When everything turns to dust

The cast of Dust Pilgrim in rehearsal. Photo: Supplied

RED Leap Theatre director Julie Nolan is encouraging people to come along and be surprised by the company’s latest show – Dust Pilgrim – and allow their imaginations to really be ignited.

The company is returning to Invercargill next week for this year’s Southland Arts Festival, after presenting the whimsical fantasy Paper Sky in 2014.

Nolan said the company loved bringing down Paper Skyand was looking forward to performing Dust Pilgrim for Southland audiences.

She said they were having a great time in rehearsals with a new cast, including former Shortland Streetstar Amanda Billing (Dr Sarah Potts).

Dust Pilgrim tells the story of Panuelo, a young woman trapped by her mother (Billing) in an endless series of repetitive tasks. However, she was also trapped by her love for her mother and her longing to have her mother’s approval, Nolan said.

“Then one day she discovers this dark secret that has held her mother trapped even, and she decides ‘I’ve had enough’ and she runs off into the desert.”

Nolan said Panuelo didn’t know what she was running towards, only what she was running from.

“There’s a little bit of a twist in that the world is so dry and dusty. The mother’s told Panuelo all her life it’s because when she was born she was like a curse and she sucked all the life and all the water out of the world, when in fact the curse is that the mother is holding a really deep secret that we don’t find out until the end of the play.”

Nolan said they were also talking about the cycles that people could get trapped into as well.

“It’s definitely a young woman’s journey to freedom, so it’s really a sort of beautiful coming of age story, but told in such a fantastical way.”

Nolan said the company was inspired by magic realism and the work of Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, where fantastical things can just happen in an everyday place, such as the sky being filled with yellow butterflies when someone died.

“We were really inspired by… that kind of idea that within the everyday and the mundane things just happen, and they don’t have to be explained.”

She said the company had a similar ethos around this show.

“We’re really playing with that kind of everyday and then tipping into the theatrical and the magical.”

The show features an original soundscape and award-winning set and lighting design.

Dust Pilgrim, SIT Centrestage Theatre, Wednesday, May 2, 7pm, and Thursday, May 3, 11am (schools’ show) and 7pm. Book at TicketDirect.

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