Winter Arts

Despite being hellishly busy co-directing a theatre/film piece (“Love You Approximately” by the clinic) for this arts festival, I have been lucky to make it to four ticketed events so far:

  • Slava’s Snow Show … well, I don’t watch TV but I hear there’s been television advertising for this, so most people probably have a good idea of what it’s like. Beautiful costumes, fantastic physical clown characters, a lot of humour and some neat special effects. Lacking a story or any sort of through-line, we simply witness slava and his very tall friend in a bunch of different comical situations. What awed me and my 6 year old companion was the fantastic audience participation, both at intermission and the end: a sweet, simple invitation to be part of the magic and play with the cool toys.
  • Love Letters in the Margin, a collaboration between 3 bands (Ragamuffin Children, Le Mot Cafe, The Eastern) and 3 poets (Ciaran Fox, Marissa Johnpillai, Ben Brown), in the TelstraClear tent, which is a lovely warm, red place to hang out and listen to great sounds and words.
  • The Intricate Art of Actually Caring, a highlight of the Wellington Fringe this year and a latecomer to the festival programme. Two young white Wellington guys with nothing better to do journey to Jerusalem to visit James K Baxter’s grave. Fantastic use of overhead projectors made this show really low-tech slick, giving me heaps of little smiles as well as outright laughter.
  • Finders Keepers, Raewyn Hill’s latest dance piece, so far the highlight for me. I admire the way Raewyn chooses collaborators, drawing on the best of all elements to make dance pieces that are so much richer and clearer for their incorporation of theatre, script, great set and costumes in a simple colour pallette excellently complemented by beautiful lighting by Marty Roberts. The piece is based on her experiences at the bird market in Hong Kong and is easily as good as any international dancetheatre piece I’ve seen in international arts festivals.

Other shows I plan to see include:

  • Once and for all we’re gonna tell you who we are so shut up and listen, a Belgian theatre piece about being a teenager.
  • Winded, the latest dance performance created by Christchurch troupe Scrambled Legs.
  • Happy Home Road, a circus/theatre show which was featured in this morning’s Press.

Image of the week

A cycling novelty, 1898.

A cycling novelty

The Christchurch cycling brass band is pictured on their Star cycles. The band claimed to be the only one of its type in the world. They held instruments in one hand and steered their cycles with the other. Pictured from left are H. Woods (euphonium), A. Gordon (cornet), H. Flanagan (trombone), F. Taylor (cornet), W. Crawford (side drum), T. Dalton (trombone), F. T. Hopkins (drum), F. W. Painter, Bandmaster (cornet), Arthur James Watts (1863-1956) (bass), G. Lake (horn).

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