Three Monkeys

Te Auaha, Tapere Nui, 65 Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington

02/03/2021 - 06/03/2021

NZ Fringe Festival 2021

Production Details

Created by Thomas Laybourn

3 Monkeys is a contemporary dance show created by Thomas Laybourn. Performed at Te Auaha in Tapere Nui. From Tuesday the 2nd of March – Saturday the 6th, All shows at 8pm.

The show is performed by a collective of Te Auaha dance students either currently studying or graduated. An exciting element of the performance is the collaboration that has been formed between Thomas and artist/producer LANCE. They have worked closely to create an original soundtrack for the performance.

Three monkeys is made up of Three contemporary movements. Each movement corresponds with one of the Three Japanese Monkeys. MIZARU (see no evil) KIKAZARU (hear no evil) and IWAZARU (speak no evil). The intention differs movement to movement, but as a whole 3 monkeys is an expression of discovering freedom.

As soon as we enter this world we begin learning by what we see and what we hear. Once learnt we spend most of our lives worrying constantly how other people see us, what other people say about us. All the while passing on this broken information by what we say and how we act.3 monkeys is about disregarding the opinions and expectations from the world around us and breaking away into ourselves, finding worth, disregarding toxic environments and exploring inner peace, comfort and contentment. Three Monkeys is a progression from conformity to a feeling of complete freedom.

Director/Choreographer: Musician/Co-producer Thomas Laybourn, LANCE (Jesse Stratford)
Cast: Georgia Hall, Sophie Martin, Zoe Rita, Joshua Mcgrath, Tayla Hunt, Mika Hunefeldt, Samuel Ropati, Mia Bruning, Franziska Lerbs, Piper Morrison, Emily McDermott, Molly Fairfield ,Jodi Xu
Lighting technician: Patrick
Movement #2 Costume design: Sophie Martin


Contemporary dance , Commercial dance , Dance ,

45 mins

Dark, pessimistic, desperate striving and failing are constants in this three part work.

Review by Deirdre Tarrant 04th Mar 2021

Striking static images and very dramatic use of lighting set the stage and the theme for this episodic dance / theatre  journey directed by Tom Lambourn, a graduate of the commercial dance course at Te Ahaua. Dark, pessimistic, desperate striving  and failing are constants in this three part work. The opening three monkey images are tight and contained…….a centre section gives partners a chance to task and support each other for a short time……the final image is of a human ladder reaching across the floor and totally filling the space as figures struggle to climb this horizontal hope….Reaching out, up and for each other form strong motifs of movement exploration  throughout the choreography with a constant use of extremities and gestural phrases. Use of the breath both audibly and as a driver of the momentum is key to connecting each dancer to their own part in each ensemble section.

The lighting and technology is effective and as important as the bodies who are shadowed, hooded, winding, nebulous, writhing, crawling, grasping elements of a disconcerting mass effort for freedom? The connection to ‘see no evil –  speak no evil – hear no evil’ is abstracted but not satisfyingly developed by the repetitious  structuring and assembling of bodies. As I watched I found myself looking for literary and visual analogies. The Tower of Babel , the agony of human endeavour , the desperation of ritual , blindly following ,  the awaiting of judgement and that numbing hopelessness of effort as striving overtakes and any chance of resolution becomes unlikely, all come to mind. 
Depressing stuff but strong images remain on the retina as I write. Is there no escape? 

A work for our time, staged and danced with absolute  commitment by a large and capable cast and resulting from a creative partnership between Tom Laybourn and LANCE. 


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