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

22/08/2019 - 22/08/2019

TAHI Festival 2019

Production Details

A development performance of a new work from the team that brought you the NZ Fringe Award winning Everything is Surrounded by Water and Uther Dean Reads 300 Haiku. On a desperate quest to find a way to lift the weight of living, nervy millennial El finds herself faced off with many of the worst things she knows: death, war, politics and herself. An odd, uneasy story about doubt, doppelgängers and dreams. 

Hannah Banks is an award-winning performer, producer, writer and director. Banks is one of the founders and creative directors of My Accomplice. Since 2009 the company have made over twenty shows together, including the Fringe award-winning A Play About Space (2013). In 2014 she directed and co-wrote Everything is Surrounded by Water which won Best Solo at the New Zealand Fringe Festival and was nominated for Outstanding New New Zealand Play at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards. In 2014 Banks also won The Richard Campion Accolade for Outstanding Performance at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards for her performance in the My Accomplice STAB Production of WATCH, which re-opened BATS Theatre at its original Kent Tce home. In 2018 she completed her PhD in Theatre at Victoria University of Wellington where she researched women in devising in Aotearoa.

My Accomplice is Hannah Banks, Uther Dean and Paul Waggott. The company was founded in 2009 and creates a mixture of devised, scripted and storytelling work.

A development showing:
BATS Theatre: The Random Stage
22 August 2019
Full Price $20
Concession Price $15
Group 6+ $15
TAHI Festival
Season Pass: 3 Shows for $45 

The Random Stage is fully wheelchair accessible; please contact the BATS Box Office by 4.30pm on the show day if you have accessibility requirements so that the appropriate arrangements can be made. Read more about accessibility at BATS.

Theatre , Solo ,

1 hr

Fluidly and fluently evokes the unreal reality of being human

Review by John Smythe 23rd Aug 2019

The long-standing and highly accomplished collaboration of Uther Dean and Hannah Banks has produced yet another My Accomplice gem – premiered as a one-off development showing in the Tahi Festival (just two days after Hannah played the girl who is a bomb in Uther’s Tiny Deaths). There is a seamless symbiosis in Uther’s writing and Hannah’s performing skills. 

Symmetry plays with our existential quest for equilibrium, for a balanced ‘self’, amid the binary extremities of our lived human experience: happy-sad; good-bad; light-dark; soft-loud; right-wrong; true-false; honest-deceitful; fantasy-reality; loved-lonely; self-others …

To put it simply, Hannah plays a millennial woman whose given name is Elizabeth. As El she is fearful, stressed, nervous and lonely despite her vexatious relationship with Graham, and she dislikes the greyness of her office job. As Beth she is relentlessly up-beat, happy, in love with Graham, in total control of their lives and delighted to be managing an art gallery. Then there is Liz …

On a bare stage, dynamically lit by Lucas Neal, El’s recurring line is, “I am not myself” counterbalanced with the realisation she is everybody. Descartes’ dictum is flipped: I think therefore I have no idea who I am. Or who I should choose to be.

As an objective observer (called Lib, perhaps: liberated from subjective angst and self-absorption) Hannah speaks smoothly into a mic, posing profoundly existential questions. Thus this speck of being is placed within history’s linear timeline and the universe’s unfathomable infinity.

Employing non-naturalistic conventions, abetted by her rehearsal directors Jane Yonge and Kerryn Palmer, Hannah Banks flows fluidly through the varied states of being, fluently owning Uther Dean’s rich, poetic text to evoke the unreal reality of being human.

The requested feedback appeared to be generously forthcoming in the foyer afterwards, amid the ebb and flow of Tahi Festival punters. More visual elements? More about Liz? More come-uppance for Beth? Perhaps. But as we traversed such possibilities in conversation I realised my recognition, empathy and imagination had happily excavated the hidden depths and amplified the intimations. However it evolved, I look forward to seeing Symmetry again.


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