Pasefika by Stuart Hoar
CIRCA Theatre at the NEW ZEALAND FESTIVAL PRESS RELEASE
By STUART HOAR
Directed by SUSAN WILSON
Opens CIRCA ONE
Saturday 22nd February 8pm
Extraordinary visions of the South Pacific
Circa Theatre’s exciting production for NZ Festival 2014 is the World Premiere of Pasefika, a dazzlingly theatrical re-imagining of French artist Charles Meryon's life in 1860’s Paris - an existence that is firmly interwoven with his experiences in New Zealand’s French colony of Akaroa.
While juggling his relationships with his friend, the decadent poet Baudelaire, and two very striking women, Jeanne Duval (subject of Manet’s famous painting) and Louise Niveau, Meryon is haunted by his time spent in the South Pacific. His startling visions compel him to depict whales and waka over the skies of Paris in his famous and remarkable etchings.
And it was with one of these etchings, Le Ministère de la Marine, that it all started for playwright, Stuart Hoar (Rutherford, The Face Maker, Quartet).
“I came across an image of a print from the nineteenth century by an artist I had never heard of before,” he says. The image was mysterious, intriguing and provocative; here in the 1860’s was a French artist imagining Paris being invaded by the Pacific. And so I did more research and discovered that Charles Meryon lived for two years in the then French colony of Akaroa (c 1844 -45). His experience of life with the Maori people who also lived there left its mark on his work and his imagination in a profound and strongly dramatic way.
“Later in his life when he struggled to make a living as an artist in Paris his experiences in Akaroa (and the other Pacific places he visited) were idealised in his mind and he never forgot them. In fact, several of his most striking etchings of Parisian buildings include hallucinatory visions of the South Pacific.
“I also discovered that Meryon had been approached by the poet, Charles Baudelaire, to jointly produce a work of etchings and poetry – this fact for me was the spark I needed to write what I hoped would a playful history play supposedly set in Akaroa of the 1840’s and Paris of the 1860’s but ideally transcending the idea of period or history or biopic plays.
I wanted to contrast the romanticism and cynisim of Baudelaire with the eccentric but heart-felt passion of Meryon, and compare their life in Paris in a theatrical rather than documentary way to an equally playful, dramatised version of Meryon’s experiences in Akaroa, and evoke the synthesising and profound effect his Akaroa experiences had on him as a human and as an artist.”
Pasefika - a captivating tale of art, love and loss where Parisian sensibilities and Polynesian culture collide – was winner of the Adam NZ Play Award 2010
Starring GEORGE HENARE, JASON WHYTE, EMMA KINANE, AROHA WHITE,
with a creative team of Set Design: Andrew Foster; Lighting: Marcus McShane; Sound: Tane Upjohn-Beatson; Video: Johann Nortje; Costumes: Sheila Horton; led by acclaimed director, Susan Wilson.
“A fascinating and funny world … intelligent and entertaining … this is my sort of history” - Adam Award panel
By STUART HOAR
Directed by SUSAN WILSON
GEORGE HENARE, JASON WHYTE, EMMA KINANE, AROHA WHITE
Set Design: Andrew Foster; Lighting Design: Marcus McShane; Sound Design: Tane Upjohn-Beatson; Video Design: Johann Nortje; Costume Design: Sheila Horton
// 22nd FEBRUARY – 29th MARCH
1 Taranaki Street, Wellington
$25 PREVIEW - Friday 21st Ferbruary – 8pm (Bookings – Circa Theatre 801 7992)
Performance times: Tuesday & Wednesday - 6.30pm
Thursday, Friday, Saturday - 8pm
Sunday - 4pm
PASEFIKA is proudly supported by Presented by arrangement with
16 March – 29 March CIRCA Theatre 801 7992 www.circa.co.nz
1 Taranaki Street, Wellington
Phone 801 7992
Stuart Hoar (56) is a playwright, novelist, screenplay writer, radio dramatist and librettist.
He was Playwright in Residence at the Mercury Theatre (1988/89) and was awarded the Bruce Mason Award for Playwrights in 1988. In 1990 he was Literary Fellow at Auckland University and in 1993 he was Burns Fellow at the University of Otago. In 2007 he was the Katherine Mansfield Fellow.
One of the films for which he wrote the screenplay Hank Williams was selected for the Un Certain Regard section at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. The screenplay for the short film Lovelock won the New Zealand Writers’ Guild Best Screenplay Award (Presented Los Angeles, 1993, as part of the International Writers’ Guild Festival).
He has had over thirty radio plays produced (RNZ Mobil Award Finalist 1990, 1994 and RNZ Mobil Award winner in 1995 and 2007) as well as various opera libretti.
