Astounding Journey Continues [by James Wenley]
It is remarkable that in the same week, two New Zealand works of international quality enjoyed return seasons in Auckland. The first, Indian Ink’s Guru of Chai – is still playing at Q, so seek it out. The second – Red Leap’s The Arrival played three public shows over the weekend. I hope you didn’t miss it!
The Arrival is Red Leap Theatre's (co-directors Kate Parker and Julie Nolan’s) marquee work – together with Laureen Hughes they formed Red Leap expressly to create the show for 2009’sAuckland Festival, and it was definitely a personal highlight for me when I was first saw it that year. The show is devised physical theatre (a process Red Leap describes as “a group of artists working together creating images and devising sequences that have meaning”); The Arrival is dance and drama, movement and image, of the heart and soul.
The Arrival has now played in Sydney, Wellington, Hong Kong and Seoul.
I think you can make the case for The Arrival as a New Zealand classic, in as much you can for a work adapted from Australian Shaun Tan’s graphic novel of the same, set in an undefined, fantastical world. It took an intrepid band of New Zealand pioneers (50 artists were involved in the play’s development - including – Parker, Nolan, John Verytt, Elizabeth Whiting, Jeremy Fern, and the brave divising actors) with a great deal of smarts and theatrical ingenuity to realise Tan’s whimsical book for the stage.