Kapi-Mana News : January 10th 2012
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Carts, trolleys and club hire available Golf Shop Bunkers Cafe 328 HAYWARDS ROAD SH58 PAUATAHANUI PORIRUA Judgeford Golf Club 4260755AA War tale dramatised Pukana: Actors are well into workshopping the new play Tu, based on the novel by Plimmerton author Patricia Grace, which will premiere at the New Zealand International Arts Festival in Wellington in March. Photo: ANETA RUTH Dramatist: Playwright Hone Kouka received critical praise for his last New Zealand arts festival offering, musical He Reo Aroha, which was acclaimed as a touching, but impressively unsentimental example, of New Zealand romance. His latest production, Tu, will be hosted at Pipitea Marae on Thorndon Quay during next year's festival. By KAROLINE TUCKEY A tale of war, whanau, and cul- tural identity by Plimmerton author Patricia Grace will be retold on the stage for the New Zealand International Arts Festi- val. Playwright and producer Hone Kouka has been working on a script inspired by Grace s novel Tu for several years, convinced the family war drama had the ingredients to set the stage alight. It s just such an amazing book. I did a reading of it for radio, when I worked for Radio New Zea- land, and I thought, Wow, this is amazing . It s the relationship with the brothers in it. That s why I went back to it, and approached Pat, and she was cool with it, which is great. The story is set in New Zealand and Cassino, Italy, during World War II, and follows the fortunes of three Maori brothers during the war. Grace wrote Tu after reading the war diary of her father, who served in the 28th Maori Bat- talion in Italy, and drew on the experiences of other relatives who fought for New Zealand. She painted a dramatic story of the soldiers struggles on and off the battlefields. Kouka was especially interested in the relationships of the family and how they were touched by war, and has written his script as a tale that plays alongside the material of the novel. It s more inspired by the novel, it s quite different, most of the novel s set in Italy, but I was more interested [in] what was happening in Wellington in the 1940s. How it affected the region; the Americans are talked about a lot, they were stationed out at Paekakariki, and a lot of families took in soldiers. Actor Kirk Torrance, who played Wayne Judd on TV3 s Out- rageous Fortune, has been cast in the lead role of Tu. The great thing is it s got 10 Maori actors, Kouka says, it s just this big sweeping epic. The last play I did was I, George Nepia, so going from a one- hander to a 10-hander, it s fantas- tic -- and it s got lovely romance in it, a gorgeous love story, and the costumes have all been designed, they re all from the 1940s and they look fantastic. And the language -- at that time, our grandparents, and great grandparents had impeccable English as well as impeccable Maori, so writing dialogues, the actors have really gobbled it up. The play will be staged at Pipitea Marae on Thorndon Quay, which was opened in 1980 as New Zealand s first urban marae for all iwi, so the setting will give the subject material special reson- ance, Kouka says. Tu opens at Pipitea Marae on March 1, and plays until March 7. Tickets are $48/$53 and are avail- able through Ticketek. Acting up: Colin Bleasdale and Ingrid Hewetson during rehearsals for My Husband's Nuts. Photo: SUPPLIED Nutty play gets major awards By KRIS DANDO Porirua s thespians were rewarded for excellent work on the stage and behind the scenes in 2011 at the recent Antoinette Awards. The annual prizes recognise excellence in amateur theatre for the Wellington region. Mana Little Theatre s pro- duction My Husband's Nuts stood out in the comedy section, earning gongs for best male actor in a leading role (Colin Bleasdale) and best female in a supporting role (Paulette McIndoe), while Mana shared the best comedy award with Porirua Little Theatre s Stiff. Bleasdale said everyone worked extremely hard on the production and Stephanie Drew deserved plaudits for her direc- tion. It ran for three weeks and it was very successful. There was a good audience response. To get that external recog- nition is great. Mana did not add to its col- lection of prizes on the night but PLT came away with a swag more. The theatre won for Jack and the Beanstalk (make- up and original script and music), Cinderella (makeup, original script and music and highly commended for cos- tumes), The Wizard of Oz (special effects and musical, lighting design), and male actor in a supporting role comedy (Peter Mackenzie, for Stiff).
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