Saturday, March 06, 2010

Festival Days

Wellington is tiny for a capital city - you can walk everywhere. And you bump into people you know - like in Hereford or something. I was passing the Te Papa museum, and saw Helen, who used to be the NZ Cultural Attache in London. We reminisced about our House of Commons lunch, and she told me that my comparative lack of jet lag was a sign that I was meant to stay here... I suspect it's got more to do with Melatonin, which you can't buy over the counter in England or New Zealand (not sure why), but which is freely available when changing planes in South Korea!

Creative New Zealand have booked me in to see lots of home-grown work. The most extraordinary so far is a play called Apollo 13: Mission Control, in which the audience sit at the ranks of 70s computer desks remembered from the lunar era, and participate in a cleverly constructed comic recreation of the crisis. It's all engineered so that the audience are actually just vehicles to relay information - but it's managed in such a way that it all feels very spontaneous. At one point, the phone on my desk went.

Me: Hello.
Voice: This is President Nixon. Can I speak with Gene Kranz, please?
Gene Kranz actor: Who is it?
Me: It's the President.
Gene: I'm not here....
Me: Sorry - he's just popped out....
Voice: I'm the President of the United States, and I demand to speak with him!
Me: It's President Nixon on the phone!
(Gene writes "Hang up" on the blackboard. I hang up. Laughter all around)

You get the idea.

I also saw a solo show with music called Ship Songs, with an actor called Ian Hughes telling the story of how his parents met (amongst other things). It sounds sentimental, but it wasn't. This afternoon I was at a concert by the NZ Trio. Alongside some extraordinary premieres of Piano Trios with video enhancement (close-ups of golf balls being rolled across the piano strings), they played Beethoven's Trio "The Ghost", which we use in Re-Orientations. Except they only played the first movement - which isn't very ghostly at all. We use the second.

It's actually been an eventful couple of days on the Trilogy project too, even though I'm out here. Funding confirmed from the Commonwealth Foundation and from the Swedish Consulate in China. Very festive....

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