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Sunday, 24 February 2019 07:06 am

It’s revenge with a feminist twist

FAIRY ROYALS: Holley Hornell (Titania) and Kahu Taiaroa (Oberon) and cast mates learn to waltz for the first time.

IT’S A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but not as we know it.

Wellington playwright Jean Betts’s Revenge of the Amazons, which open at Whitireia’s Performance Centre this week, has a feminist twist.

Shakespeare’s traditional male players are replaced by a feminist group portraying “the agony of periods”, and swooning girls take a forceful lead in this modern adaptation.

Holley Hornell (24), who plays Titania the Fairy Queen, is excited about the new ideas put into the play.

“I already knew the story, but it’s cool that this is more modern. It’s the same story really, but in the middle of it you just have this feminist group. There’s a bit of everything in there.”

The cast (made up of second year students) and crew (mostly first years) have been working on the play for roughly six weeks, and have just begun working dance elements into the play.

DANCE 101: Holley Hornell one on one with the choreographer "June".

Director Richard Finn has brought in a choreographer from Whitireia’s own commercial dance course to teach the cast how to dance “properly”.

He says it’s really “just to tidy them all up a bit…[and] to add a little style to [the play].”

“Oberon’s theme is the tango. Every time he enters a scene, I want him to do it in a sort of tango.”

The lovers’ quarrel between the fairy King and Queen is portrayed by a tango.

Mr Finn says he wants Oberon to be a “sex bomb”, and commended actor Kahu Taiaroa (26) – who plays Oberon – for his portrayal of the part.

However, it’s not all fun and dancing. First year student, Paige Yorston (18) has the challenging job of stage manager for the play.

“It’s really hard,” she says. “There’s so much involved. I’m the first one there and the last to leave, [but] it’s good to get involved.

“I haven’t done anything like this before so it’s really hard ‘cause I was kind of thrown in the deep end.”

Mr Finn says the show is coming together well, and they have been busy finalising all the details over the weekend, so there’s “no drama, except on stage”.

“The preview show is on Tuesday, which is mostly just friends and family.

“It’s good to have a warm audience for the first show and it helps them learn where the laughs are and to learn to act around them. [And] everything’s going to be different with costumes and the set.”

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