Friday, July 29, 2011

Theatre as cultural bedrock. NZ Haka.

Privileged as I was to grow up in NZ  I got to see theatre as something powerful and respected before the idea of it being merely entertaining arrived as a secondary consideration.

If you define 'spiritual' as a definition of something collectively powerful and tapped into then the NZ Haka as performed by hard men about to do battle lent to a large majority, [NZ is a Rugby mad nation] from the earliest times as children as we watched, a spine tingling glimpse into what was profound.

We all grew up with it, most schools taught Hakas and we all participated. However no-one personified the sacrifice and commitment required to immerse yourself into a collective soup of pain in pursuit of glory like the All Blacks.

Being as NZ is at the ass-end of the universe games played away in other hemispheres meant that large chunks of the national population would gleefully drag themselves out of bed at 2 or 3am to watch a game live from England or France and the sight of our team lining up to perform our national war-dance was a unique and beautiful thing.

Even as spectators we felt part of something, that is the power of theatre I suppose.

As a clown I'm not focusing on making people laugh, I'm more engaged in transporting them from where they individually are to that collective place where feelings merge and amplify.

They become part of my world and I part of theirs.

I need to disappear from myself and theatre provides me that option.

I'm grateful for my upbringing.

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