Stories of Everest step from the shadow

By Nathan Crombie nathan.crombie@age.co.nz -
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Actors Edwin Wright (left) and Stephen Lovatt, who in the play Everest Untold respectively play Kiwi climber George Lowe and Sir John Hunt. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Actors Edwin Wright (left) and Stephen Lovatt, who in the play Everest Untold respectively play Kiwi climber George Lowe and Sir John Hunt. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Stories that have lain buried in the shadow of the world's tallest mountain will come to life in Wairarapa when the Kiwi play Everest Untold is staged at Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History.

The production, penned by Auckland playwright Gareth Davies, is part of Arts on Tour New Zealand and will play in association with Masterton promotion company Up With People at Aratoi on Thursday, July 21.

Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the first climbers to summit Mount Everest on May 29, 1953, were part of a team that included leader Sir John Hunt and Kiwi climber George Lowe, who are the central characters in Everest Untold.

Sir John had top billing in promotional material for the 1953 film The Conquest of Everest and Lowe had been a climbing partner and life-long friend of Sir Ed.

Davies, who visited Nepal in the early 1990s and met Sir Ed, said he had long been enchanted by Nepal and enthralled with the 1953 expedition and his exhaustive research had revealed little-known "untold nuggets" that deserved to be heard.

Everest Untold seeks to expose the collective dreams, personal sacrifices and the part Lowe and Hunt had played in what was a momentous moment in history.

"People forget that climbing Everest was a real team effort and while Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the top -- and not to take anything away from that achievement -- they were part of a much larger team that has been forgotten about."

Actors Stephen Lovatt (Angels in America and The Book of Everything) plays Hunt and Edwin Wright (Manifesto 2083 and Slow West) plays Lowe. The pair have been touring New Zealand with the play under director Toby Leach (Wheeler's Luck) and the Masterton date is part of a North Island run that includes Upper Hutt, Whitianga and Hamilton.

Everest Untold plays at Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History from 7.30pm on Thursday, July 21. Tickets cost $30 apiece and bookings may be made online at eventfinda.co.nz or through upwithpeople.co.nz.

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