Theatre Royal, TSB Showplace, New Plymouth
20/08/2013 - 20/08/2013
18/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
06/08/2013 - 10/08/2013
Q Theatre, 305 Queen St, Auckland
17/04/2012 - 22/04/2012
Baycourt - Addison Theatre, Tauranga
24/10/2013 - 25/10/2013
24/04/2012 - 29/04/2012
Taranaki International Arts Festival 2013
21 YEARS BRO – IT’S MASSIVE
“Maybe I’ll never be a man but just an older boy who knows more things. Hopefully I’ll still wake up to watch cartoons when I am 40.”
Having spent 21 years working with actors across New Zealand, Massive Company mans up for its landmark year, bringing together a cast of old and new (in Massive years) as The Brave performs at both Q in the heart of Auckland City and the Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku from April 17th 2012.
In a devising room, 2 female directors asked 8 men to write letters to important people, who still are, once were or never were in their lives. From this, came a flood of stories and survival tactics.
Created from true confessions – baby teeth to mortgages – 8 men front up on a bare stage ready to risk it all, as they wage an honest battle against the Peter Pan syndrome, stripping away every facade to reveal The Brave.
Massive Company isn’t your usual type of theatre. Massive is urban, street – it’s raw and athletic. Massive Company’s physical style combines the ensemble’s own text, movement, story and song into one visceral package. Massive Company represents the authentic voice of Aotearoa.
The Company’s collaboration with leading playwrights has been responsible for some of Aotearoa’s most popular and indigenous works – Sons of Charlie Paora, Whero’s New Net and Havoc in the Garden. Massive has also been responsible for making the likes of Madeleine Sami, Miriama McDowell and Wesley Dowdell into household names.
It’s this do-or-die attitude which has led to Massive Company’s 2012 Season credo: Work hard. Never Compromise. Push in all directions. Risk Everything!
Under the Artistic Direction of Sam Scott, the Company’s hard work has seen them acknowledged by Creative New Zealand as arts leaders in presenting experimental and excellent work by young and emerging New Zealand theatre practitioners.
The Brave sees some of the old guard of Massive work alongside some new, yet familiar faces in the world of entertainment. Auckland theatre and film regulars Jonny Moffatt (The Chathams – we’re f#!king sick of the silence), Todd Emerson (My Wedding & Other Secrets), Beulah Koale (Havoc in the Garden), Scott Cotter (TV3’s Brown Bruthaz) and Dominic Ona-Ariki (Shortland Street) will work alongside newcomers Andy Sani, Leki Jackson Bourke and Neil Amituanai.
“… the freshest, liveliest show in town. The lads run through the gamut, from kapa haka, to krumping, to contemporary dance and a risqué lip synching Ladies’ Night routine that had the entire teenie girls in hoodies squealing, brandishing their cell phones aloft like Bic lighters of an earlier age.” – Metro (Up Close Out Loud 2007)
The Brave plays:
Q Theatre, 17th – 22nd April 2012
Mangere Arts Centre, 24th – 29th April 2012
All Bookings – 09 309 9771/ www.qtheatre.co.nz/the-brave
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND – 2013
Eight men take to the stage to honour those people who are or once were in their lives. Massive Company’s celebrated production THE BRAVE, combines true confessions with raw athleticism. Finding strength through family, love, loss, fear, hope, belonging and brotherhood. The Brave lays it all on the line!
THE BRAVE-Tour 2013
AUCKLAND – Mangere Arts Centre
AUG 6-10, 7:30pm
AUG 14 & 15, 7:30PM
NEW PLYMOUTH – TSB Showplace
AUG 20, 7.30pm
www.ticketmaster.co.nz or 0800 111 999
HAMILTON – Clarence Street Theatre
AUG 23, 1.00pm & 7.30pm
0800 TICKETEK or www.ticketek.co.nz
HAWKES BAY – Opera House
AUG 27, 7.30pm
0800 TICKETEK or www.ticketek.co.nz
TAURANGA – Arts Festival
OCT 24 & 25, 1pm & 7:30pm
Adult Prices: $40 (TECT $32)
Student Prices: $25 (TECT $20)
Booking fees apply
DURATION 80mins (no interval)
THE BRAVE Tour 2015
Massive opportunity to catch Brave performers before they tour Hawaii
“…a rare show that’s able to cut through and grab you on a deeply personal level.” – (Theatre Scenes)
Massive Company presents the critically acclaimed THE BRAVE at Hannah Playhouse, in their only NZ engagement before heading to the U.S.A. The Brave will be touring to four venues throughout Hawaii in March 2015.
