There were only two people on stage; the playwright, Hone Kouka, and the actor, Matariki Whatarau. That's not to say there weren't plenty of characters. There were. Whatarau played them all. And with such accomplishment.
Being English and female, I am not well acquainted with the history of the All Blacks. No matter. Although the play was about the life of this gifted rugby player, it was also a window into all sorts of experiences New Zealanders have been through in the earlier part of last century. There were barely any props, the set and dress were all shades of sepia. There was nowhere to hide. Thank goodness as it showed the script and the acting up for what they were: timely, thoughtful, intelligent and insightful.
Whatarau seemed ageless as he played a range of characters decades apart. It must be incredibly hard to carry an entire play with no breather, no reminders, no one to spar with, no other energy but your own to draw from. He did it with grace and beauty, the humility of Nepia always settled over his shoulders and in his gait.
I feel all the more settled in this beautiful country from hearing this story. I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed the performance.
guest blogger Jenny Rudd