This week on drama on the waterfront, meet the cast and hear from the designers of Pasefika, Circa’s show for the New Zealand Festival.
From the cast
“Insane! I love it!” My immediate reaction on reading this wonderful, articulate romp through French history. Stuart has given us all the theatrical elements, the intrigue, the dissembling, the emotional turmoil, the pleasure and the drama that only ‘ze’ French could experience in one day, let alone in 2 hours.
Loving working with the Circa team again. Can’t wait to share this craziness with the audiences.”
“It is an honour to be sharing the stage with some of NZs finest actors, and a wonderful challenge to get inside the mind of Charles Meryon.”
Jeanne Cudal/Madame Bourgeois
“Pasefika is an inspiring production to be involved in; the rehearsal room is buzzing. An exciting new script, a creative design team that’s twice the usual size, and the added zest of being part of the Festival. It’s like Theatre Christmas in February.”
“I feel as is Stuart was living in Paris with Meryon and Baudelaire while he was writingPasefika. His words are cheeky, challenging, lusty and a pleasure to commit to memory.”
There’s no escaping Pasefika as a complex design proposition. A weaving of diverse cultures, multiple locations, and I think most intriguingly; of memories. Stuart Hoar pronounces his surrealism by anachronistically allowing the play to slip in and out of its historical period. Contemporary urban references float through Paris in the late 1800’s, and as in the central character’s art works, the boundaries of culture, geography and physics become blurred in recall. During the design process I’ve been fascinated by the way in which the mind reconstitutes images from memory, and the distortion of facts by feelings. Charles Meryon’s etchings reflect a hyper-real amalgam of both his experience and his emotional responses, with the effect of endorsing perception over reality. I suppose that this has become my key premise in designing Pasefika. An attempt, if you will, to chronicle a landscape of the mind.
In collaborating with 3 other very talented designers (in the areas of AV, sound and light) I’ve also been conscious of trying to maintain a sense of space for the audience to allow room for the viewers imagination to engage with the work.
Pasefika is a play that thinks a lot about conventionality, both in art and in history, and explores the life of someone who breaks with it. It seems only right to follow this lead, and break with a lot of lighting conventions as well.
We’re working with a layering of angle and texture along (and even through) the set, and are repurposing an architectural light-work that bridges traditional light and projection in order to incorporate it as well.
The AV (video projection) in this show is used as a very important part of creating each scene as well as aiding in the story telling. As the design of the show is very abstract compared to standard realism, the video projection thrives on this freedom to create and aid in the turmoil and visions of the characters.
When Captain Cook first heard traditional maori music he was awed and unnerved by its passion but unfamiliarity and out of tune-ness to the western ear. Meryon must have had similar experiences of the natural soundscape and music of New Zealand, that haunted him for decades to come.
Instead of focussing on realism, the sound design and music of Pasefika focuses on creating for the audience the same sense of infatuating otherness, and a dreamlike juxtaposition 19th century France, New Zealand, and New Zealand today.
Pasefika is on at Circa Theatre from 22 Feb – 16 March. For Festival dates, please book through Ticketek (details below). For the post-Festival season, please book at Circa (details below).
BOOKINGS: for performances 22 Feb-16 Mar (New Zealand Festival), call TICKETEK on 0800 842 538 (www.festival.co.nz or www.ticketek.co.nz)
BOOKINGS: for performances 21 Feb and 18-29 March, call Circa Theatre on 801-7992 (www.circa.co.nz)
Show Times: Tue and Wed 6.30pm, Thu-Sat 8.00pm, Sun 4.00pm.