St Andrews Hall, 300 Market Street South, Hastings

14/10/2020 - 16/10/2020

Hawkes Bay Arts Festival 2020 (Harcourts)

Production Details

This is a unique collaboration by some of our country’s best theatre makers.

As The Day Draws In is a place-based theatre piece that shows us our Heretaunga, the things that link us, it centres in an organic past somewhere between post-war and yesterday. It’s wrapped in nostalgia but isn’t old. It’s comfortable in its familiarity but has barbs like all good family stories, those knots of warmth that have secrets hidden within, those long lives that contain inevitable sadness and shadows” – Jess Soutar Barron, The Hook

Based on interviews conducted by Puti Lancaster and Teresa Woodham, the unique and intimate voices of six elderly people are shared through the platform of verbatim theatre. They range from 70–91 years of age and their voices reflect the cultural and social richness of this region.

They tell us about who they are now, what formed them, what sustains them and what challenges them. They speak of the ordinary and extraordinary in their lives. These stories are of the present and the past, of family, of rich, long-lived lives, full of love and loss, joy and mischief.

Creative Team: Puti Lancaster, Teresa Woodham, Catherine Wilkin, Lloyd Scott, Kristyl Neho, John Gibson, Janis Cheng, Judith Crozier, Matiu Whiting.

St Andrews Hall, Hastings
Wed Oct 14th – Fri Oct 16th 2020
Adult:  $39.00
Concession:  $34.00
Group – 10 or More Tickets:  $35.10

Concession = Gold Card Holders, Community Service Card Holders & Full Time Students with ID
Child = 16 Years & Under (selected shows only)
High School Student = (selected shows only)

If you have any issues buying your tickets, please contact the festival office on 06 651 2487 between the hours of 9am – 4pm or email the team VIEW THE PROGRAMME

Verbatim , Theatre ,

1 hr 15 min

Loving, thoughtful and ultimately affirming

Review by Alan Powdrell 15th Oct 2020

Co-authored by Puti Lancaster and Teresa Woodham, created from interviews conducted in late 2017, this verbatim theatre work shows moments in the personal lives of six people from Heretaunga, from childhood to old age.

The cast of three – Kristyl Neho, Lloyd Scott and Catherine Wilkin – each bring two of these characters to life, in reflective monologues that illuminate key moments in their lives. The audience is seated in traverse in this beautiful old hall with its warm, honey-coloured floor and wall panels, which seems like an inspired choice for this work. Being able to see the audience so close on the other side of the traverse seemed to add to the sense of intimacy created by the actors and script.

Simplicity is the key to its success. Lighting is warm, subtle and sympathetic. Costuming is limited to colourful apron-like wraps and these are hung and taken down to signal character changes.

A feature of this work is the involvement of musicians John Gibson and Matiu Whiting, creating soundscapes, tunes and songs that help punctuate and enliven the shared memories of the narrators. At the beginning these seem a little intrusive and there is a sense of the actors waiting for the percussive effects but as the characters and their lives develop and become familiar, the combination of music and voice naturally integrates and enriches our experience.

The ultimate success of this work depends on the choices made by the creators: those telling moments from childhood, school and family life that we recognise for their truthfulness and universality. There are memories of the natural landscape – of beaches, soft pale papa rocks in our rivers, the sun’s warmth of endless summers – that are so reminiscent of past childhood.  But then the stories shift to the impact of war, babies born in the bathroom at home, separation, love and loss.

All this is re-created by actors clearly willing to let their characters speak for themselves truthfully and without embellishment. There are emotionally charged moments as well, with Lloyd Scott’s character struggling to cope with the death of his wife, with Kristal Neho’s character greeting family portraits in the wharenui and particularly with Catherine Wilkin’s moving invocation to the river at the end.

As the Day Draws In is a loving, thoughtful and ultimately affirming look into real lives from Heretaunga and it makes for a thoroughly satisfying theatrical experience. 


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