Stage Watch: Raising the Titanics

Went to a play last year: Albert Belz‘s Raising the Titanics. It’s an homage to the Maori showbands of the 1960s. The Herald summed it up as an enjoyable if slight frolic. Pfft.

For me, from the moment the cast opened with song, my right eye teared up. It wept steadily through the remaining hour and a half of the play – and copiously in the closing ten minutes.

I can’t figure out my reaction to the play. I’d read the first act the year before and had a pretty good idea of where it was going to go.

Was it the songs? They sounded familiar but I didn’t know any of them. I grew up with The Sound of Music and Easter Parade (and Jesus Christ Superstar). According to my sister-in-law, being Samoan, I’m genetically/naturally disposed to singing well, in tune, and harmoniously – so maybe the brown people singing and laughing and crying on stage touched some genetic/native chord within.

Whatever it was, it touched me, I loved it, and when it tours and touches down in your neighbourhood, I recommend you go see it.

Disclosure: playwright Albert Belz is a generous supporter of the Banana Boat writing group, honouring it with a reading of the play’s first act, in first draft form, in June 2009.

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