Think Macbeth. with Laughs. And Tikanga Māori

Press Release – Elephant Publicity

Think Macbeth. with Laughs.

And Tikanga Māori.

Silo Theatre and T.O.A. Productions present
Written by Jason Te Kare, Rob Mokaraka, and Miriama McDowell
Directed by Jason Te Kare

Expect Shakespeare Behind Bars but not as you know it, as the 2017 Auckland Arts Festival sell-out hit CELLFISH returns to Auckland for Silo Theatre’s 2018 season – playing from 13 June at Q Theatre.

Offset with wicked humour, CELLFISH gives agency to the voiceless: characters whose lives are framed by incarceration and challenged by our punitive penal system.

Shakespeare’s got power. Miss Lucy knows it. The themes in his work speak to her. Ambition. Jealousy. Deception. Disorder. She believes in the Bard’s stories, because they’ve helped her understand her own and she thinks they’ll help others find their way too. When she brings her classes to a men’s correctional facility, unexpected talents are revealed and twisted fantasies surface.

Starting a conversation that can’t be ignored, this provocative and hilarious new work focuses on a fiercely determined woman who enters a prison to teach inmates Shakespeare. Creators Miriama McDowell (Find Me a Maori Bride), Jason Te Kare (I, George Nepia) and Rob Mokoraka (Shot Bro) have used real life experiences to underpin and inform their storytelling. Miriama spent nine-weeks working with Jim Moriarty’s Te Rākau Hua O Te Wao Tapu creating theatre with Paparua inmates in Christchurch; Jason is the son of Barbara Te Kare (Nanny Barb) a much respected social worker and well-known Glen Innes community champion. From the age of seven, Jason’s childhood home housed youth at risk, run by his mum initially with very little government funding. He says:

“…The play’s characters remind me of many of the young people I lived with over the years; complex, charming and at times volatile. In that environment, I experienced first-hand the way a young person’s perspective on life can become skewed, so crime and violence are idolised. I also experienced how potent parental and whānau love can be and for some of the teenagers who lived with us, our home was their very first experience of it. Cellfish presents to the audience what happens when lives are void of that love. ”

The clever use of comedy in CELLFISH makes it hard to look away from the tough truths it presents. Challenging the familial cycles of domestic violence and the systemic failings of a highly punitive justice system, this deftly woven narrative creates a very real tension between personal choices and displaced circumstance. How do you avoid making the wrong choice when you’ve never been shown the right one?

Shortland Street’s Jarod Rawiri puts the morally upright Mo Hannah on hold for a bit to return to his first love, the stage. Jarod reignites his long history with Silo Theatre; he’s been performing with Auckland’s most celebrated contemporary theatre company since 2003, in some of their greatest hits: Angels in America, The Brothers Size and Take Me Out. He’s joined onstage by award-winning actor Carrie Green, last seen in Tawata Productions’ Auckland Arts Festival commission Bless the Child. Between them, they shapeshift through seven characters in this riveting two-hander, tag-teaming to create a multiplicity of experience, from determined teacher to well-meaning corrections officer to disenfranchised inmate.

Socially conscious, this is a timely, contemporary unpacking of a lived very real experience for many New Zealanders.

“…An extraordinary achievement … Hilarious, upsetting and profoundly on point with what it has to say about the inter-generational cycle of violence.” – The Spinoff

CELLFISH will have its Wellington premiere with Taki Rua Productions later this year: Nov 7 – 17, Circa Theatre

This Silo season is produced in collaboration with Q Theatre and Taki Rua Productions

Tuesday 13 June – Sunday 24 June 2018
Tuesday & Wednesday, 7pm; Thursday – Saturday, 8pm and Sunday, 5pm
Tickets: $25 – $55 (service fees apply)
Duration: 1 hour and 30 mins
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