THE BRAVE Tour plays:
Hannah Playhouse, 12 Cambridge Terrace,
18-28 February, 7.30pm
Tickets $20-$30 fromwww.ticketek.co.nz or by calling (04) 384 3840
Koha night – Tuesday 24th February
Neil Amituanai, Dominic Ona-Ariki, Leki Jackson Bourke, Scott Cotter, Todd Emerson, Beulah Koale, Jonny Moffatt & Andy Sani.
Directors – Sam Scott & Carla Martell
Assistant Director - Kura Forrester
Lighting Designer - Jane Hakaraia
Tech Manager - Sean Lynch
Stylist - Sara Taylor
Produced by Massive Company
Extravaganza of heighted reality profoundly grounded in truth
Review by John Smythe 19th Feb 2015
Go. Men: go to discover you are not alone in your quest to work out what it is to be a man, yourself, an OK person. Women: go to discover there is more to men than might readily meet your eyes. Whatever your cultural identity or sexual orientation, go to discover what truths may lie beyond your current understanding. Go to be moved, surprised, entertained, have your heart warmed and discover what true bravery is.
It is a coincidence that The Brave Tour 2015 should open in the same week we mourn the passing of Celia Lashlie. This Massive Company Professional production could easily have shared the name of her seminal book, He’ll be OK – Growing Gorgeous Boys into Good Men. Although the stories revealed in The Brave are entirely personal to the eight young men who tell them and express so much more non-verbally, they offer similar insights.
It begins with the whispered words of a haka, snatches of things they each like, the odd secret … Like being a brown boy from South Auckland who does acting, why wouldn’t you keep that a secret? Not least because if word got out they’d expect to see you on the TV and this is something else. This extravaganza of heighted reality profoundly grounded in truth you will only experience in a live theatre performance.
The core premise is simple: at some point Jonny Moffat, Todd Emerson, Beulah Koale, Scott Cotter, Dominic Ona-Ariki, Andy Sani, Leki Jackson Bourke and Neil Amituanai either will speak directly to a person who has been really important to them, or recall a significant experience or relationship that profoundly influenced their becoming the man they are today.
Facilitated by co-directors Sam Scott and Carla Martell, the self-generated speeches emerge betwixt and between a range of group-devised movement sequences that variously explore and express togetherness and individuality; peer pressure, group dynamics, inner feelings, outward posturings and defence mechanisms … employing a diverse mix of cultural – including pop-culture – physical and vocal tropes.
Jonny Moffat (33, from Nelson) speaks a letter of gratitude to his father and his early life emerges as the ideal upbringing in a happy family with loving parents. In total contrast yet with equal love, Neil Amituanai (22, South Auckland) speaks his gratitude to a father who was alcoholic and violent, and who has reformed.
Dominic Ona-Ariki (24, South Auckland) chooses an older brother to talk to, because in their youth they never did have the conversations he’s wished they had. Leki Jackson Bourke (23, South Auckland) recalls the extraordinary story of how his Niuean nanna and Tongan granddad came to meet and marry, seeing in them the feistiness, bravery and confidence he aspires to.
Also honouring his nanna – in this case a deaf Fijian woman who died last December and to whom this tour is dedicated – is Scott Cotter (29, Auckland), who signs as well as speaks his eulogy. Todd Emerson (30, Auckland) speaks to his 13 year old self, to reassure him the troubled times he is going through (we later learn he was bullied for being gay) will not last forever and the joy of love will one day be his.
One of nature’s bouncers, the real Andy Sani (23, West Auckland), who grew up feeling ugly and rejected, is revealed through the agency of Scott, who joins him to tell – and show – how “the boy and his heart became friends and neither was capable of betraying the other.” The physical expression of Andy’s relationship with his heart (Scott) is a wonderfully insightful highlight.
Without diminishing the performing talents of each and every one of the men, honours for physicality have to go to Beulah Koale (22, South Auckland). The way he recalls the night all the stuff he had bottled up – “I don’t have problems, I’m a fixer” – erupted amid his bemused and caring extended family, and how they responded, is simultaneously searingly dramatic and astonishingly accomplished.
What I have written only hints at the territory covered, the insights offered, the experiences to be shared and the fun to be had when you go to The Brave. Jane Hakaria’s lighting design and operation, and the (uncredited) musical compilations, add strong production values.
