Out There - Paekakariki Satellite Fringe

Paekakariki, Wellington

09/02/2007 - 04/03/2007

NZ Fringe Festival 2007

Production Details

A Plethora of performance pleasures and unique places. Enchanting drama, innovative multi-media, short film picnic, poetry slam, original music, new comedy, cabaret, readings, clothing creations.. ITS ALL OUT HERE. In the streets, cafes, halls and parks of Paekakariki. For the full programme check out: http://paekakariki.fringe.googlepages.com

Theatre ,

Snippets in cars & Sophisticated account of women's interwoven lives

Review by Judith Dale 10th Mar 2007

[From a larger article entitled The Lives of Girls and Women, written by Judith Dale for the Women’s Studies Association of NZ newsletter, which begins with a summary of the work of Canadian writer Alice Munro, described by Michelle Roberts as "is one of the great story-tellers of our time, descended from a line going back to Chekhov and Katherine Mansfield."]

Latterly I’ve been to some plays dealing with similar stories, a couple at mainstream theatres in Wellington and a few at the Fringe Festival that occurs in conjunction with the International Festival of the Arts and in the years in between as well. In addition I’ve been to events at the Paekakariki ‘satellite’ fringe festival called Out There (yes, well…).

The aptly named Girls Talking about Boys in Cars is literally that, with the audience, two at a time, seated in the back seats of four cars parked along Beach Road. One overhears the machinations of teenage love-mongering, two young mothers catching up on developments in each others’ marriages as they wait for their children, a widow and her friend outside a cemetery, and even two little girls prattling about boy-germs.

Each pre-existing scenario is shared at such close quarters that we could all be inside an Alice Munro story, if only for a few precious moments before the audience must move on to the next car and the next fragment of eventfulness. Open-ended? insightful? enthralling? These snippets of the lives of contemporary girls and women were all of that. The show was devised and written by Amanda Hanan, with a range of actors including professionals and some local first-timers.

Jess Hortrop first had the idea of Out There when her play Blue Flower, having been accepted for the Fringe Festival in town, lost its venue. She decided to promote it in a festival in Paekakariki instead, giving locals the opportunity of experiencing some good theatre, poetry and music but also her own rich and musical piece of multi-media theatre.

It is a sophisticated account of three generations of women’s problematically interwoven lives. Is it exploitation when the needs of one elderly woman for love and connection alienate a girl from her mother? What if the vulnerability of the mother renders her inadequate to respond to her daughter? What can or should the girl do, to recognise the needs of all three of them? What of the girl’s father, the most apparently agreeable of the characters and the one who has his daughter’s best interests most at heart: what role should he perform, in every sense, in this play/text/script? All this is Alice Munro country too, here localised in recognisable characterisations.

[See also Judith’s reviews of Deliver Us (BATS) and The Case of Katherine Mansfield (Downstage)]


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