Commentary

'Dark Tourists' by Malia Johnston and Emma Willis Photo credit James Ensing Trussell.

Towards a NZ dramaturgy: A Maverick Undertaking in 2016

Playwright and dramaturge Gary Henderson points out that classic rugby analogies, although clichéd, work well because they’re specific to our culture, our country, and our people. Dramaturgy, he argues, is no different: “If you’re a rugby player you cannot break the rules, but what you can do is subvert the expected conventions,” he explains. “A brilliant rugby player is the…

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Thirteen O’Clock: looking back at 2016

“The world to which we dedicated our slow and patient craft has undergone a sudden and startling temporal acceleration. The clocks, as Orwell put it, are striking thirteen, and we have to ask ourselves what a writer can usefully do in a world where it’s suddenly thirteen o’clock?” Chris Cleave posed this question at the inaugural National Writers Forum in…

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A New Beginning: The National Writers Forum 2016

Jackie Dennis, New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) CEO says in her welcome note: ‘an idea has become a reality.’ The inaugural National Writers Forum, held on 17-18 September in Auckland, was the start of what will hopefully be a long-lived reality for the many aspiring, successful and established writers of Aotearoa. The two day programme was packed with 44 talented presenters including…

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Power and Privilege: The Role of the Reviewer in Responding to Indigenous Theatre

Indigenous performance is powerful. While embracing commonalities, it can: dislocate dominant cultural constructions of reality, time and place; interrogate the distinctions between ‘us’ and ‘them’; and carry the ability to refute cultural homogeneity. The latter is especially relevant when applied to critical analyses of Indigenous performance. These are often laced with challenges of power and privilege, for example: varying degrees…

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Festival reflections: Auckland Arts Festivals 2016

It’s been more than a week since Auckland Arts Festival (AAF) folded up its magic but the time and space have been good to reflect on this year’s artistic offerings. Let’s be upfront here – I didn’t get to see everything in the festival and in fact, hats off to those who did manage to catch the majority of the shows. This year’s…

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Dancing the Road to Edinburgh and Back

Scotland quietly boasts some of the world’s most captivating landscapes with its shimmering lochs, vivid green dunes and winding roads that beguile travellers with tales of antiquity around every bend. But there is more to this land than its history and verdant scenery. In fact, for those who are passionate about the arts there is a special cluster of jewels…

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Christchurch festival 2015: Reporting back

Dione Joseph reports back from the opening weekend at Christchurch Arts Festival after taking in a sensory feast spread across three days of artistic indulgence. * * * Urban designer Hugh Nicholson said, “the genius loci doesn’t exist without people”. He was part of a small but fascinating panel chaired by Lara Strongman that brought writers Fiona Farrell, Anna Smaill, Hamish…

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Wanderings thoughts from WOMAD 2015

Dione Joseph reports back from her wanderings at WOMAD 2015. * * * Under brilliant blue skies (despite perfunctory weather warnings) more than 20,000 music lovers gathered together to witness a strong line-up at the festival, which sold out for the first time since 2007. There were the headliners including folk rock giant Richard Thompson (founder of the 60s Fairpoint…

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Auckland Arts Festival Digest: Part Two

It’s a week since Auckland Arts Festival welcomed patrons to an intense schedule of events that has transformed the Auckland CBD into a glowing site of pink theatricality. During the past week I’ve been fortunate enough to witness the on-going development of Nancy Brunning’s HIKOI, revisit Lemi Ponifasio’s I AM and enjoy the magic of Groupe F’s spectacular light show…

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Auckland Arts Festival 2015 Digest

Dione Joseph will be roving around the Auckland Arts Festival 2015 to bring The Big Idea ‘musing and mutterings’ in this digest along with commentary of the work and its journey to get there. * * * The etymology of the word ‘festival’ is quite fascinating. As tempting as it is to associate it with ‘fiesta’ and presume it is simply…

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