Oh, and if you think you have the measure of it, either from this review or at the 80-minute mark of this 90 minute show, a delicious surprise awaits that raises the many layers of bravery explored to a whole new and hugely entertaining level. No, I won’t say what; you have to witness it for yourself.
Yes, this is them and what else can we do but stand and applaud. And we do.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
A show for everyone
Review by Gin Mabey 24th Oct 2013
“The boy and his heart became friends…”
Massive Company, led by Sam Scott, bring their fresh and revised devised show The Brave to Tauranga’s Baycourt theatre, for The Tauranga Arts festival.
The silhouette of eight young men walking forward with heads held high, chests open and ready to gift their stories to their audience, is a sight neither quickly nor willingly forgotten. This moment comes after a dazzlingly energetic, choreographed sequence of the actors pacing across the stage, catching and avoiding each other with the playfulness and athleticism of players on a field.
The bare stage with not a stick of set is a cleansing and refreshing base upon which to watch these talented, engaging, and at times shockingly fit young actors. A blue background, amber wash and the use of spotlight and shadow is a simple yet perfectly effective lighting design.
During the approximately ninety minute show, the boys each have their turn at speaking for themselves, as themselves. Despite chapters of personal expression, throughout the show the support and connection between the actors never wanes, in both the choreographed accompaniments to personal tales, and in the captured sense of focus and respect for each other. Heartening and impressive to watch, it was a testament to way the Massive Company works and a testament to the power of devised group theatre.
It is difficult, in the best way, to hear a young man say all the things we wishes he could say to his father, brother, grandmother or his younger self. To hear an actor voice the pain he feels when he looks in the mirror, as we too are looking straight at him, is a privilege and it is humbling.
An overwhelming sense of inclusiveness results from these moments; the young teenagers in front of me, the older couple next to me, wipe away tears and hold their breaths for each actor, in support and in admiration. As sweet and humbling this sounds, it is not a sickly, sentimental, nor gimmicky show in the slightest. The maleness of the show is a strong feature purely because of the maleness of the actors; if it’s been deliberately built-upon by the company, they have done it flawlessly. We aren’t being fed stories of men-showing-emotion for the sake of shaking up gender-assumptions; it is a human journey which all can admire, relate to, and take on board.
Between each actors’ moment we are treated to the most inspiringly physical performances. “The boy and his heart became friends…neither was capable of betraying the other” is spoken as Andy Sani and Scott Cotter move with and against each other, nestling in a chest, lunging away but being caught again mid-flight by the other, never to be let go: a skilful example of physical theatre, a clear metaphor and deliciously satisfying to watch.
Speaking of satisfying… Three gorgeous ladies make an appearance – courtesy of the sassy and hip-wiggling Beulah Koale, Scott Cotter and Dominic Ona-Ariki – as they give a seamless lip-synching performance of ‘Dream Girls’. This is not only light and entertaining, it is downright impressive, especially the cheeky face of Dominic Ona-Ariki, whose infectious smile and playfulness steals the show at points.
A show that poses questions to an audience by the clarity and honesty by which it has been crafted and performed is a remarkable achievement. I – and I am certain every other audience member as well – will be thinking for a long time, “What makes me brave?”, “What is my challenge?”, “Who am I thankful for and when was the last time I told them?”
One of the high school students points out at the Q&A that even though she is female and younger than the cast, she feels a connection to the show, she can relate, and she feeling as though she’s taking a whole lot away with her. This is a great comment, as it is so true: this is a show for everyone. If I were to show a foreign person one piece of art to represent New Zealand and our young, thriving and brilliant theatre scene, it would be this one. I am so proud to be a young New Zealander and am grateful for Massive Theatre Company’s bravery.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
Spellbinding courage, honesty, generosity and grace
Review by Victoria Kerr 21st Aug 2013
This is truly an experience devised by the brave. Powerful, intense and stunning performances from the ensemble cast keep the audience enthralled. The show, The Brave, follows the stories of a diverse range of young men who are trying to negotiate what it means to be a man in today’s society.
Devised by these incredible young male actors who tell their own stories with courage, honesty and generosity, it is truly a theatre experience that should not be missed. These heart-breaking and awe-inspiring stories are framed by the actions one would expect to see from young men and boys of today.
