The Wild

Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

19/04/2023 - 23/04/2023

Production Details

Created by Julia Croft and Virginia Frankovich
Performance design by Micheal McCabe
Live Music by Laika Rountree

Pilot Productions

Designed for children aged 3-99+, playing at the edges of wildness, euphoria, and the sublime, THE WILD is a whole new universe we will build together. A universe of endless, moving shapes, textures, smells, and colours.

Children of the revolution!

We want to go on an adventure through outer space, beyond the rainbow, and into the deep sea and beyond, and we need YOUR help to get there!

Let’s build a wild universe that’s chaotic and beautiful.

A galaxy that is for people who are tired of being called “too messy”, “too loud”, “too much”

A place where we can be kinder to each other, our bodies, and the leaky, oozy stuff around us.

Come join us as we build and explore this wild utopia…

What will you discover?

                    floating galaxies?

                                bubbling foam? 

                                        oozing slime?

                                                splattering paint?

THE WILD is a sensory, visual celebration of the power we all have to make the world anew.

Let’s make a mess.

Let’s dance as hard as we can.

Let’s change the universe.

19 – 23 April, Q Theatre
$15 – $25

Produced by Nahyeon Lee
Production Managed by Hannah Moore/ Pilot Productions
Lighting Design by Calvin Hudson

Children’s , Theatre ,

40 minutes

It’s childlike, but not childish; it is smart but not tacky

Review by Lexie Matheson ONZM 20th Apr 2023

Julia Croft and Virginia Frankovich open their programme notes with a reminder:
“In the last few hard years, we have thought a lot about the capacity for change and how even when things seem solid, there is always room for movement, reinvention and reimagining the whole world.”

Hear, hear to that!

I could stop there because this is why Julia and Virginia are among my very favourite theatre creators. They have produced moments of freshness and joy for years now and I cherish what they have brought to my life.

The Wild is no different.

They mention me in their programme notes too, though not by name, when they say, “this is for anyone that feels like they might sometimes be ‘too much’ or ‘too messy’ or ‘too loud’.” So, the idea of going to children’s theatre work called ‘The Wild’, conceived and performed by Croft and Frankovich, really has me buzzing. The fact that it is in The Loft at Q Theatre certainly helps because this is my favourite, ‘black box’ performance venue in Tamaki Makaurau Auckland.

Even before we get into the theatre, we are told that the convention of no photographs or video does not apply and we can take as many photographs as we lik, and even film what was happening if we want to. In retrospect, this is a lovely opportunity for the creators, and us, to record performances that are structured – and I use that word loosely – in such a way that no instance will be like any other, ever. [I doubt I can add photographs and video clips to this review but I can share them with you via my blog which can be accessed at dykiegirl – Just another site.] 

We enter the theatre via a glittery three-quarter length curtain. In the performance space they are things, large colourful things, unpredictable things, dangly hooks, shiny stuff, and – almost best of all – hidey nooks, so many interesting things for an audience of about sixty, many of them ten or younger and all very much itching to play.

The four-year-old in me is desperate to get out, too, but is repressed by the grim reality of arthritis and a couple of badly buggered knees or I’d have been out there. 

The chalk is especially attractive.

Croft appears out of one of the ‘things’ in the centre of the performance space. It’s like a big, earth coloured, worm cast and she wears it well. She is a nose picking, tinsel-wrapped, noise-making human thing – no question, it’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.

The kids don’t care, they’re loving it.

Croft is immensely likeable, and the kids do not need to be asked twice to engage with her and play. Like Croft, guitarist Laika Rountree manages to avoid anything approaching recognisable language as she provides a delicious emotional soundscape to the quiet chaos that unfolds. It doesn’t matter that there are no words because, in this world, hedonism rules.

There’s fun with a handheld light and another fixed to Croft’s forehead. This enables us to see, and to understand, because suddenly from below the earthy earthworm cast, a giant glittery pooh emerges that seems to be saying “dive in and wrap yourself up” and the kids do not need a second invitation.

Even this early in the piece, around ten minutes in, it is clear that this is a work of intense but seamless collaboration between audience and performer. I’m aware that this description makes the whole thing sound traditional and conventional, but it’s certainly not. Just when you think you know what it is, it’s something else; just when you think you have a handle on the story, you realise there isn’t one and that it’s being made up and managed by Croft and her willing compadres, and simply evolving as we go along.

At the first opportunity, the kids are on the stage and having maximum fun with chalk and Croft and props and costumes. A giant yellow worm appears and an infant, barely able to walk, disappears inside it. Another climbs on top of it and, suddenly, dozens of balloons burst through the sides of the creature like a seahorse giving birth.

There is waterplay and it snows.

There is no coercion anywhere, it’s simply performer and audience melding as one in some unspoken contractual agreement from the word go. I remember trying to make work like this in the 1990s but mine always seemed, in my attempt to produce magical hippie beauty, to become Lexie‘s Random Angry Political Shit or Theatre de Complicité on bad acid. This is much more subtle and, frankly, much more enjoyable.  

Then there are bubbles – of course there are – and smiling, trusting, suburban Mums, unashamed joy in performance, but without the walls, certainly no fourth wall, and just when it starts to snow I realise that I am living in a biosphere of true beauty, the sort of beauty we tried to create in the 60s and 70s through clowning and mask but were monumentally unsuccessful at in our desire to change the world to fit how we hippie idealists thought it should be. (While we were working at a grassroots level to create a world of peace, love and joy, an idea that the world seemed ready for, we forgot to take into account that people like Ronnie Reagan, George W Bush, and Donald Trump were already actively working from within the system to destroy our romantic dream.) 

Croft is a magical performer, and I have a passionate desire to see her never experience burnout. She and Frankovich are a magnificent pairing who should be funded to the top of each arched eyebrow to enable us all to share their dream, and to realise that we do have an infinite capacity for change and that, just when we think things are fixed, we find they are not, just when we think we still have plenty of time, we realise that, as individuals, we don’t have very much time at all. 

We have to do it now, and Croft and Frankovich exemplify this in all their work. It’s childlike, but not childish; it is smart but not tacky, and in a consumer society we can consume it because its sustainable, we can gobble it up it without destroying it, as long as we look after the artists.

There you go Wayne Brown, it’s that easy.


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