He Pūranga | Past Projects
Undertow, January 2017
TE PAPA TONGAREWA
Theatre Marae as live performance
In 2017, Te Rākau presented the premier season of Helen Pearse-Otene’s The Landeaters at Soundings Theatre in Te Whanaganui-a-Tara (Wellington), New Zealand.
Entangled in the roots of a beloved willow tree
- where the ancient ones reside -
somewhere just between today and tomorrow
an old man and his roots
are digging in against
Wayne Tinkerman, after months of wrangling with red-tape and a disgruntled community, has finally landed his prize - demolition has begun, making way for his new subdivision on Wellington’s south coast. All that stands in his way now is an ancient willow tree and a stubborn old man.
Harry Kenning has taken up residence in the roots of that willow tree, cocooned in all that remains of his family’s homestead and his people’s lands at Te Miti. The Vietnam war veteran shows no sign of retreat, even as the earthmovers arrive on his doorstep.
The Ragged was presented as Chapter 1 of a quartet of plays called The Undertow, in an epic repertory theatre event at Te Papa Tongarewa.
The quartet explores our bi-cultural history and significant events in Aotearoa New Zealand through the eyes of six generations of one family.
While themselves works of fiction, the plays are deeply researched and rooted in the history and the sentiments of the times in which they are set.
All four chapters of The Undertow were filmed by professional cinematographers to create digital theatre recordings. Find out more about The Undertow and access the recordings here.
You can get your own copy of The Ragged and all the plays in the Undertow series, or watch the television series online.
If you have stories, profiles, photos or interviews from this production, get in touch.