WAI=RUA A LINE=NEAR

Allen Hall Theatre, University of Otago, Dunedin

23/06/2016 - 25/06/2016

Production Details



Out of the void escapes light, waves and particles – the creation of life.

Fusing a Māori creation narrative and quantum physics, Wai=Rua A Line=Near aligns traditional and contemporary performance, stellar technical effects and ideas that will caress your sensory experience. New Theatre and Dance for Matariki 2016, Wai=Rua A Line=Near promises to be an exciting experience to warm your mid winter! 

Created by a group of artists from Otago University, some of NZ’s top designers and theatre makers Wai=Rua A Line=Near is an original look at Matariki, by some of makers of the hit performance Farley’s Arcade – the Wildest Place in Town (winner of two Dunedin Theatre Awards 2015) and the critically acclaimed Dark Matter (winner of two Dunedin Fringe Awards 2016, including best design).

Allen Hall Theatre will become a site of intrigue, dance, contemporary Maori performance and quantum design. An exciting new view of Matariki, in time for the Puaka Matariki Festival, Dunedin 2016. 

Allen Hall Theatre, 90 Union Street East, The University of Otago
Thursday 23rd Friday 24th and Saturday 25th June 2016 7.30pm
Matinee 2pm Saturday 25th 
Bookings: Eventfinda www.eventfinda.co.nz/2016/wai-rua-line-near/dunedin  
Tickets:  $15 

Brought to you by the generous support of Te Puni Kōkiri and The University of Otago Humanities Arts Fund 


Devisors: Rua McCallum, Martyn Roberts with Shannon Van Rooijen, Dominic Kelly, Rawiri Bishop, Anna Sinton, Tia Waitai-Henare, Jordon Te Ohaere, and Feather Shaw


Theatre , Performance installation , Cultural activation ,


1 hour

Engages all the senses

Review by Brenda Harwood 24th Jun 2016

Stars revolve through the cosmos, constellations coalesce and life takes hold in Wai=Rua A Line=Near – an absorbing, contemplative exploration of Matariki. A joint presentation by Dunedin entities afterburner and Ruaimoko Trust, the 40-minute piece is a fusion of Maori creation myths and quantum physics.

Devised by a team of senior kapa haka and theatre students, technicians and graduates of the University of Otago theatre studies programme, Wai=Rua A Line=Near is a sensory experience that takes observers to a quiet space outside day-to-day pressures.

Almost wordless, Wai=Rua A Line=Near does not provide a linear narrative, but instead creates a dreamscape through movement, kapa haka, and extraordinary architectural lighting, accompanied by the haunting sounds of taonga puoro (traditional Maori instruments).

Led by Ngai Tahu artist Rua McCallum, of Ruiamoko Trust, the performance team of Rawiri Bishop, Tia Waitai-Henare, Shannon van Rooijen, and Domonic Houlihan, move softly around the darkened space and fulfil an array of roles. Carrying pinpoint lights, they represent stars coalescing into the Matariki constellation, while at other times they are proud Maori warriors, or powerful elemental forces.

Throughout the show, a haze fills the darkened space of Allen Hall Theatre, providing the perfect medium to highlight the mesmerising lighting design of afterburner’s Martyn Roberts, with additional design by Anna Sinton and Audrey Morgan.

Beams of light stab the dark in intricate patterns, fractal shapes shift and swirl, and at times we seem to be hurtling through space. It is an expansive and technically brilliant display.

Light also plays a role among the performers, who use small hand-held spot lights to great effect. And during one particularly notable passage, red-lit poi shimmer and swirl, evoking the burning surfaces of suns moving through the cosmos.

The overall effect of the movement and the shifting, swirling lighting are overlaid by the haunting strains of koauau (flute), purerehua (blade swung from a long chord), and other taonga puoro instruments. Most are played live by Rawiri Bishop, Shannon van Rooijen and Dominic Houlihan, while some recordings by Alistair Fraser are also used.

The alignment of traditional and contemporary performance, technical effects and the randomness of quantum concepts makes Wai=Rua A Line=Near a unique experience, which engages all the senses while allowing the mind to roam free across the universe.

A fantastic way to mark Dunedin’s increasingly diverse annual Puaka Matariki Festival, Wai=Rua A Line=Near continues at Allen Hall Theatre tonight (June 24) and Saturday (June 25) at 7.30pm, with a matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday. 

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