Mau

A more coherent series of pieces than in previous years, it used the myth of the punishment of Sisyphus to tie the performances together. Although Sisyphus was punished for being tricky & deceitful (wikipedia says so) it is rather the myth of the never ending, possibly pointless task of pushing a rock up a hill only to have it roll away to the bottom that is focused on here. Drawing parallels between the rock and collections, the site-responsive work opened on the lowest publically accessible floor. Collections of objects were laid out neatly in lines. They were grouped by colour and each object was tagged with a little card and a barcode. Traditional clowns (as in exaggerated characters in white face) were scattered throughout the space. They gradually came forward to interact with the audience as we took our seats. A nice little story encompassing copyright, use of the collection, colecting, description, the colonisation of New Zealand, and the WWI commemorations played out. Performers had strong characters with some excellent voice work. The next section was on the ground floor. We went up throuh the stairwell and were greeted at the top by 3 women who invited us to take a seat. There were two lines of seats in traverse with a striking tableau of upturned tables at the end. The three women, wearing neat grey outfits and white gloves, walked along the rows pausing every so often to adjust how an audience member sat. A man in a black jacket wandered around the space while another man dressed as a soldier brought in file boxes and carefully arranged them at the end opposite to the tables. A third man came running in to take a seat. He smiled at the man next to hi then said "excuse me, youre in my seat." This started a narrative about the Erebus disaster with diversions into questions of preservation and access, documentation and the documenters, and a brief yet powerful comment on (some) glorification attitudes to disasters and wars. A short light piece invited us to climb the internal stairs to the Reading room. Three women sang their way out of the stacks to the tables between us. They told stories, repeatedly asked us to look at them, to see them, to remember them like this. Threads of whanau and whakapapa and identity wove together in a more immediate piece than the previous two. Finally a monologue linking all three pieces together closed the show.

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