Quake stories in stage show

16:00, Nov 27 2012
KAte McGill
TRUE STORIES: Kate McGill is the director of Munted, a documentary stage show that tells the story of those who experienced the Christchurch earthquake.

It is the survival story of a down-to-earth dentist that stands out most to Kate McGill.

The Arch Hill resident is the director of documentary stage show Munted that is based on the February 22, 2011, Christchurch earthquake.

It tells the stories of those who survived the disaster word-for-word, as they did in interviews with the show's makers.

"It's quite a cathartic piece. It's people's stories of hope and getting on with things," Miss McGill says.

The dentist who struck a chord with her was out cycling when the ground began to shake and was thrown into a large liquefaction hole that appeared in the road.

His cleats were still attached to his bike and he was entirely submerged in the liquid.


"He started reflecting on his life, just on the funniest things and then the ground rumbled again and he was able to get out.

"He was just such a typical Kiwi bloke. He didn't make it a big deal and apparently he hadn't really talked about it before.

"When we did perform it in Christchurch, some people that knew him were really, really affected by it, whereas other people were in stitches because he is so blase about the whole thing."

Miss McGill is the daughter of actor and television personality Ginette McDonald and writer David McGill.

She graduated from the Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School at the end of 2009 and has since featured in a number of films. Munted is one of her first attempts at directing.

Munted is the brainchild of Jackie Shaw and Victoria Abbott who together are the Bare Hunt Collective theatre company.

Ms Abbott was in Paris when the earthquake happened and was not able to get hold of friends and family at home.

Soon after coming back she started interviewing people from her community about their experiences.

"Theatre is what we know and it is how we responded," Miss McGill says.

The two women are joined on stage by Frith Horan. Together they play all 15 characters in the show - from a four-year-old boy to a grocer's wife and journalists.

Ms McGill says there have been mixed reactions to the play.

"In Christchurch there were some people who were like ‘this is too soon, how dare you come in and tell our stories'. That's a big thing to take on and we have to trust that there is a need for this.

"It's important that this is shown in Wellington and Auckland because there are things I didn't know," Ms McGill says.

"It is something that we're going to be teaching our kids about in years to come."

Munted is on at the Basement Theatre from December 4 to 8.

Tickets cost between $16 and $20.

Book at basementtheatre.co.nz.

Auckland City Harbour News