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FRINGE '04: Mahuika’s Fire

PRESS RELEASE – 22/12/03


The show will stage on the Wellington Waterfront (a major sponsor), Frank Kitts Park Ampitheatre, Fri 20th, Sat 21st and Sun 22nd at 9pm. The show is Koha (free), but a suggested donation of $5 is asked.

The NZ Fringe Festival is in for a fiery treat. Flame Fire Productions is staging its latest high-octane fire show, Mahuika’s Fire on the waterfront – a unique visual feast sure to inspire audiences and set the city on fire.

Flame Fire Productions is a Queenstown based performing arts group who produce fire shows for events and festivals. They are a dedicated group of performers who simply love to play with fire and are now taking this love to a national audience.

They have produced several successful shows in Queenstown over the past three years gaining the respect of southern audiences and now want to break onto the national stage via the NZ Fringe Festival in Wellington, but it’s a struggle financially, energetically and artistically.

Fire performance was born in the Pacific – firebrand dancing on the islands and poi in NZ with its later flaming counterpart embraced by youth and alternative culture. Fire dancing has become a familiar sight at dance parties or late night around the bon fire, but it has been largely unexplored in a theatrical sense.

In NZ, Flame is the only fire production company doing what it does – combining the discipline of dance, the emotion of theatre and power of fire performance on a professional level.

Producer and director Holly Wademan (27) drives the crew of 12 performers and comes from a classical ballet and theatre background. She has produced six successful fire shows in Australia, the UK and NZ. It’s her vision to develop fire performance into a respected theatrical art form – a medium of expression to interpret myths, social trends, and cultural issues.

“I’ve fused the discipline of dance, the emotion of theatre and raw energy of fire to create a visual and sensory feast, all based around the poetry of fire performance.”

Mahuika’s Fire is a contemporary interpretation of an ancient Maori legend and is told through the use of fire including fire dance, fire sculptures, flamethrowers, fire wings, fire fans, fire umbrellas and fire fingers!! The show incorporates original music especially written for the show, and live drumming.

In the original myth Maui who is a curious young man goes on a journey to find fire’s source, Mahuika his great grandmother and fire goddess. She has fire fingers and fire toes and grants him fire but he lets it go out.

He goes back many times asking for more fire until Mahuika has only one finger of fire left and uses it to start a massive bushfire to teach Maui a lesson. She then puts the last of her fire into the Kaikomaiko tree the Maori used to make fire.

In our production Maui is a young person, a teenager and goes out into the world to learn what it’s all about. Mahuika is the keeper of fire, which we’ve interpreted as wisdom and life energy. She grants him fire but he keeps doing things which put it out i.e. he goes to the city and greed and stress extinguish his fire. He goes into the party scene and drugs and excess put his fire out.

Eventually Mahuika lights a raging fire to teach him respect, which is simulate by spectacular fire performance. Once he has learned how to respect his inner fire she shows him how to dance with it and they light a massive fire tree sculpture to conclude the show.

“It is a powerful show with a strong youth message – abuse your inner fire and it will go out!”

Flame have staged the show once in Queenstown and Wanaka to raise the necessary funds to bring the cast and crew of 16 and all props up to Welllington. For many of the performers it’s their first time to the city!

“It’s been a huge struggle to bring the show to Wellington, so we’re hoping Wellingtonians will embrace what we do and support our show by coming along.”

The show will stage on the Wellington Waterfront (a major sponsor), Frank Kitts Park Ampitheatre, Fri 20th, Sat 21st and Sun 22nd at 9pm. The show is Koha (free), but a suggested donation of $5 is asked.

“We wanted as many people as possible to come and see our show so we’ve made it donation only.”

For any more info or photos please feel free to contact Holly.
ph: 03 442 5305
mob: 021 0366 391

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