Amazing Love / Aroha Kaiora

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Auckland Season: NOVEMBER 2022

Friday 4TH - 7:30PM

Saturday 5TH  - 7:30PM

Sunday 6TH  - 2PM Matinee

Friday 11TH  - 7:30PM

Saturday 12TH  - 7:30PM

Sunday 13TH  - 4PM Matinee / followed by supper and Festival of Song.

 

Book at www.iticket.co.nz 

or phone (09) 361 1000

$20 / $15 GROUPS 10+

PITT ST THEATRE, 78 PITT ST, Auckland City

A tale of dreams, tikanga, war, fundraising, ship-wrecks and Jesus down-under. 

Pitt Street Theatre Co. presents:

AMAZING LOVE / AROHA KAIORA

By G.M. Allen

From an idea by Dr. Helen Laurenson

A short play to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the first Methodist missionary team to arrive in Aotearoa, Rev. Samuel Leigh and his wife Catherine.

Catherine was the first European trained mid-wife to arrive in NZ. She saved Samuel’s life on more than one occasion.

Written and directed by Geoff Allen, kaiarahi of Pitt St Theatre, author of Sister Anzac and The Fairies of Down Under & other Pākeha Fairytales.

Performed by JOHN GOUDGE as Samuel Leigh and MARION PREBBLE as Catherine Leigh.

The cast:

Marion Prebble – as Catherine Leigh.

Marion is a Unitec Bachelor of Performing Arts Graduate and works as an actor, writer, and producer.

She has worked both in Aotearoa and The United Kingdom.

Highlights have included performing in award-winning short films Datsun and Baby?, and being Producer in Residence at The Basement Theatre, and Massive Company’s producer.

She wrote, produced and performed  in The Panty Shelf in Edinburgh, London, and Tāmaki Makarau.

John Goudge – as Rev. Samuel Leigh.

 

Actor, tutor, director & musician John Goudge lives a creative life of theatre, music, & teaching.

John was recently awarded an “Honourable Mention” for outstanding theatre and music performance for his one-person show, The John Show, at Auckland Fringe festival in September.

Favourite acting roles including King Richard III, Edmund Blackadder, and Fagan in Oliver Twist.

John’s directing credits include Hamlet (2013), Fawlty Towers (2014), the award-winning Saturday Night Fever (2016), Serial Killers (2017), & Shirley Valentine (2018).

He is a director for SBZ Productions, including on touring shows Dear Lupin in 2019, Two in 2020, & as a co-director for Dracula, the Bloody Truth in 2021.

Over 25 years, hundreds of performers have trained with John at his Oratia drama school in West Auckland, & at weekly classes he runs at Titirangi Theatre. He also teaches disabled actors at a couple of centres around Auckland.

For the last two years John has been one of the kaiarahi (guardians) for Pitt St Theatre.

He is a regular performer as a musician and songwriter, and released an album of original music in 2010 – Fool Circle. He composed the soundtrack for Amazing Love, which includes taonga puoro (traditional Māori instruments) played by friend and collaborator Matt Reece.

This is the third time John has acted under the direction of playwright Geoff Allen, including as Vincent Van Gogh in the play Mrs Van Gogh.

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Amazing Love - Pitt Street Theatre 4 Nov to 13 Nov 2022

Reviewer: Marion Hines 4 Nov 2022

This is a play written by Geoff Allen to commemorate the arrival of the first Methodist missionary in New Zealand. Samuel Leigh is the hero lauded by the church for generations as the missionary.

The play begins with a brief prologue depicting the end of Samuel Leigh’s missionary expedition.

The rest of the 45 minute play is then a flash back to what brought him and his wife, Catherine to

this point.

The play depicts Samuel as a passionate advocate and ardent believer intent on bringing the Christian message to NZ. He unsuccessfully seeks funding for his voyage from the London Missionary Society and is then inspired to travel around England asking for donations which come in the form of goods rather than cash.

Enter Catherine Clewes, who becomes his strength in all things. It is she who has the foresight to learn Te Reo before embarking on the journey. After getting married they travel to NZ to covert the heathen and civilise the natives.

The play then follows the pair as they bumble their way into a dangerous foreign land. Life is hard,

Samuel’s health suffers, and attempts at friendship with the locals quickly descend into trading goods for favours. Using Te Reo Catherine saves Samuel’s life on two occasions.

As director, Geoff Allen seamlessly weaves the action from one scene to another with minimal but effective scenery and props. John Goudge as Samuel Leigh plays an earnest but compelling role as the fervent evangelist. Marion Prebble shines as the efficient wife and partner as she supports Samuel in this life of extreme hardship and danger.

If you are wanting to see a nice happy story in period costume about the beginning of Methodism in NZ this play is not for you. It is gritty stuff. Geoff Allen has done his research. The dialogue is raw and honest. It sits uncomfortably with our 21 st century views. I found myself squirming in my seat several times.

The play undeniably portrayed Catherine Leigh as the heroine at every point. The recognition of the part played by early Methodist women is the highlight for me.

Today in Te Haahi we have come a long way in understanding the impact of colonialism on tangata whenua. This play made me cringe at times at how crass was our approach in the early days and made me reflect on the fact that despite that disastrous start Methodism has found its place in a mission of social justice and concern for recognising our responsibility for effective relationships with tangata whenua today.

Writer and Director Geoff Allen

Ko Waitākere te maunga, Ko Amelia Thompson, nō Plymouth ki New Plymouth, te waka, 1841.  

Artist, actor, kaiako, director,  writer:

Training: Elam - 80, 83, 84, Actors Space, (R. Hawthorne) 1993-5, Whitireia Writing course 2000. Level 6 Te Reo, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi 2020.

Resident Research Writer Auckland War Memorial Museum  2018.

Published 'Fairies of Down Under.' Mākaro Press 2018.

Playwright: (incl.) Mrs Van Gogh, Sister Anzac, Broken String.

Director (incl.) Pericles 2014, A.U.S.S.

Director Devonport Drama 2002 - present.

Director Galatea Theatre with Gina Timberlake.

Operations Manager The Rose  Centre 2021.

Kaiarahi o te whare whakaari o Pitt St.  Began new Pitt St Theatre with Rev. Lynne Frith 2019.   

NZSA, Equity NZ, playmarketnz.