Navigation for Standing Room Only


12:16  Thomas Brunner and Prospects fearful

Surveyor Thomas Brunner's pioneering and punishing 18 month long trek from Nelson to the South Island's West Coast and back again, is in turn being explored by Wellington artists Caroline McQuarrie and Shaun Matthews.

Prospects Fearful is the title of the multi media installation created for the Suter Gallery in Nelson - the starting point for Brunner in December 1846.

But they are also telling the story of Brunner's Maori guides and resourceful travel companions to whom he owed his life. 

Lynn Freeman talks to multi-media artists Caroline McQuarrie and Shaun Matthews.

Prospects Fearful by Caroline McQuarrie and Shaun Matthews opens at Nelson's Suter Gallery on Saturday.

12.27  Playwright Tom Minter and America Rex

Tom Minter

Tom Minter Photo: supplied

In 2001,  African-American playwright Tom Minter dashed off a script that described a world in chaos.

However, when Dione Joseph agreed to bring the production home to New Zealand at the end of 2016, she had no idea that the huge changes that would begin to shake the world - especially at the end of Obama's reign - were already written in the script.

America Rex is a story about power, politics and personalities colliding in an epic drama that calls for a return to indigenous ways of knowing and belonging.

Now, led by a diverse cast of New Zealand talent, this is multi-disciplinary collaborative production that invites the audience to imagine a different present  - or relinquish ourselves to an inevitable future. 

Lynn Freeman talks to Tom Minter, here to oversee the performance of the play America Rex which opens at TAPAC in Auckland on Wednesday.

12:42 Finalists for Best Music for a Feature Film

We're counting down to the prestigious music composition event, the APRA Silver Scroll, and this week saw the finalists announced for three of the awards - the SOUNZ Contemporary Award, the award for Best Original Music in a TV series, and Best Original Music for a Feature Film.

The three finalists for film music included documentaries McLaren and The Free Man, and the drama Human Traces...

Lynn Freeman talks to the three composers for those films - McLaren's David Long, and Human Traces' Stephen Gallagher, and The Free Man's SJD - Sean Donnelly.

All the APRA awards will be presented during at Auckland's Spark Arena on October 4th.  And RNZ National will broadcast and live video stream the APRA Silver Scroll Awards ceremonies as they happen.

1:10 At The Movies

Simon Morris reviews The Meg, The Darkest Minds and BlacKkKlansman.

1:32  Albert Belz's Cradle song

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Photo: Melbourne Theatre Coimpany

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Photo: supplied

A nunnery near where a mass children's grave is discovered is the setting for the latest play by Albert Belz, written after he heard about a similar real life discovery in Ireland.

It was part of a Home for Unmarried Mothers in the remote township of Tuam in Ireland.  Albert says he was angered by the total disregard of human life by the government and church of the time.

That case is still under investigation, so Albert has set his play Cradle Song near a fictitious village in County Kerry in 1999.

The script took out the award for Best Play by a Maori Playwright at this year's Adam Awards and will be performed as part of both the Kōanga Festival and Going West Festivals in Auckland.

Albert is about to open another new play,  Astroman, at the Court Theatre in Christchurch where Albert holds the Ursula Bethell Residency in Creative Writing.

Cradle Song premieres at the Corban Estate Arts Centre in Auckland on Wednesday the 5th of September.  Astroman has its New Zealand premiere in October at the Court Theatre in Christchurch

Lynn Freeman asked him when he first heard about the Irish mass grave:

1:49  The rise of Silent Comics and Graphic Novels

We think of great comics and graphic novels as the perfect combination of illustrations and text.   But Silent or Wordless comics are becoming increasingly popular.

Doctor Barbara Postema,  Senior Lecturer at Massey University's English Department in Palmerston North,  is chairing a panel about silent comics at the upcoming Manawatu Writers Festival.   .

She's also writing a book on the subject called Telling Stories without Words.

Barbara tells Lynn Freeman she was an avid reader of Asterix and Tintin, and even some American comics - though not the superhero ones - as a child growing up in the Netherlands.

Barbara Postema is part of a session called Graphic Novels and Comics at Fielding Library on the 8th of September as part of the Manawatu Writers Festival.

2:06 The Laugh Track - Michelle Aitken

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Photo: supplied

An Australian production called Future's Eve is described as a "cult sci-fi spectacle", which might be putting it mildly.

It includes lady-robots, sex-bots, a toaster called Tina, and it promises to get to the heart of our erotic relationship with technology, present and future.

