Saturday, March 05, 2011

Mayme Chanwai

Chanwai Duo
Talented Raumati Artist and her Daughter
By Helen Tristram
February 16, 2011

Raumati resident Mayme Chanwai, a third generation Chinese New Zealander, began studying art relatively late in life, in her fifties.

She is a talented artist using a variety of mediums and last year some of her works were exhibited at the Mahara Gallery.

A few years ago Mayme suffered a severe stroke, “a disaster” in her words. But that opened up “different opportunities” and she now combines computer graphics with painting and other mediums to produce artforms.

At present she is working on a major artwork, “The Kiwifruit Odyssey”.

In the meantime a play by her daughter Linda Chanwai-Earle, `Heat` is at Circa, theatre 2 .

Linda is a poet and Playwright and last year was short-listed for the Bruce Mason Award.

The play `Heat` was a one year Circa Theatre commission which premiered at Circa in 2004, winning best actor for penguin.

She was first published as a poet with `Honeypants` which was listed for both Penn book awards and New Zealand Book awards.

And her one-act plays, Foh-Sahn and Ka-Shue are used as prescribed texts at Auckland University by Professors Witi Ihimaera and Peter Simpson.

Ka Shue was the first theatrical work to focus on the experiences of Chinese New Zealanders.

She has also been involved with theatrical projects created in Arohata and Christchurch Women`s prisons.

And has also been a TV Journalist for Asia Down Under for Channel1!

Hamish Tristram, visiting from London and a former Drama Reviewer was very happy to accompany Alan and myself to see `Heat`.

Here is his review……………..

Heat gives new meaning to the phrase “Menage a Trois”.

In this play the third party to an increasingly fractious relationship is a penguin.

And what a penguin!

After a halting start, the appearance of Bob-the-Penguin sparks conflict between man and wife mourning their dead child. The atmosphere, emotionally and physically is claustrophobic as the action takes place in an Antarctic cabin where the couple, two scientists, are documenting the effects of climate change.

The play`s tempo rises to a crescendo as the Antarctic winter sets in, the gales howl and the presence in the cabin of the ailing Bob recalls to mother Stella the need, suffering and loss of her child.

Implausible? Well yes. Original? Certainly. A play worth your committing 90 minutes? Up to a point.

Go because this is a work of a playwright with potential, who with some stringent editing and a demanding director is capable of creating dynamic theatre.

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