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Between The Lines


Tess Munro Pedreros, photographer - James van der Mass

Who says you can’t air your dirty laundry in public?

A group of local performers are putting themselves on the line this summer in a show for the 2014 Fringe Festival. Between the Lines features a giant Hill’s Hoist, the iconic washing line found in the backyard of many NZ homes. A mixture of circus artists, dancers and actors are using their various skills on the washing line to hang, spin, dance, stand and balance on, turning a childhood past time into a visually stunning, theatrical performance.

“Almost everyone I know who grew up in New Zealand remembers swinging on a washing line as a kid, whether it was in Nana’s garden, the neighbours backyard, or at their own home” says the show’s creator Tess Munro Pedreros. “Plenty of people have told me how they remember playing on a Hill’s Hoist and also the trouble they were in when they broke them. I used to pretend our neighbours’s was a kind of time machine so when you swung off you’d be in another dimension."

Tess recently returned from Kathmandu where she volunteered for three months as a circus trainer for Nepal’s first contemporary circus company, Circus Kathmandu. “My role there was to codevise, direct, choreograph and produce the company’s first international show. Being a part of that process gave me the confidence I needed to start developing my own show here in New Zealand. I’ve been writing funding applications ever since I came back and it’s been a huge learning curve.” The show has a fundraising effort on givealittle, with funds going towards building the washing line, paying performers and other production costs.

Between the Lines appeals to the child in everyone on a nostalgic level and to the adult in everyone on a thematic level. The show explores the idiosyncrasies revolving around clothing and laundry such as the unique ways that people hang out their clothes. In one scene a female character wrestles with her apron's never ending strings and in another people wring out wet washing, making rhythmic, percussive splashes accross the performance space. The stages of a laundry cycle: dirty, wash, rinse, spin, clean and dry, are also used as a metaphor for the phases people go through during times of emotional upheaveal and ultimately renewal.

The show blends circus with theatre and dance, creating a dynamic, cohesive work.

Currently, circus within New Zealand is viewed very traditionally, conjuring images of big tops and clowns, ringmasters and popcorn, acrobats and sequins.

The theatrical use of circus skills is an exciting avenue that is beginning to be explored here. “Traditional circus is entertaining, whilst theatre is engaging. We want to bring circus into a relatable realm where audiences recognise moments of everyday life. When the idea of a giant washing line popped into my head, I felt I had found something exciting that everyone can identify with."

The Koha show will take place in Glover Park, outside Rogue & Vagabond at 6pm on the 8th, 9th, 15th and 16th of February. For more information check the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/betweenthelinesnz and to make a donation see http://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/betweenthelines

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