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

28/02/2020 - 02/03/2020

NZ Fringe Festival 2020

Production Details

Now…now…now…. if not now, when?
A devised work exploring themes of climate chaos and eco-catastrophe.

Ten and Two-Thirds (Years) is performed in slow tempo to a rich soundscape, but has no spoken language. It follows two travellers as they explore an uncertain near future, witnessing scenes of beauty, excess, desolation. This show was inspired by the October 2018 UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which warned that humanity had about 12 years to make the radical changes needed to keep global heating to within 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels and avert runaway climate chaos. After decades of political inaction, in part fuelled by active obfuscation by fossil fuel corporations, the science is finally gaining widespread attention. As David Attenborough observes: “We are at a unique stage in our history. Never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to the planet, and never before have we had the power to do something about that.” Since October 2018, news of extreme weather events, enormous fires, ongoing confirmation of the sixth mass extinction have fuelled mass protests and civil disobedience calling for climate justice and an end to eco-cide.

As a small contribution to this shifting public conversation, an earlier version of this show (called Eleven and a Half Years) was devised by third year Victoria University of Wellington Theatre students.

The slow tempo and wordless performance style follows the work of Japanese avant-garde theatre maker Ōta Shogō (1939-2007) and his company, Theatre of Transformation. Ōta’s artistic aim was to create a perspective of death, a radically defamiliarizing position that distances viewers from social forms of living and enables them to see humans not as individuals, but as a species travelling the absolute cycle from birth to death (Mari Boyd, Aesthetics of Quietude). Ōta’s aesthetic vision offers a powerful antidote to the human- centric, extract/ exploit/ consume relationship we have developed to the more-than-human world. A year and four months on from the release of the IPCC report, we offer our slow steps for these fast times to help open space for contemplation of ways forward.

Hope? Despair? Both are luxuries. What will you do with this ‘now’?

BATS Theatre, Random Stage
28 Feb – 2 March 2020
8:30pm; Sunday at 7:30pm
Full Price $20
Group 6+ $17
Concession Price $15
Addict Cardholder $14

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 ,

Raises climate questions in a theatrically satisfying way

Review by Mallory Stevenson 29th Feb 2020

ten and two thirds (years) is apparently the Victoria University drama department’s second or fourth production based on the work of Japanese theatremaker Ota Shogo. In 2013 they performed Ota’s play The Water Station in Studio 77, restaging it at BATS in 2014. ten and two thirds (years), a devised piece based on his ideas, was similarly performed at Victoria last year under the title Eleven and a Half Years before being revised and moving to BATS for its current season. On the evidence of last night’s performance, I would be eager to see the continuation of this beautiful friendship.

In Ota Shogo’s work the company finds a basic vocabulary of simple actions performed slowly and wordlessly. What this slowness emphasises is the intentionality of each gesture. To keep time, the actors have to control every movement, and the care with which they remember that they must follow their left foot with their right is always visible. It’s surely a treat for the actors: when picking something up from the ground is made so effortful, there’s always an opportunity to show off, or at least demonstrate proficiency. They pull it off well enough that each actor always seems to constantly carry a fresco’s worth of information. Scenes where three people are doing somewhat different things can seem overwhelmingly complex.

This series of actions is not an abstract exercise: we’re here to think about the climate as the set, covered from wall to wall with plastic waste, announces. Form is very snugly fitted to content here. Extreme illustrations of human greed, such as people trying to eat money, have their stupidity underscored by the deliberate pacing. As these single-minded actions are carried out, slow as a melting glacier, attention is drawn to their origins and consequences.

The slow emergence of monsters made of junk, for example, becomes their thrashing about around the stage, which becomes the arrival of people with brooms to sweep up the mess. At the broadest scale, too, you’re led to ask what causes these destructive habits, and remember what they will lead to.

No deep answers are offered by the play, but such answers would in any case be better provided by the programme’s list of ‘opportunities for action*’. It’s enough that the play itself raises the question in a theatrically satisfying way.
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*School Strike 4 Climate NZ, 350 Aotearoa, Compassion Soup Kitchen (& Garden), Extinction Rebellion NZ, Forest and Bird, Sustainability Trust, World Wildlife Fund NZ 


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