October 16, 2022Features

Explore Another Universe with Miss Leading

"Regrets, I've had a few." If asked about any regrets this week, most would have an assortment to choose from, whether it be not having a late night out before a big meeting the next day or picking the wrong item on a menu. And sometimes, it's not just 'regret', more of a curiosity about the unknown path we could have taken. These feelings of regret and curiosity are why so many of us get hung up on a lover we passed up too soon, a career opportunity we didn't pursue, or maybe a spontaneous adventure we didn't quite make the leap of faith to jump on board with.  I channelled all that nostalgic yearning for the things that didn't happen into my latest piece, Another Universe

Another Universe was born out of my own sense of loss when being left with little choice about returning to New Zealand during the pandemic. In my case, returning to New Zealand has led quite unexpectedly to committing to a career in the arts. While in MIQ in 2020, I developed my first solo show for the New Zealand Fringe Festival. The show, Eat These Words entailed me inviting the audience to taste items related to the poems I performed (a bitter coffee bean for a poem on politics, and seaweed for a poem featuring the ocean). Providing a whole sensory experience with visuals and music. I wasn’t quite sure how this novel experience would be received but I was happily surprised when it sold out and was invited to run a season at Kia Mau festival. Soon after, I was invited to be the writer in residence for Commonspace and Poetry Bistro, a piece I co-produced with poet Rose Northey, was accepted into the Performance Arcade festival in Wellington.  

When commissioned to write Another Universe for the New Zealand Festival of Arts, I wanted to reflect on how our decisions affect our life course, identity and who we are as people. 

The story follows my character as she packs to leave the UK during the pandemic and wonders about her choices in life. Each choice presents a different universe with different challenges related to sexuality, politics and feminism. Each universe raises a conflict around choice and identity and asks the audience to consider how we can reconcile these many parts of ourselves that exist but usually stay dormant.

The show is a little different in that the dialogue is entirely poetry. I want people attending to hear my poems as if it were a perfectly ordinary way to speak and with that become immersed through sound design and visuals in the universes I will be taking you to. As with all journeys, we will get a little lost, there will be tears and yes plenty of laughs along the way.

Described by Theatre Review as "a jewel box of a piece." Another Universe was accepted to be performed at the Hidden Door arts festival in Scotland and had sold-out shows at Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I am particularly excited to perform at Basement Theatre from October 25–29 as it will be the first time it has been performed live in New Zealand. So be the first in New Zealand to see it and book your tickets now!