The Sun and The Wind
28/07/2023 - 26/08/2023
20/03/2024 - 23/03/2024
Writer: Tainui Tukiwaho
Director: Edward Peni
Producer: Borni Te Rongopai Tukiwaho
Prepare yourself for a birthday party you’ll never forget.
In the midst of a birthday celebration, Rangi and Hūkerikeri (Keri) are caught off guard when two unexpected guests crash through the door intent on robbing the couple. But things don’t go as planned when the older couple mistake the would-be thieves for their deceased son and his wife.
Come with us as we explore the dangers of love and secrets. Of loving someone too much, not enough and being starved of it.
Join the minds behind such shows as Black Ties, Larger Than Life and Peter, Paka, Paratene for a truly heart breaking and surreal theatre experience.
28 Jul–26 Aug 2023
Tues – Sat 7.30pm, Sun 4.30pm
$30 – $55
Written by Te Pou Theatre’s founder Tainui Tukiwaho, The Sun and The Wind takes inspiration from family stories of separation, and the longing to reconnect and remember.
The Sun and the Wind is produced by Taurima Vibes, Borni’s Auckland based company. With a strong focus on wellbeing, mental health awareness, and belief in systemic reform, Borni brings all facets of his learnings to the table. ‘’Im guided by three pou: My hauora and arts sector brokership expertise; my whakapapa and whānau knowledge, both of which fuel my understanding of Te Ao and Matauranga Māori; and my belief that our creative sector and creative artists are an immense value to the uplifting of ALL communities”. These are the major driving forces in the way Taurima activates its mahi.
A relentless workhorse, producer, playwright, screenwriter, and actor Tainui is currently collaborating with circus innovators Dust Palace to create the next Māori circus collaboration. Earlier in 2023, Tainui directed ‘Hemo is Home’, a play he co-wrote with his tamariki during the first covid lockdown. Hemo is Home starred Tainui’s 10 year old son, Te Rongopai, and premiered to exceptional reception at Te Pou Theatre in March 2023. “Everything’s a bit of a family affair with our work at Te Pou Theatre.”
Tainui plays Rangi for the premiere of The Sun and the Wind, a man paralysed by grief, whose life comes to him in flashes of energy and delusion. Rangi’s wife Hūkerikeri is played by accomplished New Zealand theatre pro Julie Edwards (Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Whare). Keri keeps their world patched together, sacrificing her own needs, leaving her emotions a simmering cauldron of rage and despair.
The young couple, Hihi and Kate, played by Joe Dekkers-Reihana (Ngāpuhi), currently appearing in Auckland Theatre Companys “King Lear”; and Tuakoi Ohia (Ngāti Hine, Mataatua, Tainui, Te Arawa, Te Āti Awa), writer, actor, musician of “Kōpu” (Kia Mau Festival 2023), and lead for Black Ties, the first indigenous collaborative works between Māori and Australian First Nations People.
Kate loves Hihi and has given up her whānau to be with him. Hihi wants to make a fresh start for his young family, but doesn’t know how to do that without making a few questionable choices. The Sun and the Wind has been expertly crafted to generate insightful korero, provoke, and challenge with a side serving of the cheeky, self-referential humour, that is synonymous with Aotearoa.
Directed by Unitech alumnus, Edward Peni (Samoa), and designed by Katrina Chandra (Ngāti Paoa) and Nicole Marsh (Ngati Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa), The Sun and The Wind promises an emotionally rich and edgy sense of home at Circa this winter.
Audiences will be invited to korero with the cast and crew after each performance, extending manaakitanga and allowing space and time to debrief together.
A birthday party full of love and sacrifices
Review by Sarah Catherall 03rd Aug 2023
It seems pertinent that we watch The Sun and the Wind – the debut play by Auckland’s Tainui Tukiwaho – as 100kph gales blast Circa Theatre and Europe is boiling.
