Some stand­outs of the NZ Fes­ti­val

Kapiti Observer - - CONVERSATIONS -

A Viet­namese cir­cus, a 1920s Parisian bar and a tango danc­ing house party will trans­form Wellington stages at the New Zealand Fes­ti­val in Fe­bru­ary.

Or­gan­is­ers re­vealed the 2018 fes­ti­val pro­gramme on Tues­day and it prom­ises to have some­thing for ev­ery­one, with world-class acts in mu­sic, the­atre, opera and art. The fes­ti­val kicks off with the ar­rival of waka into Wellington Har­bour on Fe­bru­ary 23 and runs un­til March 18. Here are some of artis­tic di­rec­tor She­lagh Ma­gadza’s top picks.

AWAKA ODYSSEY (KUPE)

A mass as­sem­bly of waka hou­rua (twin-hulled ocean-go­ing waka) from around the Pa­cific and Aotearoa will descend on Wellington Har­bour at dusk to open New Zealand’s largest in­ter­na­tional arts fes­ti­val. Wel­com­ing them on land will be per­form­ers, a mass choir and a thou­sand-strong haka. When: Fri­day, Fe­bru­ary 23 from 7pm. Where: Wellington Har­bour and Taranaki Wharf Cost: Free What She­lagh says: ‘‘A once-ina-life­time op­por­tu­nity, deeply rooted in our his­tory and cul­ture. It’s a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence our Maori/ Pa­cific cul­ture on a spec­tac­u­lar scale and to ex­plore the in­cred­i­ble sto­ries of the first voy­agers to our shores, as well as the peo­ple who are now fol­low­ing in their path.

SWAN LAKE

Set in mod­ern day ru­ral Ire­land, the bal­let re­volves around a man whose life is erod­ing on a small fam­ily farm. Us­ing a mix of mu­sic, dance and the­atre, re­frames one of the world’smost fa­mous bal­lets with a dis­tinctly Ir­ish lens, even re­plac­ing Tchaikovsky’s fa­mous score with Ir­ish folk mu­sic, with a Nordic twist. When: Wed­nes­day, March 14 to Satur­day, March 17 Where: St James The­atre Cost: A$99 / B$79 / C$59 / D $39 / Early bird: A$89 What She­lagh says: ‘‘I was deeply moved by this work, which de­con­structs a clas­sic bal­let and turns it into a pow­er­ful mod­ern story. Michael Kee­gan-Dolan is mas­ter­ful in com­bin­ing mu­sic, the­atre and dance to tell a com­pelling story of the tri­umph of love against all odds’’.

A O LANG PHO

The ti­tle loosely trans­lates in English as ‘‘vil­lage and city’’, and so the cir­cus ex­plores the dif­fer­ences of the cul­tural rich­ness of Viet­namese life in the coun­try­side and how it is af­fected by rapid ur­ban­i­sa­tion. Mix­ing bam­boo cirque, ac­ro­bat­ics, eclec­tic mu­sic, con­tem­po­rary dance and the­atri­cal vis­ual art,

fea­tures 15 ac­ro­bats and five mu­si­cians. Its tra­di­tional Viet­namese sound­track echoes South­ern Viet­namese work songs. When: Thurs­day, March 8 to Sun­day, March 11 Where: St James The­atre Cost: A$69 / B$49 / C $29 / Early Bird: A$59 What She­lagh says: ‘‘This piece has oo­dles of char­mas an in­cred­i­bly tal­ented cast trans­port you into the world of Viet­nam. This is a unique cir­cus ex­pe­ri­ence where the skills of ac­ro­bats, dancers, jug­glers and mu­si­cians are used to com­pletely win your heart over.’’

DAVID BYRNE

A rare, one-off per­for­mance with Talk­ing Heads founder, artist, ac­tivist and all-round cre­ative ge­nius David Byrne. Byrne, whose band gave us the clas­sics of Psy­cho Killer, Once in a Life­time and Burn­ing Down the House, has pro­duced a mix of projects since the band parted ways in the 1990s. When: Wed­nes­day, Fe­bru­ary 28, 7pm start Where: Michael Fowler Cen­tre Cost: $89 - $139 What She­lagh says: ‘‘David is a pop­cul­ture icon and his shows are al­ways beau­ti­fully pro­duced, mar­ry­ing his love of great style with the hit mu­sic that seems never to have gone out of fash­ion.’’

JORDI SAVALL

Jordi Savall and his early mu­sic ensem­ble He­spe`rion XXI will join South Amer­i­can/Mex­i­can cham­ber mu­sic group Tem­be­mbe En­sam­ble Con­tinuo for an evening of world mu­sic taken from a num­ber of Savall’s record­ings. When: Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 24 Where: Michael Fowler Cen­tre Cost: $39 to $109 What She­lagh says: ‘‘The mu­sic of old Spain, in­fused with the sounds of South America, makes for a re­ally dy­namic per­for­mance. The re­fined sounds of the Baroque pe­riod, mix with the earthy sounds and rhythms of in­dige­nous America, to give a truly unique imag­in­ing of the meet­ing of these cul­tures through mu­sic.’’

BETROFFENHEIT

The Ger­man term‘‘betroffenheit’ has no true English lan­guage equiv­a­lent, but sug­gests a state of shock or grief that oc­curs fol­low­ing deep and un­ex­pected trauma. Here renowned Cana­dian chore­og­ra­pher Crys­tal Pite and the­atre maker Jonathon Young col­lab­o­rate on an ex­cep­tional dance–the­atre hy­brid to tell the story of the af­ter­math of a pro­found, per­sonal tragedy. When: Satur­day and Sun­day, March 3 and 4. Where: St James The­atre Cost: A$99 / B$79 / C$59 / D$39 / Early Bird: A$89 What She­lagh says: ‘‘Crys­tal Pite and Jonathon Young have fear­lessly con­structed a work which is as­ton­ish­ing in so many ways. Vis­ually com­pelling, some of the best dance you’ll ever see and an in­tense emo­tional and in­tel­lec­tual jour­ney through the hu­man mind.’’

HOME

A large-scale, live doc­u­men­tary by ac­tor-il­lu­sion­ist Ge­off So­belle, which re­volves around the life-cy­cle of a house. Per­formed by five adults, a child ac­tor, folk rock artist Elvis Perkins, a live band and up to 30 au­di­ence mem­bers. When: Wed­nes­day March 7 to Sun­day March 11 Where: Opera House Cost: A$79 / B$59 / C$39 / Early Bird: A$69 What She­lagh says: ‘‘Ge­off So­belle has a rare tal­ent for mak­ing im­agery on stage that in­trigues and moves you.’’

David Byrne.

Jordi Savall.

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