My Head’s in a Whirl

TAPAC Theatre, Western Springs, Auckland

24/02/2011 - 26/02/2011

Production Details

presented by Interacting and A Supported Life

Theatre with and by actors with an intellectual disability is a relatively new art form, both here in New Zealand and overseas.

However the Interacting Theatre actors see themselves as artists first and second, not persons defined by their disability. The challenges they face on a day to day basis in gaining meaningful inclusion in their own communities does not impede their passion for performance. And through drama this group of individuals have found, not only expression but acceptance, accolades and belief in their abilities on their own terms. 

Interacting Theatre is the vehicle that provides the opportunity for actors with an intellectual disability to present two productions in the Fringe in 2011. My heads in a whirlwas test driven in late 2010 to an audience of 320 in the Centennial Theatre in Auckland and now the opportunity for all to participate in these productions will be offered at TAPAC – the Auckland Performing Arts Centre.

When the young people at WOW decide to put on a production of Shakespeare, they opt for the three they most love – Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

However, the magical mystery of A Midsummers Night’s Dream finds its way into the 21st Century Auckland and what results is a playful, hilarious and sometimes surprisingly poignant rendition of the Bard.

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My Head’s In A Whirl
Thursday the 24th of February 12 noon (midday)
Saturday the 26th. of February 7.00 pm
TAPAC, 100 Motions Rd, Western Springs
$15 full price, $5 per person in groups of 10 plus.
booking line : (09) 845 0295

1hr 20min, no interval

Drawn in by beams of delight

Review by Keziah Warner 25th Feb 2011

When the WOW theatre company are asked to stage a Shakespeare play they just cannot decide which of the Bard’s thirty-seven works they like best. Not wanting to miss out their favourite, they perform a triple-bill of Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Twenty-three actors from Disability Arts Theatre Company, Interacting Theatre and A Supported Life present all three plays using a mix of contemporary language and Shakespeare’s own text.   

The original text is used most effectively in Macbeth, where Lady Macbeth’s final speech before committing suicide is beautifully and poignantly delivered. Macbeth also provides the most atmospheric scene as white gauze is pulled across the stage and a mass of pale-clad bodies writhe behind it to represent both the ghosts that haunt Macbeth and his queen and the evil spirits invoked by the witches. The weird sisters – all-male and cloaked – are also genuinely creepy with their evil cackles and hidden faces. 

It is perhaps, however, the more comedic and modern elements of this piece that allow it to really shine. In Verona, the Montagues and Capulets party along to the Bee Gees’ ‘Stayin’ Alive’, complete with dance routine.

For A Midsummer Night’s Dream we are transported not to a magical forest but just over the road to a music festival in Western Springs Park where the fairies cast their spell along to the Spice Girls’ ‘Viva Forever’. And, as at any festival, all the characters are lost within the first five minutes. 

The modernity allows the actors to show off their wicked sense of humour – Romeo and Juliet’s balcony scene contains the immortal line, “Oh Juliet, you look so pretty in that nightie.” And Demetrius makes use of a classic brush-off for the lovesick Helena as she chases him through the night: “It’s nothing personal, I just don’t want a girlfriend right now.”

These aspects also present the company’s thorough understanding of the text and the frustrations it presents to a modern-day audience. The inevitable fate of Romeo and Juliet causes particular consternation from their contemporary viewpoint. 

This performance will show you Shakespeare in all its aspects: comedic, tragic, traditional and yet timeless. But the real joy of watching Interacting Theatre is the complete delight of every single performer – it beams from the stage and can’t help but draw you in. 

This review kindly supported by The James Wallace Arts Trust

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