Deja vu for tutor

UCOL's performing arts students are getting to know their tutor Jaime Dorner a little better by acting out his autobiographical play, The Strange and Distant Land of Nonsense.

Opening tonight, the show was written as part of Dorner's masters in directing at Toi Whakaari. It was performed at the Wellington drama school for its end of year show in 2009 but this will be the first time the show has been staged in Palmerston North.

Dorner says the play is essentially about his life back in Chile, his childhood, life choices, learning and waking up.

"The play really speaks about the weird world that was my childhood. I was a romantic kid and the play is magical and at times nightmarish," Dorner said.

Dorner went to a private Catholic school in Chile and he said religion and ritual was a big part of his cultural and family life, themes that emerge in the play.

"My background, political views, sexuality and my culture are all there; and passion, and I mean the real fighting passion of my country."

Dorner said the play had changed since its creation and re-visiting it had given him the chance to achieve things he didn't the first time.

"I have written it more as a writer rather than a director this time around, so rather than straight stage directions I have given freedom for interpretation."

Student Chloe McCartan said Dorner was giving them the freedom to explore their characters in a play about life "as it is". "These sorts of stories get minimised in society, so it's good to get them out there. It's also a real honour to tell Jaime's story," McCartan said.

The Strange and Distant Land of Nonsense runs until Saturday at the UCOL Performing Arts Studio.

Manawatu Standard