It's the creation of writer-performer Michelle Aitken, and it's about to appear at Auckland Basement Theatre this week.   On the eve of Future's Eve, Simon Morris chats to the endearing Michelle Aitken on the line in Perth.  

Michelle's picks include Mike Birbiglia, the TV series 30 Rock, Big Marvel and John.Sudano.  She tells us she's really sorry!

Her show Future's Eve opens at Auckland's Basement on Tuesday, August the 28th.  


2:24 Otago University Burns Fellowship turns 60

For 60 years, Otago University's Robert Burns Fellowship has helped dozens of writers take chances and produce significant, unforgettable work.

The annual 12-month Fellowship  is open to New Zealand writers of poetry, drama, fiction, biography, autobiography, essays or literary criticism.

It was established in 1958 by a group of anonymous donors to commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of Robert Burns, and also to thank the Scottish writer's Dunedin relations who made a big contribution to the city in its early settler years.

The University is holding big celebrations for the 60th anniversary.  There's an exhibition, workshops, panel discussions and book launches, and many of the past Fellows are coming back to take part.

Lynn Freeman talks to this year's Burns Fellow, poet Rhian Gallagher, and to three from past decades - Alison Wong who was there in 2002, Cilla McQueen who held the Fellowship in 1985,  and Ian Wedde who was awarded it in 1972.

2:48 The history of Samoan Tatau - 30 centuries in the making

Thirty centuries of Samoan tattooing have been chronicled in a new book Tatau, released earlier this month.

Te Papa curator Sean Mallon and  French anthropologist Sebastien Galliot collaborated on the book. Sebastien's ethnographic field work complemented Samoan-New Zealand Sean's knowledge of the global context of tatau.

They spoke with RNZ Pacific's Dominic Godfrey.   Tatau - A History of Samoan Tattooing is published by Te Papa Press.

3:06 Drama at 3 - A slight imperfection by Michael Wilson

Our Drama  this week is a comic horror/thriller, exploring the extreme ramifications of Genetic Engineering and offering an unusual solution to teacher shortages.   A Slight Imperfection  was written by Michael Wilson, and stars Joanne Simpson, Timothy Bartlett and Sophie Hambleton.

3.50  Rising young film-maker Rose Goldthorp

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Photo: supplied

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Photo: supplied

The story of a drag queen ghost is the first micro-budget feature film by Rose Goldthorp and she's about to unleash it on New Zealand audiences.

The University of Auckland Communications student is only 20 and already she has 15 short films to her name.

She started writing A Ghost in Corsets - which she describes as a modern-day, supernatural, dark comedic drama -  when she was 17.

Rose Goldthorp tells Lynn Freeman her fascination with films goes back to her childhood:

A Ghost in Corsets has its New Zealand premiere on the 2nd of September at Devonport's cinema - The Vic.




Music played in this show

Artist: Simon & Garfunkel
Song: Sound of silence
Composer: Simon
Album: Sounds of silence
Label: Columbia
Played at:  12.12

Artist: P J Harvey
Song: Silence
Composer: Harvey
Album: White chalk
Label: Island
Played at: 12.40

Artist: Astrud Gilberto
Song: Quiet nights and quiet stars
Composer: Jobim
Album: Getz/Gilberto
Label: Verve
Played at: 12.58

Artist: The Tremeloes
Song: Silence is golden
Composer: Crewe-Gaudio
Album: The ultimate collection
Label: Castle
Played at: 1.08

Artist: Nini Rosso
Song: Il Silenzio
Composer: Celeste-Brezza
Album: Sleepy shores
Label: Old Gold
Played at: 1.45

Artist: Dixie Chicks
Song: Easy silence
Composer: Maguire-Maines
Album: Taking the long way
Label: Columbia
Played at: 1.58

Artist: Kula Shaker
Song: Hush
Composer: South
Album: (single)
Label: Columbia
Played at: 2.04

Artist: Janis Ian
Song:  Breaking silence
Composer:  Ian
Album: Breaking silence
Label: Polydor
Played at:  2.37

Artist: Billy Joel w Cyndi Lauper
Song: Code of silence
Composer: Joel-Lauper
Album: The Bridge
Label: CBS
Played at: 2.58

Artist: Depeche Mode
Song: Enjoy the silence
Composer: Gore
Album: Violator
Label: Sire
Played at:  3.04

Artist: Bjork
Song:  It's so quiet
Composer: Lang-Reisfeld
Album: Post
Label: Mother
Played at:  3.58

Artist: Missing Persons
Song: Destination unknown
Composer: Bozzio-Bozzio
Album: Living In Oblivion
Label: EMI
Played at: (trailer)