This is a growing up story. Or a growing out story. It’s about two merging lives: Beth, an adventurous young girl with a missionary zeal, brought up in a large Catholic family in Auckland; and Vinni, a Samoan boy who immigrated to Auckland and left his troubled family to join Beth’s household.
We meet them in Sydney, during the 2000 Olympics. Vinni is en route to a professional rugby career in France and Beth, now a Sydneysider, is performing ‘Homelands’ on the side of a 100metre building with ‘Legs On The Wall’ for the Olympic Arts Festival.
Through a fusion of theatrical styles- comedy, acrobatics, aerial dance, puppetry and large projections they tell the stories of their shared childhood. Through hilarious characterisations they satirise big Catholic families ‘papist progeny’, gossiping Samoan Aunties, Grandmothers who think of ‘England as home’ and the dangers of being a politically correct ‘Whitey’ amidst the Springbok rugby tour protests and the Maori renaissance of ’80’s New Zealand. They parody the Kiwi migrant, searching for the ‘big smoke’, while dislocated, torn between opportunity and home.
A House Across Oceans is about families, migrants, New Zealand, Australia. It asks what binds us: blood, love, time, compassion, God, place? It also offers a unique blend of cultural optimism and integration; it’ll make your heart sing!