GROUNDSWELL: Stories from the Quake

Court Theatre Pub Charity Studio, Christchurch

09/03/2013 - 23/03/2013

Production Details

A play created from the words of people who were in Christchurch at 12.51pm on the 22nd of February 2011

These seven extraordinary stories are a tribute to the spirit of those who lived through that moment.

This direct and honest performance is in turn funny and heart wrenching.

Confront the past. And the present.

Groundswell: Stories from the Quake will play in the
Pub Charity Studio at The Court Theatre
9 to 23 March 2013.
Mon, Thurs 7:00pm
Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat 8:00pm
For bookings: Phone (03) 963 0870
or visit 

Annie Whittle
Tom Trevella
Barry de Lore
Monica Hope
Tim Bartlett
Jonathan Power
Lucy Porter 

Ordinary folk recall that extraordinary day

Review by Lindsay Clark 10th Mar 2013

This collection of quake stories, as told by survivors, may seem a particularly appropriate confirmation that the new Forge, The Court’s studio theatre, is back in the business of bringing us new work, especially from New Zealand writers. Without the event, The Forge would probably be wedged in its Arts Centre corner still.

On the other hand, there is a strong sense of déja vu, or rather déja entendu, about the material, since we have all heard similar tales in the months since that terrible time, and indeed replay our own experiences now and then as a sort of therapy.

This is not to deny the need of narrative to help us accept and clarify, perhaps even to learn from such experiences, but their impact value as verbatim theatre is another matter. There is little occasion for action or interaction, little visual interest and apart from a scattering of surprises in the stories themselves, a general predictability about the insights which emerge thematically.

Direction from Melanie Camp meets the challenge of fleshing out the seven stories to some extent. Her cast presents and speaks for a range of ordinary folk on that extraordinary day, explaining what happened and how the aftermath has changed their varying perspectives on life itself. A stated aim has been to find the ‘overarching unity’ reached, at least temporarily, through such events,.

The cast is seated simply, on the open performance space, facing the audience, listening to each other and sometimes responding or providing a ‘voice’. Timothy Bartlett , Barry De Lore, Tom Trevella and Jonathan Power provide a range of male occupations, age and experience, while Annie Whittle, Monica Hope and Lucy Porter speak for three well-contrasted women.

All seven players achieve a sense of truth as they reminisce, with direct address to us and occasionally each other, enhancing the feeling that we are in a group meeting of some kind. There is a polite tolerance and acceptance of each other, perhaps because of the stories themselves, which adds up to a more anodyne whole than some responses have been.  

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