The Burdened

Te Auaha - Tapere Iti, 65 Dixon St, Wellington

16/03/2021 - 20/03/2021

NZ Fringe Festival 2021

Production Details

Created, designed and performed by Georgia Kellett

Knot Theatre

Burden takes its first breath. A struggle. A fight between Burden and the woman it inhabits.

We find ourselves journeying through 1916, WW1. A woman becomes a nurse. She is proud, patriotic, and ready to serve her country. She is posted by the front lines ready to heal those brave men, to keep strong and do her part but even with the strongest of people, war will take its toll. The weight of what she sees haunts her closed eyes and gives way to a creature within. Her hands seize from the strain, she is battered and bruised, she is no longer on the front lines but she is not safe… And now Burden is awake.

The Burdened is a non-verbal physical theatre show that explores the effects and weight of those who carry an immense burden. Using a combination of tap dance and physical theatre, this show creates its atmosphere through rhythms and manipulation of light and body to bring to life and personify the feeling of burden itself. Burden becomes a character, surreal and in conflict with the woman it lives inside.16th-20th March 2021 at 9pm

Georgia Kellett: Florence and Burden

Anna Secker: Lighting and Sound Operator, and Stage Manager.
Georgia Kellett: Lighting and Sound Designer
Publicity: Dannii Kellett

Physical , Dance-theatre , Theatre , Solo ,

45 mins

Commanding physical presence

Review by Helen Balfour 17th Mar 2021

Finding strength to carry on, to collect yourself up and persevere to find that inner fortitude to keep going. Enduring times and events shape you into the person you become.

Knot Theatre’s The Burdened displays just this. As we enter the black box space, rhythmic tapping is heard and a creamy, satin clad Georgia Kellet her back to us, repetitively tapping the same patterns with her feet, mimes with mostly unseen hands. 

Combinations of simple recurring gestures, candid facial expressions and physical theatre, along with a unique and varied soundtrack together merge as one into a thought-provoking theatre piece. Simple yet elegant lighting created by Kellett, cleverly establishes locations and atmosphere while she moves seamlessly in through and around these lighting states capturing multiple poignant moments.

What stands out is Kellet’s commanding physical presence and her ability to hold our attention with heartfelt anguish, compassion and control. We see her as a WW1 nurse, struggling to keep soldiers alive, frantic actions indicating numerous wounded, building and compounding, too many to save.  Her desperate, futile efforts leave us with feelings of inadequacies and exasperation as we connect to post traumatic stress disorder and the endless slog of essential care workers handling the pandemic.

Kellet tells a story of many perspectives that is cleverly distorted into a state of madness, punctuated with intermittent tapping and careful attention to detail until she appears to succumb to death too. The audience is left wondering until it becomes clear she will survive. With grit and dedication, she finds the strength within herself to carry on. 

Although this work has much to offer, and displays purpose, integrity and intention, there needed to be another dimension to it. Perhaps additional perspective and diversity that breaks up the anguished journey and brings it to a sooner conclusion.

Special mention should be given to Dannii Kellet who marketed the work with posters and flyers that intrigued and informed.   

Congratulations to Knot Theatre and to solo performer Georgia Kellet for offering this work up to be seen and appreciated.


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