Orchestra gets to act in fest
The players in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra will embrace their inner actor in a new collaboration with the Capital E National Theatre for Children.
Witi Ihimaera’s novel Sky Dancer is the inspiration behind the symphonic work of the same name. It is part of this year’s Capital E National Arts Festival. The story follows the journey of Skylark, a young girl who becomes embroiled in a prophecy.
She embarks on a trip into the past to save the future of New Zealand’s earliest inhabitants – the birds.
The orchestra will take centre stage and become part of the performance.
Conductor Grant Cooper said the set-up of the orchestra was unusual.
‘‘There is a ring of space around the conductor’s podium and the orchestra is split so the actors can move in and around the orchestra,’’ he said. ‘‘Also the players will do certain theatrical elements. ‘‘It could be the way they play their instruments, showing certain motions in a more visible way to portray waves or wind blowing.
‘‘There are also parts where the orchestra represents birds in battle by fluttering pieces of paper above our heads.’’
The conductor’s score book is also integrated into the performance.
‘‘The idea is that the book describing the story is the same as the book the orchestra is playing from,’’ Cooper said. ‘‘When I present the pages of the score to Skylark, she is able to use it as a healing agent.
‘‘It’s an incredibly powerful metaphor for me as a musician that music is able to heal and to bring people together.’’
The orchestra and Capital E National Theatre for Children performers will also use puppetry and multi-media displays to bring the story to life for the young audience.
Composed by Gareth Farr, Sky Dancer is being billed as the perfect introduction to classical music for young ears.
Sky Dancer: Wellington Town Hall, Friday March 15, 6pm. Capital E National Arts Festival: March 11 till 23, www.capitale.org.nz for information.