WHARE KORERO Stories Within Stories

Spaceship, Hastings, Hawkes Bay

26/10/2021 - 28/10/2021

Hawkes Bay Arts Festival 2021

Production Details

A Thousand Thoughts A Minute – a guide into the unequivocal world of Kristyl Neho, a self-confessed Drama Queen. Written and performed by Kristyl, this is a personal, often humorous ride through her life. From bodacious weight gain and weight loss experiences and the indisputable life of motherhood; to hitting rock bottom epically, and categorically finding her way back onto the path of righteousness. A story full of rich intense whānau characters and of flamboyant, feral decision-making – this is pure and unadulterated Kristyl!

The Hunger Strikes Me – shared from the heart of one rangatahi, Eru Heke. An exploration of voice, dreaming and whānau. What does it mean to be young, brown and living in Te Matau A Māui? Perhaps the hunger of dreams, youth, wairua and heart are different now? Perhaps they are not? Eru reflects on the question ‘Who are we now?’ in an intimate performance of utter charm and honesty, full of movement and poignancy.

Spaceship, Hastings
Tue 26th – Thu 28th Oct 2021 
Adult:  $34.00
Group – 10 or More Adult Tickets:  $30.60
Concession:  $29.00 
Concession: Gold Card Holders, Community Service Card Holders & Full Time Students with ID 
Child: 12 Years & Under (selected shows only) 

Sound Design and Musician Matiu Whiting
Lighting Design Janis Cheng

Theatre , Solo , Dance-theatre ,

1 hr 15 min

Intimately relatable, sometimes uncomfortable but ultimately hopeful

Review by Rosheen Fitzgerald 12th Nov 2021

Puti Lancaster is synonymous with storytelling. Her body of work has rolled and grown for a number of years. Steeped in turangawaewae, rooted in the Heretaunga Plains, her latest piece provides a structural framework for past works and future imaginings. The Whare Kōrero is a place to be immersed in story and, by hearing the stories of others, reflect on our own story — Stories Within Stories.

It’s a piece in two parts, each written and performed by longtime members of what Lancaster calls the constellation of families. She amplifies marginalised voices to stage intimate true tales that need to be heard. Wearing sun colours designed by Raewyn Paterson, sympathetically lit by Janis Cheng with a live musical backdrop by Matiu Whiting, our characters burst onto the stage filled with vigour. The boundaries of traditional theatre are dismantled, not so much breaking the fourth wall as blowing apart the conventions of walls at all. The audience is addressed directly, invited to participate and feed the on stage energy. 

A Thousand Thoughts a Minute sees Kristyl Neho embody not only her larger-than-life personality but those of her whanau, flitting between characters armed only with expressive gesture and one hell of a voice. She brings us on a candid journey addressing family, faith, body image and self-acceptance with her signature panache. She plays with the space and pacing, drifting in and out of spoken word, verse, rap, a whanau waiata we all are invited to join, ending with a full-throated heartfelt anthem, seamlessly flowing to the next piece. 

The Hunger Strikes Me showcases Eru Heke, juxtaposing the effusive energy of an evangelical aerobics instructor — all high kicks, flips and tricks, balletic whirls and splits — with soft emotive gesture. From the liminal space of dreams, Heke maps out space and place on stage taking us on the journey of his mere fifteen years. He too breathes life into the colourful characters of his whanau, speaks with intense sincerity about the reality of being rangitahi right here right now, negotiating friendships, family dynamics, touching on the rawness of family violence and alcohol abuse. 

A number of Lancaster’s signature theatrical devices pepper the piece. Heke constructs cardboard houses to represent his many family homes. His voice is amplified through a simple paper cone, creating not only distortion, but audibly and visually representing his hunger to be heard. At one point the audience provides a finger clicking beat prompted by the thrum of Whiting’s rhythm guitar, a soft heart pounding that augments Heke’s exceptional words, drawing us into the piece. 

There is a sense of continuity in the Whare Kōrero. This is a house built painstakingly over time with bricks of substance and mortar of love, shaped and moulded to magnify the voices it hosts and ultimately create space for each of us to give voice to what we hold inside — stories that can be small and soft but still contain a wellspring of depth. Together the piece is engaging, intimately relatable, sometimes uncomfortable but ultimately hopeful — tales of growth to inspire and uplift.


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