The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

On now: Pūtahi Festival

by librarykris on February 23, 2017 in Theatre

Tawata Productions in association with Victoria University of Wellington and Wellington City Council proudly presents Pūtahi Festival, 2017. The Festival is a presentation of works in development (and is a darn good time). Everything is showing at Studio 77, 77 Fairlie Terrace, Kelburn, Wellington. Most shows are koha but it pays to book a ticket so you get a seat.

What’s on:

  • Ake, ake ake: multimedia installation by Jamie Berry
  • Big J styles. Created by Jacob Dombroski & directed by Rose Kirkup (Theatre/dance in development)
  • Whare. Created by Mapihi Kelland(Dance Piece in Development)
  • Poropiti: Prophet. Created by Mara TK and Tola Newbery. (Music & physical theatre)  
  • Thirsty by Ali Foa’i. (Comedy)


  • Pūtahi Festival, on at Studio 7, to 25 February 2017.


Review: Faovale Imperium

by librarykris on February 22, 2017 in review, Theatre

This is an experimental spoken word/poetry event. James Nokise explores Captain James Cook’s voyage through the Pacific. It’s presented from several different points of view – Cook, his wife, an outside narrator. Some of the pieces are funny. Some are more reflective. Some, I think, are supposed to be funny, but we don’t laugh. There’s a strange echo about the words that’s more than the echo in the space. Something about the way poetry lights the dark behaviour that lies behind the descriptions; that shows several layers of meaning. Likewise some of the more affecting pieces don’t get applause. We’ve been emotionally moved and it feels inappropriate to break the spell. There are also poems by Pacific women interspersed through Nokise’s poems and reflections. I hear hisses of excitement from the audience at their names and resolve to look them up.

This is a koha test showing of a piece in development. A gentle yet firm reminder that colonisation is alive right now and it’s more complicated than brown and white.

Please note:  1 Clyde Quay Wharf is a warm and dusty venue. Bring water & appropriate meds. Bring some cash for the hat after the show. Get there early for a seat (otherwise you can sit on the floor or stand at the back.)


Paying for it: an insider’s guide to the NZ sex industry

The Prostitution Reform Act was passed in 2003 but apparently sex work is still a controversial job choice. As one of the speakers says “It seems like never is a good time to talk about sex work. “ So it’s really neat that several have got together to tell us stories about their lives. None of them are stage performers but all are determined to conquer their nerves to let us know a bit about their lives.

There are themes through all the stories – discretion is their business. Sex work is basically therapy. The clients can be physically and verbally dangerous. The industry can be dangerous. The encounters can be emotionally charged experiences. The lines between professional and personal can blur. There are ethical as well as physical considerations. Boundaries, payment, and the eventual physical intimacy are important. We heard about workers supporting each other. Events that could have ended fatally for the individual and how skills of negotiation, confidence, and ingenuity were employed to save themselves. How working with disabled individuals is incredibly rewarding and how important it is to keep the rules of engagement clear.

Thank you to everyone involved in this talk. I thought it was fascinating.

[Note for the speakers – There’s no need for you to apologise for a (self-perceived) lack of presentation polish. Your words and stories are good – trust yourself!]


Easy living: life in a small town

Presented by Playshop this show is based around small town life. The ask fors are about the characteristics of living in a small town which the cast then riff off.  It features a rolling cast and a structure of a scene with two people, then a monologue from one of them, then a scene between that person and someone else etc. On the night I went the cast was 6 men and 3 women which meant there were a lot of same-gender pairings. There were some really great (funny) moments and some near-misses resulting in a show that was more slice of life than a neatly wrapped up story. Special mention to the musical accompaniment and lighting people for their good work. (Sorry, no programme for names!)

An enjoyable early evening show.

  • Easy living: life in a small town on at Gryphon Theatre to 19 February 2017


Review: Ze: queer as fuck!

by librarykris on February 15, 2017 in Theatre

A monologue of self discovery from a genderqueer, kinky, femmesexual, polyminded, gay-divorcee.

From the opening sequence through to the end, this well constructed show fulfills the programme promise that “by the end of this show you will know more about me than most people care to learn and hopefully something about yourself.” Through seven pivotal life events performer Ren (as Michelle/Ryan) is charmingly and heartbreakingly open about the ongoing evolution of their identity. Clothes, education, sex, relationships, sex – nothing is left out of this storytelling event. Some things are described with musical instruments, some with props but mostly it is Ren alone on the stage with only their expressive voice and body to illustrate the story. Their story will resonate with anyone who has an identity different to the one they (or their family) thought they’d have.

Ze is a confrontation of the labels society has constructed for us as well as a reminder and a call to participate in the rainbow community that we, as diverse people, are already a part of. To be visible during Wellington Pride in order to celebrate our authentic selves. Tautoko.

AND preview Ren’s new show


More posts…

Review: Manifesto 2083

by librarykris February 14, 2017

On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people and injured more than 200 in Norway. Before he attacked his fellow citizens he sent out a 1500 page manifesto containing racist propaganda, philosophical reflections, bomb manuals, interviews he conducted with himself and diary entries. Danish theatre makers Christian Lollike, Olaf Højgaard and Tanja Diers […]

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Review: Out of Darkness

by Steph February 12, 2017

Every year millions of women and children around the world are trafficked and trapped in sexual exploitation. Using stories of real survivors, Out of Darkness presented by the Just Be Collective, follows the emotional journey of Alice as she is trafficked into sexual exploitation and then rescued and restored to find her way back to […]

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Review: The basement tapes

by librarykris February 11, 2017

After her Grandma’s death a woman is tasked with cleaning out the basement of her house. As she sifts through what seems like every single thing her Grandma ever owned she discovers a tape recorder. Then she finds a box of tapes – some of which work, and some which don’t. As she listens to the […]

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Acting Local

by Tom January 29, 2017

Not that long ago, we thought we’d have to keep a careful eye out for the slow, creeping rise of fascism in America; now it’s coming on as a rapid, terrifying avalanche. The massive, spontaneous airport protests against Trump’s latest vile Executive Order give some hope for the rise of resistance in the US itself, but sometimes […]

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Review: Jekyll and Hyde

by librarykris January 29, 2017

Famous French* company A Slightly Isolated Dog (so French, so famous) is back with Jekyll & Hyde. It’s about a very good man – Dr Jekyll – who indulges his very bad side – Mr Hyde – by drinking a potion. Only it’s not long before he doesn’t need to drink the potion for his dark […]

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Review: The Undertow

by librarykris January 19, 2017

The Undertow is a massive theatrical epic presented by 35 performers from Te Rākau Theatre. Written by Helen Pearse-Otene and directed by Jim Moriarty it follows the story of seven generations of Wellingtonians – Māori and Pākehā – as they carve out a life in Ōwhiro. Each of the four plays explores the experience of […]

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