GO SOLO 2014 Group D

Te Whaea - SEEyD Space, 11 Hutchison Rd, Newtown, Wellington

02/10/2014 - 11/10/2014

Production Details

Grab your chance to see the next generation of performers from Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School in action as the fifteen final year Acting students strut their stuff.

Go Solo is the annual showcase of new work – monologues – all devised, written, directed, designed and performed by the third year students, with production support by the second year Technical and Management students. It’s an absolute highlight for all involved.

‘We all get to show what we can do,’ says production manager and Bachelor of Performing Arts Management student, Nicole Arrow. ‘Plus it gives everyone a really rich and memorable experience. Audiences will find it quite bold, I think.’ 

The 2014 Go Solo season runs from 1-11 October. Audiences can choose between the four groups of performances, or to see them all back-to-back on ‘Marathon Saturday’.

GROUP D:  Ngakopa Volkerling, Patrick Carroll, Comfrey Sanders 

Ngakopa Volkerling: Maggie Papakura 

Insights and whakaaro from Te Arawa’s dear tipuna that still strongly echoes to today’s time. 

Thanks to Ngahuia Te Awekotuku for allowing me paraphrase and use selected passages from your introduction from Old Time Maori, June Grant for the tautoko to perform your dear kuia, Grace Hoet for your guidance, Toa Waaka for the use of nga korowai. Kamaia Takuira Mita for your time teaching me poi, and Dad for consistently encouraging. Nga mihinui!

Patrick Carroll: Layman

“Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou?” – Isaiah 45:9

“If necessary, I’ll be the worst torturer, my sculptures must speak.” – Olivier de Sagazan 

Sometimes the clay is badly behaved, sometimes cold and unyielding, sometimes warm and smooth and happy to be shaped however I request. It is unruly, it is always different. The diligence for me is to respond to each development as it happens, be it from the clay, my instincts or you. The clay is a beast unto itself, some say it is what we ourselves were made from. In Irish folklore clay is a symbol of mortality and decay. In scientific terms clay is mineral, vegetable and animal. Clay raises questions of life, of beauty, of creation, of death. When I am in the thick of it I am quite blind, quite deaf, quite illiterate. 

Comfrey Sanders: We Will All Go There One Day

It’s the expressions, colours, textures, voices, shapes and sensations. The speed and sizes of things shift, bleeding together. But for my ancestors, the detail of their lives has been lost in the ground they are buried in. We will all go there one day. Back to our mothers and fathers who are waiting for us. Whispering what they have seen, too softly to hear.  

Go Solo 2014

Where: SEEyD Space, Te Whaea: National Dance & Drama Centre, 11 Hutchison Road, Newtown

When: Wednesday 1st – Saturday 11th of October (no show Sunday). See the website for times.

Price:  $50 Season ticket (all four groups),$15 (full), $10 (concessions & Toi Whakaari graduates), $5 (student standby/school group, if available).

Book: www.toiwhakaari.ac.nz or phone (04) 381 9250


Original, complex, elemental

Review by Lena Fransham 03rd Oct 2014

A visceral and accomplished set to round off the season, the performances of the final group in the 2014 Go Solo series have left a real imprint on me.  

Comfrey Sanders’ protagonist, with her long red hair, has a kind of wild look as she recounts memories of a childhood in wild places. She speaks of a sister, Rose, and a father and mother, dwelling on an account of her mother’s screams in childbirth and her childish fear of them. The anecdotes are evocative, but are delivered to us with a pronounced affectedness, which is off-putting.

Perhaps this fact sharpens the contrast of the strange, sudden interjections of the other, indescribable character, who is all animal gesture and impression; a labouring mother, or a strange bird, or a madwoman muttering down the aisles of a cemetery, hunched over with the weight of unbearable loss. She expresses a gut-level, wordless, abject state. The projected photographs on the wall contribute a sense of the epic. I’m actually quite blown away by the emotive power of these elements. Sanders has an excitingly original voice.

Ngakopa Volkerling has a strong facility for filling out a complex character and really knows how to do presence. There is evidently a lot of story here, but it is frustratingly hard to follow the jumps between the narration and the characters of Maggie Papakura and Hinemoa, who seem to be the key figures.

These two do flesh themselves out richly, Maggie especially, who comes across as refreshingly cantankerous and individualistic, refusing to be romanticised or streamlined by history. This portrayal of Maggie Papakura could be developed as a full length play. It would be improved, I think, with a little more time in which to allow the audience access to the depth of the material.

Something shocking happens in front of us on the spattered tarpaulin when the lights go up on Patrick Carroll’s Layman. Carroll’s acknowledged inspirations – Frankenstein, the Book of Isaiah, Olivier de Sagazan – interact richly in this bizarre and numinous experiment.

Nobody knows quite how to cope with what we witness, even those in the audience who have seen it before. The involuntary response is an incoherent rush of revulsion, fascination and a kind of appalled empathy for the nightmarish, blind, barking thing squatting there, making and remaking itself like a monstrous child with playdough. It’s like watching a birth: elemental and grotesque. The whole audience recoils and laughs at the same time.

The piece is well placed as the final performance – partly because it’s messy, but mostly because its images will linger in people’s minds for days.


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