I saw Munted at Bats earlier in the year, and it really struck me as a powerful piece of theatre. The actresses spent the full 60min reenacting interviews that they had done with people affected by the Christchurch earthquakes. Not only was the content of their piece moving, the acting was persuasively real. And, now they are crowdfunding the costs to take Munted back to where it all started.
With less than a week to meet their goal, I asked Jackie and Victoria a bit more about their project.
1) How long have Bare Hunt Collective been together? How did you meet?
We (Victoria and Jackie) met in 2008 while completeing a year long investigation into Documentary Theatre at Otago University Theatre Department. In 2010, while living together in a Newtown flat in Wellington, the idea of Bare Hunt Collective was formed… over a good bottle of wine!
2) How did you find all of the people to interview?
Victoria, our Christchurch native, flew down to Christchurch and interviewed a variety of Christchurch residents. Jackie interviewed several reporters who worked during the earthquake. Jackie was concerned that members of the media wouldn’t want to discuss how they personally felt while having to report on what happened, but it was the opposite. They were so incredibly open. From the interviews we narrowed it down to the stories of 15 people.
While everyone was enthusiastic about the interviews being used as the basis for the play, they didn’t answer all the questions put to them. Some of the those interviewed had friends, colleagues and family members who were injured or killed in the quake. That refusal to answer is indicated in the play, and the interviewees were told at the beginning that they did not have to answer any questions put to them. It was all part of the collective being upfront and encouraging those interviewed to be onvolved in the whole process. They even got to approve the stories that were used in the play!
3) How have the Cantabrians that have seen your performance so far reacted?
The amount of Christchurch audience members who travelled to see the show in Wellington was humbling.
Bare Hunt Collective’s aim is not to sensationalise or milk the emotion, because it’s not about us, the actors or makers. It’s about the audience and their response. It’s personal stories we are sharing and it’s our job to honour these. During the interviews the focus of the interviewees wasn’t on the grief and devastation of the earthquake. Instead people focussed on adapting, the spirit of the people around them, rebuilding their houses and communities and really loving each other – feeling all those emotions you feel when you survive something.
4) What made you turn to crowdfunding?
There’s not a lot of funding available for christchurch in terms of the independant arts, because money is going to rebuilding (as it should!) There are some great people down there – Free Theatre, Hagley Theatre Company, Canterbury Uni students and Gapfiller to name a few – who are pumping up the heart of the city too, but we digress! This is a theatre show from the people for the people, so we are also asking communities to support us sharing their stories.
5) Any final comments/thoughts?
Our main goal for the Christchurch leg of the tour is just to bring the stories to Christchurch. We’re going for a goal of breaking even financially and paying our director/actors a koha for their time but mostly we just want to meet you! Come along, bring your family and some friends, we’ll have the cups of tea and a good yarn (or fifteen) at the ready!
Check out their PledgeMe project here: https://www.pledgeme.co.nz/Crowd/Details/216