While the 75-minute play is not about climate change or global weather extremes, it is based on Aesop’s children’s fable The North Wind and the Sun, which tells how the sun and wind compete to see who is stronger by making a traveller remove his jacket. The moral of the story? Persuasion beats force. The whanau-led play opens with quiet stillness as we meet Hukerikeri (Julie Edwards, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Whare) – a kuia – who is caring for her husband, Rangi (played by the writer, Tukiwaho). [More]
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer
A powerful showing of love, jealousy and what can fester in between
Review by Waitahi Aniwaniwa McGee 30th Jul 2023
In the midst of a birthday celebration, Rangi (Tainui Tukiwaho) and Hūkerikeri – Keri for short – (Julie Edwards) are caught off guard when two unexpected guests crash through the door intent on robbing the couple. But things don’t go as planned when the older couple mistake the would-be thieves for their deceased son and his wife.
This show is about whānau. I see my nan, my aunty, my cousins, my uncles, my parents.
At the beginning of the show, us audience are perched, watching, almost waiting, acutely aware of the silence, however as we see Keri taking care of her husband Rangi, the birthday celebrations and kai, the silence fades and their entire relationship fills the theatre. It is literally all relationship, no words – and that stuff is hard to pull off man. Wow. This is one example of many crisp moments throughout the show.
The set design (Tainui Tukiwaho), lighting design (Katrina Chandra) and sound design (Eve Gordon) play a huge part in making it work. This birthday party is set in an open plan whare while a storm rages outside. How the designers depict the difference between the lounge and the kitchen are two gorgeous circular rugs, lounge on the right, kitchen on the left, bathroom and rest of the house out back (offstage). I really rate this design because it is seemingly simple, yet so complex for the cast to play while staying in light. Yet another testament to their skill, I reckon.
Because the set is focused on these two spaces, there’s a scrumptious black space the characters have to move through to go from one place to the other. At first I thought this was a mistake, or at least something that just wasn’t to my taste, but then I realised the potential when the director (Edward Peni) gets Julie’s character Keri to have an almost mental collapse whilst taking the dishes back to the kitchen. How epic.
So often as people we quite often are wearing that mask we’ve created for ourselves and yet, in these small moments, like packing up dishes, we’re overcome with emotions the mask tries hard to hide. These moments are few and far between but this set design is able to capture it completely! The only thing is that I’d love to see it continue throughout the show.
The intruders are Hihi (Joe Dekkers-Reihana) and Kate (Tuakoi Ohia). With such a stellar cast the cohort is ever-present, not only with the audience but also with each other. It’s both beautiful to see but also so crucial with a show touching on so many deep and heavy topics.
I’m a strong believer that a work can only go as dark as it has gone light. This cast, writer and director are able to do that. In moments of absolute tension – say being held at gunpoint, something you’d reckon is most serious – I’m finding myself laughing. An argument between Rangi and Keri, yet I’m laughing This cast holds onto us as an audience.
We’re taken into the depths of what bad mental health looks like yet we are able to trust the process, and not once are we taken too far. Left to sit uncomfortable? Sure. But always there is an undertone of hearty love, throughout the writing, direction and acting.
The Sun and the Wind is a showing of love, jealousy and what can fester in between. The ability to create that is a very powerful thing.
Although trigger warnings are not necessary for most of this show, moments of The Sun and the Wind contain graphic reference to suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviour. The Cast will offer time for whakatau to decompress and sit in collective debrief after each performance. Mental health contact details are listed in the programme.
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer
A profound evocation of despair, loss and grief that inevitably erupts with humour
Review by John Smythe 29th Jul 2023
By the time Tainui Tukiwaho’s latest play, The Sun and The Wind, reaches its conclusion, my thoughts and feelings are in a cyclonic swirl. When it comes to writing about it, where do I find an entry point and – given the twists and turns that keep us enthralled throughout its 70 minutes – how do I avoid spoilers?
