SCENE BY JAMES: 2018 – A Theatrical Year in Review

December 31, 2018
[Representation Matters] Silo Theatre’s production of Mr Burns presented a vision of theatrical futures. In the play by American writer Anne Washburn, survivors of an electricity-ending event band together to form a travelling theatre troupe specialising in the recreation of classic The Simpsons episodes. I begin with Mr Burns here because, while it presents a bleak image for our planet, […]

REVIEW: 等凳 – The Chairs – Cantonese Season (Te Pou) [Two Reviews]

August 3, 2018
[Ashes of Time] by Nathan Joe Te Pou’s language-spanning season of The Chairs ends with an exemplary Cantonese version of the play. The prescriptiveness of Eugene Ionesco’s text is respectfully toyed with, recontextualising the space for a traditional Chinese context. Those with even only the slightest understanding of the culture will find resonances in abundance. The basic scenario stays true […]

REVIEW: O Nofoa – The Chairs – Sāmoan Season (Te Pou) [Two Reviews]

July 28, 2018
[Welcomed to the Fale] by Gabriel Faatau’uu Satiu Under the direction of Aleni Tufuga (also translated by him in gagana Sāmoa), O Nofoa serves as one part of Te Pou’s multilingual season of Eugene Ionesco’s play The Chairs. The show is an absurdist tragic farce. Paying homage to Ionesco’s absurdity through the deliberate nonsense and broadly stylized performance, the timing of […]

REVIEW: He Tūru Māu – The Chairs – Te Reo Māori Season (Te Pou)

July 20, 2018
[An Adventure into the Absurd] Reviewing theatre is a strange activity. It involves sitting self-consciously within and without your own viewpoint, inhabiting and interrogating your own responses to what’s on stage, striving for some kind of balance between subjectivity and objectivity. I say ‘striving for’, because I suspect this elusive balance doesn’t really exist; perhaps it’s more constructive just to […]

REVIEW: The Chairs – Pākehā Season (Te Pou)

July 13, 2018
[Park your Bum] Te Pou Theatre presents a night of absurdity, hilarity, and larger-than-life character work in its inaugural Pākehā season of Ionesco’s The Chairs. Opening Te Pou’s quadruplet of productions of The Chairs in different languages – Te Reo Māori, Samoan and Cantonese are to follow – the English language Pākehā show sets things off to an outrageously energetic start. […]

REVIEW: Tampocalypse (Te Pou)

May 29, 2018
[Tampocalypse now needs a Redux] “At the end of the world, not everything stops.” So claims Embers Collective, a daring new production company set up by Unitec grads, Ashleigh Hook and Rebekah Dack, the dynamic director-producer duo behind Tampocalypse, which concluded Te Pou Theatre’s Rangatahi development season 2018. The show’s tagline couldn’t be more fitting. Tampocalypse gives us a world […]

REVIEW: Dope (Te Pou)

May 14, 2018
[A Trip Worth Taking] Drug use and addiction are popular theatrical topics, but tend toward the extremes of experience. Daniel Tomlin’s play Dope presents a relatable and nuanced view, revolving around a family and their friends on the Shore in Mairangi Bay. It’s the first time smoking weed for the little brother (Miles Ford), following in the footsteps of his […]

REVIEW: Such Stuff as Dreams (Te Pou)

May 8, 2018
[Schizophrenic armadillos] The lights come up revealing a man half covered in cardboard. Our protagonist, Alfie (Chris Rex Martin), starts to regale us with facts about armadillos. This explains what he is wearing. This sets the tone for the next hour – referencing Shakespeare and Milton, Such Stuff as Dreams is a lyrical, moving, often surreal, informative and entertaining show […]

REVIEW: Beneath Skin and Bone (Te Pou)

April 21, 2018
[Mana Wahine] Beneath Skin and Bone (BSAB) is set in a world where waiata and music is shunned, and our protagonist Poto (played by Trae Te Wiki) finds herself in a new city, running away from the constant chatter of her whanau. With a little intervention from the spiritual world, Poto is forced to face her fears, her family’s past […]

REVIEW: Herstory (Te Pou Rangatahi Season)

February 16, 2018
[Strength in Sharing] Herstory is the opening show of the Rangatahi Festival at Te Pou Theatre. Under the direction of Zandra Ah-Jay Maepu and support of The Creative Souls Project, the show combines eight emerging actresses as they each share their stories through monologues, poetry, dance and song. Alana Tele and Kirilayla Dhillon both explore their cultural identity through their […]
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