Standing in Time

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The 2017 archive

Lemi Ponifasio

Auckland / Created in 2017

Standing in Time © Christophe Raynaud de Lage


In Maori, “Hine-Nui-Te-Po” is the woman who takes care of all humans after death. Further back in time, but just as feminine and powerful, Justicia, a Roman goddess, lives within our buildings and stands for a detached vision of justice. Between those two references, those two worldviews, Lemi Ponifasio talks about the fate of those women who disappear from society, without explanation... Surely a balance is possible. With his new show Standing in Time, the choreographer wants to question the concepts of justice and human dignity. Calling on the story of creation and destruction, he proposes a reflection on the journey of humanity and of life on earth. Before us, a stage. Within that framework, he summons nine women, all dressed in black. This quasi-monastic ensemble lets him imagine time and space, and the use of black and white leads to a contemplative atmosphere. Sensation is favoured over meaning, and it is through sensation that humanity will be able to understand what surrounds it, what makes its essence. If Lemi Ponifasio was inspired by the writings of Syrian poetess Rasha Abbas, to which respond the laments written by women from isolated Maori communities, it is to give the audience access to the purity of language and to the emotion carried by sounds rather than to the incomplete meaning inherent to the arbitrary nature of words. No surtitles here, but the possibility of a poetic, if not cosmogonic, reading of the world.


Texts Lemi Ponifasio
Direction, stage design, sound Lemi Ponifasio
Lights Helen Todd
Music Ria Te Uira Paki, Te Ara Vakaafi
Costumes Kasia Pol

With Gabriela Arancibia, Rosie Te Rauawhea Belvie, Kasina Campbell, Te Riina Kapea, Elisa Avendano Curaqueo, Nazerene Paea, Ria Te Uira Paki, Kahumako Rameka, Manuao Ross


Production MAU
Co-production Festspielhaus St. Pölten
With the support of Fondation BNP Paribas for the 71st edition of the Festival d'Avignon

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