Don’t have time to read the full review? Click here for a quick summary of the who, what, where and wine of this production.
Rodney Bell’s autobiographical production Meremere is a compelling story of one man’s journey to healing from an accident that left him paralysed from the chest down through dance and reconnection to his Māori culture.
The multidisciplinary performance combines spoken word, dance and stunning tech design including soundscapes and lighting to transport us through the most pivotal and poignant moments of Bell’s life, accompanied only by a musician and occasional dance partner.
It’s a high concept piece, requiring an audience that is invested enough in Bell’s story to take on some of the responsibility for decoding the meaning behind some of the more abstract moments.
The stage, with its white flooring and high white walls with a single opening in the centre is a blank canvas on which Bell paints his life’s story with video, light and his own movement. Costumes, likewise, take a backseat to other elements, chosen purely for practicality and comfort.
Bell gives all of himself to the execution of the performance itself.
His easy going demeanour and way of speaking, always on the brink of laughter, reassures us during the difficult moments; the strength and fluidity in his movements demonstrate his sheer talent as a performing artist; and the dynamic layers of technology, spoken word, dance and sound let us better understand the way his memories and decisions throughout his life come together to comprise the person he is now, and how his decision to return to and reaffirm his cultural roots brought him to healing.
Meremere is a show unlike any I have seen before. I hope it inspires other artists to explore the exciting opportunities modern technology and audiences hungry for creativity offer for their own storytelling.
Wine Pairing | Shiraz
Shiraz is such a diverse grape. Sometimes peppery, other times all black fruits, always full of personality, it’s a great accompaniment to Bell’s multidisciplinary production.
My Pick: Mt Yengo 2020 Shiraz, Adelaide Hills
This cool climate Shiraz from Mt Yengo contains flavours of red fruits combined with mint and eucalyptus, which ties nicely with Meremere’s message of the healing powers of one’s home.
The Mt Yengo wine label also promotes Indigenous arts and culture in Australia, donating 50c from every bottle to the artists who design bottle labels and the National Indigenous Culinary Institute.
Meremere, Sydney Opera House | Tasting Notes
|Aussie Season||25 to 27 August, Sydney Opera House|
|Theatre Type & Genre||Performance documentary|
|See it if you like||Creative storytelling, the intersection of technology and theatre|
|Other Info||Meremere has won multiple awards including Actor of the Year, Director of the Year, Sound Design of the Year, and Excellence Award for AV Design at the Wellington Theatre Awards.|
|Criteria for Wine Pairing||test your palate – try a shiraz from a region you don’t know as well, and experience the diversity of this varietal|