City’s tour de force
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