On Wednesday, July 20 I saw an entertaining play by the name of “Hinepau” based on the book by Gavin Bishop and written by the original cast. It was presented by Capital E National Theatre for Children, at The Hannah Playhouse, Wellington.
As you walk into the theatre you see the set for the play with smoke hovering in the air, just below the ceiling. You see the actors on the stage acting themselves, the actor of Hinepau is even playing Pokemon Go on her phone, but shock, horror, the server is down!
This unique play was about a young Māori woman with red hair with the name of Hinepau, who is a bit awkward and is an outcast to the other young adults. Her only friend is the elderly Koro who is there to support her when she is being teased. Then one night Hinepau makes one of her flax weaving of a fish come alive but Rua, the young hot-head chief-to-be, wakes up with the flax fish next to his head, and accuses Hinepau of being a witch and trying to kill him, and in doing so forces Koro to banish her from the village, where she makes a new home in a clearing in the forest.
A few years later Rua and his friends come to the clearing where Hinepau lives, because they need some wood to expand their whare, but despite Hinepau warnings, they chop down the trees without saying the proper karakia, and in doing so anger the gods…
I quite liked the actor Erroll Anderson who played Rua. Because he played the part of the hot-headed arrogant Chief- to- be with skill. I liked when he was humbled after the volcano had exploded and he turned into a great Chief and was telling the story of Hinepau’s sacrifice. Carrie Green (Hinepau) had a great singing voice and played the part of the social outcast very well. I think the Actor of Koro (Tom Knowles) will be greatly appreciated by younger children because of his fart jokes while they were trying to get to sleep. Jean Volkering played the part of a fawning girl (Hera) who obviously admires and is admired by Rua, very well.
The props were very simple, but had lots of different uses, for example two large rocks that had lots of different purposes as parts of houses and well, rocks. The lighting was excellent, you could easily tell what was happening due to the lighting. For example when the volcano erupted you saw the flashes of red on the wall and you could hear the ominous chanting of the angry Gods.
I would recommend that it is suitable for 6-10 year olds, though some young and very talkative girls behind me thought that some parts were kind of scary. Though all in all it was a thoroughly good play and I would recommend it to parents as something to go and see on those long, rainy weekends of winter.
Reviewed by Isaac Parker, Year 8, Tawa School