WEiRdO – comedy with music at Bats

Press Release – Bats Theatre
Waylon and William are waging a war on the past. Their weapons are guitars, suits, a security pass to a government department, and 60 minutes of sometimes uncomfortable self-reflection about racial identity in Aotearoa New Zealand.

WEiRdO, a new dark comedy about suits, ties, and colonisation, opens at The Heyday Dome, Bats Theatre on 31 October.

Set in a government department, WEiRdO gets stuck into awkward biculturalism in contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand.

Waylon (Waylon Edwards) is a Māori civil servant who thinks he’s winning but deep down knows that he’s fake and out of place, and Richard (William Duignan) is a Pakeha guy trying, often unsuccessfully, to help.

WEiRdO playfully examines uncomfortable moments that occur in Aotearoa every day – particularly in office buildings along Wellington’s Lambton Quay and the Terrace.

The play features original music by Waylon and William. Originally created by Waylon and William for the 2015 Putahi Festival, Weirdo has been reworked with director Jane Yonge.

“I sometimes feel like a fly caught in a colonial spider’s web – the spider might be dead but the web is still there, catching people and leaving them covered in sticky stuff. This show explores that uncomfortable stickiness,” says Waylon.

“It’s been a really fascinating process working with Jane and William to find ways to express the discomfort we feel about identity and race.

“We want to empower people who feel like outsiders to laugh at themselves, each other, and make up for lost time,” Waylon says.

“We’ve tried to make what can be very serious and uncomfortable subject matter fun and engaging,” says Jane.

“Being comfortable with things that are often inherently uncomfortable – like racism, identity, and colonisation – can help us listen to each other better and make change.

“The three of us are Māori-Welsh, Pakeha, and Chinese-Pakeha, so we bring different experiences of race and identity into the room.

“If as New Zealanders in 2017, we can laugh together and make music together while we interrogate our identities, that’s got to be a good thing,” Jane says.

William says, “At times it’s been challenging writing freely about race. But the more talking we do to work through this, the easier it gets to see the interconnectedness of our experiences.

“We’ve also found that talking about ourselves and identity doesn’t have to be tiring – it can be exciting and funny.

“One minute we’re talking seriously about colonialism, the next we’re dancing round the room like idiots or picking up a guitar. Making this show, I’ve really enjoyed using physicality to affect my brain and my thoughts.”

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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