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Sunday, 26 November 2017 12:32 am

Stemming Wellington’s creative flow to Auckland

ACTOR, director and producer Nathaniel Lees is back in Wellington with a world debut.

All Our Sons - photo supplied by Circa Theatre

All Our Sons – photo supplied by Circa Theatre

It’s a far cry from roles in The Matrix and Lord of the Rings but Lees sounds like he’s in his happy place.

As director, Lees is working on two major pieces, with the global premiere of Witi Ihimaera’s play All Our Sons being first up.

“I’m directing Witi’s only play as a co-production between Circa and Taki Rua,” Lees says.

He talks about the importance of keeping the creative arts in Wellington.

“We need to arrest the flow to Auckland and I’m only casting Wellington actors in this production. Wellington has always been a creative hub for the country but these days everything’s heading to Auckland.”

Lees is also one of the hundred-strong New Zealand contingent of Maori and Pasefika artists heading to Guam for next year’s Festival of Pacific Arts.

His three act theatre piece Fale Sa will be New Zealand’s finale at the festival.

The work is based around the Spirit of the Pacific.

Nathaniel Lees.

Nathaniel Lees.

“It starts with Tagaloalagi, or Jehovah if you like, and the creation legend of the Pacific, which I see embodied in a woman, while part two deals with the arrival of Christianity and her first contact with Europeans.”

Lees says the first two acts are more structured and will be performed in English and Samoan.

The final is more flexible and will draw on inspiration from other artists and performers at the festival.

“Fale Sa literally means ‘sacred house’ and part three of the work moves to the current day starting with the main characters breaking into a church.”

Lees explains that this final act focuses on how her spirit sees the future.

“This will be resolved during the course of the festival, and working with other creative people in a Fono Matai, a coming together of chiefs, we will see how her spirit emerges.”

Lees expects to bring the first two acts of Fale Sa to Wellington in February as a dress rehearsal for Guam in March.

“I hope, in future, the entire work will come back for the New Zealand Festival”

The Circa Theatre season of Witi Ihimaera’s All Our Sons extends from 5-14 November this year.

Images supplied.

Nathaniel Lees as Captain Mifune in The Matrix series.

Nathaniel Lees as Captain Mifune in The Matrix series.

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