This post is about the Fringe Festival and our adventures on the weekend of February 24th:
The summer is turning out to be quite nice! As promised, February has been warm and sunny almost every day, which explains why February is also the month of the Fringe Festival. Being the center of Arts and Entertainment, Wellington is home to many a theatre, as well as the ballet and symphony. Lots of artistic types here!
We hadn’t had a chance to see any plays or performances until this past weekend, but both plays we saw were excellent. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I saw a play (or if I’ve even gone to one in the past!) Friday night, we went to a play called “Lovers of Central Park”.
My good friend and co-worker Karen was in the play, so we mainly went to support her. There was little need for that, though, as the play consistently sold out throughout the three week run! And for good reason – the play was very well written and acted, and was set in a lovely park in Wellington. The play had several vignettes of couples in various stages of love – from first meeting through break-up or death and everything in between. We were with a group of about 45 people, and as we walked through the park with our “guides” (also characters in the play), we saw the various couples through time. We went over a bridge, up steep stairs, down through a grassy valley and up a hill while holding onto a rope.
The night we went was overcast and misting. The play was almost canceled, but as it was one of the last performances they decided to go ahead. Darren and I thought the mist and darkness added to the feel of the play, and gave more weight to the sad and shocking scenes, as well as the rock circle at the end. The play was two hours long, but was riveting the entire time. The vignettes included a group of teenagers from the 1980s, two couples from current times, a Maori couple (who spoke in Maori that was not translated – just beautiful!) from the 1800s, a gay couple from the 1990s, an older couple from the future, and a gentleman and his maid from the early 1900s.
It is incredibly difficult to do the play justice in this short of a space. Suffice it to say it was an amazing experience that we are still talking about! [note: even though this was written right after that weekend, we are actually still talking about that play!]
On Saturday, we attempted to go to the Cuba Street Carnival. Apparently the Carnival is only held every other year, and includes several music stages throughout downtown as well as booths and street performers. We wandered into downtown in the late morning and immediately discovered it was very very crowded. I’m not a big fan of being jostled or pushed, which is part of the reason we moved to an uncrowded country!
It was all a bit too much for us, so we went home to relax instead and came back later in the evening for the Night Parade. Once again, there were incredible crowds, but more manageable as they were standing still. The Parade was very good in parts, and really weird in others. The most disturbing part was seeing so many pre-pubescent girls gyrating and dancing suggestively while wearing next to nothing. Both Darren and our friend William commented that they felt “dirty” just watching them! I could only think “where are their parents?!”
Sunday was another beautiful day, so after getting some fruit and vegetables at the market, we headed out to the zoo. As with most major attractions here in Wellington, the zoo was a primary stop on a bus route. The zoo is celebrating it’s 100 year ‘birthday’, and so is undergoing a lot of renovation.
The zoo was quite small compared to others I’ve been to, but has changed many of its habitats into more natural ones without bars/cages. The giraffe area had to be the coolest, as you can stand on a very high platform and watch a giraffe eat a couple feet below you.
We also had fun watching the red pandas, the meercats, and the otters.
We even got to see a real Kiwi up close! (Since they are nocturnal birds, we didn’t take any pictures of him, but here is a dramatization of what would have happened if we had seen one in the day, and if Darren was a beetle.)
Darren loved the signs at the zoo that warned kids (and adults too, I guess) about various things:
I love how they show what will happen to you! There were also signs warning against feeding various animals - and the third panel showed the animal dead!!
Once we were done there, we got back on the bus and headed to what we thought was Lyall Bay.
However, since we had forgotten to get a bus map/schedule for that particular bus number AND the bus driver was new, we ended up going to Island Bay (the next Bay over) instead, with breathtaking views along the way. Island Bay is beautiful, but we had been there before and Darren was keen on seeing the waves at Lyall Bay. Oh, well! We’ll get there eventually…
We walked around Island Bay for a bit, dipped our feet in the very cold water and walked on the sand. =) We headed back in time to catch another play at Bats, a theatre very close to our house. The play is called “Brain Power”, and we had first heard of it at Karen and her flat-mate Jaimie’s houseparty. Jaimie was also in the play, so of course we had to be there! Again, we are very glad we went, as the concept was brilliant and very well carried out.
The play is set inside a man’s brain - there are 18 characters, including: Concept of Justice, Big Scary Monster, Pissed Off, Embarrassed, Concept of God, Concept of Cleanliness (she was the new one - appeared when he started dating some girl), Concept of Ruthless Ambition, Scared/Sad, and Concept of Violence. The play is a comedy, but we found it was also very clever and had some dramatic moments. [Note: I understand they rewrote a bit of it, and it's back in the theatre this weekend.
Whew! What a full, diverse weekend we had!