Monday, 4 February 2013

Sydney Festival: Masi

Sydney Festival 2013
Seymour Centre: January 20 - 25, 2013

Presented by New Zealand Theatre Company The Conch, Masi tells the story of Ratu Noa Nawalowalo, a High Chief of Kadavu and Mary Tancock, the daughter of Cambridge educated schoolmasters. A chance meeting over a game of chess in Wellington during the 1950's spawns a romance that would last decades. Directed by Nina Nawalowalo, their daughter, the story begins as she uncovers the secrets of her parents. As she reveals the history of her parents meeting it is played out in front of us through stage illusions designed by Paul Kieve which includes original images projected onto screens.   

This technique is impressive, if a bit over-used, and successfully demonstrates the characters progression. A highlight was definitely the members of Fiji's Kabu hi Vanua Dance Group who performed a stunning routine that lifted the entire production. Masi, traditionally known as intricately printed textiles made from beaten bark of the paper mulberry tree, incorporates beautiful tradition with a contemporary love story. As the story unfolds the audience is taken on a journey accompanied by a gorgeous soundtrack composed by Gareth Farr. Absolutely stunning.     
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