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Under the Same Moon kicks off its nationwide tour

PRESS RELEASE: Under the Same Moon kicks off its nationwide tour

“A keen observation of human nature and family. Its quiet humour and gentle wit make for a very enjoyable night out.”

-Marlise Hughes, Theatreview

Under The Same Moon, a play by award-winning playwright Renee Liang, has kicked off its nationwide tour with Arts On Tour, opening in Gisborne, Tauranga, Hamilton and Whitianga to good crowds and rave reviews. Over the next month the play will travel to audiences in Kaitaia, New Plymouth, Upper Hutt, Marlborough, Golden Bay, Hokitika, Arrowtown, Invercargill, Dunedin, Twizel, Ashburton and Christchurch.

Actress Hweiling Ow is excited to be bringing this play to the regions. “I’ve had the most amazing experiences already,” she says. “People really find the characters relatable. They come afterwards to talk about people they know from their own lives like that.”

The play travels with Chinese tea and snacks to share with audiences after the show. Writer and producer Liang explains, “It’s a traditional expression of hospitality. When someone comes into your home the first thing you do is make a cup of tea and share the local news.” In the same way, she hopes, the stories she tells in the play will resonate with each community that sees it. “I’ve been inspired to write by the lives of my two remarkable grandmothers – who were refugees in war, and successfully raised large families while rebuilding their lives.” In writing her tale of a Chinese grandmother “Por Por” who, comically, escapes her rest home to attend her granddaughter’s wedding in NZ, she also examines the relationships between sisters, mothers and daughters. Tellingly, photos from Liang’s own family album are featured in the set. “Most of my fiction is based on real life.”

The play is directed by Borni Te Rongopai Tukiwaho. What does a Maori director make of a play about a very Chinese-NZ family? “Under The Same Moon is about whanau. It’s about relationships and how we negotiate our way through challenges and the possible rewards when we face our truths and our fears. These themes are universal and transcend race.”

The play delights in demolishing some sacred Kiwi cultural icons and cultural norms, as Liang’s Por Por character embarks on a Kiwi Experience backpacker tour. Liang admits ‘the police get involved.’

Using a line from a Tang Dynasty poem as her inspiration - “Though we are a thousand leagues apart, we all look on the same moon,” Liang also explores the dynamics of migrant families, who are often separated for years. “When we come together, the identities we’ve built up about ourselves are challenged,” she says. “But ultimately, we have to learn how to live together, and function as a whole.”

****

Under The Same Moon tours Sep 6-30 – see http://aotnz.co.nz/index.php?page=touring-now

Written by Renee Liang, starring Hweiling Ow, directed by Borni Te Rongopai Tukiwaho, with lighting and sound design by Sam Mence and set design by Deborah McGuire.

Finalist for Best Play, SWANZ Awards 2015

www.samemoon.nz


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