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Performance about NZ historic icon Annie Chaffey

Performance about NZ historic icon Annie Chaffey comes to Wellington

The award winning play “Solitude”, about the extraordinary NZ pioneering woman Annie Chaffey, is coming to the NZ Fringe Festival 2018.

Golden Bay actor and director Martine Baanvinger has always been fascinated by the late Annie Chaffey, who lived in the remote mountains of the Kahurangi National Park.

Martine says: “Annie entered the mountains in 1913 where she lived with her lover Henry Chaffey in complete isolation, for the next forty years. The play is about Annie’s “love, loneliness, loss and laughter, in raw exile”.

At the Nelson Fringe Festival, Martine Baanvinger was nominated for Best Actress, Best Script and Best Solo Show for her work on the play ‘Solitude’. Mark Manson, who composed the music for the performance, won Best Music/Sound award.

The Dutch born director and actor who is trained at the Theatre Academy in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, now lives in Golden Bay. Martine says she researched the Chaffey’s lives extensively.

“Besides reading a lot about her and interviewing local residents that knew Annie when they were younger, I have also visited Asbestos Cottage and soaked myself in Annie’s living surroundings as much as possible to get in touch with her potential experiences of living in such a remote place,” she said.

Golden Bay musician Mark Manson created the fascinating soundtrack for the play. The performance became a collaboration between Mark and Martine who wrote entire scenes after being inspired by Mark’s musical interpretation. “Mark had the emotion in it, the anxiety in it, the spaces of loneliness, which I described as being in a vacuum, and he created it so beautifully - the uneasiness, the beauty, the nature,” said Martine. “The story I will be performing for you is based on facts about her life, but the emotional and intimate experiences are a reflection of my own imagination. I can only surmise how she met Henry, why she made
certain decisions in her life and how she experienced living in solitude.”

Martine is the founder of the theatre collective DramaLab – which devises performances based on extraordinary people while exploring different shapes and forms of theatrical expression. “Thinking
outside the box is a really important to me.”

This performance is part sponsored by the Tasman District Council Creative Communities Fund

‘Solitude’
Wednesday 21st March – Saturday 24th March at the Preservatorium, 39 Webb Street, Wellington. Tickets at NZ Fringe Festival website or door sales if still available. For more information: www.dramalab.co.nz


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