Performance poet Grace Taylor has created a boldly experimental fusion of theatre and verse that offers a fresh perspective on the sprawling contrasts of Auckland City.
Opening with an impassioned declaration of independence, the show takes us on a poetic journey into an unseen city that reveals its secrets through intensely personal stories, seasoned with down-to-earth humour and unexpected beauty.
An assortment of sharply drawn characters step out of the poems and are given a life of their own by the three-person cast.
Gaby Solomona captures the staunch posture of a South Auckland teenager, glaring out from the shadow of her hoodie before opening like a flower to speak of the pain of abandonment and the consolation in trying to forge a better path for her child.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
With a deftly handled role change she also delivers a blistering satire on the gushing enthusiasm with which well-heeled arts organisations patronise the raw talent of Pacific Island youth.
Fasitua Amosa has great fun as "the lady next door" who offers the aspiring poet an honest appraisal of her work and mercilessly punctures her anxieties about cultural identity. He doubles as an amiable biker presenting a commentary on the history concealed beneath the bland contours of Auckland suburbs.
Playing herself, Grace Taylor draws us into the quizzical perspective of a poet collecting impressions of the city and crafting them into verse. At one stage the words themselves are brought to life as the actors tussle with each other over a poetic image.
Jessika Verryt's geometric set is enlivened with kinetic lighting by Rachel Marlow and the neatly understated sound design from Anonymouz carries an urban Pacific vibe.
What: My Own Darling
Where: Mangere Arts Centre - Nga Tohu o Uenuku, to October 24.