THE EEL AND SINA
Te Papa Tongarewa, Te Marae, Cable Street, Wellington
17/03/2019 - 17/03/2019
Capital E National Arts Festival 2019
From Auckland Theatre Company’s Mythmakers project comes this new twist on the ancient Polynesian creation story, told from the naughty eel’s point of view.
Does Eel have what it takes to sweep Sina off her big taro feet? Or will Sina make like a coconut and split?
Told in English and Samoan and featuring traditional Samoan dance, song, and comedy.
Made with funding from Creative New Zealand and Auckland Council.
Te Marae, Te Papa
Sunday 17 March 2019
Free, Koha appreciated
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Theatre , Family , Children’s ,
Song, dance and hilarious dialogue
Review by John Anderson 19th Mar 2019
After an observed silence for the people attacked in the Christchurch mosques, a short song in Samoan is sung, opening the way for the performance to begin.
The Eel and Sina is from Auckland Theatre Company’s Mythmakers project which are “short high-quality plays inspired by the traditional stories and legends of Aotearoa, the Pacific and the world”. This story has weaved its way through the Pacific as far as Aotearoa and at its heart, with all its variations, it tells the origins of the coconut tree.
We are welcomed by Cassandra de la Croix with the air of a circus maestro. With guitar, drums and dance I can feel my spirits lifting as they begin to tell their stories.
We are first shown a comedically short version of the story, where the bad eel pursues Sina and is then killed by the villagers and his head is buried and becomes the first coconut tree. The performers pause and are then interrupted by actor and writer Jono Soo-Choon, as the coconut tree, who says he will tell the true story.
What follows is a retelling of the story from the Eel’s point of view. The eel we are told was actually a ‘fancy’ human prince who could change into an eel at will. Sina is gently befriended by the Eel and love begins to blossom, but not without cost.
The play is told through song, dance and hilarious dialogue. Children of all ages are avidly following along with this dynamic performance. Music and dance weaves the show together and is a complete highlight for me.
The Eel and Sina is often riotously funny but has moments of deep poignancy as Sina is torn between the Eel and the judgemental villagers.
Children around the country are fortunate to have this wonderful show which invites them to appreciate the stories and dance of Samoa as part of the 2019 Capital E National Arts Festival.
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