The Conch & Paul Kieve: Masi

Press Release – New Zealand International Arts Festival

Acclaimed Pacific theatre company The Conch and legendary British illusionist Paul Kieve, magic advisor for the Harry Potter films, join forces to create a truly magical new play.

Masi (1) PIC CREDIT Phillip Merry
Masi PIC CREDIT Phillip Merry

THEATRE: NZ/UK/FIJI

WORLD PREMIERE

“Full of an almost baptismal joy.” The Guardian (UK)

Acclaimed Pacific theatre company The Conch and legendary British illusionist Paul Kieve, magic advisor for the Harry Potter films, join forces to create a truly magical new play.

Drawing on The Conch’s strongly visual and physical style, Masi will explore the history, mythology and craft of masi, or Fijian tapa cloth. Masi is also the remarkable love story of Artistic Director Nina Nawalowalo’s parents. A Fijian chief and an English nurse, they met in 1950s Wellington, New Zealand, where they were captured playing chess by budding young photographer Ans Westra.

Masi weaves Westra’s gorgeous 1950s images, traditional Fijian chant and dance and the magical illusions of Paul Kieve (fresh from the West End hit Ghost) to produce a deeply evocative story of loss and memory. Like the patterns of the masi, it is about the lines that make us who we are, Nawalowalo says.

“I recognised in the masi a map back to my own cultural roots, which as a Fijian New Zealander I feel, but are also mysterious to me. Like the masi tree itself they sank into the dark, warm soil of Fiji. I felt that if I traced the paths indicated by these fibres, I might find my way back. To a time and place.”

Masi promises the same mesmerising qualities that made The Conch’s Vula a critically acclaimed international hit. Sydney’s Sun Herald called that production “hypnotic, ritualistic, sweetly humorous and brimming with joyful womanliness;, Vula is a window on a world seldom seen in the theatre”.

The Conch was established in Wellington in 2002 by Artistic Director Nina Nawalowalo and Associate Director Tom McCrory to create ground-breaking Pacific theatre that honours both the essence of traditional practice and the values of international theatre production.

Masi is at Soundings Theatre, Te Papa from 2 to 6 March for the 2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival, Wellington, 24 February – 18 March. Tickets $58 available from Ticketek.

ENDS

Sponsored by Nielsen

With support from Creative New Zealand and the British Council

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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