Entertainment | Theatre

Rangatahi director sheds light on the impact of commercials in Aotearoa in new play

Limited Time Only

Hone Taukiri is one of four playwrights chosen to stage his play, Limited Time Only, during Te Pou’s Rangatahi season.

Taukiri, of Te Rarawa and Ngāti Tamaterā, says Limited Time Only is a comedy about whānau, aroha and the world of advertising.

“It’s about a group of siblings who come together after the loss of their mother and have to look for a hidden treasure that she’s left for them,” he says.

“But, along the way, there are advertisements for different products that shine a light on what it’s like growing up in Aotearoa.”

The play references popular and memorable television commercials from Taukiri’s upbringing, including Smokefree’s anti-smoking campaign, ACC safety videos and more.

Commercials on stage

He says advertisements are a part of everything people consume from media, except for theatre. So he was curious about what they’d look like in theatre.

“Commercials manipulate people’s fears and desires to call them into action. For me, good drama is also about fear and desire and finding the common theme in between,” he says.

“I’d like people to come out of the show and reflect on where they came from and the events in their lives that made them who they are.”

Taukiri is the creator and director of the play and Natasha Van Etten of Ngāi Te Rangi is the producer. The play was staged earlier this year in April by Millie Manning, of Ngāi Tahu; Nikeidrian Lologa Peters, of Magiagi, Tuaefu and Te Arawa; and Mateusz Budzyna-Dawidowski from Kraków, Poland.

Taukiri says when the play is performed next week it will include a new cast member, Makanihi Tohu.

“I like to work with actors to bring their gifts on to the stage and work around the talent they have to offer. So this time we’re putting in a lot more waiata Māori, more poi and more kapa haka because those are the skills she brings to the group.”

Something for urbanised Māori

Two of the three characters in the play are Māori while one is Pākeha. Taukiri says it’s a reflection of his upbringing.

“I come from a mixed family as well. My Mum is Māori, Dad is Pākeha and I didn’t grow up with a lot of Māori influences. So lots of the characters, for me, represent different relationships I have with my family and to my whakapapa and to my roots. So hopefully Māori who are urbanised feel seen.”

Taukiri hopes to tour the play around Aotearoa in the future.

“I have ideas and inspiration, and theatre is a way for me to share those with people and do it because I like the idea I can inject some joy and emotion into people’s lives – and they can walk away with a bit of theatre magic.”

Limited Time Only will play at Te Pou Theatre from November 21 to 25.