Rimini and Benedict are visiting their uncle Tu in order to find out about their family history. Their questions force him to face the reason he has been estranged from the whanau for years. Tu was first performed at Pipitea Marae as part of the 2012 NZ International Festival of the Arts, and is based on the novel by Patricia Grace.
Old Tu (Tammy Davis), Rimini (Erina Daniels) and Benedict (Matu Ngaropo) are on stage for almost the whole running time. Their scenes – discovering the family story – frames the historical story as performed by the rest of the cast. Brothers Philomel (Jarod Rawiri), Boydie (Taungaroa Emile), and Tu (Kimo Houltham) have a believably fraught relationship – one minute friends, the next Philomel and Tu are at odds with Boydie playing the peacemaker. Ma (Tina Cook) is the fragile heart of the family, with sister Moana (Kali Kopae) looking toward the future. Hoki (Scotty Cotter) and Jess (Aroha White) round out the cast of characters. There is strong ensemble work by the cast in their movement and dialogue.
The original set has been shortened to fit the smaller place at Circa and it has lost some of the grandeur that was so impressive. However the smaller space means the action feels more intimate. The actors are necessarily closer together. Similarly the script has been tweaked, making some parts of the story clearer, while losing clarity in others.
An important New Zealand story that will resonate with many.
- Tu at Circa Theatre, 15-29 June 2013.
- Circa are also hosting Tawata Productions’ Matariki Development Festival. There are rehearsed readings of the plays in development at 1pm on Friday 21 June & Saturday 22 June. Open to all, free of charge. There will be live music after the Friday & Saturday performances of Tu, starting at 10pm in the Circa foyer.