Sporting moments, video games and Star Wars, drinking and drugs, nights out with the lads, and general laddish behaviour contrast with the honest and brutal tales these brave young men share with us, a genuinely privileged audience. We run a gamut of emotions as we follow these powerful performances.
The rhythm of the show is beautifully choreographed (directors Sam Scott and Carla Martell) to confront us with behaviours that are seen as typical of young men today whilst confounding us with what lies behind the facades, the ’faces’, that we all put on to hide our true identity. Episodes of hilarious playfulness contrast beautifully with moments of pathos and incredible passion and intensity. You cannot help but be moved by the integrity of the performances.
Neil Amituanai, Dominic Ona-Ariki, Leki Jackson Bourke, Scott Cotter, Todd Emerson, Beulah Kaole, Jonny Moffat and Andy Sani share their intimate moments and thoughts, and their letters to loved ones, and make us all proud of the young men who are part of our community, our country.
Much is written about the disaffection and dissatisfaction of men in today’s world and rarely in the media are young men presented in a positive or sympathetic light. This show, however, belies that myth and presents young men from a range of cultures and backgrounds who explore what it means to be brave and what it means to be a man.
Their journeys do not follow quick or easy paths and these actors and the company re-evaluate the journeys with each new season. It is heart-warming to be reminded to look at the beauty, courage and individuality of such young men and know that if these are the fathers of tomorrow, we are all in safe hands.
We see the boys in these young men, the men they are and the men they will become.
This an ensemble performance with all the actors supporting each other from the opening moments as they walk side by side and bring each other into the action to the final moments when they stand together. The simplicity of the refrain, ‘This is me,’ spoken in the actors’ first languages reminds us that these are not only personal stories but an assertion of who they are at this point in their lives. The show also shows us who they aspire to be. We watch in wonder and awe.
Whilst the set is simple and minimalist, the staging is not. Through movement, music, lighting, dance and words the audience is taken though time and space to visit childhoods, bathrooms and dreams to name only a few. The physicality is spell-binding. All the actors display a gracefulness and range of movement that is at different times joyous, fun, inspiring and astounding. The ‘Dream Girl’ sequence is just divine and beautifully contrasts with the hip hop images of women. We catch a glimpse into what it might be to be a young man with these conflicting messages.
The generosity and grace of the company is demonstrated further by the forum offered at the end of the performance where the actors, director and crew offer their insights into the devising process and what this shows means to them.
Take family, friends, any young men and women you know to see this fabulous production. You will not be disappointed. A challenging and inspiring show, it is on at Clarence Street Theatre, Hamilton on Friday 23rd August, Hawkes Bay Opera House, Hastings on Wednesday 27th August and at Tauranga Arts Festival in October. Don’t miss it!
We should all look to rise to the challenge of The Brave and examine what bravery means to us.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
The bare stage and passion of great theatre
Review by Johnny Givins 07th Aug 2013
A standing ovation from the full house rewarded the opening of THE BRAVE-Tour last night at the Mangere Arts Centre. What a show it is! Eight brave actors (21-32) breathe extraordinary life into the male landscape of life in the 21 century.
It’s brutally, honest, enthralling, moving, funny but above all it is a great piece of professional theatre by skilled craftsmen.
The Brave was originally devised and produced as the 21st celebration of Massive Theatre Company last year to critical and popular acclaim. The Brave-Tour takes the same team of actors, revisits and updates the material, so it is 100% relevant, ready to tour.
The actors – Scotty, Todd, Domz, Neil, Beulah, Andy, Lexi, and Moff – are a gymnastic creative ensemble. Each take the focus while the others support. The group feeling is overwhelmingly open and real. The actors use skill and precision as they deliver honed honest and powerful stories about what it is to be a man, boy, son, and father.
There is no character acting here. It’s all real life experiences of the actors who all use their real names. There are simple letters of regret, of revelation, of the inarticulateness of the male world as well as the vocal cadenza of street slang as it rocks the house. I mean this is “STREET!” down low and dirty.
The audience was spell bound with the sensitivity of the quiet moments and screamed with delight at the antics of eight hot guys doing their stuff!
Sam Scott and Carla Martell have directed the ensemble with great clarity and skill. The Company may have started with workshop devising and finding mouthpieces for the new generation of males but now this company are a leading creative team with the highest of professional standards. Massive have an impressive list of productions with national and international acclaim. The Brave–tour is set to follow that path; it has the bare stage and passion of great theatre.
