BATS Theatre, The Random Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

09/07/2019 - 13/07/2019

Production Details


Anna is definitely better. Here’s a dance number or seven to prove it.  

Natasha Lay’s MANIAC on the Dance Floor is life in a music video. Back-up dancers, banging tunes and bright lights are all here for Anna (Daedae Tekoronga-Waka), who is here to tell us how she made it through mental illness.

An affecting and relatable story based on Lay’s lived experience with bipolar, MANIAC is also a high-octane, lo-fi dance party. Lip-sync and vignettes combine to track the highs and lows of the recovery rollercoaster.  

Mental illness affects one in six New Zealanders. MANIAC is a dance party for all of us and a celebration of the friends and whānau who support us.

After a smash hit season at Auckland Fringe 2018 and making the shortlist for Playmarket’s Playwrights b4 25 competition, MANIAC on the Dance Floor is coming to both Auckland and Wellington in Winter 2019.

And she’s had a serious glow up.

A fresh production from queer NZ artists – with women of colour at the front and centre.

Natasha Lay is Peranakan Chinese-Indonesian-New Zealander, one of Proudly Asian Theatre’s youngest writers, and proud to be multi-hyphenated. MANIAC was written for a woman of colour to take the stage by storm and Daedae Tekoronga-Waka is a perfect choice. As a takatāpui performance artist, Tekoronga-Waka strives to create healing work for Pasifika Maori LGBT, including her leading role in 8 Reasonable Demands (Auckland Theatre Company) and her own Playwrights b4 25 shortlisted script House of Beaumont

Director Adam Rohe joins the MANIAC whānau after an incredible 2018; performing in Silo Theatre’s Hir, directing Te Pou Theatre’s Pākehā season of absurd play The Chairs (alongside Te Reo Māori, Samoan and Cantonese seasons), and directing repeat seasons of surreal schizophrenic romance Such Stuff As Dreams.

As spearheads for the production Lay, Tekoronga-Waka and Rohe set the bar high for a sensational celebration of recovery and friendship created entirely by marginalised voices.

Fun, flamboyant, and fierce – a fresh take on mental health representation in theatre.

“The tongue-in-cheek presentation, utilising theatre and music to its full extent, brings a layer to the discussion which is suddenly accessible, playful and exciting.” – Chye-Ling Huang, Founder of Proudly Asian Theatre

* Shortlisted for Playmarket’s Playwrights b4 25, 2018
* Selected for Creative New Zealand’s Tautai Pacific Internship (2019) – Daedae Teokoronga-Waka
* Outstanding Newcomer Award WINNER (Auckland Theatre Awards, 2018) – Choreographer Marianne Infante
* Most Promising Emerging Artist WINNER (NZ Fringe, 2018) – Producer Eleanor Strathern
* The George Webby Most Promising Newcomer Award WINNER (Wellington Theatre Awards, 2018) – Producer Eleanor Strathern

MANIAC on the Dance Floor:
BATS Theatre: The Random Stage
Tuesday 9th – Saturday 13th July 2019
Tickets $20 full / $15 concession / $15 Group 6+
Bookings from

CAST: Daedae Tekoronga-Waka, Phillip Good & Adam Rohe 

Technical Design by Spencer Earwaker

Theatre , Dance-theatre ,

1 hr

Lay will crack you up about her mental crack up

Review by Ines Maria Almeida 10th Jul 2019

What do we talk about when we talk about being manic bipolar? Well, if you’re Natasha Lay, you lay your heart guts out about the loneliness of it all, and dance the pain away.  

Her main character, Anna (Daedae Tekoronga-Waka), is an autobiographical persona based on Lay’s real life experience living with bipolar, who tells us her story through lip-syncing and dance routines, peppered with lo-fi moments of spotlit, thoughtfully expressed sadness, and tear-jerking vulnerable reveals. But it’s not a cry-fest, I swear.  

Even with all the sadness and brutal truths of being bipolar, Lay manages to steal more than a few laughs from the audience. This is to say, don’t be put off by the emotionally-graphic content: Lay will crack you up about her mental crack up, by riffing on her boyfriend’s emotional-man-spreading, how her roommates thought she was hiding in her room because of her depression and NOT because she hated them, and various lols about, well, being somewhat crazy.

The show’s triumph is how Anna makes it through her mental illness and comes out alright on the other side. The best parts of the evening are the synchronised dance routines of her buddies flanking her on each side (shout outs to Phillip and Adam who look great in leotards), because Lay shows us that even in the worst of times, you can still be spectacular. So spectacular that she catches you off guard with such revealing statements like, “I was diagnosed with clinical depression at 16,” and “I tried to kill myself a couple of times when I was younger”.

Throughout the show, even when dancing along to her grooves (Yes, ‘She’s a Maniac’ featured, of course!), the audience is taken along the highs and lows of the recovery rollercoaster. You’re rooting for her the whole time, when you’re laughing, and when you shed a few tears in the back row (true story).

MANIAC on the Dance Floor is a rave for anyone who has ever suffered from mental illness, be it depression, or something a little more hardcore like bipolar, and the people who love us and support us through it all. Even the ones who have to walk away to save themselves. Lastly, it is beautiful to see a woman of colour slay the stage as she does; Natasha Lay is Peranakan Chinese-Indonesian-New Zealander, and I’m told is fiercely proud to be so multi-hyphenated.

A word to the shy: Lay brings up randos on stage to help her story flow, so if you’re not comfortable in the spotlight, sit in the back (but it looks like a lot of fun and I regret my seat choice in the end!). 


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