Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hustle here, bustle there

For the more than 200,000 people who descended on the waterfront/down-town Auckland for the opening of the Rugby World Cup, this track may resonate; especially for those who were stuck on the trains and ferries that simply stopped running - overloaded and overwhelmed.

I had to forgo seeing New Zealand's Electric Wire Hustle live on Friday at Hagley Park as part of the Christchurch Arts Festival because he who is living dangerously decided he had to be in Dunedin the night before the England/Argentina game rather than grooving out to these guys with me.

And then there was the not inconsequential matter of the tickets selling out while we were debating the aforementioned arrangements.

One of the limitations of having a central city that is cordoned off while crews demolish up to 1,000 earthquake damaged buildings, is that there are basically no performance venues left.  EWH played in one of the several temporary spaces (various tents/yurts and domes) erected in the park.  I think this is the dome below.

Consequently, gigs are small.

I recently went to Bernard Slade's 1973 comedy play Same Time, Next Year by the seriously displaced but not disheartened Court Theatre.  (The Court and Forge Theatres were tenants of the much loved, neo-gothic Arts Centre - originally Canterbury College - that sustained hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage during the September, February and June earthquakes.  It may be ten years or more before we can again wander its cloistered grounds.)

It did look rather magical; in a carnival-esque way.  But it was quite cold, despite the heaters (and the wine), and the canvas did little to repel the sirens as emergency vehicles zapped around the North Hagley perimeter.

I thought the Court Theatre actors did so well considering back-to-back performances were scheduled with barely enough time to change in to Act One, Scene One garb.  The tent holds approximately 150 people, so turnover becomes everything, aided by the sale of delicious platters and extortionate prices per glass of freezing reds and iced whites.  (Note the coats and scarves my friends are wearing above - they didn't come off once inside!)

After being ushered out at speed, it was nice to amble through the park and admire the lights.

A little unsteady with the phone cam, but you get the idea.  We are improvising where we can in our beleaguered city.  And it's not all bad.

PS It's Monday 12 September here in NZ.  But I am very aware that for millions of people, 9/11 and the dreadful significance of the day, is unfolding.  Peace be with you.