Performance evokes water world of past

By Alice Lock

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HERITAGE CONNECTION: River Seeds Collective will be performing at this year's Harcourt's Hawke's Bay Arts Festival.
HERITAGE CONNECTION: River Seeds Collective will be performing at this year's Harcourt's Hawke's Bay Arts Festival.

Below the Heretaunga Plains once lay a water world filled with streams, rivers and lagoons.

River Seeds Collective are bringing the river back to life, through their natural masterpiece Edge of a Raindrop in this year's Harcourts Hawke's Bay Arts Festival.

"The river still trickles below the surface even though you do not physically see it or feel it," director Puti Lancaster said.

The group came together three years ago. They have used the element of water as the base for many of their productions.

"It is a common thread, people, places and the space in between can be seen through the river and the banks, it is a relationship together," Ms Lancaster said.

It is a collaboration between Pereri King, actor, Puti Lancaster, director, Marama Beamish, designer and Janis Cheng, lighting designer. They also engaged local researcher Moana Munro to depict the history below the Heretaunga Plains.

"We want to connect people with who they are, understand the context of the place, the influences of the past and the challenges they present," Ms Beamish said.

Festival Co-ordinator Pitsch Leiser said the production showcased a local story that was something you could not just buy off the shelf.

"They offer a unique and different perspective through their work which I find very exciting," Mr Leiser said.

The group worked with the idea that water is an essential element to both the physical and spiritual self.

"Water does not need us but we need it to survive everyday, I mean we are made up of 70 per cent water," Ms Beamish said.

Mr King said he used the Bill T. Jones system to devise his role.

"I help give cues to the audience and then look at what the audience needs to come closer and connect with the story."

He said he would use a collection of storytelling techniques and described his acting as a conversation.

"We are both playing. I want them to engage with me so they take away the true experience with them."

The production is going to be performed in three different venues - Parlour Project, The Famous Spiegeltent and Hastings Community Arts Centre, all in locations where the river once flowed.

"I am excited to perform our opening at the Parlour Project, as the river flowed directly below the carpark. It will make our story come to life," Ms Lancaster said.

"We will be able to get a certain level of intimacy that you would not usually get, the feel and approach will shift with each show," Mr King said. The group invited people to come and experience the "buzzy" and "cool" production that would bring you closer to your heritage.

"It opens you up to a whole new perspective of what was once in our backyard and even if you cannot see it now it still trickles below the surface," Ms Lancaster said.

See Edge of a Raindrop on Friday October 14, 7.30pm at Parlour Projects, 306 Eastborne St East, Hastings, Saturday October 15, 7.30pm at Arts Inc Heretaunga 106 Russell St South Hastings, or Sunday October 16, 5.30pm at Spiegeltent Havelock North.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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