The libretto for the opera Bitter Calm was a finalist in the Pater World Media Award’s Music and Literary Division in 1990. The full length opera Bitter Calm was subsequently performed as part of the International Festival of Arts, Wellington, 1994. A television version of this production was broadcast by TV3 in 1994. He has written three libretti for the composer Anthony Ritchie. Their last collaboration was the comic opera Quartet which was produced at the International Festival of Arts, Wellington in 2004.
In 1998, while living in Cambridge, UK, his first novel The Hard Light was published by Penguin NZ. He returned from England in 2000 to be Writer in Residence (Ursula Bethel Fellowship) at Canterbury University
In 2004 he was commissioned by Circa Theatre to write a full length stage play about the New Zealand cosmologist Beatrice Tinsley. This play Bright Star was produced in 2005 and was produced by the Tabard Theatre, London in November 2010.
Court Theatre commissioned him to write a tango play Backwards in High Heels and this play was produced by Court Theatre, Christchurch in 2006. It was also produced by Circa Theatre, Wellington, in February 2007 and by the Otago Arts Festival in 2011.
His radio play Attitude was Radio New Zealand’s World Play for 2007 and broadcast by the BBC World Service in UK, Ireland, Canada and Australia. This play was Best Radio Play 2007 (Radio New Zealand Awards, 2008). His most recent radio play The Big Melt was Radio New Zealand’s World Play for 2010. It was broadcast by the BBC World Service in UK, Ireland, Canada and Australia.
His musical The Great Art War (composer Philip Norman) was produced by Court Theatre as part of the Christchurch Festival of Arts 2013.
His play Pasefika won the Adam New Zealand Play Award 2010 and is being produced by Circa Theatre as part of the New Zealand Festival of Arts 2014.
Susan is known throughout New Zealand for her work as both an actor and a director. She received the ONZM for her Services to Theatre in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2002. In 1981 she won the Feltex Best Actress award for her role as Beryl in the television series Gliding On a role she continued in the sequel TV series - Market Forces.
Susan is a co-founder of Circa Theatre and a current member of the Circa Council. She has directed over 50 productions including the late Robert Lord’s Bert & Maisy, China Wars, Glorious Ruins, and Joyful & Triumphant, the production which gained her the Director of the Year Award at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards in 1992. Susan also directed its return season at the State Opera House, its subsequent national tour and the tours to Sydney, Adelaide, and London.
She again received the Director of the Year Award in 1994 for her production of Angels in America, which opened the new Circa on the Waterfront venue. Other plays which she has directed include Dylan Thomas: Nogood Boyo (Wellington & Sydney), Arcadia (Winner of the Circa production of the Year 1995), Travesties, Rutherford (NZ Festival 2000) The Seagull, The Face Maker (NZ Festival 2002), The Cherry Orchard, Death of a Salesman (winner of Director of the Year 2006 at the Chapman Tripp Awards), Uncle Vanya, eight Roger Hall pantomimes, Rock ‘n’ Roll, The Clean House, Where Are You My Only One?, Ninety, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Circa’s 35th Birthday production, August: Osage County, When the Rain Stops Falling, All My Sons (nominated Production of the Year 2012), The Year of Magical Thinking, Midnight in Moscow, Mother Goose and The Price.
Charles Baudelaire / Chief
George Henare was born in Gisborne in 1945, the third youngest in a family of ten children. He spent the first 12 years of his life on a sheep and cattle farm in the Whakaangiangi Valley, 15 Kilometres inland from Te Araroa on the East Coast of the North Island. He attended Gisborne Boys' High School and then Ardmore Teachers' College.
George became involved in theatre in his late teens after brief stints as a postie and trainee teacher. He abandoned his teaching career after a successful audition with the New Zealand Opera Company where he sang chorus in productions such as Porgy and Bess and Il Trovadore. George was extremely adept at "pulling faces" and getting noticed, so began to be offered small acting roles.
From 1965 George worked with the New Zealand Opera Company, the Māori Theatre Trust, Wellington's Downstage Theatre, Radio Drama and fledgling television, until joining Mercury Theatre, Auckland, in 1971 at the age of 25. Since then George has played dozens of parts, from Ratty, Dracula, Toad of Toad Hall, Snoopy to more serious characters such as Lear, Lenin and Caesar. His television and film work includes Rapa Nui, Crooked Earth, The Silent One, Once Were Warriors and Potiki's Memory Of Stone (written by Laureate Briar Grace-Smith). After Mercury's demise in 1992, George worked extensively in Australia with Melbourne Theatre Co, Sydney's Ensemble Theatre and Belvoir Street Theatre in Sydney, and toured with Jesus Christ Superstar, Phantom of the Opera and guested on many television series.
