very mixed bag of events this week, from open-air Shakespeare to underwater
Aristophanes, from Twenty20 cricket to Kiwi wedding ceremonials. To begin with,
on Tuesday 24th February we attended a production of Henry V at the
open-air theatre of Victoria University, just down the hill from our current
flat. This was the full 3-hour-plus version, but very well done in a modern
style by a mostly young cast. We were able to borrow cushions and blankets,
which was fortunate as the night got a bit chilly.
Friday, by contrast, we went after work to the Westpac Stadium (aka the Cake
Tin) to watch an international Twenty20 cricket match between India and New
Zealand. This was quite an exciting event, with the stadium almost filled by an
enthusiastic crowd and the results hanging on the last ball. New Zealand won –
just. In the interval there were dancing girls to entertain the crowd, some of
whom were dressed fairly outlandishly. A far cry from the Members’ enclosure at
Saturday it rained, and rained, and rained. This was a real shame as we were going
to a wedding at Otaki, north of Wellington. The bride was a friend Sandie had
made at NZCER, but unfortunately the plans had to be changed and the whole
event was held indoors. Apart from that, it was a great day and we enjoyed
being involved in a real Kiwi wedding. The ceremony itself was quite simple,
but included a sand sculpture ritual where different family members blended
coloured sand in a jar to form a unique pattern.
Monday we had another theatrical event, also open air but rather different.
This was a production of ‘The Frogs’ by Aristophanes, held underneath the
Wellington waterfront. We had to turn up at a nearby pub, Mac’s Brewery, for a
safety briefing before the performance, and then put on life jackets before
assembling for the performance. This started in the open air, and then we all
got into a line of paddle boats and were serenaded by singing frogs before
being led by Charon under the decking of the waterfront for the main
performance. The play itself has perhaps lost some of its comedy over the
years, but the atmosphere was amazing with the actors splashing in the water.
Eventually we emerged again into the light of day and scrambled out of our
paddle boats. Altogether it was a totally unique theatrical experience, unlike
anything we’ve seen before.