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Review: OE. I AM

Thu 29 Oct 2015 In: Performance View at Wayback View at NDHA

OE: For Our Identity, I AM: A personal Journey Miriam Saphira at the Tiny Theatre, Garnet Station, Auckland 8pm Wed 28, Thurs 29 and Fri 30 October. $20. Ph 09-360 3397 Life is a journey, with twists and turns and a destination that can never be taken for granted. Last night at Garnet Station's Tiny Theare in Auckland researcher, historian and feminist Miriam Saphira took us along for the journey that has been her life. In part one, OE: For Our Identity, she takes us through lighter side of European backpacking and couch-surfing late 20th century-style, the kindness of strangers and the numerous girlfriends who accompanied her on parts of her travels. Part two, I Am: A Personal Journey, is darker, moving from infancy through a rural Taranaki upbringing blighted by schoolyard bullying and a brutish brother, sexual and gender confusion, teenage crushes, sexual predators, into academia, the imperative of protesting, marriage and motherhood, coming out and the joys of lesbian love - and lovers.  Saphira utilises a variety of presentation styles. Sometimes seemingly scripted and a little stilted, mostly more ad-libbed and relaxed, and - most successful of all - moments of crisp and light blank verse which are almost haiku-like in their simplicity and clarity. There is plenty of humour, a little pathos and some gut-wrenching stuff. And if the delivery was a little halting last night that may well have been first night nerves and in the intimacy of the venue didn't detract from the experience one bit. Along the way she is supported by Therry Weerts who, with a guitar and mellifluously accented delivery, contributes in energetic style some of her own experiences and emerges as the love of Sahpira's life. In the Tiny Theatre this is almost a Victorian drawing room soiree, an after-dinner storytelling performance from the age before mass media. It's personal, unpretentious and connects directly with the audience's hearts and minds. It's a little flawed but it's also a compelling, raw, funny, disturbing and rewarding experience. - Jay Bennie Jay Bennie - 29th October 2015    

Credit: Jay Bennie

First published: Thursday, 29th October 2015 - 8:42am

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