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Intricate Art of Actually Caring, and Other New Zealand Plays - (Paperback)

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Theatre in Aotearoa, New Zealand began as a tool of the British Empire, imported along with Christianity and capitalism, seeds, muskets, and blankets as a way of acculturating the Maori (native New Zealanders) and cultivating the English settlers. Productions of plays by Shakespeare, in particular, as staged both by touring companies of stars and by community groups, were seen as instrumental in educating and elevating colonial New Zealanders and enacting civilisation at the farthest reach from mother England. In the post-colonial context, theatre is one of the Empire’s most enduring legacies, with continuing resilience throughout globalisation and mediatisation. As this small cluster of islands in the South Pacific has come into its own as a nation, theatre continues to make a place for, and give voice to, an increasingly diverse population of New Zealanders.
The plays in this anthology have been chosen for their social currency and organised so that, taken together, they portray what it means to be living in New Zealand in the first decades of the 21st century. As such, they represent the preoccupations of present-day New Zealanders with the people and politics of the past, with the not-quite-post-ness of post-colonialism, and with the prospects for (and against) biculturalism in an increasingly multicultural, globalised society. Some characters reach back to previous generations for understanding, purpose and solace; other characters push away from, or attempt to suppress, the effects of their personal and social histories on their current circumstances.

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