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  • Writer's pictureTE RĀKAU

Kaupapa 'engaging at every level'

11 February 2020

John Smythe reviews the development season of The Swing for Theatreview.


A large group of people gather together for a photo, some crouched on the groun and others celebrating behind them
John Smythe reviews the development season of The Swing | Aneta Pond 2020

As a Theatre Marae play being presented in a short development season to an invited audience only, this iteration of The Swing was not to be reviewed.

Then on the day of its premiere, its makers decided it was ready to take its place in the written record of Te Rākau plays by Kaituhi/ Playwright Helen Pearse-Otene, brought to life by Kaitohu/ Director and their Paepae Auaha/ Creative Team and Kaiwhakaari/ Performers (most recently The Undertow quartet).

Yes indeed, it most certainly does cry out to be acknowledged, celebrated and supported – on behalf of all those it seeks to serve.

But first, an awareness of its cultural context and evolution will help us understand how profoundly important and powerful this work is for multiple levels of our social infrastructure.

“Theatre Marae applies the complementary spiritual, social and political concepts of the Greek theatre and Marae into a performance hui,” a programme note reminds us.

The Swing has evolved from Helen Pearse-Otene’s two decades of working with survivors, perpetrators and family members as a programme facilitator, group therapist, researcher and now as a registered psychologist.

Read more on the Theatreview website.

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