Move at Mangere Arts Centre | Review

Kinetic Wayfinding’s dance theatre play Move, an exploration of how young people face complex issues and emotions, opened at the Mangere Arts Centre on May 23. LAUMATA LAUANO went along to see the show and see how the cast have progressed since their first opening night at Te Oro in Glen Innes

 

Jennifer Perez as Lupe Source - Facebook

 

To have a good talented cast is one thing, to have the means to allow that cast and crew to produce something worth their talent is another.

 

Bringing Move to the Mangere Arts Centre is probably the best thing Kinetic Wayfinding could have done for their dance theatre play.

 

It gives the cast much more room to work with and the proper equipment available to do their show justice.

 

Set in present day South Auckland the play follows the lives of brother and sister, Mark and Lupe (played by Isaac Ah Kiong and Jennifer Perez respectively), following the death of their father.

 

Both characters are affected by their dad’s passing in similar ways. However they deal with the death differently and the character who resonates the most with the audience is perhaps Lupe.

 

Not just because of Perez’s stunning portrayal of a typical teenager whose life goes from bad to worse in the span of a scene change, but because of the way she is shown to battle her demons.

 

More or less alone.

 

Mark, albeit dealing with added responsibilities of becoming the man of the house, has his boyfriend Diamond (fabulously played by Darren Tanuie) to help him through it. Ah Kiong does a great job as Mark, and gels well with both Tanuie and Perez.

 

Lupe, however, appears to battle her depression and thoughts of suicide on her own. Which is what a lot of young Pacific people find themselves doing and rarely does it work out well. It’s why suicide rates amongst Pacific youth are so high.

 

It’s understandable that Lupe’s story isn’t completely resolved by the end of the play, because that’s not how life works.

 

However, perhaps on top of the abstract dance that symbolises her inner struggle to come to terms with what happened to her, there’s something that indicates she reaches out to someone else.

 

As a whole the play works, the use of digital media is both engaging and familiar for ‘generation smartphone’.

 

But I do think, even upon a second viewing, the play could have done without Dance (Maxine Kololo), Music (Sisi Patea), Creativity (Valentino Maliko) and Word (Mosese Ah Hi) introducing themselves.

 

While it made for good little monologues from each actor, it seems a bit patronising to the audience as it doesn’t allow them to draw their own conclusions about each character’s function which may or may not be obvious from the way they interact with other characters and the audience.

 

The dances are all moving, the fusion of Pacific and contemporary dance and music was beautiful to see and hear, and the comedic moments which offer relief from hard-hitting issues are well-timed and don’t undermine the overall message of the play.

 

There’s a lot of talent in Auckland and it’s great to see it utilised.

 

See Patea and Maliko perform the song Move from the play written and composed by Patea, below

 

 

The play is written & directed by Heto Ah Hi (Siones Wedding, Tautai, and Black Faggot) alongside Leilani Clarke (Running with the Bulls, Plantation, and The Tautai of Digital Winds).

 

Having lost their youngest daughter to suicide 3 years ago Heto and Leilani's purpose is to increase suicide awareness and prevention in the community by using theatre to share stories of hope, resiliency, family and strength, while focusing on Pacific youth.

 

See the play at the Mangere Arts Centre, Cnr Orly Ave and Bader Drive, Mangere
Mon 23 May – Sat 4 June 2016, 7:30pm
Click here to buy tickets.

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