DOUBLE PORTRAIT: FINDING FRANCES HODGKINS
Written by: Jan Bolwell
Directed by: Ralph McAllister
Friday & Saturday only)
[1hr 15 mins, no interval]
at NZ Portrait Gallery, Shed 11, Queen's Wharf, Wellington
From 27 Nov 2009 to 5 Dec 2009
Mahara Gallery, Waikanae
From 12 Mar 2010 to 14 Mar 2010
Waikato Museum, Victoria Street, Hamilton
From 6 Jul 2012 to 7 Jul 2012
Reviewed by: John Smythe; Laurie Atkinson (The Dominion Post); Wickham Pack; Gail Pittaway;
In Search of Frances Hodgkins
A stash of Frances Hodgkins paintings has been discovered in France.
Part of a deceased estate, they land on the doorstep of a Parisian gallery owner who has never heard of Frances Hodgkins. He contacts Auckland Art Gallery and there is a flurry of activity as a female curator tries to prise them out of the hands of the Frenchman and back to New Zealand.
Based upon a real life incident, this is the opening scene of Jan Bolwell's new play DOUBLE PORTRAIT Finding Frances Hodgkins.
Interest in the life and art of Frances Hodgkins has grown through the years. The celebrated New Zealand artist spent most of her adult life in Europe with brief forays back to New Zealand to promote her work and to see her family.
Largely ignored in her own country, Frances gained a firm place in the artistic world of the first part of the twentieth century, both in Paris and London.
Her private life remained an enigma and in DOUBLE PORTRAIT, playwright Jan Bolwell seeks to unravel some of the mystery.
Hodgkins life was filled with eccentricity, hardship, fun and love. She travelled extensively from Morocco to Paris to Cornwall; from Melbourne and Sydney to Dunedin and Wellington.
Bolwell's play explores the relationships she had with friends, agents and family.
The play is shot through with humour and pathos, speculation and information.
Director Ralph McAllister has gathered a strong cast, all from Paekakariki. Writer Bolwell will play Frances and Perry Piercy and John Wraight, both experienced professional actors, will play a number of key roles. Costumes have been designed by well known Paekakariki resident Rozel Pharazyn.
Audiences will be invited to stay and discuss the play and the artist after the show.
Hodgkins is buried in the Waikanae cemetery and the Mahara Gallery has a unique collection of some of her works, so it was most fitting that the first performances of the play took place at the Mahara in May 2009. On the strength of these performances, the company was invited to present the play at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery.
In 2010 the play will be presented at the Christchurch City Art Gallery on Hodgkins birthday, April 28th, followed by a tour to other South Island centres, including the Dunedin City Art Gallery . In June 2010 it plays at Expressions Arts and Cultural Centre in Upper Hutt.
Playwright Bolwell always envisaged this play being presented in an art gallery setting. "I am trying to reach a cross-over audience of people interested in the visual arts as well as in theatre. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the New Zealand Portrait Gallery. It is a wonderful venue and has such a great atmosphere."
New Zealand Portrait Gallery
Shed 11, Queen's Wharf, Wellington Waterfront
November 27 & 28 - 6pm
December 4 & 5th - 6pm
“Like a painting emerging on the canvas as the artist's brush strokes cast their spell, the play reveals itself as a rich and humorous blend of human drama, historical documentary and social satire.” John Smythe, theatre critic, Theatreview
20 Mahara Place, Waikanae
Friday 12 March, 7.30pm
Saturday 13 March, 7.30pm
Sunday 14 March, 4.30pm
Fuel Festival 2012
Venue Waikato Museum, Victoria Street, Hamilton
Date Friday 6 July - 7.30pm, Saturday 7 July - 7.30pm
$25 Student Concession
$25 Senior Concession
Jan Bolwell: Frances Hidgkins
Perry Piercy: Monica Day, Rachel Hodgkins, Dorothy Richmond, Jane Saunders & Nagaire
John Wraight: Jean Paul Chabrier, Arthur Howell, William Hodgkins, Charles Wallace & Frank