Play ex­am­ines wars of 1860s and their ef­fect

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Look be­yond the Maori child abuse head­lines, right back to 1869 when many of New Zealand’s prob­lems and prej­u­dices were formed, the­atre im­pre­sario Jim Moriarty urges Porirua.

An ac­tor, di­rec­tor, and proud Ngati Toa man, Moriarty is bring­ing his lat­est play Dog & Bone to Pataka next month, and it’s an am­bi­tious work to say the least.

‘‘It’s an at­tempt to try and fix and heal things,’’ he says.

‘‘You’ll be deeply moved and en­thralled, sad, but you’ll say ‘that’s a lot more in­sight’.’’

The play is set on Welling­ton’s south coast dur­ing the sec­ond Taranaki war, and ex­am­ines the re­la­tion­ship be­tween a pakeha woman and her Maori hus­band, who fights for the New Zealand mili­tia against his own sis­ter, a war­rior on the Maori side.

‘‘It was an in­ter­est­ing time in his­tory be­cause British troops had with­drawn and New Zealand’s first mili­tia was formed,’’ Moriarty says.

‘I re­ally want to look at our col­lec­tive his­tory as Maori and pakeha, and use the­atre to re­flect on where we’ve come from and where we’re go­ing.

‘‘It’s mak­ing sense of the seething re­sent­ment.’’

The play lays no blame and does not take sides, he says.

Heavy sub­ject mat­ter does not mean the play is dull or wor­thy.

Dog & Bone boasts slap­stick, mime, com­edy, drama, and song and dance, Moriarty says.

‘‘It’s trans­form­ing, so­cial, po­lit­i­cal, but at the same time it’s en­ter­tain­ing the­atre.’’

The play mixes clas­si­cal Euro­pean the­atre tech­niques, em­ploy­ing a cho­rus of ac­tors as shapeshift­ing dogs, and Marae pro­to­col.

The au­di­ence is wel­comed to share their im­pres­sions once the play is fin­ished.

Moriarty’s part­ner He­len Pearse- Otene wrote Dog & Bone, the sec­ond of a planned four his­tor­i­cal plays ex­am­in­ing Maori-pakeha re­la­tions.

Dog and Bone, De­cem­ber 4 to 8, 7pm at Pataka. Mati­nee per­for­mances De­cem­ber 4 to 7 at 1pm de­pend­ing on de­mand. Tick­ets $25/15, $2 for students at mati­nees. Early­bird tick­ets $10 un­til Novem­ber 25. Book at www.eventfinder.co.nz or 389 2066. Thought-pro­vok­ing: Porirua the­atre pro­ducer Sasha Gibb and di­rec­tor Jim Moriarty are bring­ing his­tor­i­cal race re­la­tions play Dog & Bone to Pataka next month.

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