A striking play
104 years ago, a strike took place at the Waihi gold mine which would change the face of NZ employment policy and led to the creation of the Labour Party. Renee Liang speaks to playwright and actor Lorae Parry about her connection to this piece of history and why she wrote the play.
Why do you make theatre?
I got into theatre very young. There was no money in it unfortunately! So the better question might be, why do I stay in theatre!
Has your writing changed over the years?
I'm not sure my writing has changed over the years. I find it's me that's changed and what I write is influenced by my life experience.
What's your relation to the Waihi strike story?
Many members of my family were in the 1912 Waihi strike. They were Aussie Stirrers! The major one was my great, great uncle Bill Parry - who with Peter Fraser and Michael Joseph Savage went on to help form the NZ Labour party.
Why write this play, and why now?
Its time now. I timed it to coincide with Labour party centenary.
Can theatre be a force for social change?
Definitely! It always is. It makes us laugh, it makes us cry and most of all it makes us think. Which creates change.
It must be strange putting on this play - depicting a struggle between workers and the elite - in light of recent events.
Yes, the events of Scarlet & Gold are particularly poignant in light of the Pike River disaster. It's entirely 'strikingly' relevant seeing the women effected - wives, mothers, sisters, daughters - protesting outside the mine to bring their men home.
Tell me about your long running creative partnership with Pinky Agnew.
WHO??? (just joking!) She's wonderful! The comic wind beneath my wings! For Scarlet & Gold she is creating the costumes - a brilliant woman of many talents.
What are you working on next?
A totally new Destination Beehive! Election year always brings new material! Watch this space!
What's your big idea for 2017?
Definitely a holiday or two!!!
- Scarlet & Gold is on 25 November – 22 December at Circa Theatre, Wellington