ONstage: The Explicit Veneer of Anahera

Anahera: Multi-faceted theatre. PHOTO: Supplied.


Written by Emma Kinane (co-writer Turbine, Paua, The December Brother)

Directed by Katie Wolfe (Waru, The Mooncake and the Kumara, The Women)

Proudly sponsored by Cariad Productions
9 Sep – 7 Oct, Circa Theatre, WellingtON

Anahera (Neenah Dekkers-Reihana) is the constant central light while time and space distort around her. The set in space consists of different shades of white – stark and fragmented – giving the explicit veneer of a clean well-heeled residence. Implicit: a brutal and dark authoritarianism harbouring dark home truths. For the audience, time plays out in front of us, behind us, right now. The crafty device of scenes not following a linear timeline helps to reveal pivotal information, gripping the audience to a meandering plot. It also serves as a bridge to deeper themes of time within human experience. The language of time affects the perception of time, altering the nature in which we live our lives. Examining how we view redemption, cycles: “Anahera” calls to attention how past and future generations are shaped by our conception of time. The past can be seen to be in front of us, for we can see it; while the future is behind us. Liz and Peter Hunter (Jacqueline Nairn, Neill Rea) move forward in time as self-reliant individuals, forceful and determined. Their two children (Susie Berry, Simon Leary) are not to be seen in certain spaces; their time, unimportant. All this teeters on a cliché, but lands acceptably in the realm of archetype.

Liz and Peter’s eleven year old boy Harry has run away from home, removed himself from an unsafe space. His parents are concerned, but somehow, detached. The uncertainty of the situation creates a creepy energy. The more overt moments of some of the louder acting choices (emanating perhaps from a direction to create crescendo moments) lessens the creep. The discovery of Harry’s harsh punishment for running away is a disturbing image of space and time being used as torture.

Anahera, in protest against the deeply unhealthy situation, stands pou, in the centre of the Hunter household for a long period of time. Throughout the ordeal she experiences pain and shame – tools employed by authoritarians to break people. Yet the vulnerable, damaged and enigmatic Anahera maintains her dignity. The message she intends to impart and the strength of her conviction provide a radiance which illuminates the shadows of the Hunter family dynamic. Peter is a patsy; a rube; a pathetic and unlikeable character. Liz is the antagonist: her villainous behaviour (juxtaposed with the older, frail, repentant Liz) exposes the duality of human nature and posits the question of redemption.

Anahera” is a richly textured piece of theatre that works on many levels. Recommended.

The talented cast of Anahera. PHOTO: Supplied.

The talented cast of Anahera. PHOTO: Supplied.

  • Louis Tait

Louis Tait is a comedian, actor, satirist, writer and student of life.


9 Sep – 7 Oct

Tues-Thurs 6.30pm / Fri & Sat 8pm / Sun 4pm

Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki Street, Wellington

TICKETS: $25-$52 / Friends of Circa $38

BOOKINGS: 04 801 7992 / circa.co.nz

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