Man In a Suitcase and Dog In A Box?

August 27th, 2012

As many of you regular readers will know, 2010 and 2011 were a shaky time in the city of Christchurch following the well publicized earthquakes which have changed the face of the region forever. With many buildings and performing arts venues damaged or in fact destroyed, there have been certain challenges, both large and small, that have required solutions. After seeing two stunning performances in the past week in Christchurch, both of contrasting styles, I can safely say that visitors to Christchurch now have the opportunity to share in some magical theatre.

On Tuesday we went to see a new play at the Court Theatre called Man in a Suitcase which explores some of the challenges facing international students, particuarly Chinese, when they come to study in New Zealand. The play, which was commissioned by The Court and supported by the international development wing of Creative New Zealand, is a mystery that unfolds with an elegant theatrical twist. Chinese and Pakeha are drawn into an underbelly of life in New Zealand in a compelling story of colliding cultures.

Then last night we went to see a lesser known production by two equally talented performers in Amelia Guild and Emma Newborn called The Bitches Box.  This wonderfully light and entertaining show follows the life on the farm of two female dogs (bitches) who are locked away from the highly charged male dogs on the farm when they are in heat ready for mating. Whilst a reasonably primitive theme, the girls were outstanding as they ably changed characters continually throughout the performance, consistently drawing the audience in, with their skillful interpretation of different canine characters on the typical New Zealand farm. A wonderful performance and even more so when you consider that the proceeds of the two Christchurch shows were generously being donated to the restoration appeal for the Isaac Theatre Royal, damaged in the February 2011 quake.

The Bitches Box is now about to set off on the North Island tour, joined by their partner in crime, singer/songwriter Mel Parsons who alone is worth the price of admission.


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