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Te Tupua The Goblin

Sun May 26th, 2024
Mussel Inn,
Onekaka, Tasman


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Te Tupua – The Goblin
By John G Davies

Experience a visit from a ghost as history comes to life! Te Tupua–The Goblin tells the tale of a disenfranchised child, a shipwrecked sailor, a slave, a tattooed freak.

A Scottish lad of 10 is driven into slavery aboard His Majesty’s ships, circa 1800. After 15 years at sea, he is cast onto the shoreline of Aotearoa. The fight for survival begins.

Te Tupua – The Goblin is a solo play written and performed by John G Davies. Te Tupua deals with atonement concerning bicultural New Zealand and the hidden trauma of our shared violent history.

Early 19th century in Aotearoa was a dynamic time. Māori were becoming aware they were no longer alone, and that other races from the north were coming. Pākehā who lived here at that time forged an existence on Māori terms. The recorded experiences are vivid and fraught with danger, yet these stories reveal deep alliances, friendships, marriages, and hard-won loyalties. This play is drawn from those histories and the central character is an amalgam of the experiences of some of those who lived here at that time.

This play, performed very simply with three props and a whole heap of energy, evokes a traditional storyteller from the days of the communal fire. John explains, “When I go out into that space, the stage, I feel connected to all the ancient storytellers, to the people who imitate, embody, project, and summon their life force to engage their audience. That’s me, I’m one of those.”

Ancient Greek drama and the Japanese Noh Theatre continue to inspire and guide this work. Modern theatrical convention often uses masks to disguise identity for a comedic interplay or as an attractive theatrical prop. In this play, Te Tupua – The Goblin the appearance of the past is made possible using a traditional theatrical device, which is the mask.
This play is suitable for ages 10 and up.

The author and performer, John Davies, celebrates 50 years as a theatre practitioner. John studied the art of acting at Toi Whakaari- The New Zealand Drama School. Following his training he went on to perform for 10 years with Red Mole Enterprises in New Zealand, Mexico, the U.S.A. and England. John has directed several opera productions including New Zealand Opera’s Ihitai A’vei’a – Star Navigator and Gianni Schicchi at the University of Waikato. John teaches theatre studies and was curriculum leader for 10 years for the Acting for Stage and Screen degree at Unitec. John’s film and TV work includes Shortland St, STARZ Spartacus, the award-winning short film Fridays Tigers, and Premier Films TV Feature, Abandoned. The Rose Noelle Story and recently as Bill Rowling on TVNZ’s 2021 production The Panthers. He lives in Auckland.

alternative, John G Davies, AOTNZ

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