Re:In:Act | ODETTE

St Paul's Cathedral, The Octagon, Dunedin

15/07/2023 - 15/07/2023

Production Details

Created by Lisa Wilkinson

Ōtepoti Theatre Lab

Odette, created and performed by Lisa Wilkinson (Kāi Tahu) is a personal dedication in dance to her late mother, who joined the stars 15 years ago, on 15th July. St Paul’s Cathedral will provide a breathtaking backdrop to this very special tribute, celebrating the universal experience of love and loss.

Three performances only, Saturday 15th July 2023
5pm, 6pm, 7pm (approx. 10 minutes duration)

The first in the 2023 series of Re:In:Act – Ōtepoti’s stories brought alive in performance by top local artists and proudly presented by Ōtepoti Theatre Lab.

With thanks to Creative New Zealand, Dunedin City Council and Better Creative

Performed by Lisa Wilkinson (Kāi Tahu)

Dance , Contemporary dance , Hiphop ,

60 mins

Her body exquisitely, a vessel for the memory of her mother

Review by Hannah Molloy 19th Jul 2023

When women create a work for or about their mothers, they say everything. There’s an all-encompassing flood of memory, friendship, grief, joy, quietude, of all the intricate layers of a mother-daughter relationship. 

With her short work Odette, Lisa Wilkinson so generously shared the 15th anniversary of her mother death with us as the Puaka Matariki stars rise. In the Gothic setting of one of Dunedin’s beautiful cathedrals, the audience watches from the sanctuary, looking back towards the doors, past a small alter set with a cruciform, flowers and candles. There is a simplicity in her black dress, sheet of black hair and white sneakers. The utilitarian seating and standing room belied by the richness of the stained-glass window and vaulting we look towards through the glinting altar.  Every detail of the staging and the way Lisa Wilkinson uses them underpins the intricacies of mother-daughter relationships and of the way we process and move back and forth through grief.

Lisa Wilkinson stands before us and begins with a spoken word poem about gathering apples – green, I’m not sure if she named them as green or they were green in my imagination. It’s a memory of a task and a conversation, of a moment passing, one of those moments that are nothing but everything and always something when a wave of grief tumbles over you.

She moves like a wave, ebbing and flowing, crashing and retreating, her motion tossing us like flotsam on an ocean of shared experience. Lisa holds her body exquisitely, a vessel for the memory of her mother, for her articulation of loss and grief, and for a deep empathy for that shared experience. 

She uses the space and the structures of the cathedral, back and forth, oscillating as she searches perhaps for her mother, perhaps for solace, perhaps for her own next steps. She draws the audience together, invites us to her altar and gives us space and peace to reflect. 

Experiencing Lisa Wilkinson’s beautiful choreography and movement, with the lyrics of Nick Cave’s Ghosteen so crystalline in the stillness of the church, and my own mother’s anniversary not so long past, I wept quietly throughout. 


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