Monday 24, November at 7:30pm:
Indigenous Theatre from Aotearoa (New Zealand): Opening Panel Discussion
Opening Panel Discussion with playwrights Makerita Urale (Samoa), and Victor Rodger (Samoa) and Actress Nancy Brunning (Maori). Excerpted Staged Readings of Frangipani Perfume, by M. Urale and My Name is Gary Cooper, by V. Rodger followed by Post-Show Discussions.
Tuesday 25, November at 7:30pm:
Staged Reading of Frangipani Perfume by Makerita Urale followed by Post-Show Discussion with the playwright and featured actor Nancy Brunning.
Frangipani Perfume is a powerful and sensual black comedy about three Samoan sisters who have left their childhood home in the Pacific to work as cleaners in New Zealand.
Wednesday 26, November at 7:30pm:
Staged Reading of My Name is Gary Cooper by Victor Rodger followed by Post-Show Discussion with the playwright and featured actors Robbie Magasiva (Maori) and Anapela Polataivao (Samoa).
My Name is Gary Cooper is a roller-coaster ride through cultural appropriation and the impact of the American film industry on the South Pacific (and vice-versa).
Australian Aboriginal Theatre Initiative, Inc. is a nonprofit 501c3 organization. Donations to “Australian Aboriginal Theatre Initiative, Inc.” are fully deductible to the full extent permitted by law.
photo: courtesy of the playwright
Born in Samoa, Makerita Urale grew up in her father's village on the island of Savaii before moving to New Zealand in the 1970s. A published playwright, documentary director and arts Producer, she has worked in theatre and television in New Zealand for more than 15 years developing a strong Pacific voice in the arts. Frangipani Perfume was the first play written by a Pacific woman for an all-female cast and was nominated Most Original Production at Chapmann Tripp Theatre Awards, and voted Top 10 Plays of the Decade by literary magazine The Listener in 2000. Frangipani Perfume is studied at Victoria and Otago Universities and has toured nationally and internationally.
Ms. Urale writes for the NZ Ministry of Education's Learning Media unit and has published numerous stories and journals for schools as well as plays for children. Her short film Hibiscus, produced by He Taonga Films was screened on TVNZ. A former journalist for Radio New Zealand, she has also freelanced as a writer for various publications focusing on Arts and the Pacific, including New Internationalist magazine. Ms. Urale has extensive experience as a Producer, including major productions for the NZ International Festival of the Arts and recently at Te Papa National Museum of New Zealand for a 3 day festival launching the new permanent Pacific exhibition, Tangata O Le Moana.
As a documentary director, she has worked for New Zealand's indigenous Maori Television Channel - Children of the Revolution, and for TVNZ including Gang Girl - Tarnz's Story (W.A.F.F. Finalist 2007 Best Short Documentary), Mob Daughters (2005 TVNZ), Pasefika Festival (2005 1Hr TVNZ Special) and Nesian Mystik (TVNZ 2004) filmed in London, Tonga & NZ. As a freelance her programs include the award winning Arts series Living Room (TV3) and recently the new arts series The Gravy for TVNZ's new digital channel TVNZ6. She is the director/producer of the independent documentary Savage Symbols (premiered 2002 NZ International Film Festival) filmed in New Zealand and Samoa, and the low budget experimental art documentary The Other Day in Paradise which premiered at the New York Paradise Now? Exhibition 2004. She is also the Producer of numerous award winning music videos for hip hop artist King Kapisi including Sub-Cranium Feeling, (Best Music Video - Flying Fish Awards, b.Net Awards, Mai Time TVNZ Awards) Reverse Resistance and many others.
Ms. Urale speaks internationally about her work in theatre and film and is fluent in Samoan with conversational Maori. Currently, she is working on numerous arts projects in theatre, film and television; including Film Producer of Journey to Ihipa (funded by the NZ Film Commission) directed by Nancy Brunning, completing a new script for theatre The Dream Sleeper and Creative Mentor for New Zealand's premier contemporary dance company Legacy Dance Crew (finalist 2006 World Hip Hop Champs in L.A.).
Photo: Stephen Lang
Victor Rodger is a New Zealand-born playwright, journalist and actor of Samoan and Scottish descent. My Name is Gary Cooper was originally commissioned by Taki Rua Theatre Productions and premiered by Auckland Theatre Company. Paul Simei-Barton in the NZ Herald called it an “elegant revenge drama” hailing the play as greatly extending the range of Pacific Island writing.
His first foray into professional writing was writing stories for EARS, National Radio's children’s program. His semi-autobiographical first play, Sons, was accepted into the 1994 Australasian Playwrights Workshop and subsequently premiered in Christchurch.
In 1995, Mr. Rodger attended Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School, graduating in 1997, the same year as his second play, Cunning Stunts was performed at BATS as part of Young and Hungry 1997. In 1998, Victor re-wrote Sons and it was performed at Downstage Theatre winning four Chapman Tripp Awards including Most Outstanding New Writer and Most Outstanding New New Zealand Play.
Mr. Rodger has worked as a writer and storyliner for NZTV Shortland Street, as well as having acted in various films, plays and TV series including Stickmen and Mercy Peak. He was commissioned by the New Zealand Festival to complete Ranterstantrum which featured in the Festival's 2002 program. He also won the 2001 Sunday Star Times Bruce Mason Playwriting Award. Mr. Rodger was the Fulbright Creative New Zealand Pacific Island Writer-in-Residence at the University of Hawaii.
Nancy Brunning (Ngati Raukawa, Ngäi Tühoe) trained for two years at Te Kura Toi Whakaari o Aotearoa in 1990-1991, where she was introduced to professional Mäori Theatre at Taki Rua Depot and has worked consistently for the organisation promoting Mäori culture and language as an actor; dramaturge; director; artistic director and board member.
Since 1994 she has worked as an actor in the Wellington International Festival of the Arts (WIFOTA); NZ’s biggest arts festival in Hide ‘n’ Seek, Waiora which toured NZ, Brighton Festival and Hawaii, Beauty and the Beast and Blue Smoke. She also performs with Taki Rua Theatre Productions, Downstage Theatre in Wellington and the Auckland Theatre Company. Assistant Director: The Songmaker’s Chair, invited to the 2004 WIFOTA, and Awhi Tapu, both as part of AK 03 Festival of the Arts. Director: Woman Far Walking which toured NZ Manchester, Cardiff and participated in the Pacific Arts Festival in Palau. TV: Shortland Street, Whanau and Nga Tohu/Signatures, Best Actress, 2000. Film: what’s become of the broken hearted?, Best Actress, 1999; Crooked Earth, Best Actress nomination and Strength of Water.
Ms. Brunning has worked as a dramaturge for Mäori writers both in English and te reo Mäori; she has directed shows for Taki Rua theatre productions both in English and te reo Mäori and has been a chaperone and acting coach for the short films Kerosene Creek and Two Cars One Night, nominated for an Oscar. Currently Ms. Brunning is working on two projects as a director for TV and Film: He Kuaka Marangaranga and Journey to Ihipa.