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12:16  Let's hear it for the prop-makers!

Props are often the unsung heroes of set-design on stage or screen.   They may be brandished by the actors, or just sitting quietly on a shelf waiting to be produced, but they're always crucial in a scene.  And someone has sourced or made them - often from the most unlikely materials.

Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School is into the third year of a course for those students who want to be behind the scenes making sets and props.  And the graduates of the Sets and Props course are being snapped up, especially by our film makers.

Lynn Freeman talks with two second-year students who've been working on a new musical artwork - a tree that is a musical instrument and is about to be played at the Wellington Botanical Garden.

Monique Tong and Harriet Trubshaw are also hard at work on their end of year graduate statement piece. They're joined by their tutor, Set and Props Department Head Francis Gallop. 

The Harmonic Tree designed by Andrew Laking is being unveiled on Sept 29 at the Wellington Botanic Garden.  

12:34  Dancer, choreographer and Arts Laureate ​Moss Patterson

Moss Patterson

Moss Patterson Photo: supplied

Moss Patterson has been choreographing ambitious and breathtaking dances for more than a decade, with Atamira Dance Company and more recently with his company TOHU.

In recognition of his leadership, his advocacy for Māori culture, and his choreography, Moss has been named one of this year's Arts Foundation Laureates.

He's received the Burr/ Tatham Award for an outstanding artist of any discipline

If Covid-19 hadn't intervened, Moss would have been overseas presenting one of his works in New York and working with dancers in Taiwan and South Korea.

Lynn Freeman invites Moss to look back on a distinguished and varied career.  She asks him first how long he's been a dancer:


12:48 The final series of Westside is a last goodbye to the Wests  

It's been a wild ride but New Zealanders' time with the notorious West family is coming to an end after 12 seasons.

The final series of Westside, the prequel to the equally successful Outrageous Fortune, starts on TV3 tomorrow night.

We've seen the law-breaking Westies through good times and bad, crime and incarceration, births, deaths and marriages.

The final season revolves around the death of central character - matriarch, Rita.  James Griffin, co-creator with Rachael Laing of both Westside and Outrageous Fortune talks to Lynn Freeman about the birth of the disreputable West Auckland family.

The final series of Westside starts tomorrow night on TV3.

1:10 At The Movies


Becky Photo: supplied

This week Simon Morris reviews Becky, Hope Gap and New Zealand black comedy Dead.


1:31  Prayas Theatre Company goes big onstage

Auckland's pioneering South Asian Prayas Theatre company is going big with its 15th birthday celebrations - performing highlights from eight plays from different time periods around the Indian subcontinent

That involves 8 plays, five directors and a cast of 25 performers in a production called YĀTRĀ, which means journey.

Lynn Freeman caught up with two of the busy team involved in YĀTRĀ - directors Sneha Shetty and Amit Ohdedar
 who's directing two of the plays. Amit's also one of the founding members of Prayas:

YĀTRĀ opens at TAPAC in Auckland on the first of October.

1:47  The missing films of early NZ director Robert Steele

A Mild Case of Murder, The Wife Who Knew and Happy Honeymoon - A Near Tragedy - three titles of, we're told, early New Zealand films by enthusiastic amateur director Robert Steele are at the centre of a real life mystery.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision is putting out a nationwide appeal in the hope of tracking down the missing films, or at least finding out more about them.

All this comes from a donation of  photos from Geoff Bertram in February this year including promotional shots of several film productions that none of their staff had ever heard of.

What is known is that Robert Steele ran a photographic studio, was a keen member of repertory theatre and made several commercials and industrial short films on both sides of the Tasman.  He also - in 1931 - made a film called Shattered, described as "the first Auckland-produced photo-play with sound".

Lynn Freeman talks to Geoff Bertram about the cache of photos he found, and to Nga Taonga Sound and Vision Documentation team leader Mishelle Muagututi'a about the investigation it incited.


2:06 The Laugh Track - Scott Blanks

Scott Blanks

Scott Blanks Photo: supplied

It's no secret that the area of the arts most affected by the pandemic has been live performance.  And of that, the most affected may very well be live comedy.  If a joke lands in a deserted comedy club is it still funny?

Pretty much every dedicated comedy club in the WORLD has been closed down since March.  All but one.  Scott Blanks' Classic Comedy Club in Auckland opened in May and - give or take a Level 3 or two - has been going ever since.  

Scott Blanks is today's guest on the Laugh Track.  Simon Morris asked how he managed to kep going while all around him venues were locking their doors?

Scott's picks include Laura Lexx, Ray Bradshaw, Pax Assadi, Melanie Bracewell, Ian Smith, Urzila Carlson and Tony Lyall.

