Right now as I write this I’m sitting in Rangatira at the Q as they plot The Brave. It’s not really relevant to what I’m going to talk about but there’s something really nice about chilling in a theatre while it’s not show time.
Anyway, last night (/ tonight when I’m writing it) I went to the Ngakau Toa’s Maori Troilus and Cressida fundraising show at the Town Hall. Troilus and Cressida is one of Shakespeare’s tragedies. Loosely its set in the Trojan War, there’s fighting, people fall in love, lovers are separated, people die. It ends tragically. Oh Shakespeare, you know how to let us leave a theatre happy.
The Maori Troilus and Cressida – Toroihi raua ko Kahira is pretty much just Troilus and Cressida performed in Te Reo but it’s kinda special. Translated by Te Haumihiata Mason, the world has been shifted from ancient Greece and Troy to Te Ao Maori – The Maori world. I should it put it out there that my understanding of Te Reo is very rudimentary but it didn’t matter. On entry we received a scene breakdown to guide us through and then the actors took it from there.
It was a blank stage, no lighting, just the performers under the direction of Rachel House and Jamus Webster. I don’t know about you and it’s terrible of me, but I find Shakespeare hard. It’s just so long and you have to focus so much. I didn’t have to do that last night and I couldn’t even understand the language. Though some really well choreographed fight scenes and some pretty alluring flirty scenes I was fully focussed. And I have to put this out there, because it was a huge highlight for me, but the costumes. Holy damn.
I actually saw a series of Shona Tawhiao’s work on Fashion Photos last week or so. When I saw them on stage I recognized them immediately because her work is so beautiful. As someone else said tonight, ‘If I was going to the Oscars, I would wear that.’ That’s how good it is. In Troilus and Cressida, the warriors looked like birds, and the women were beautiful. They really did not need anything else.
The Maori Troilus and Cressida is on its way to London to perform at the Globe soon. They’ll be the first full company from Aotearoa to perform at the Globe. My WordPress stats tells me that some people over there read my blog and I know I have some theatre interested friends over there. If you can, go. Or tell people who will appreciate it to go. They won’t regret it.