Darkness of family violence probed in November production

Cambridge actor Georgia Pollock will tackle verbatim theatre for the first time in ‘hush’. Photos: Megan Goldsman

Cambridge residents Georgia Pollock and Sara Young are taking part in a Hamilton-based production this month that focuses on family violence.

They have been cast in ‘hush: a verbatim play about family violence’, being presented at The Meteor in Hamilton from November 25-28, with 7.30pm performances throughout and a 3pm matinee on November 28.

The opening night will coincide with the ‘Zonta Says No to family violence’ campaign and White Ribbon Day.

Verbatim is the term applied to theatre made from real people’s words, in which a range of voices and perspectives are heard.  In ‘hush’, the audience will hear the stories of 16 different New Zealanders who have been impacted by family violence. They were interviewed by the original play creators in 2009; it is that material that forms the basis of play.

Carving in Ice Theatre has been given permission to stage ‘hush’ in Hamilton by the original creators.

Director Gaye Poole has been invested in verbatim theatre for years as a university lecturer and dirrector. In 2006 she directed ‘The Laramie Project’ by Moisés Kaufman and the Tectonic Theatre Company with her Play Production Theatre Studies class. In 2011, Paul Brown’s ‘Aftershocks’ was given a staged reading by Carving in Ice as a benefit for the Christchurch earthquakes, and in 2016 Gaye, along with several ‘hush’ cast and other actors, created ‘Life Music’, an original verbatim theatre piece for the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival.

The production at The Meteor in Hamilton is local actor Sara Young’s third in the realm of verbatim theatre.

Cambridge’s Sara Young was involved in previous Carving in Ice verbatim productions and said: “This is the third and most challenging piece of verbatim theatre in which I have been involved … the cast and I are committed to portray the interviews in the truest way we can.”

Also previously involved is Tirau-based performer Kelly Petersen. She finds value in the fact the testimonies you see on stage are derived from face-to-face interviews with real people. “The fact someone is willing to talk about their very personal stories for us for social change gives us a strong responsibility to represent that person with integrity.”

Cambridge’s Georgia Pollock is new to verbatim theatre with ‘hush’. She described the experience as ‘extremely enriching’.

Tirau-based performer Kelly Petersen enjoys verbatim theatre for the opportunity it provides to depict real stories.

There is no depiction of violence or abuse in ‘hush’; audiences can expect to be told the stories verbatim by the eight actors involved.  After each performance, audience members will have the option of staying for a forum with the cast and director which will be moderated by a qualified community psychologist, clinical psychologist or consultant.

Ticket and booking information is at www.themeteor.co.nz/events/hush

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