Puppies, cnr Tory & Vivian Streets, Wellington

17/02/2014 - 19/02/2014

NZ Fringe Festival 2014

Production Details

This is a show I’ve made. It’s a musical. I’ve attempted to kind of figure out what my ‘soul’ is and express is so absolutely that I can essentially achieve immortality.

It’s about harmony and emptiness.

Thanks. – Joseph. 

Puppies, 118 Tory Street, Wellington CBD
9.30pm, 17-19 Feb (60mins)

Theatre , Musical ,

The latest iteration of Harper’s interminable angst

Review by John Smythe 18th Feb 2014

If you have never seen a Joseph Harper work before then get to this one: you’re in for a treat. If you have seen them all* you may possibly want to say, “For God’s sake – no, for Your sake – Joseph, get out of your navel and look up to a wider horizon!”

But that’s not fair; he’s not navel-gazing in Exoskeleton. He’s travelling deep within himself to see if there’s anything there. Plus he goes to the moon, or rather he becomes the moon, the moon becomes him and he waxes lyrical, happy to be adorned by the beauty of reflected light.

As a title, Exoskeleton is the converse of where the play goes as he cracks his own protective shell to dig deep into the existential yolk of his being. Physics and metaphysics permeate his characteristically relaxed and endearingly slightly clumsy presentation. Random and ramshackle though it may seem, there is method in every element that contributes to the transcendent whole.

Whether he’s talking of family holidays in Ashburton, a randy dog (male dogs don’t go ‘on heat’ do they?), a birthing sheep or a bleeding nose, this “man of many cousins” is strangely compelling, not least because no matter how realistic, abstract or absurd it gets, we know he speaks his subjective truths, and they are truths most people can relate to.   

He plays guitar, he sings and all the while a heartbeat backs him. A hand-held cassette recorder asks him questions and applauds him at his post internal expedition press conference. He makes ingenious use of a shaving mirror to project his visual backing. And his sampling pedals don’t only replicate sound but image as well, projecting the infinite somethingness or nothingness of Joseph Harper, depending on who or what you believe in response to this latest iteration of his interminable angst.   
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*Bikes I’ve Owned Versus Girls I’ve Fallen In Love With (2011); The Boy and The Bicycle (2011); Honey (2012); Think Tree (2013); Altas / Mountain / Dead Butterflies (2013)


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