One of the few shows on in Wellington that are not part of the Fringe Festival, The Brave is showing at the Hannah Playhouse until the end of February. Auckland-based Massive Company have devised a show which explores the question “What is it to be a man in 2015?” Using the same cast that looked at a similar question in 2006’s Up Close Out Loud, it is a fascinating insight into a positive view of masculinity in New Zealand.

‘Positive’ does not mean easy or uncomplicated. It doesn’t mean happy. Instead it is the acknowledgement of personal growth and learning towards positive outcomes for themselves and their whanau. Content ranges from the mundane e.g. ‘I love KFC’ to more serious issues such as abuse, mental health, body image, the ability to be oneself. (It felt like being allowed a sneak peek into their circle of friends. It made me wonder about what lies behind the faces of other men.)

Monologues and shared scenes are interspersed through choreographed sections that hint at the physical language shared by men. Games, complicated handshakes, working out, dance, embraces – they are all part of the way in which men communicate. The physicality works itself into the stories the men tell as well. Some stand apart to speak, others are backed up by one or more of the group. Honesty, and the desire to be truly honest, permeates every aspect of the show.

Every night there is a post-show forum which allows the audience to ask questions and share their own experiences.  The cast and creative team have created a rewarding production which manages to be both hilarious and powerfully affecting.

  • The Brave at the Hannah Playhouse until 28 February 2015.
  • N.B. Tuesday 24 February is koha/pay what you like night, making this show available to everyone.