Kia ora koutou and warmest salutations to you and your bubble from us at Nightsong. We thought that now we had a captive audience it was an excellent time to make contact! – and to share what we’ve been up to and also a chance to pause & reflect.
We have just passed a month since we finished a sold-out season at Circa Theatre as part of the New Zealand Festival in Wellington. This of course now feels like it happened a lifetime ago. The waterfront was bustling and we were lucky enough to experience such delights as Laurie Anderson’s Concert for Dogs, a workshop at Toi Whakaari and also to meet up with other artists from around New Zealand and the globe. We then trucked the set back to Auckland overnight and performed a showcase at the PANNZ arts market – or was that just an hallucination? It was great to have all the original cast back including Trygve from Prague with his young son – Phineas. We just managed to finish this all up as Covid-19’s grip started to be felt in NZ.
We were back home just in time to catch the first shows of the Auckland Arts Festival and feel lucky to have caught the opening (and subsequent only night) of Dimanche as well as the fiendishly clever Cold Blood. Many of us across the arts and of course the country have been stopped in our tracks by this damned virus – and our hearts go out to all the individuals and organisations that have had to cancel or postpone work thus far. We mourn the loss of work and dreams that so many have suffered.
In February Carl finished a draft of our new show A Stab In The Dark. Just before Wellington we squeezed in a quick first read of this work – it was great to hear the words and characters come to life (thank you Stephen Lovatt, Kate Elliot and Alison Bruce). The play is set to be a dark thriller – eventually with just one actor on stage, but with a myriad of other elements feeding into a rich theatrical world. Inspired by this read Carl has somewhat relished racing back to his desk and its isolation to work on the second draft:
I want it to be a page turner, where we don’t know what will happen next. Not sure I know that myself yet but I love that feeling. It keeps me curious. It’s always this curiosity that sustains you when you are making a new work. I’m excited to know myself what happens next.
Though with a two and a ten year old sharing his bubble – he has mentioned moments of claustrophobia. But perhaps that is part of this whole experience (and maybe a lesson for anyone else considering a second bash at fatherhood later in life). However the work sits in a bed of unease so undoubtedly this will all contribute to its development and final make-up.
Ben is home with his partner, decrepit Labrador and every other week they are joined by the energy of his 9 year old son. So life is kind of two worlds – one being quite quiet with ebbs and flows in the day and the other full of backyard soccer, silly games, arguments about the need to eat vegetables and lots of laughter. We’re all in a place of unknown – and Nightsong is once again in a place of shifting sands. However it is a world we know – and one we are feeling optimistic about.
One of the things I’ve been up to is trying to sort through the various video clips and other archive material that has not really ever been in one place and trying to organise it (perhaps like sorting the world’s worst linen cupboard) – however I find I get distracted and start watching the production and feeling the work anew. I thought I would share an extract that really impressed upon me the value of theatre and the shared experience. So please if you have a moment do watch the sequence linked below. It’s just over two minutes long and comes from Auckland Live’s Civic season of 360 – a theatre of recollections.
Nightsong had a hugely busy year in the works after the NZ Festival. The development of three new works, touring Te Pō, creating a work in collaboration with Tangaroa College and the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau, and four applications lodged with Creative New Zealand. This of course has now all hit a bump, but we are resilient and will find pathways for these activities. Our current focus is to continue on with the development of these new works and hold the performance plans until these can be achieved.
Thank you so much for being friends and supporters of Nightsong. We really appreciate the support and love we received last year as we weathered our own storm. The response to our Boosted campaign as well as from existing patrons and partners was overwhelming – and helped give us the fortitude we needed at that time.
We’re all in this current maelstrom together and sincerely send you all our best wishes. We look forward to seeing you all in person on the other side to share with you the warmth and glow of the theatre and its bounteous offerings.
Ben and Carl
Photo by Matt Grace // New Zealand Festival of the Arts
Video by Victor Staaf