Strange slices of life begin to emerge

It begins.

Casus Circus performer Sarah McDougall holds up Mayu Moto (left), Shannon Vitali (right) and...
Casus Circus performer Sarah McDougall holds up Mayu Moto (left), Shannon Vitali (right) and Vincent Van Berkel (above).

In a Community Gallery cloaked in black on a stage echoing the spare language of the courtroom, Karin McCracken leads a reading of a rape trial in Jane Doe.

Arts Festival Dunedin is under way.

At 7.30pm in venues across Dunedin, strange slices of life appeared on stages in venues as diverse as the subjects broached on their boards.

Jane Doe was a public reading of a rape trial, confronting and, early on at least, stark and stripped of emotion.

Next door at the Savoy, a sardonic Maxi Blaha was inhabiting the psyche of  Gustav Klimt’s partner, Emilie Floge, in Beloved Muse in front of what appeared to be a full house.

In her flowing black and white striped outfit she told Floge’s story to the insistent rhythm of a bearded bass player sitting to stage left.

On the other side of the Octagon, at the Glenroy Theatre, the Maori Sidesteps relived the glory days of  John Rowles and Prince Tui Teka, lighting the stage in Union Jacks and disparate hats.

Further south, at the Mayfair Theatre, human circus Casus performed feats of gymnastics beyond the ability of the average mortal.

Arts Festival Dunedin is under way.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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