Cuba Mall, just north of Left Bank, Wellington

28/02/2013 - 09/03/2013

NZ Fringe Festival 2013

Production Details

A scandalous sensory experience; a street light circus.  

Behold the street; the front lawn of the public voice! Award winning performers, musicians and production crew bring contemporary circus to the centre of town – in a startling fashion. Multi-disciplinary circus, theatre, comedy, dance, costume, installation, an original sound track and live music are tools to re-contextualise the urban environment and pose questions around some pre-conceived notions. 

This piece is a moment about being active, passionate and full of hope. It’s about laughing with ourselves and seeking great experience. Come and be part of an installation; an interactive interruption to the daily narrative. We will provide the sensory splendour and delicious food for thought.

In and Out of Context is a free/koha event and for everyone! Bring the whole family, bring someone you’re keen to impress, if they’re impressed make a donation! (This will impress them further.) Just make sure you’re on Cuba Street during the Wellington Fringe Festival and delve into a comedy about the many aspects of graphic information in our lives and throughout the public domain. This show will have you laughing, inspired, surprised and sure to leave with more than just a question.

The crew:

Visualised and developed by a fresh face in circus; musician, actress and circus performer Cally O’Neill tells this story with the help of Tanya Drewery the brilliant, hilarious and stunning Magenta Diamond; a full time performer and circus instructor. Circus addict, training architect and evolving social entrepreneur Cally’s company CO OP Co-operative is producer of the show.

Tanya has over a decade of international experience from circus to contemporary and corporate entertainment and is monumental to the New Zealand neo-burlesque scene. Known for fearlessly crossing the line Tanya has received far too many awards to list and has lead iconic events such as New Zealand’s own Fetish Ball and the highly commended Fringe show ‘Step up Darlings, It’s Ten-in-One’. She has been a strong creative force in Wellington based circus company Fuse Circus since it began with the multi-award winning production ‘Heavenly Burlesque’. You may have seen her lately as MC and a star in the on-going Fuse production ‘Revolver Circus’ and most recently as a featured performer for the Hobbit premiere. Now, in the spirit of creative collaboration this duo along with some fine friends and guests take us on a pathway filled with art, joy, beauty, skill and deep intent.

Deborah Pope is a name that needs no introduction when it comes to New Zealand circus. Her repertoire is vast and internationally acclaimed from producing, writing and directing large scale events to projecting her energy into the NZ circus industry and continuing to produce top level skill and shows. She is creator of Awkward Productions, Wellington Festival of Circus, Wellington Youth Circus and executes a lead role in the Wellington Circus Trust. Now In and Out of Context have the great fortune of having Deb direct the show.

Star musicians – who we won’t name just yet, a cameo comedian and a top production rigger continue the evolving list of talent involved in this production. That’s not to mention the incredible achievements of other supporters and sponsors!

The street holds the stage for a revealing beauty; a startling interruption to the daily narrative.

In and Out of Context 

WHERE? Cuba Mall, just north of Left Bank
WHEN? 28th of February to the 9th of March 2013 – Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights @ 8:30pm for two consecutive weeks during Fringe Wellington!

ALSO! Showing in the Dunedin Fringe Festival 14th to the 24th of March 2013 – Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights @ 8:30pm for two consecutive weeks
WHERE? In the Octagon!

The Team

Cally O’Neill – Producer/writer/performer – Director of CO OP Co-operative Ltd; member of the Wellington Circus Trust; and, employee of Athfield Architects Ltd.

Tanya Drewery – Writer/performer – Self-employed as The Magenta Diamond and multi-disciplinary performer; Circus instructor at the Wellington Circus Trust; employee of Fuse Circus

Phoebe Smith – Actress/comedian – Freelance actress and playwright

Deborah Pope – Director – Director of Awkward Productions and the Wellington Circus Trust

Andrew Gibson – Production Rigger – Director of Entertainment Production Services Ltd.

Tom Beauchamp – Production Rigger/Stage Manager – Director of Fuse Circus

Guest musicians – to be confirmed

Welcome spectacle but comedy falls short

Review by Fiona McNamara 01st Mar 2013

In and Out of Context describes itself as “an interruption to the daily narrative […] Multi-disciplinary circus, theatre, comedy, dance, costume, installation, an original sound track and live music are tools to re-contextualise the urban environment and pose questions around some pre-conceived notions.” 

The performers work hard and the spectacle they create – with their energetic performances, a large ladder with trapeze, loud music and bright lights – draws crowds in Cuba Mall; and some local dwellers even sit on their balconies to watch from above. It is indeed an interruption to daily narrative, and the people who chance upon it seem ready.

It’s great to see so much outdoor, free and spectacle performance this Fringe. The best kind of festival is one that the whole city knows is on. Performance that is accessible to everyone, in that it is free, casual (you can talk during it and show up and leave when you want to) is a great way to include large numbers.

CO-OP Cooperative attempts to take this further by inviting us to “be part of an installation… We will provide the sensory splendour and delicious food for thought.” Unfortunately, beyond the ease of its accessibility, I didn’t feel part of the performance, nor did I have much of a sensory experience. Audience participation is touched on, but the performers seem almost afraid to be open to its possibilities.

There was one attempt to bring an audience member on stage as an ‘assistant’ in a short scene, but it felt token and awkward… as if the performers hadn’t thought through what to do with him once he was there. Towards the end, they call into the microphone to us “If you would like to see more public art, say Yeah!” but instead of listening to the audience response, they shout “YEAH” into the microphone themselves… drowning out the calls (or silence) of the audience.

Overall, it is the circus and spectacle that draws the crowds, while the theatre and comedy fall flat. The ideas behind this performance are better than the work itself: the performers spend a lot of time telling us the premise, often double or triple-percussively, rather than developing it through the performance.

There are several points at which they perform an idea, but feel the need to tell us what they are doing, just in case we couldn’t work it out ourselves. Towards the end, for example, the performers reveal words on their clothing – “Public” on one, and “Art” on the other – then, just in case we still haven’t got it, they say into the microphone, “Ladies and gentlemen, you are experiencing public art!” 


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