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5,298 Cardboard Boxes Are Set for Shifting

5,298 Cardboard Boxes Are Set for Shifting

CAPTION: Geoff Pinfield and Jean Copland in Shifting.

What: Shifting
When: 8pm Friday 24 September - Tuesday 5 October (no show Monday 27 September)
Where:Te Whaea Basement, 11 Hutchison Road, Newtown
Cost: $12/$10 (book on 389 9056 - automated line)

A new devised piece of theatre showing in the Te Whaea Garage Theatre from 24 September uses 5,298 cardboard boxes to create a four metre tall wall, a university lecture theatre, a biochemistry lab, a gay bar and the lounge of your average scummy student flat.

"Having so many boxes creates the feeling of transience and being unsettled," said Leo Gene Peters, the Director of Shifting. "They're also cheap and we can transform them to create many different environments."

Shifting was devised using scientific research, contemporary choreography, pagan altars, graffiti and the cast's personal dating mishaps and is the brainchild of a co-operative of actors, directors, dancers and crew from the USA, NZ and South Africa.

"So basically, a freelance dancer, a chalk graffiti artist, an anthro-vomeronasal-biochemist and an ex-pat American mythology professor walk into a Wellington pub," said Gene, explaining the plot. "Stop me if you know this one."

Shifting looks into how it's possible to stay connected and communicate when everyone is in the middle of moving - whether its physical movement, emigrating to a new country, emotional change or professional evolution.

"When we shift flats we use boxes to pack, so their presence evokes very specific individual memories, they're everyday objects that remind us of what it feels like to be in transit," said Gene.

The immigration aspect of Shifting is personal for Gene, who moved to Wellington from Texas three years ago to study at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School. The rest of the US contingent of the collective is made up by Gene's old friend Sophia Briones, who has travelled to this country to stage manage the show and John Butterfield, a professional contemporary dancer from Berkeley in California who is also studying for his Master of Theatre Arts (in Directing).

Sisters Jean and Sacha Copland are portraying sisters in Shifting and are enjoying the opportunity to spend time and work together - even though it's meant Sacha's had to juggle seven or eight jobs - including choreographing and performing in Rush Hour as part of the Dance Your Socks Off Festival at Bats.

Also involved are Geoff Pinfield (award-winning director of Happy Hour for Miserable Children, Scavenger and the latest Duffy Books in Homes show), Paul Evans, Anna Drakeford and Thomas Press (all entertainment technology students at Toi Whakaari), and Ceridwyn Roberts (ex-Creative Director of The Drag Kings).

Shifting is Gene's fourth and last project of his Master of Theatre Arts (in Directing) degree. The MTA is run by Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School and The Film and Theatre Programme of Victoria University.


Upcoming Productions at Te Whaea

Pericles (8pm, 7 - 11 September) - Surf's up on Shakespeare's most outrageous adventure. Come watch the second year actors armour themselves in wetsuits to joust on surfboards in seven seafaring locations

Go Solo (15 - 19 September in Wellington & 28 September - 2 October in Auckland) - The annual season of solo performances from third year acting students who research, devise, direct and act in a piece of solo theatre about a New Zealand or Pacific personality they feel passionate about

Revolting Rhymes (8 October) - A show catering especially for schools, Geordan Wilcox's Revolting Rhymes brings to life Roald Dahl's fun filled and tangled tales through the magic of dance

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