41. EXILE: AN ATC PLAY READING
1939. Exiled German poet Helmut Lagerbrutenfeldt washes up on Auckland’s North Shore. The arrival of a literary star causes much excitement at first, but soon the local literati find themselves challenged by this foreigner: he wants to talk literature and poetry at their gatherings; they normally get plastered and eat finger food. It’s a recipe for a crisis of national identity.
Lightly based on a real German poet who came to New Zealand seeking sanctuary, understanding and a captive colonial audience, Stuart Hoar’s Exile is a sharp literary satire set in a time when men were men, women were women and writers were, ahem, eloquent artists who discussed important topics with great insight and wisdom.
Thinly veiled versions of formative figures of NZ literature (James K. Baxter and Frank Sargeson, among others) end up in the firing line as Hoar’s droll precision cuts through cultural cringe into the very bone of what we think we think it means to be a New Zealander…
This reworked version of Exile will be read by an ATC selected cast and followed by a discussion between playwright Stuart Hoar and New Zealand literature specialist Sarah Shieff.