Com­edy of folk,hap­pi­ness and love

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - By MO­HAM­MAD NAZAYER

Roger Hall’s lat­est play is a com­edy that puts folk danc­ing on cen­tre stage. A Short­cut to Hap­pi­ness, di­rected by Ross Jolly, talks about the lives of a group of im­mi­grants try­ing to find hap­pi­ness through folk danc­ing.

Hall, who was a Bri­tish im­mi­grant, said the idea for the play orig­i­nated at a folk danc­ing ses­sion he and his wife at­tended.

‘‘The play is about dis­cov­er­ing the ways of a new coun­try, ac­cept­ing dif­fer­ences, find­ing love and danc­ing your way to hap­pi­ness,’’ he said.

The play has all the usual Hall trade­marks – shrewd ob­ser­va­tions, much mock­ing of New Zealan­ders’ cu­ri­ous cus­toms and plenty of laughs.

‘‘We see New Zealand through an im­mi­grant’s eyes. There are odd lit­tle com­ments there I hope will make us look at our­selves in a slightly dif­fer­ent way.’’

Elena Ste­jko is an ap­pro­pri­ate choice to play Rus­sian im­mi­grant Natasha, be­cause she too is Rus­sian­born and came here 16 years ago.

In A Short­cut to Hap­pi­ness, she teaches a folk-danc­ing class to sup­ple­ment her in­come.

Sacha Co­p­land, the play’s chore­og­ra­pher and danc­ing trainer, said there were a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the danc­ing class she holds for the cast and the one in the play.

She said some of the cast ini­tially strug­gled with the dances, but in time fell in love with them.

Co­p­land said she shared a lot with Elena’s char­ac­ter.

‘‘All danc­ing teach­ers have some­thing in com­mon, and danc­ing is univer­sal.’’

The play in­cludes 11 folk dances..

A Short­cut to Hap­pi­ness runs at Circa un­til May 28.

Find­ing hap­pi­ness: Ac­tress Elena Ste­jko as Natasha and ac­tor Peter Hay­den as Ned.

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