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By Jarrod• 30 Jan 2015
The Ragged, written by Helen Pearse-Otene and directed by Jim Moriarty, is the first installment of ‘The UnderTOW’, a quartet of plays about the settlement of Wellington.
Supporting Ngāti Toa’s residency at Te Papa, The UnderTOW will be presented by Māori theatre company Te Rākau over the next three years, exploring Wellington’s past, present and future.
The Ragged is set in 1840, and depicts early interactions between settlers and Tangata Whenua, and the competing interests of the British government and the New Zealand Company. Beautifully designed - with the entire stage of Soundings Theatre covered in pebbles, to represent a local beach - and superbly choreographed by Tanemahuta Gray, it’s a sheer pleasure to watch. And to listen to: effective use is made of a chorus of fine singers.
While The Ragged is fictional, a great deal of research has gone into ensuring an accurate historical portrayal; the result is both a compelling story, told by an enthusiastic cast, and an important history lesson. One can only look forward to the next installments of the UnderTOW as they arrive over the next few years.