Take a tour into the unknown


Travelling into the unknown is a central theme of a play written by Wanaka writer Liz Breslin.

She is one of five writers from around the world who took part in a month-long ‘‘virtual residency’’ in Norwich, United Kingdom, run by the National Centre for Writing in February.

The freedom enjoyed by New Zealanders was placed in sharp contrast for Breslin.

‘‘All the other virtual residents are from different places where they are very much shut down, so I feel really guilty almost when I talk to them that I can just walk down the street and meet people.’’

Her project included writing poetry based on her view of Norwich through a live camera at the top of Norwich Cathedral.

Witnessing the city through a webcam, ‘‘makes me more and more intrigued, only being able to see a small slice of it’’.

Finding creativity in limitations has influenced her latest work, #thatwanakatour, a site-specific play for Wanaka’s Festival of Colour.

Breslin started working on it before the Level 4 restrictions over a year ago.

The idea of tours and tourism was now ‘‘very, very different’’.

The play was transformed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the way it affected New Zealand and the world.

‘‘The play has changed enormously because of that.’’

Audiences will travel on a coach led by driver Constantine, played by Andrea Beryl, and tour guide Pete, played by Ethan Brady.

What happens during the 45-minute tour will be an unknown adventure for the audience.

‘‘I want people to have an experience.’’

One inspiration for the play was Ithaka by Greek poet C.P. Cavafy.

The poem begins: As you set out for Ithaka hope your road is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery.

‘‘It is about the journey and not ever having to get there,’’ Breslin said.

Breslin spent 10 years as a tour guide on coaches, and one of her favourite moments was a friend reading the poem to passengers at the start of a tour.

‘‘He would remind them it is all about the journey and whatever happens along the way.’’

#thatwanakatour runs from April 13 to 18.

Visit festivalofcolour.co.nz for details.

Travelling show . . . Actors Ethan Brady (left) and Andrea Beryl will lead the audience on an immersive journey during the Wanaka Festival of Colour. PHOTO: SUPPLIED