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Saturday, March 26, 2011


I have been lucky this week. It is not often I get the chance to go out to see live theatre twice in one week but circumstances fell into place and lucky for me.
Really, luck had nothing to do with it as I try to get to see (and take the family) to as much live theatre as it humanly possible and living in Palmy means there is plenty of opportunity.  For a small city we have a great range of options available all year round and rarely would a week go by when there is not a new production to see (and I am not talking about the Wiggles on Tour).
This week it was Shakespeare in the Park with a “Midsummer Night’s Dream”.  A creative and alternative production of this classic, sculpted to life by Jaime Dorner, our resident UCOL Performing Arts Director.  What a treat!
This was followed by yet another superb production from the collaboration of Palmerston North Girls High and Palmerston North Boys High. “GREASE”, well did that take me back to my youth? You betya...and I sang along! Chris Burton, “I am hopeless devoted” to your direction of these talented students (is that bad? couldn’t resist).
So that was the week-that-was......but what you may ask, has this got to do with Dead or (A)live?
My week-that-was has got me all worried that you guys don’t see enough live theatre.  We should all do it, all the time.  Ditch the TV and get out in front of real people, telling real stories. 
I will, wherever possible take the entire Costello tribe with me.  Even Miss 6, late as it can sometimes be, enjoys every moment and given the choice of sitting at home in front of the telly they all jump at the chance to head to the theatre.
So what does it do for us?                                  
  • ·         It tunes us into other people, their emotions and their decisions.
  • ·         It allows us the chance to watch and learn without the concerns that real life brings.
  • ·         It helps us to develop a critical eye for reality.
  • ·         It trains us to focus and pay rewind on the stage.
  • ·         It provides us with opportunities to be part of an audience, to feel the tensions and the emotions around us.
  • ·         It provides the fodder for real discussion and debate.
So my challenge to theatre is not just about people running around the stage in costumes, not just for the arty fartys, not just for the literature loving academics amongst is for all of us.  Humans have been telling stories this way since time began. It’s what makes us different from the other critters roaming the planet.

There are more ways to enjoy it than you might think, here are just a few:
·         A live sports game (one day cricket is a blinder, not test mind you...nothing dramatic about test cricket, I say).  Loads of tension and you just don't get on the TV, stacks of drama, real people with a goal, wanting real results. If that’s not drama, what is?

·         Live music, a band or solo performer...WOW.

·         Visit a court room...if you can get in, many sessions are open...heaps of drama there. Although sometimes the actors leave a lot to be desired but watching a great barrister at work is indeed a performance in itself.

·         Don’t turn your nose up at school productions either. You don’t have to know anyone in the show to buy a ticket.  The hours of work and professional focus is often truly inspirational. The little kids love these and they are really affordable too.

QUESTION: What is dead? Answer: Anything two dimensional (that includes Shrek 3 in 3D)
QUESTION: What is live?   Answer: Anything with real people telling real stories.
To finish I would like to steal (or borrow) a quote from our local theatre promotion a few years back.
Theatre is life, television is furniture!
(Disclaimer...I am a true film buff too and a great movie it truly a work of art, I am only suggesting you share your love around)

Monday, March 7, 2011

How much is too much?

Cake, wine, sleep.....there are many things that beg the much is too much?  In this weeks blog I am referring to talking.
Earlier last week my husband and I sat down to enjoy a programme with Nigel Latta and his witty advice on how to live with teenagers.  We already have one teenager and another on the way and we certainly feel like we need all the help we can get.  While I chuckled often,  Mr Costello laughed out loud at the top of his lungs the whole time.  So, what was so funny? On closer consideration, it became clear that what Mr Costello was finding entertaining was quite different to what I was enjoying.  He was indeed in fits of laughter at the advice given to mothers to "shut up and say less" when talking to their teenage sons (I was chuckling at the prospect of Mr Costello having a deep and meaningful conversation with the teenage daughter about what was on her mind).
So how much it too much? (in this case I am talking about laughing at me!)
After the programme I discovered that I was in a particularly grumpy mood and this was simply down to the fact that my partner in parenting had "laughed too much" at what he saw as my flawed parenting techniques.  So what if I find it cathartic to berate the 14 year old for at least ten minutes as to the reasons why I find it offensive to see his underwear on the bathroom floor every morning. It makes me feel better....ok so I admit he glazed over at 10 seconds but I am also doing him a great service.  Should my darling boy, somewhere down the track, find himself in a loving relationship with a lovely girl, he is going to have to have developed some strategies to cope with female communication techniques.  Simply put, I am just doing my job as a parent preparing him for life!
So I think Mr Latta....Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and that is the end of it.  While I recognise my follies, I don't intend to do "much" about it....
And on a different note, Mr Latta does a fantastic job in the art of extemporaneous speaking, a fine example in fact...although, what is with the meaningless pacing back and forth, drop that and you will get 10 out of 10 from me.