The Brave is a South Auckland smorgasbord of delights. The show is full of surprises from the opening mihi to closing haka; it all feels truly ‘100% pure’. It has a mixture of movement, sound and dance from the amalgam of the cultures in the cast. Watch for the fascinating mix of big muscular male aggression seamlessly evolving into feminine hand gestures. Music and lighting are evocative and precise.
Let your Bros know! The Brave-Tour runs thru August. Get on the phone, face book, and email your whanau. It’s a great night out and maybe, just maybe, they will discover what it is to be BRAVE themselves as these actors are on stage.
Brave-tour visits Massey University at Albany, The Taranaki International Arts Festival, Hamilton Clarence St Theatre, Hawkes Bay Opera House and finally in October at the Tauranga Arts Festival.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
All-male cast delivers warm, hopeful life snapshots
Review by Janet McAllister 21st Apr 2012
Massive Company productions are usually long, intense embodiments of serious issues, but for their 21st birthday they’ve lightened up with this well-executed 90-minute pastiche of hopeful life snapshots.
The format is similar to their 2006 show Up Close Out Loud, but the change of atmosphere is refreshing and uplifting.
Directed by Sam Scott and Carla Martell, the good, personable, energetic cast of eight young male actors gives us glimpses of autobiography and quirky personal details interspersed with beautiful, measured group movement. [More]
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
Direct, passionate bravery
Review by Stephen Austin 21st Apr 2012
Massive Company are a professional group of deviser/performers who take a personal stance to their work. They are asked to truly bring themselves to the process, and ultimately the performance, to enrich, enliven and entertain with vast amounts of truth, raw visceral movement and deep powerful articulation of the personal to explore universals.
With The Brave – directed by Sam Scott and Carla Martell – the eight men are asked to write to the heroes in their lives and the results are poured out in a powerful, sometimes hilarious juxtaposition of kapa haka, storytelling and pure expression through the realities and intimacies of being a man in Auckland in 2012. The main linking factor to most of the men is a deep seated love and respect for family and how their pasts have come to reflect into their present.
Going in I am a little hesitant that my white, middle-class background may be something that is brought to bear on my reviewing of this predominantly Maori and Pacific Island based work. But those misgivings are soon proven to be misplaced as the versatile cast recalls so much that is a universal for all males, no matter class, religion, sexual orientation or skin colour.
There is not a moment of the entire performance where any of the performers let their focus, energy or presence lag. Every actor here – Neil Amituanai, Dominic Ona-Ariki, Leki Jackson Bourke, Scott Cotter, Todd Emerson, Beulah Koale, Jonny Moffatt and Andy Sani – has a story to tell which is utterly vital, fresh and honest and it would be unfair to single any one performer out from the rest.
This is theatre stripped to its bare essentials so the human stories on stage are brought to the fore simply and effectively by those who have lived and are now telling the stories. Excellent sound design and lighting complement it all perfectly, but never intrude on the focus and drive of the performances on offer here.
Each plays to their strengths though and the shape of the work is fashioned accordingly – sinewy movement, melds into graceful dance, into hip-hop, into sports analogy, into boldly impassioned selflessness. There is violence to the action when required and this sets up and sets off the stillness of other scenes and monologues excellently.
The cast are split down the middle as far as experience is concerned; some have been working professionals on stage for many years, while others are very green to the process. Neither of these matter though, as their stories strip away the layers of self and put very human stories and heart out there for us to admire and respect.
There is so much bravery on the Rangatira stage at Q right now. Please do yourself a favour and go connect with this very direct, passionate work of theatre while it is playing around Auckland.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
Bravery the Massive Way
Review by James Wenley 20th Apr 2012
I see a lot of theatre, and I enjoy a lot of theatre, but it’s a rare show that’s able to cut through and grab you on a deeply personal level. That show is Massive Company’s The Brave.
Eight men, embodying bravery in body and souls, share their personal stories and experiences of their lives and masculinities.
Q’s stage is bare. Massive old-hand Scott Cotter begins alone on stage, a spotlight slowly building as his voice calls out in karanga. He acknowledges the people who came before us, an important theme – these men often define themselves in relation to others that have inspired and challenged them. One by one, the rest of the cast, ranging in age from 20-31, join him onstage. They walk around the room, taking us and each other in. Some walk solo, some walk together, powerful. [More]
[Note: The Theatreview review has been delayed by medical misadventure. It should be available tomorrow (Saturday).-ED]
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer