The intimacy of our theatre space has meant we’ve had some stunning solo performances over the years. One such performance was by New Zealand actor, Te Kohe Tuhaka, in the 2012 Taki Rua production of John Broughton’s Michael James Manaia. Presented by fortyfivedownstairs in association with the Melbourne Festival, and directed by the formidable Nathaniel Lees, it was a fearless, captivating performance that told the story of a Vietnam war veteran with both Maori and Pakeha ancestry. A heart-wrenching and confronting glimpse into the all-too-recognisable darkness of cultural dislocation.
Michael James Manaia fights a war – first with his father, then in Vietnam, from which he returns to a society made unrecognisable by the horrors he has seen. This is his story, raw, humorous and unsentimental – one that has become the voice of a lost generation.
In 1991, playwright John Broughton’s fearless reckoning with the bitter complexities of his country’s past turned this one-man play into an undisputed classic of New Zealand theatre – a heart-wrenching and confronting glimpse into the all-too-recognisable darkness of cultural dislocation. Twenty years after it first stunned audiences around the world, New Zealand’s premiere Maori theatre company, Taki Rua, brought Michael James Manaia roaring back to the stage, kicking off with a critically acclaimed season at the New Zealand International Arts Festival.
‘Bold, captivating, fearless’ The New Zealand Herald
‘High-octane, ferociously complex, ultimately devastating’ The Manawatu Standard
‘Confident, dynamic, and fully-charged’ The Dominion Post
This production was supported by Creative New Zealand, the Sunraysia Foundation, and the fortyfivedownstairs private donor program. The original production was co-produced by the New Zealand International Arts Festival 2012. This season was initiated by SaySIX Theatre.