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World Premiere Of Things That Matter Brings Best-selling Memoir To Life

“It’s as if a poet had been commissioned to write an episode of ER”

Elisabeth Easter, The New Zealand Listener

For more than 30 years, Dr David Galler has worked on the frontlines of New Zealand’s health system as an intensive care specialist at Middlemore Hospital and in its highest reaches as an advisor to the Ministry of Health. His 2017 book, Things That Matter: Stories of life & death, shines a powerful light on the extraordinary patients he met and the struggles our society faces in caring for them.

Developed over several years, Auckland Theatre Company presents an important new New Zealand play by award-winning playwright Gary Henderson, adapted from Galler’s generous and lyrical memoir. Things That Matter will take centre-stage for its world premiere at ASB Waterfront Theatre this August, exploring some of the most challenging decisions that health practitioners, families and communities face today.

Featuring a large cast and creative team of top New Zealand talent, Things That Matter deftly weaves Galler’s story of his working life, full of compassionate human insight gained from working inside Aotearoa’s busiest hospital in South Auckland, with that of his Jewish Polish immigrant parents.

Director Anapela Polata’ivao (Wild Dogs Under My Skirt, The Factory, Alofagia: Le Opera) says, “When I first read Things That Matter, I was reminded of how fragile life is and the reality that we’re all one step away from our inevitable fate. Death does not discriminate. It does not discriminate on colour or wealth, or whether you’re a good person or not.

This play shares a story of humanity, mana and resilience through a common thread of life-altering experiences in the corridors of the ICU at Middlemore Hospital. There are some hard hitting truths about the impacts of the current health system on those living below the poverty line. These are real and important stories to bring to the fore as a point of talanoaga (discussion) for our communities.”

The experienced cast stars veteran Kiwi actor/director Ian Hughes (The Brokenwood Mysteries, Ship Songs, Lord of The Rings) as Galler’s fictional on-stage character ‘Raf Beckman’, with Donogh Rees (The Gulf, Julius Caesar, Shortland Street), Nicola Kāwana (Kūpapa, Astroman, Rendered), Greg Johnson (Much Ado About Nothing, Outrageous Fortune, The World’s Fastest Indian), Shaan Kesha (Power Rangers, KURA, My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak), Gabrielle Solomona (SIS, Fresh TV, UPU) and Jen Huang (The Brokenwood Mysteries, The Wilds, Jacinda) in leading roles. Vaiari Ivirangi (Fresh Dates, Welcome to Thebes, Icarus), David Aston (Heroes, Enlightenment, The Matrix) Margaret-Mary Hollins (Owls Do Cry, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time, Dirty Laundry), Aleni Tufuga (Shortland Street, The Tattooist, The Factory), Petmal Lam (Wild Dogs Under My Skirt, The Wizard of Otahuhu, Think of A Garden) and Elsie Ropati also join the large ensemble.

The creative team led by director Anapela Polata’ivao includes set and lighting designer Rachel Marlow (Black Lover, Wild Dogs Under My Skirt, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, costume designer Nic Smillie (The Master Builder, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Filthy Business), with acclaimed composer Poulima Salima (Anamuā, The Factory, Alofagia: Le Opera) and sound designer Kingsley Spargo (The Haka Party Incident) completing the exciting creative line-up.

Things That Matter is an empowering new play about human connection and all there is to celebrate in life.

Hutia te rito o te harakeke
Kei whea to kōmako e kō?
Ki mai ki ahau
He aha te mea nui o te Ao?
Maku e kī atu,
He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata

If the heart of the harakeke was removed,
Where would the bellbird sing?
If I was asked what was the most important thing in the world
I would be compelled to reply,
It is people, it is people, it is people
Ngā Whakataukī

The world premiere season of Things That Matter plays at ASB Waterfront Theatre 17 – 29 August. Tickets are on sale now.

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