Home' The Wellingtonian : May 12th 2011 Contents 17
THE WELLINGTONIAN, MAY 12, 2011
An elephant quest
Going on an elephant hunt: Paul Waggott sets
out on a quest in Death and the Dreamlife of
By REBECCA THOMSON
Wellingtonians are being encouraged to go
online to participate in a new play.
Death and the Dreamlife of Elephants is
a multimedia production about one man's
quest for an ornamental elephant.
The play starts at Downstage on Friday,
and audiences can log on to Facebook,
Twitter, YouTube and the production's own
website to help in the quest for the mysteri-
Playwright Leo Gene Peters said social
media sites had become such an integral
part of life that he wanted to incorporate
them into his play.
Ten years ago Facebook wasn't even
around. Now it's so much a part of life some
people live on it. That's something I wanted
to play with. It's about using a different
way to tell a story.''
Those who did not want to participate
online would not miss out. Peters said the
stage version of Death and the Dreamlife of
Elephants was a complete story in itself. He
wrote it for the 2008 STAB Festival and has
been looking forward to re-staging it.
It has evolved since then,'' he said.
It's fantastic to be able to bring it to a
The story's very much about contempor-
ary Wellington, but there is a sense of mys-
ticism to it. It's definitely entertaining.''
focus to ballet
By LAURA WALTERS
Fashion statement: Royal New Zealand Ballet wardrobe manager Andrew Pfeiffer and design icon Karen Walker collaborated for ballet production
Satisfied with Great Success.
Photo: LAURA WALTERS
Design icon Karen Walker has moved
her work from the catwalk to centre
stage for this month's Royal New
Zealand Ballet production.
Walker's designs will appear in choreo-
grapher Cameron McMillan's modern piece,
Satisfied with Great Success, which opens
in Wellington on May 20.
Royal New Zealand Ballet wardrobe
manager Andrew Pfeiffer said Walker had
jumped at the chance to design for the mod-
ern ballet set to a Stravinsky score.
But designs did not always work out the
first time, he said.
[The original design] was the wrong look
for the piece. There's been a complete
The redesign was started only a few
weeks before opening night, but there was
no doubt the costumes would be ready.
The show must go on,'' Pfeiffer said.
Although a busy woman, Walker had
been receptive and communicative, creating
12 different designs for the show.
Alongside Satisfied with Great Success,
the company will, in a Stravinsky selection,
be featuring Petrouchka and Milagros.
Playing the puppet master in the
centenary performance of the 1911 Russian
ballet Petrouchka, Sir Jon Trimmer's get-up
will include a large appliqued coat that the
company gave to Te Papa last year as part
of their collection of his costumes.
When the company gave Te Papa the coat
they did not realise they would be
performing Petrouchka again, especially so
soon, Pfeiffer said.
We were told emphatically that there
was no way in hell we would get it back.''
To retrieve it, he had had to go to the
museum, where the coat was kept in an air-
controlled room, and trace the patterns
from the original coat to allow it to be re-
Pfeiffer also had to re-make the costume
for the dancing bear in Petrouchka. It had
been stolen from the costume warehouse.
The wardrobe department had five
designers and machinists working on the
Stravinsky selection, fewer than for bigger
The company owns about 2000 costumes,
all altered and strengthened when they are
This is not the first time the company has
sought help from a top designer.
Fashion designer Nicholas Blanchet has
assisted in past productions and Trelise
Cooper was brought in to design costumes
for Handel's opera Xerxes earlier this year.
At the turn of the 20th century, fashion
designers and artists designed costumes
and sets for one of the greatest companies
of all time, the Ballet Russe.
But Pfeiffer said he hoped this trend
would not resurface.
I'm a traditionalist. I prefer period
costumes,'' he said.
The Royal New Zealand Ballet's Stravinsky
Selection, St James Theatre, runs from May
20 to 22.
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