SolOthello

Theatre
70 mins
New Zealand
Synopsis

Special Guest company curated by Native Earth Performing Arts
Te Rēhia Theatre

Oct. 6 @ 9pm – Oct. 7 @ 7pm – Oct. 8 @ 8pm

This is what I love about theatre: transformation of bodies and spaces, and SolOthello excels at these elements.
– Ewen Coleman, The Dominion Post

A bold and humorous Maori twist on the classic tragedy in which Te Reo, original prose, and contemporary English come together. Using traditional Maori masks (Te Mata Kokako o Rehia), this solo interpretation of Othello puts the spotlight on the characters Iago, Rodrigo, Othello and Desdemona, and places them into the context of a war between tribes in pre-colonial New Zealand.

“I thought, what I’m going to do is make a play that’s going to be accessible to my cousins and my aunties and uncles and parents. I set myself a challenge really, to try and think I was arrogant enough, to rewrite Shakespeare…“I now realise that every word he has written has a purpose and that he has taken the time to polish every word so they can sit and shine…And I truly believe that being able to combine Shakespeare, masks and Te Ao Maori is a winning combination.” – Regan Taylor

… an interpretation that reveals Othello’s complexity not only as a text but also as a cultural artefact wrought with a troubled performance history, indistinguishable from issues of race or ‘other’.
– Lori Leigh, Theatre Review, New Zealand

Our adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic Othello places the tale within a Te Ao Maori context and pares back the story to focus on three aspects; character, the core story line driven by the characters very human motivations of revenge and deception and on finding the humour in this tragedy. We place the spotlight on the characters of Iago, Rodrigo, Othello and Desdemona who are explored physically through the Māori performance mask form Te Mata Kōkako o Rēhia. In this adaptation the war setting is maintained as the backdrop for the story and is transposed onto a battle between two far flung iwi in a timeless Aotearoa. We bring together four specific “voices” to tell this tale; The original prose which is the language of the maskless outsider Othello, te reo Māori interspersed throughout, a quintessential colloquial Māori male voice particularly through Iago and finally Regan’s own voice of the performer, his comedic improvisation engages audience in the mechanics of the storytelling, bringing the audience on the journey and making Shakespeare’s work accessible and engaging for all.

Cast & Credits
Creator
Regan Taylor
Director
Craig Geenty
Performer & Reo Māori Advisor
Tainui Tukiwaho
About The Artist

Tainui Tukiwaho (Performer) Tainui has an extensive career as an actor, director and more recently writer in the theatre. He is also a professional theatre producer who approaches all aspects of his job from a Te Maori world view, guided by a tikanga Māori frame work. He has been delivering professional theatre since he took leadership of SmackBang Theatre Company in 2008. Realizing he needed more a focused approach to theatre and te Ao Maori, however, he founded Te Rehia Theatre in 2012. Its flagship piece began a new te reo Maori tour for children. In 2014 he was appointed to the position of CEO of Taki Rua, New Zealand’s national Maori Theatre company, but left that position a year later to open the first dedicated Maori Theatre space the New Zealand has had for 20 years.

Regan Taylor (Performer) Regan is a graduate of The UCOL Theatre School. He has worked professionally as an actor, dancer, director and teacher for the past fifteen years. Regan has strong experience in Devised and Physical theatre. He has been a lecturer for the creative process paper at Massey University Palmerston North delivering lectures on creating and sustaining character, comedy and its worth and devising for the stage. Regan has a particular skill in performance mask which he has carried through to developing Te Mata Kōkako o Rēhia.

Craig Geenty (Director) Graduating from the UCOL Theatre School, Craig has worked as both an actor and director throughout New Zealand. Craig was awarded best performance and best new work for the Wellington Fringe Festival in 2005 for his solo show “Train Ghosts” directed by Regan Taylor. Craig is a founding member of “Shark Fin Soup” and “Bloodworks” two theatre companies that strive to deliver new and innovative theatrical experiences to the audience. In 2014 Craig graduated with a masters degree in Directing from Toi Whakaari Drama School Wellington.