Q’s Rangatira hums with the warmth of a congenial audience. Here in support of the opening of Marama, many appear to have Pacific heritage and everyone is excited at the prospect of this work, including myself. Gentle harp-like chords pluck at the edges of our awareness as Gareth Farr’s composition unfolds, weaving through the hazy auditorium.
Visceral and tacit are two words that come straight to mind as the stage comes alive. We feel the power of the women as they give themselves over to the performance. We experience the power of Marama. Strong. Graceful. Mesmerising. We are carried trance-like through these women’s homelands, seeing a jungle that transforms to local bush as they journey through their lived experiences that are recorded through Marama. We all feel the political contention/tension behind the work, communicated through the set and as an unwritten statement that the performers make.
Marama is a beautiful, beautiful creation of sound, light and movement, certainly a work for director Nina Nawalowalo and The Conch to be proud of. It is dark. Intense. Striking. Necessary. The dialogue between music and movement, props and performers moves us along a delicious pathway, drawing us beyond the destruction of deforestation to offer a slither of hope for regrowth and nourishment.
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