How much weight should we give to astrology?
If you're a sceptic, you'll say none at all but, if you think there might be something in this zodiac business, you're far from alone. It's a question that's played on many minds through the centuries and has now piqued the attention of theatre-maker Alice Canton.
Canton's followed her natural instincts and is making a show about the subject that stays true to her love of documentary-style theatre and involving the community in her productions. She describes Year of the Tiger as more of a live arts project, where a group of strangers -born between 1938 and 2010 - meet on stage for a series of questions, challenges and provocations to test whether astrologers might, in fact, be on to something.
The 70 participants were all born in the Year of the Tiger, one of the Chinese zodiac's 12 animal signs and are supposed to share traits like curiosity, competitiveness, bravery, confidence, stubbornness and charm.
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Canton, herself a tiger, wants to see if common threads can be detected and cheerfully acknowledges that she won't see any of the participants until half an hour before they're due on stage. Tiger confidence at work?
Perhaps but Canton has good form when it comes to this kind of theatre. Her production (Other [Chinese]) united 100 performers, all from the community, to share life stories of what it meant to be Chinese in contemporary Auckland. It earned her an excellence award for overall production and the Hackman Cup for most original production at the 2017 Auckland Theatre Awards as well as a nod from Metro Magazine, which named it best show of that year.
"I think there's a real pleasure in this type of work where people can have quite insightful moments and be able to share that with a wider group. There's something quite profound about people learning 'stuff' about themselves and one another. I think it's just the most subversive act of taking over a stage and re-writing the way stories are told."
Year of the Tiger is at the Basement Theatre, March 10-21.