Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Magdalena Aotearoa

Part 1 of a  two part series I wrote about working in performance and video, pages 9 -10, Magdalena Aotearoa Newsletter, Issue 35 April 2010. Traverses my experience since the 1999 Magdalena Aotearoa International Performance Festival, including thinking about language, humour and accent. Download the PDF here

Here's a sneak preview of the beginning: 'Kia ora koutou! I was very inspired by the December 2009 Magdalena Aotearoa Newsletter! Reflections on the diverse journeys many have taken in the 10 years since the magnificent 1999 Magdalena Aotearoa International Performance Festival. Like Miff Moore, Lisa Maule, Jale Karabekir; and the recent work by Madeline McNamara, Natalie Marcet, Jo Randerson, Jan Bolwel, Helen Moulder, Judith Jones. In Aotearoa, Denmark, Norway, Argentina, Turkey; prompted me to reflect on my own journey.

In 1999 I was involved in theatre, poetry, storytelling, including with Louise Maich who was preparing her show Drevna Viscera for the March 1999 Magdalena Festival. Drevna Viscera – ancient flesh, my many mother’s tongue, Louise’s tender exploration of her ancestry, history and connection to the former Yugoslavia. Together as Pandora’s Box we produced performances and an exhibition with women artists at the Silo Theatre and Kamo in Auckland May 1999.......'

I am very fond of the Pandora's Box logo, I drew it while sitting with a friend who was having chemo. The bag of medicine was down my trousers to keep it  warm, as if it was too cold it made her have an epileptic seizure. We laugh about that day sometimes (she took photos!), it always seemed  to sum up women working in performance! "And so while rehearsing my show, I drew the logo, at the hospital with  a bag of chemo down my trousers......"

We LOVED the Pandora's Box Art Exhibition, I had the joy of being the curator of, we wanted  to leave it up FOREVER! All the work was of such high standard, and diverse mediums, interesting to see where they and their work as artists has gone ten years on. There was stone sculpture by Patz McGahey, which seemed to be kaitiaki (guardians), paintings of older women's lips by Fran Marno, silkscreens by Justina Gruber, a goddess costume by Louise Maich, Raranga (weaving) by Tania Remana, painting/photo by Lisa Benson. Thanks to Jan Morrison we got to answer the question we have all been wondering - how many women does it take to hang  a 200 hundred pound tile heart with a cartoon on it, on a brick will? FOUR! Plus me nervously biting my fist, I worried for the whole 2 weeks the exhibition was up it could fall from the wall and hurt some one! It didn't tho. Tracey Tawhiao performed poetry, and Lisa Costain  music,  with us at the Silo Theatre.

In part 2 to be published with Magdalena later in the year, I consider disability arts in Aotearoa and Canada, how NFB, Kickstart, and IGODAP ultimately lead me back to working in performance. With a commission from Michele Decottignies Director of the Balancing Acts Festival, and working with theatre director Jan Derbyshire.

Helpfully the fabulous 1999 Magdalena Festival has been archived online. Including lots of photos, the festival program, and insights from key organizers. You can read more about the herstory of the development of Magdalena Aotearoa on their website.

Or the establishment of the international 'The Magdalena Project is a dynamic cross-cultural network of women’s theatre and performance, facilitating critical discussion, support and training. The network was founded in 1986 and currently spans more than 50 countries, with autonomous national groups organising festivals, gatherings and events on a regular basis.'

With events coming up in 2010 in Australia, Brazil, and Italy; in 2011, Wales; 2012, India.
Their website is available in English, French, and Spanish. 

I also reflected on my development as a filmmaker on the Development Facebook site, a film by  Marian Evans, about a woman trying to make a film... 

So like we say in the L&P (Lemon and Paeroa) soft drink ads -  World Famous - in New Zealand!  

If you want to brush up on your New Ziln accent after reading the above, I recommend the below clip:

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