Ur­ban Maori love story comes to Aotea

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - HUGH COLLINS

A Maori theatre show is con­vert­ing a group of dancers into ac­tors.

Stage pro­duc­tion The Beau­ti­ful Ones fol­lows a ro­mance be­tween two per­form­ers work­ing in a night­club.

The show is writ­ten and di­rected by award win­ning Maori stage and screen­writer Hone Kouka, a mem­ber of the New Zealand Or­der of Merit for his ser­vices to con­tem­po­rary Maori theatre.

Wellington-based Kouka says the show was about giv­ing him­self a chal­lenge to cre­ate a piece away from a text based work.

‘‘The Beau­ti­ful Ones is the re­sult (of) a hy­brid of art forms and cul­tures and to have so many in­cred­i­ble artists to col­lab­o­rate with is daunt­ing and ex­cit­ing.’’

Kouka’s plays have been pro­duced in­ter­na­tion­ally and through­out New Zealand. He has also worked in film hav­ing re­cently been an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer on Ma­hana and co-writ­ten hip hop film Born To Dance.

The Beau­ti­ful Ones has a range of com­po­nents in­clud­ing live mu­sic, beats and pro­jected im­agery.

‘‘I don’t think I’ve ever worked on a show like this be­fore,’’ chore­og­ra­pher Teoko­tai Paitai says.

The Pon­sonby res­i­dent and Pride Fes­ti­val or­gan­iser says The Beau­ti­ful Ones is un­usual in that it only has one pro­fes­sional ac­tor with eight dancers tak­ing up scripts.

‘‘I’ve usu­ally worked with theatre where we’re try­ing to com­pose move­ment onto ac­tors,’’ Paitai says.

The show is staged by Welling- ton com­pany Tawata Pro­duc­tions, which pro­duces work of Maori and Pasi­fika writ­ers while spe­cial­is­ing in shows in­volv­ing multi-me­dia.

The Beau­ti­ful Ones per­formed in Wellington last year and was de­scribed by The Do­min­ion Post as ‘‘loud, brash and youth­ful’’.

‘‘And while it is all of these it is also po­etic, lyri­cal and highly orig­i­nal with some ex­quis­ite dance rou­tines... a uniquely sat­is­fy­ing and very en­ter­tain­ing work,’’ The Do­min­ion Post said.

The show fea­tures live vo­cals from record­ing artist and Maori Tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter Ria Hall along with Tia Maipi ( Born To Dance) and Scotty Cot­ter ( The Re­hearsal).

The Beau­ti­ful Ones runs in the Lower NZI space in the Aotea Cen­tre on May­oral Drive from Novem­ber 19 to 26.

Visit Tick­et­mas­ter.co.nz for tick­ets and more in­for­ma­tion.

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