29/08/2009 - 26/09/2009
What a great year Centrepoint Theatre has been having! And we are very excited about bringing you our next show, Awhi Tapu. This fast, funny and moving piece delves into issues faced by young people today and the effects that change has on a small community.
Awhi Tapu heralds a new wave of writing around Mâori issues and characters. "Awhi Tapu is about reconciliation, it’s about overcoming great loss to discover all that really matters are those who we love most," says playwright Albert Belz. A week into rehearsals and Maaka comments that the play "deals with some heavy material and constantly switches between humour and pathos at quite an energetic pace".
Awhi Tapu is set in the Ureweras. In their depths lies a small forestry village on the brink of destruction. Yet from ashes of carnage emerges a world of Technicolor silver-screen glory, as Wendyl, Sonny, Casper and Girl Girl visualise the big budget Hollywood blockbuster film of their lives (starring Denzel Washington). There will be music, lots of laughter and probably a few tears.
We are very excited to welcome to the theatre and to Palmerston North Scotty Cotter and Ahi Karunaharan, who play the roles of Sonny and Casper in the production. Scotty joins us from the small screen where he played Wiramu on Shortland Street, and also from the short Mâori language drama series Whanau. Ahi is fresh out of Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School, and has just finished filming a small role in Avatar (directed by James Cameron), due to hit the big screens early next year.
We are also delighted to have Maaka Pohatu and Josephine Stewart-Tewhiu returning to the theatre playing their roles as Wendyl and Girl Girl. Josephine had her Centrepoint Theatre debut last year in The Gods of Warm Beer and Maaka Pohatu was in the Merchant of Venice in 2005. Maaka will also be familiar to some from his role in Strange Resting Places which toured Palmerston North during the Festival of Cultures last year.
Also a huge welcome back to the director Leo Gene Peters who directed our Basement Company show last year. Leo Gene has numerous credits to his name including directing Strange Resting Places.
"Welcome to Awhi Tapu, could the last to leave please turn the lights out…chur bro!"
For information, interviews and images please contact Alaina Moore on 063545740 or email@example.com
Wednesday 6.30pm, Thursday – Saturday 8 pm, Sunday 5pm
$35 Adults, $30 Senior Citizens, $20 Community Service Card Holders, $20 Senior Gold Card Holders, $12 Students, SPECIAL DEAL $20 FOR UNDER 30S!
Te Manawa short preview – Thursday 27 August, 12.30pm at the Te Manawa Art Gallery, entry free.
Preview Night – Friday 28 August, 8pm. Tickets $20.
$12 Tuesday – Tuesday 1 September, 6.30pm. Bookings open Monday 31 August 9am!
Phone 06 354 5740, online at www.centrepoint.co.nz, email firstname.lastname@example.org , visit 280 Church Street.
Starring Scotty Cotter (Shortland Street & Whanau), Maaka Pohatu (Strange Resting Places), Josephine Stewart-Tewhiu (The Gods of Warm Beer) and Ahi Karunaharan (Avatar).
Challenging, daring and warmly recommended
Review by John C Ross 31st Aug 2009
Awhi Tapu, once a thriving Urewera timber-milling village and Māori community, has been fading away, so we’re told, ever since the mill was shut down. Still, the characters here have been so strongly held by their pasts within it that this ghostly fixation does much to dictate their imperatives in the present and visions of a desirable future.
Within a weirdly meta-theatrical play, one is left guessing as to whether its events are meant to have happened, or whether even these are simply invented, within a story devised by the character Sonny. And assuming they did happen, he is still responsible for devising the story-line; and the action, once it gets going, is not so much an enactment as a re-enactment, the self-conscious making of a dramatising of a story about stuff that’s already happened. The characters even speculate about which movie stars might best play themselves if it were to be made into a film.
The four actors also frequently sing (rather well), and their characters evidently identify with the yearnings and affirmations in the songs of Bob Marley – ‘songs of freedom … redemption songs’ – to be freed from bondage, racism, poverty, powerlessness, despair, or grief. Their actions however gain them nothing, until they can gain a kind of freedom from the past, and of an accommodation with it (if they can; not all can).
These characters? Two Māori men, Sonny (Scotty Cotter) and Wendyll (Maaka Pohatu), a young Māori woman, Girl Girl (Josephine Stewart-Tewhiu), and, oddly, a Fijian Indian, Casper (Ahi Karunaharan), who has somehow come to live in the village, and bonded with them. The four actors also play other, lesser characters.
These actors do admirably, and work well together, and Leo Gene Peters’ direction sustains an integrity of pace and rhythm that holds this mightily unorthodox show together. Brian King has designed nothing resembling an orthodox set, with a sofa standing for a room, vertical boards mounted in slots in the stage-floor in sundry fashions to indicate trees, house-walls, or whatever, and yet it works, reinforced with Nathan McKendry’s crafty lighting.
This is a challenging show, and has to be taken on its own terms, but it’s impressive in its daring and in its accomplishment. Warmly recommended.
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