In his programme note, Tainui says, “I began writing this show as an escape from my children during lock down.” That was in the evenings. He doesn’t mention that during the daytimes he was also writing Hemo is Home with his tamariki. It premiered in March at his home base, Te Pou Tokomanawa Theatre in West Auckland. Does that set a record for creative output during lockdown? Were his two projects competing with each other? Speaking of which …
Aesop’s fable The North Wind and the Sun tells of how the sun and wind compete to see who is stronger by making a traveller remove his jacket. Its moral is that persuasion beats force. The way Hūkerikeri tells it within this play, her focus is on the jealously the Wind feels at the Sun’s superior strength and how she wasted years wishing she was more like him.
Te Aka defines hūkerikeri as “roughness, tempestuousness, storminess, turbulence (of wind, rain or the sea)”. But our first impression of Hūkerikeri is of a kind and gentle kuia caring for her ‘locked in’ husband, Rangi – named, presumably, for Ranginui the sky father, home of the sun.
Their poignant opening scene unfolds in eloquent silence, sitting cosily at the dining table as winds and rain rage outside. She feeds him his dinner and nibbles at hers, followed by cake … They are wearing party hats. It’s someone’s birthday. A third place is set, complete with a sparkly pointy hat, for someone who may or may not arrive. A shallow biscuit tin is the table’s centrepiece.
Julie Edwards imbues Hūkerikeri with profound humanity of every hue, including short bursts of temper. Tainui Tukiwaho’s Rangi is also impeccably modulated and full of surprises. His programme note goes on to say, “I gave myself the challenge of making the hostage genre surprising again and I wanted to find an interesting way to use a gun in a show … I am excited to see if audiences think I have achieved this.” Yes, he has.
The gun, a slim revolver, makes its appearance quite early and its purpose is unpredictable until it’s not. But who is the hostage, captive to whom or what? This is but one of the questions to conjure with after the final blackout.
A mixtape is playing in the background and when her favourite Smokey Robinson song drifts out a suddenly animated Hūkerikeri turns it up and sings along,, beautifully:
… if you feel like lovin’ me
If you got the notion
I second that emotion …
It will emerge that back in the day, Hūkerikeri and Rangi were the Sonny and Cher of the local pubs. ‘You are my Sunshine’ is another fave that resonates throughout.
The mood and tempo are dynamically changed by the arrival of a young couple. Joe Dekkers-Reihana’s Hihi (which means ray of sunshine) is more wannabe than wicked in attempting to fulfil the purpose of their visit, despite the urgings of his heavily pregnant partner Kate, played by Tuakoi Ohia (who wrote and performed in Kōpū which also premiered at Te Pou then took Wellington’s Hannah Playhouse by storm to open this year’s Kia Mau Festival).
While Ohia and Dekkers-Reihana are clearly anchored in the truth of the circumstances that have brought Kate and Hihi to this place on this day, the buffeting they experience within the swirls of fact and feeling as the evening progresses is compelling portrayed. As for the slow reveal of the Hūkerikeri, Rangi and absent guest backstory – we are left to guess where exactly that reality resides.
It is the surfacing of each character’s underlying emotions that makes The Sun and the Wind so captivating. Inevitably humour bursts from the deep feelings as the riveting pūrakau of despair, loss and grief caused by jealousy and its unintended consequences plays out. And with the prevalence of media stories playing the blame game in the mental health space, it feels especially relevant and resonant.
Astutely directed by Edward Peni, his fearless use of stillness and silence elevates the power of the more overtly dramatic moments. Tainui Tukiwaho’s simple set design places the action on and between two circular floor coverings, one warm and cosy (the dining room), the other cold and geometric (the kitchen), appropriately lit by Katrina Chandra with a well-used shadow space between. Eve Gordon’s subtle sound design completes the production value package.
Having been necessarily circumspect with the story details, let me be explicit now: don’t miss The Sun and the Wind, it is a profoundly entertaining play.
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer