After sell-out seasons around the country, Rita and Douglas comes home to Wellington. Two of New Zealand’s leading performers, Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Michael Houstoun, join forces to present the words, music and images of two of our greatest cultural icons – artist Rita Angus and composer Douglas Lilburn.
Recently divorced painter Rita Angus and young composer Douglas Lilburn met in Wellington in the early 1940s and had a brief but passionate affair. Over the next decades, living in virtual poverty and struggling with health issues, Angus went on to produce, with Lilburn’s support, an outstanding body of work.
Rita and Douglas was over two years in the making. Selecting the 130 images projected in the show – paintings and sketches by Angus as well as photos of her and Lilburn, and choosing the music performed from Lilburn’s considerable solo piano repertoire was a huge yet highly enjoyable undertaking.
Inspired by his involvement in Rita and Douglas, Michael Houstoun recently recorded an album – Lilburn that contains much of the music performed in the show. It won Classical Album of the Year at the 2013 New Zealand Music Awards.
Playwright Dave Armstrong created the script from the many letters that Angus sent to Lilburn. ‘Lilburn also wrote letters to Angus, but they were lost,’ explains Dave, ‘so in Rita and Douglas, we let Lilburn’s music do the talking. It’s a beautiful conversation.’
Armstrong Creative presents
RITA AND DOUGLAS
The letters of Rita Angus to Douglas Lilburn adapted by Dave Armstrong
Directed by Conrad Newport
Featuring Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Michael Houstoun
A poignant love story and a stunning collaboration of theatre, music and art
CIRCA ONE 2 – 12 April 2014
Tuesday and Wednesday 6:30pm
Thursday to Saturday 8pm
BOOK at CIRCA: (04) 801 7992 or www.circa.co.nz