2:27  Scape - offering Christchurch public art in a pandemic

Christchurch's latest Public Art Walkway is about to open, in stages, offering pedestrians a collection of temporary sculptures to enliven their strolls though the city.

It's courtesy of SCAPE which for more than 20 years has commissioned public artworks from local, national and international artists.

This year, thanks to Covid-19, the new work is all Kiwi-made.

Jamie Hanton from Christchurch's Physics Room Gallery is also the Managing Curator for this year's SCAPE and he's set a theme of "Secrets and Lies".

Lynn Freeman asked him what's had to change to fit in with the new normal:

The SCAPE Public Art Season 2020 opens on the 3rd of October.

2:39  Bryan Walpert's Beethoven-inspired novella

Bryan Walpert

Bryan Walpert Photo: supplied

No caption

Photo: supplied by publisher

Beethoven's "Sonata Number 30 in E Major" weaves its way through a novella that's won a Trans-Tasman literary award for its writer, Professor Bryan Walpert from Massey University.

Bryan, who's also a poet, put the manuscript for Late Sonata on hold for four years while he worked on an academic text about poetry and mindfulness. 

But he completed the 40,000 word manuscript last year, and became just the third Kiwi to win the Australian publisher Brio Books' Viva La Novella award.

Late Sonata tells the story of a husband and wife separated by Alzheimers, and by a pervasive secret that involves their dead son Michael.

Lynn Freeman asks Bryan Walpert about the on-line course that started a literary journey.

Late Sonata is published by Brio Books.

2:49 Educators - TV sitcom without a script

The first series of improv comedy series Educators on TVNZ on Demand was a smash hit for its creators Jonny Brugh, Jackie Van Beek and director Jesse Griffin.  So it's hardly surprising the team got a second series, which has just dropped this week.

Jonny Brugh plays Principal Jarred Needham - well-meaning, chaotic, but with his heart in the right place.  The opposite of the character of Deacon, his suave vampire in What we do in the shadows, in other words.

Lynn Freeman asks Jonny how do you totally improvise a TV sitcom, what limits do you set yourself and your collaborators?  And why did they choose a school setting for the series?.

The second series of Educators is currently playing on TVNZ On Demand.

3:06 Drama at 3 - Think of a Garden by John Kneubuhl Part One

Not many New Zealanders know of their country's role as the administrative power in Western Samoa for much of the early part of this century - or the fact that the authoritarian nature of the administration spawned a strong self-government movement among Samoans known as the Mau.

Although it was a pacifist group, the Mau unsettled the New Zealand administrators in Apia. They banished some of its active members to other parts of the South Pacific, and one of Samoa's 4 paramount chiefs, Tupua Tamasese Lealofi the third was sentenced to 6 months in Auckland's Mt Eden jail.

The incident that followed his return to Apia…just after Christmas in 1929….is one of the sadder chapters in New Zealand's history in Samoa…and it's at the centre of the play that we're featuring this week and next.

Today's Classic Drama is Part One of Think of a Garden by John Kneubuhl.

Music played in this show

Artist: Sue Thompson
Song: Sad movies
Composer: Loudermilk
Album: History of Rock Volume 10
Label: Collectables
Played at: 12.16

Artist: The Olympics
Song: Western movies
Composer:  Goldsmith-Smith
Album: All Time Greatest Hits
Label: DCC
Played at: 12.31

Artist: The Drifters
Song: Saturday night at the movies
Composer: Mann-Weil
Album: The Very Best of
Label: Rhino
Played at: 1,07

Artist: Suzanne Vega
Song: If you were in my movie
Composer: Vega
Album: 99.9F
Label: A&M
Played at: 1.44

Artist: Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks
Song: Movies is magic
Composer: Parks
Album: Orange Crate Art
Label: Warner
Played at: 1.58

Artist: Ryan Gosling
Song: City of Stars
Composer: Hurwitz-Pasek
Album: La La Land
Label: Interscope
Played at: 2.04

Artist: Everly Brothers
Song: Wake up little Suzie
Composer: Bryant-Bryant
Album: Cadence Classics
Label: EMI
Played at: 2.35

Artist: 10cc
Song: The film of my love
Composer: Godley-Creme
Album:  The Original Soundtrack
Label:  Mercury
Played at: 2.58

Artist: Harpo
Song: Movie star
Composer: Harpo
Album: One Hit Wonders: The Seventies
Label: EMI
Played at: 3.04

Artist: The Kinks
Song: Celluloid Heroes
Composer:  Davies
Album: Everybody's in showbiz everybody's a star
Label: Castle
Played at: 3.56