to influence the characters as well as provide the structure for the narative. How are you influenced by the stories that you hear?

An entertaining yet thought provoking show.

Awhi Tapu by Albert Belz, presented by Taki Rua at Downstage to 30 July.
Book at the box office, phone 04 801 6946.

Matinee and Audio Described Performance Sat 23 Jul, 4pm

Tuesday – Wednesday 6.30pm
Thursday – Saturday 8pm
(no shows Sun and Mon)

*The other thing that it reminded me of was Operation 8 which is on at Paramount.

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Nga hau e wha

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This is a dance show based on mythic stories of the elements that make up the world (my words.) The four sections were – Hau Puhi: travelling wind; Wai Rere: water that flows; Papa Nuku: earth mother; Ahi Mura: glowing fire. There was a great contrast between incredible choreography, and earthy, locker room humour that morphed back into beautiful dancing. Everyone had the chance for a solo and there were also sections of unison dancing. It was nicely balanced. My favourite was Papa Nuku which used the sneeze of life to animate characters. It was raw and affecting. The performance finished with a take on classical barre-based movements (minus the barre) interspersed with more contemporary choreography.
I didn't understand all of it. I thought some of the intention was jarring compared with what had gone before. There were sections where I was genuinely affected by what I was seeing…and that's really what dance should be about.

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An Oak Tree

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Am going to see this show tonight. It’s an interesting setup – a two hander but only one of the actors has seen the script before the show.

“A man loses his daughter to a car. Nothing now is what it is. It’s like he’s in a play – but he doesn’t know the words or the moves.

The man who was driving the car is a stage hypnotist. Since the accident, he’s lost the power of suggestion. His act’s a disaster. For him, everything is now exactly what it is.

For the first time since the accident, these two men meet. They meet when the Father volunteers for the Hypnotist’s act. And, this time, he really doesn’t know the words or the moves… “

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