The Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch

25/03/2023 - 22/04/2023

Production Details

Written by Whiti Hereaka
Directed by Tania Gilchrist

The Court Theatre

A seemingly simple domestic ritual is honoured as the holder of whakapapa, connection and culture in Rēwena, written by award-winning author Whiti Hereaka and onstage at The Court Theatre from 25 March.

Described by Director Tania Gilchrist “A one-woman kōrero about love and sharing”, the play speaks to the commonality of bread (and its creation) as the great connector across cultures, generations and civilisations.

Infused with humour and wry observations about modern life, Rēwena is told in real time as bread is baked onstage (and then shared) in an intimate ‘kitchen’ space only available to 70 people per performance.

“Rēwena is an unexpected and delightful treat, poignantly reminding us that those simple shared pleasures (the breads of life) are the things that keep us connected with our whānau and friends.” Theatreview, 30 October 2013

Only 70 seats per performance.

The Court Theatre
25 March – 22 April 2023
Show Times
● Monday – Saturday 6:00pm
● Forum (incl. Cast and Crew Q&A) 3 April
● Matinees 1 and 15 April 4:00pmAdult $32
Senior (65+) $30
Group (6+) 10% Discount*
Friends of The Court Theatre $30
Concessions (see website for details) $20
* Applies to Standard Adult, Friends, Child and Senior price tickets

Bookings: phone 0800 333 100 or visit https://courttheatre.org.nz/whats-on/rewena/

Rēwena runs 25 March – 22 April, and can be seen alone or in double bill with Be like Billy? (discounts apply). Tickets available from courttheatre.org.nz

Kim Garrett Maggie

Matt McCutcheon Set Designer
Giles Tanner Lighting Designer

Theatre , Solo ,

50 mins

Generosity of spirit, modelled for us with irresistible good cheer

Review by Lindsay Clark 26th Mar 2023

The framework of this short play is deceptively simple. Rēwena, sometimes known as Māori bread, is indeed prepared, baked and served. Beyond that, the special significance of ingredients and process, explained by a chattily engaging cook with her own life story to contribute, add up to a richly satisfying kitchen session.

We are not watching some hyped up reality show here. Rather, we are welcomed with genuine warmth into a neat domestic set up, with everyday equipment and a good old-fashioned décor, down to the child’s drawing and note fixed to the refrigerator. This is Maggie’s world, where good old-fashioned baking can happen. Its smiling owner,who welcomes the audience,( restricted to a fortunate fifty), is Maggie herself, dispenser of the recipe for rēwena, along with homely wisdom and passion for the traditions which mark it as special, respect worthy.

As Maggie, Kim Garrett lovingly creates a nuanced solo role way deeper than the ‘how to’. Her natural delight in the process and results of bread making is overlaid by the depiction of a woman whose focus has been to take up a traditional role, providing the bread for her family and passing on knowledge as a sacred taonga.

The dedication is not always been repaid with the love and respect it deserves. Neatly introduced by texts from her sister and clinched by reference to the colourful mag on her kitchen stool, an interlaced sub plot involves a protégé winning the Bakers’ Dozen show and even worse, prompting the false claim by his mother that it was she who did the training.

In the nature of true aroha, Maggie resolves all such hurts and simply goes on with what she knows with all her heart to be worthwhile and true. Things given with love ask no return. The daily miracle of nourishing the bug which will transform flour and water into delicious bread is reward and duty enough. Of course we are all invited to partake as the fragrant bounty of the process we’ve been watching is piled on a tray to overflowing. Generosity of spirit, modelled for us with irresistible good cheer, is as satisfying as the bread itself.


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