He Pūranga | Past Projects
Undertow, January 2017
TE PAPA TONGAREWA
Theatre Marae as live performance
In 2017, Te Rākau presented a full public production of Helen Pearse-Otene’s The Ragged at Soundings Theatre in Te Whanaganui-a-Tara (Wellington), New Zealand.
It’s 1840 and all the players are here,
at the bottom of the world,
at the dawn of the great new British Colony:
Port Nicholson, New Zealand, 41.2889° S, 174.7772° E
Newly arrived settlers, escaping an oppressive Victorian England, are finding the Crown’s fingers stretch all the way to this wild, distant land - and they are still stuck on the bottom rung.
Samuel Kenning has arrived “safe and well at the ends of the earth,” ready to claim his land and his better life. He quickly learns, however, that the life and land he has purchased from the New Zealand Company wasn’t theirs to give.
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.