City’s tour de force

The Dominion Post - - Culture -

By Binge Cul­ture, Bats The­atre and Wai­tangi Park, un­til November 25.

An in­ter­est­ing de­vel­op­ment within Welling­ton the­atre is the in­creas­ing num­ber of site-spe­cific pro­duc­tions, and Binge Cul­ture’s lat­est in­no­va­tive and orig­i­nal of­fer­ing is no ex­cep­tion.

Ancient Shrines and Half Truths takes place in and around Wai­tangi Park so the au­di­ence is taken on a jour­ney around the park dis­cov­er­ing many long-lost Welling­ton shrines.

On a glo­ri­ously beau­ti­ful Welling­ton evening, Tues­day night’s au­di­ence was es­corted across to the park and given a de­vice with an app and head­phones from which a voice then in­structs each on what to do. It is ex­plained that this is a be­spoke ex­pe­ri­ence, self-di­rected and unique to each in­di­vid­ual.

It is also ex­plained that vis­i­tors to a city are trav­ellers these days, not tourists, and that lo­cals as well should en­counter their city in a sim­i­lar way.

And so this is es­sen­tially a fas­ci­nat­ing, and of­ten en­light­en­ing, stroll around a fa­mil­iar area of Welling­ton.

As the walk be­gins, it be­comes ob­vi­ous that many ob­jects that are taken for granted and which peo­ple walk past ev­ery day have deep hid­den mean­ings. There are stone cubes that have a history go­ing back many mil­len­nia, tall lamp­posts of in­ter­na­tional sig­nif­i­cance, a view­ing plat­form to ob­serve as­pects of Welling­ton that have never been seen be­fore and roads where once there were large rivers awash with brown trout.

The con­struc­tion of these sto­ries and the way they are put to­gether are highly orig­i­nal and the com­bi­na­tion of in­cor­po­rat­ing mod­ern tech­nol­ogy with an ev­ery­day pas­time of walk­ing and ob­serv­ing is not only im­mensely en­joy­able and sat­is­fy­ing, but a type of per­for­mance rarely ex­pe­ri­enced.

It easy to see why it was such a great hit at this year’s Ed­in­burgh Fringe Fes­ti­val. – Ewen Cole­man

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