Grim tale of authenticity

A Boy Called Piano by Fa'amoana John Luafutu and Tom McCrory. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A Boy Called Piano by Fa'amoana John Luafutu and Tom McCrory. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A Boy called Piano
Regent Theatre
Thursday October 13

Like exotic fish in a tank, three young boys are ripped from their homes and become powerless playthings for unscrupulous adults, who profess to have their best interests at heart.

A Boy called Piano narrates the grim tale of three 11-year-old boys, two Maori and one Samoan, called Wheels, Piwi, and Piano. Made wards of the state, they share stories of beatings, sexual assault and intimidation.

Matthias Luafutu (Piano), Rob Ringiao-Lloyd (Wheels) and Aaron McGregor (Piwi) work a complex choreography, stepping forward to share elements of the story as boys as well as inhabiting a raft of other characters.

As the grandfather of Piano, Ole Maiava appears as a shadowy echo of a more peaceful past denied the young boys. Pianist Mark Vanilau, performing onstage ,underscores the drama, his voice drifting in and out with forlorn yet familiar songs.

An extraordinarily simple set of three floating screens and a finely tuned collection of visual images is used to add an overlay of bleak authenticity.

As a highly choreographed piece of theatre, it would be a powerful comment on the maltreatment of minors. But the addition of documentary sound and vision reminds the audience this play is exposing the true suffering of extremely young Pacific and Maori boys in state care in New Zealand.

It was written by Fa’amoana John Luafutu and Tom McCrory and directed by Nina Nawalowalo.

Further shows to come:  Tomorrow, Oamaru Opera House, Oamaru, 7pm.