Capital E is lucky enough to have the hilarious and talented White Face Crew joining us to perform La Vie Dans Une Marionette in our National Arts Festival. This charming and melodramatic show tells the story of a lonely pianist and his only friend, who just happens to be a puppet. Cleverly combining elements of mime, hip-hop, live music, physical theatre, clowning and commedia dell’arte, La Vie features songs from Yann Tiersen’s soundtrack to the film Amélie as well as new music from Tama Waipara.

We had a chat to Jarod Rawiri – whose face you may recognise from Shortland Street – about bringing this magical show to young Wellington audiences.


Kia ora Jarod! Tell us about the inspiration for La Vie Dans Une Marionette, which started life as a much shorter piece. Was it difficult to extend it from a 10-minute skit to a 50-minute show?

The inspiration for the show came from when we were all rehearsing for another show with theatre company Red Leap. Tama Jarman playing a piece of music he’d just learnt, and Justin Haui began to move and dance to it. From this, Tama started to build a narrative and we eventually entered the piece in to the Short+Sweet festival where it received positive reviews.

I saw it and thought wow, this is unique, and different to what I’d experienced in theatre here in Aotearoa. When we formed White Face Crew later we decided to revisit La Vie Dans Une Marionette and put it in the Fringe Festival in Auckland. Tama had some ideas around making the work fuller in length and narrative so we set about making it. It happened really quickly and easily. We had two weeks and had no expectations or fear about making it.

We had a little team including our producer Dolina Wehipeihana, and Olivia Coote who designed a lot of elements for us. We were young and naive and full of gusto and everything fell in to place unexpectedly. Tama’s original idea of the moon was a projection on the wall but we decided it might be difficult technically and time wise, so I ended up being the moon.

Actually all the characters I played were tacked on to show in the last minute. I literally had no idea what I was going to do on opening night as the French usher. But people really connected with it.

La Vie has been met with rave reviews around Aotearoa. How have White Face Crew adapted the show to suit younger audiences?

Our shows are targeted at people who believe in magic, who want to laugh and cry. We always try to make our shows with the purpose that our audience come with a sense of wonder and intrigue, allowing your heart to be engaged. We would argue we make very grown up shows because of the messages we try to convey, but we always want there to be silliness and joy to fulfill our desire.

What most excites you about presenting this magical show to children during the Capital E National Arts Festival?

We have always declared ourselves adult clowns and what better way to find out if we are by doing our show to young people. They will be brutally honest I’m predicting, and give us a things to consider about what exactly we are. So we are  nervously excited about what is in store for us, and for our audiences!

What advice would you have for children who are inspired by your performances and keen to pursue a career in the arts?

Find your community and become part of it. The White Face Crew team would all be on different pathways if we hadn’t, met and I don’t think we’d have become clowns and been able to make shows like this. So get out there and hang with like-minded people, whoever they may be. You never know where you may find them.

Cheers Jarod! Don’t forget to book your tickets to La Vie Dans Une Marionette!