I’ve been London for about a year now, and I hadn’t yet had a chance to see anything more than the outside of Shakespeares Globe Theatre. Mostly because the shows they put on are expensive, and fill up ridiculously fast. Call me a snob, but I wasn’t interested in being a groundling (the people who stand in the courtyard for a fiver, rather than sit on a bench for the duration of the play). So, when my friend Liz suggested we go, I jumped at the chance! Also, true to my snobbery, I hired a cushion and a red fleece blanket for £4 and was glad of the comfort when it started raining, and the groundling’s got all wet.
I saw Troilus and Cressida. Except, that it had a twist. The Globe Theatre was doing 37 shows of Shakespeare’s works in 37 different languages by 37 international theatre companies. Woah buddy. I saw Troilus and Cressida in Maori, so it was actually “A Toroihi Raaua Ko Kaahira”. And colour me ridiculously proud to see Maori perform on the stage of Shakespeares Globe. Ti hei mauriora!
I think that’s important to note that I don’t speak Maori. I understood about of quarter of what was being said, but that was clearly more than a fair chunk of the crowd. A Toroihi Raaua Ko Kaahira was both a bit dramatic, but also had it’s hilarious moments. There were a few jokes that I got, and you could tell who else spoke Maori because they cracked up at the same time I did (one joke in particular was after Toroihi and Kaahira had consummated their marriage, and he was all proud, and Kaahira was slightly mocking. I heard the words ‘tane’ and ‘kauri’ and it wasn’t hard to put the rest of it together. I thought it was funny, anyway).
Still, they had scene summaries up so you knew what was going on, but mostly they weren’t necessary. The acting was phenomenal, and even if you didn’t understand the words, it wasn’t hard to see the body language. It was pretty easy follow, especially because we looked up the synopsis on wiki before the show started. It was also pretty amusing to see some familiar (aka, Shortland Street) faces. I have to say, up close on stage suited them much better than anything I’ve ever seen on Shortland Street.
The best bit, though? The best bit was how the whole crowd came together to show their pride at our Maori actors being brilliant. I was surrounded by kiwi accents, and all of them, all of them were expressing pride and amazement at the close of the show. There was a closing haka by the actors, and unsurprisingly there were two haka responses from the crowd. Haka’s are amazing. They are loud, and intimidating, and an immense show of respect, really. I got a little bit teary eyed and felt a little bit homesick. Mostly pride, though. Pride that people from my heritage, with all the sterotypes and colonisation history are here, in the heart of England, on one of the most historical and amazing stages, rocking their culture like nobodies business.
It. Was. Amazing.
So yeah, Number 89 Done!
Note: Our tickets, with their amazing seats (mid gallery, part way around to the left of the stage) was £25 + booking fee. Pretty sweet, aye? The Maori shows are all done, but they’re doing other languages right up until the 9th of June, 2012. If you’re in London, check it out. Seriously, affordable and amazing theatre shows in this amazing building – you won’t find better!