CONCERNING THE UFO SIGHTING OUTSIDE MT ROSKILL, AUCKLAND
07/06/2023 - 10/06/2023
Creator: Reon Bell (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu Ki Te Wairoa)
Director: Sean Dioneda Rivera
Concerning the UFO Sighting Outside Mt Roskill, Auckland is a solo theatre show that tells the story of a young man in 1980’s Auckland who is struggling with his growing belief in aliens, and his life as a closeted gay man.
Dana is an average office worker for an insurance company in Mt Roskill, his monotonous life and perspective unravels after he encounters a UFO while out late cruising at a local park.
“… wonderful orchestration of theatrical elements. The show is fun, at times feeling like I was on a musical road trip through Mt Roskill. The performance is charming, engaging, and at moments, honest and touching.” – ANJULA PRAKASH, Theatre Scenes
7-10 June 2023
Performer: Reon Bell (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu Ki Te Wairoa)
Lighting: Michael Lyell
LGBTQIA+ , Solo , Theatre ,
A beautiful, delicate, raunchy way of raising questions about how we relate to each other
Review by Waitahi Aniwaniwa McGee 08th Jun 2023
“When you speak of god, you speak of …?! When we speak of god, we speak of OURSELVES.”
We begin with Dana, a casual office worker for an insurance company in Mt Roskill. His monotonous life and perspective unravels after he encounters a UFO while out late, cruising at a local park. This show is a tribute to home, to growing up closeted, to growing in change.
A beautiful, delicate, raunchy piece performed by the skilled talent that is Reon Te Aorangi Bell and directed by Sean Dioneda Rivera.
Bell brings a sort of… softness to the stage. His stage presence keeps the space alive even when we are consumed in darkness. When he interacts with the audience there is a lightness, an almost clown-like dare to play alongside him. It’s a really smart set up by him and his team because he later on interacts with other ‘people’ onstage… but it’s a solo… yet we can feel that these ‘people’ are onstage?!? I don’t know how to explain it but I’m still gobsmacked with how ‘in it’ I was.
I do believe that credit goes to Rivera’s direction. He and Bell pull infinite worlds into a single set in BATS Theatre. Combined with Tony Black’s lighting design, Bell is able to transit entire rooms, bus stops and offices with ease. The transitions from place to place are so slick, almost film like. I guess what I’m trying to say is the technical craft of the work is present, lowkey, yet so seamless and effective.
As a takatāpui they/them queer who grew up in the wop wops in the Bay of Plenty in the 2010s, I believe this show to be a homage to Mt Roskill across time – the 1980s / 2000s / 2020s even.
I come out of this show with so many questions. I’m thinking: Shucks is Reon’s mahi with the extra-terrestrial used as a metaphor for how illiterate we are as a society in our allyship with our queer communities?
Actually now I think about it… it’s that; that is the main question that I am left with from this show. How can we – as a collective / society / whatever you wanna call it – how can we come into relation with one another? How can we do so with the space to change, to get things wrong, to try again.
Is that even something we want to do?
Heoi, I’ll leave you with my fave quote from this show with absolutely no context:
“You’re all just sexual deviants, we’re all disgusting little perverts.”
Now hurry up and grab a ticket xx
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