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Adam award winning script embarks on tour

Tuatara Collective presents

Offering a roller-coaster of emotion with all the light and dark of human experience, Over My Dead Body: LITTLE BLACK BITCH returns to the stage in 2020 in its fully realised form. Embarking on a three-centre tour with two seasons in Auckland before heading north to Whangarei, this fully professional version of the award-winning script will play March 3-21.

When Matiu took his own life, his little dog Toto took off with the suicide note. The whole community has been turned upside down. When the dog turns up outside Rangi’s window he knows he must help. He must adopt her - whangai - and he must protect and hide her. But as he feeds her, his toto (blood) begins to run deeper and darker than ever before. Rangitoto has awoken. The earth begins to dance, and the sky bleeds. She’s little. She’s black. She’s a bitch.

Winning the 2018 Adam Play Award for Best Play by a Māori Playwright, LITTLE BLACK BITCH is a powerful exploration into the way that suicide affects communities and individuals. Grappling a powerful and hard to discuss topic with grace, nuance and humour, writer and director Jason Te Mete blends mythology and waiata in this black comedy that has been partially inspired by his own history. Channelling his personal experiences wrangling with his own black dog of depression into his debut work as a playwright, this bi-lingual work will be performed by a stellar cast of seven Māori actors – including Bronwyn Turei, Matu Ngaropo and Akina Edmonds.

“Little Black Bitch will not necessarily find a solution to our horrific suicide statistics, but it will provide a platform to have an open kōrero, inspire healing, and remind us that it is the responsibility of the whole whānau to raise our rangatahi and encourage them to take their ‘dog’ for a walk now and then,” said writer and director Jason Te Mete.

The show provides a platform to have an open kōrero about the contemporary mental health epidemic in our community, particularly for Māori males. LITTLE BLACK BITCH is the first in the Over My Dead Body series by Tuatara Collective. Each work will explore a different tentacle of the Te Wheke Māori Health model (where each tentacle represents a specific dimension of health), kicking off with whatumanawa - the open and healthy expression of emotion. Created with funding from the Mental Health Foundation (Like Minds, Like Mine), Creative New Zealand and Auckland Council to safely encourage conversations around mental health, the actors will undergo professional training to facilitate post-show kōrero, with access to an in-house counsellor for both audience members and the cast and crew of the show.

Expanding from the previous development seasons which saw LITTLE BLACK BITCH premiere in Wellington at Kia Mau Festival, the Basement Theatre in Auckland and Waiheke Island in 2019, this tour-ready version of the show has been timed for the PANNZ Arts Market at which Tuatara Collective will be pitching for opportunities to tour nationally and overseas. A new company formed to focus on collaboration to translate stories about Aotearoa into art, LITTLE BLACK BITCH is part of the Over My Dead Body series by Jason Te Mete, which also includes UNINVITED which had a development season as part of Auckland Pride Festival 2019.

Te Mete (Ngāti Ranginui) is a highly skilled multidisciplinary artist, previously working as a freelance actor, singer, dancer, director, vocal coach, and musical director, in addition to his classical training as a pianist. With dozens of credits under his belt as an actor and musical director in recent years, Jason received outstanding reviews for his performance and musical direction of the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival season of K'Rd Strip which earned 5-star international reviews, and has directed over 30 musicals, including The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which won 9 NAPTA Awards including Best Musical, Best Director and Best Ensemble Cast. Te Mete has also created several waiata for Little Black Bitch, the first time his original songs have been performed in a professional context.

Over My Dead Body: LITTLE BLACK BITCH plays:
Mangere Arts Centre, Auckland – March 3-8
TAPAC, Auckland – March 11-14
OneSixSix, Whangarei – March 18-21

With support from Creative New Zealand, the Mental Health Foundation (Like Minds, Like Mine) and Auckland Council.

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