17 June 2014

MDF 2014, Aroha White and 2080: a wave of creative productivity

Playwright and actor AROHA WHITE is currently riding a wave of creative productivity at Circa Theatre, having her new play 2080 in development as part of Tawata Productions’ MDF 2014 as well as performing in Hapai Productions’ HIKOI!  We caught up with AROHA just over a week away from the opening of the Development Season of 2080.

1.  Aroha, you're very busy in the rehearsal room as an actor for Hapai Productions' HIKOI, whilst the third play you've written, 2080, is being rehearsed for a Development Season with Tawata Productions in Circa Two - how are you finding the creative mind split?

Oh! Well I think 2080 is destined to be a mind splitting play. You see, when I was lucky enough to first develop the script two years ago, I was in the same situation. I was work shopping the 2080 script during the day, performing Sunset Road in the evenings and writing at night. This time round, I’m flat out in the rehearsal room for Hikoi during the day but have been making the most of our early chilly mornings to make any amendments to the script that are needed. Knowing that the 2080 crew are just next door is definitely distracting, I want to be in there and playing with them, buuuut at the same time I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than on the floor with my nutty Hikoi family. I count myself very lucky to have the opportunity to undergo a mind split.

2.  In 2012, 2080 made its very first outing as a brand spanking new script - how have your ideas about your play changed over the last two years?

The main change has been growth in the world. Finding dark corners I didn’t see the first time, looking for more of them and realizing the longevity of this story.

3The word on the street is that 2080 is an 'indigenous sci-fi' - would you care to elaborate upon this statement?

2080 is a cautionary tale. It is one of many many possible outcomes for our future. It is a world I would never want to live in. For me so often the only way to start solving a problem is to sit down and talk it out, that’s what started this korero. The world that 2080 exists within is science fiction, no doubt about it, set in the not too distant future with laws of its own, 2080 skates the line of reality and fiction. But the growing gap between rich and poor in this country is not fiction nor is the ease with which people are dismissed because they are deemed as “different”. I’m a fan of this new indigenous Sci-Fi genre I think.    

4.  You and Tawata wanted to develop 2080 a little further before taking the play into full production -  how is the Development Season useful for you as a playwright?

It is the chance to take bold swings for all elements of the play. As far as the script's concerned, already the development season is introducing me to aspects of the world I hadn’t realized. Having Natano, Shadon, Acushla and Hone knocking their heads together also means we get to fearlessly explore the world. The growth of the play is the natural next step. When we take 2080 in to full production next year I expect to know all the street names in the brother’s neighborhood, no stone left unturned.

Using animation for the set is a big job. Even simple animation like what we want to look at for 2080. It’s amazing not having to rush straight to an end result, trying to avoid broad strokes in order to get to an end product and aiming for specificity. The development season lets us explore our options and also see how it reads to an audience. The hip hop is in the same boat as the animation.

5.  With 2015 being the year of full production for 2080, what's your idea for your next stage play? 

Ladies. Leisure. Love. Lust and loss. We’ll start there.

6.  As we're celebrating Matariki, what are your hopes and dreams for the forth coming year?

I have some travel on the cards in August this year and if I’m well behaved February next year. I’m blessed to be a part of Tawata’s Auckland season of Sunset Road after Hikoi finishes up for this year. There is a play for the ladies wandering around my head looking for a piece of paper to get all over, I very much hope this can be a collaboration of wahine toa writers and actors. I hope to get up to Auckland in October to work with Nga Rangatahi Toa on a project called Manawa Ora telling stories from our South Auckland brothers and sisters. And then it will be time to get this Maori / Pasifika Sci-Fi production (2080 that is!) up and singing.  Woo-hoo.

The MDF Development Season of 2080 runs in Circa Two from 25-28 June, with a preview on 24 June. Hikoi runs in Circa One from 28 June to 12 July, with a preview on 27 June. A series of free rehearsed readings will take place as part of the Matariki Development Festival on 4 and 5 July. To book for any of these fantastic works, visit www.circa.co.nz or ring the Circa Box Office on 801-7992.

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