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Photo courtesty of Wikipedia. Public Domain.
Photo courtesty of Wikipedia. Public Domain.

New Zealanders (aka “kiwis”) are known for more than just Peter Jackson, excellent Sauvignon Blanc, the all blacks rugby team, and the bloke who played Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic ParkThe long, narrow land also boasts some fine performance troupes who are currently displaying their finest at the famed venue La Mama Experimental Theater Club now through March 29th.

Having already seen the one man Powerpoint lecture entitled On the Conditions and Possibilities of Hillary Clinton Taking Me as Her Young Lover , it is quite evident that the trade-mark kiwi quirkiness will abound. Other shows will take a more dramatic turn and still others will exclusively focus on performance art and saunter into avante-garde territory.

Shows in the line-up include the following:

Chet Baker: Like Someone In Love – New Zealand actor David Goldthorpe  transforms into trumpeting and vocalist jazz legend  Chet Baker. His dashing looks and incredible skills took him to the highest heights, but also to the darkest lows with self-destructive substance abuse.

Sleep/Wake– Combining art and science, sleep scientist Phillipa Gander and performance designer Sam Trubridge use light, space, projections, liquids and imagery to delve into the period when our heads hit the pillow.

For Your Future Guidance– If you’re gripped by fear about the unknown future, let Wellington’s Binge Culture provide some help and insight. This part theater/part seminar performance is billed to “give YOU the skills and knowledge YOU need to survive the coming decades.

Break Up– This unique come and go event runs for 6 hours and  gives viewers the opportunity to watch couples hash out their emotional baggage. You can follow the anguish on twitter #bingebreakup or live stream at www.bingeculture.co.nz

All Your Wants and Needs Fulfilled Forever- Tech guru Simon uses technology, cares for pet rats, and adheres himself to whatever screen is nearest- all in order to avoid thinking about the recent passing of his father. Soon, he is consumed into a universe that may control  his destiny.

Listening Posts– Small sonic instruments are installed throughout the urban landscape and use  mobile media to rethink notions of community, privacy, and dialogue in relation to place.  The piece was created by information made available through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). For more information, visit truth-out.org 

So-So Gangsta– Stand up comedian James Nokise sheds a light on the history of New Zealand’s gang culture and how modern society views the “Gangsta”. This energetic routine is part stand up, part Powerpoint, and part satire.

NAG– Creative self-propulsion is the impetus for this art installation that takes sustainability to a bizarre and Kafkaesque level. The 6 hour piece (audiences can come and go)  has been nominated for awards in both Visual and Art Design. Nag yourself to make and make and make.

You’re not likely to get the majestic views that the country of New Zealand boasts in the East Village , but you won’t have to travel twenty plus hours to get a taste of their arts scene either. But for heaven’s sake, do NOT confuse them with Australians-they don’t really care for that.

Richard Meros in On the Conditions and Possibilities...Photo courtesy of Goldthorpe Creative
Richard Meros in On the Conditions and Possibilities…Photo courtesy of Goldthorpe Creative

More information and ticket availability for THE NEW ZEALAND NEW PERFORMANCE FESTIVAL  can be found at www.nzperformance.com Follow them on twitter: @ThePlaygroundNZ #nznewperf  or on facebook: www.facebook.com/NZnewperf