Recent theatre includes:- Anne Boleyn, Awatea, Mary Stuart, Four Flat Whites in Italy (Auckland Theatre Company), You Can Always Hand them Back, Who Wants To Be 100?, Heroes, Death of a Salesman (Circa), I’m Not Rappaport (Downstage) Pirates of Penzance (National tour), Othello, View from the Bridge, History Boys (Peach Theatre Co). Other highlights include the 2000 New Zealand International Festival of the Arts production of Haruru Mai and Purapurawhetu, which toured New Zealand and internationally.
George received an OBE in 1988 for his services to theatre; Best Theatrical Performance Award at The Entertainer of the Year Awards for his role in Jesus Christ Superstar; in 2000 he was named Best Actor at the 2000 TV Guide New Zealand Television Awards for Nga Tohu - Signatures; 1992 and 2001 George was named Talking Books Narrator of the year; and in 2006 he won a Chapman Tripp ‘Best Actor' Award for his portrayal of Willy Loman in Circa Theatre's Death of a Salesman. In 2008 George received Te Waka Toi, Te Tohu Toi Ke, Award for his outstanding contribution to Māori theatre and in 2009 he was the recipient of an Arts Foundation Laureate Award.
In 2010 George was awarded Best Actor for his role in the fantasy series Kaitangata Twitch written by Margaret Mahy and screened as a television series. George played the role of ‘a tormented soul' Lee Kaa . He was also awarded a CMNZ (Companion of the said Order of New Zealand) in the New Year's honours list.
Jason is a multi award winning theatre, film and TV actor who has performed throughout NZ , Australia, Europe and the USA. He has devised extensively with many theatre groups and was a founding member of the highly acclaimed theatre group Trouble. Theatrical highlights include When the Rain Stops Falling, Apollo 13 Mission Control, August Osage County, The Lead Wait, Death of A Salesman, The Vibrator Play, The Tutor, The Shape Of Things and Peninsula. Film and TV highlights include Insiders Guide To Happiness, Avatar, Second Hand Wedding, Siege and the soon to be screened War News. Jason lives on the Kapiti Coast with his wife and son.
Jeanne Duval / Madam
Emma graduated from Toi Whakaari/NZ Drama School in 1988.
Theatre roles include Kate in All My Sons, Gail in Turbine, Helen in Fat Pig, Gertrude in Hamlet, Maggie in Dancing at Lughnasa, Gertie in Fuddy Meers, Phil in The Sex Fiend, Yvonne in Sisters, Trish in Pack of Girls and Beth in Tribes, and roles in musicals such as Lonely Heart, Troy, Monarchy, Rome and The Nero Show. Emma’s favourite singing role involved channelling various pop stars in Dead Tragic which has a return season this year at Circa Theatre.
TV/Film credits include Outrageous Fortune, Spies and Lies, Reservoir Hill, Darren Exists, The Killian Curse, Coverstory and Willy Nilly. Her favourite film role was Sue in The Man Who Couldn’t Dance.
She received the Evening Standard Best Actress of 1990 Award for Ruth in Blithe Spirit and since then has been an awards bridesmaid; with acting nominations in 2007’s Chapman Tripp Awards for Fat Pig, 2009’s 48 Hours Furious Filmmaking entry Call Me Al, and for Tribes in 2013.
Emma has just completed a Master's Degree in Scriptwriting. Previously she co-wrote Turbine, Paua and The December Brother with the SEEyD Collective and in 2009 Emma won a place in the NZ Film Commission’s First Writers Initiative for her screen adaptation of Turbine. In 2011 she won first equal in the NZ Writers Guild Scriptwriting competition with a TV series pilot episode. Her radio play Clouds was a winner in the Radio NZ New Shorts Competition in 2013.
Louise Niveau / Daughter
Aroha White founder of WingHornTail Productions graduated from Toi Whakaari in 2009. Since then she has written and produced four new works A Love Tail which won best new comer at the fringe awards in 2010, The Bird Song’a cabaret style production that can be performed in bars and boutique restaurants and Beef and Burlesque a 1920’s style burlesque to accompany a five course meal, performed at Crazy Horse the Steakhouse during Wellington on a plate. Aroha is currently developing a new play called 2080 which will have a development season at Circa Two in June 2014. Aroha has featured in works with production company Tawata such as Sunset Road by Miria George and Tu by Hone Kouka. She has featured in two recent feature films How to Meet Girls From a Distance by Traces of Nuts and Realiti due for release this year directed by Jonathan King.