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Thu 15 Mar 2007–Sat 14 Apr 2007

Where: Hopetoun Alpha, 19 Beresford Square, CBD, Auckland

Related Artists:

Listed by: Amy Saunders


Auckland Festival, AK07

The Plight of the Penguins
defended, elucidated and illustrated
by Joseph Hatch Esq.
father, employer & mass murderer!

Discover a shocking true story from New Zealand's forgotten past. Hatch or The Plight of the Penguins is a rollicking one-man play that recaptures the spirit of the 1920s and reveals alarming insights into one of the country's worst kept conservation secrets.

Bizarre but true! Joseph Hatch (Stuart Devenie, The Daylight Atheist) upstanding citizen, ex-Mayor of Invercargill, Member of Parliament and successful businessman was thrust headfirst into an international controversy over his slaughter of more than three million penguins on Macquarie Island.

Hatch was hounded by the New Zealand Government, The Times of London, the Seamen's Union and even H.G. Wells for his slaughter of penguins - the first international conservation effort. In this Auckland Theatre Company production Hatch will, as he did in 1920, try to clear his name and justify his actions.

SEE his evidence yourself in the breathtaking images! EXPERIENCE the perils of the Southern Ocean! LEARN the horrors of penguin oil rendering! HEAR the man argue his case!
Playwright Geoff Chapple was named New Zealand's first 'Social Entrepreneur' in 2002 for his work on Te Araroa, the proposed New Zealand-long walking trail. Also a respected journalist, Chapple took time out to write Hatch or The Plight of the Penguins - his first stage play.
"Joseph Hatch worked on the dark side," says Chapple. "The whole world said no, but Hatch said yes, and I liked that about him. In 1920, the Government revoked his oiling license and he faced ruin, but he took to the road with a Magic Lantern show, slandering his enemies and justifying the trade. Many of his original slides still existed and press reports of that time made clear he had a demagogic power over his audiences. I saw an opportunity to re-create an astonishing bit of Kiwi history."

Auckland's majestic Hopetoun Alpha heritage building will play host to these vigorous and highly entertaining reenactments of the Magic Lantern shows given by Hatch, in his attempt to convince the public and the Tasmanian Government to restore his revoked oil rendering license.

Director Colin McColl and Designer Tony Rabbit take the creative helm for this production - embellishing the unique "town-meeting" aesthetic of the space and making full use of dozens of historic photographs.

"Hatch is a fascinating character from New Zealand's rich history and the story lends itself well to theatrical treatment. This persuasive raconteur often swayed audiences to support him - despite his slaughter of more than three million penguins in the Southern Ocean!" says McColl.

Spend an outlandish evening in the company of this charismatic, wildly cunning and obsessive man.

With: Stuart Devenie. Writer: Geoff Chapple. Direction: Colin McColl. Designers: Tony Rabbit, Denise Hosty

Venue: Hopetoun Alpha
Dates: Thurs 15 - Fri 20 April. Mon-Weds 6pm, Thurs - Sat 8pm, Sun, 4pm
Bookings: Ticketek: 09 307 5000
Tickets: $20 - $54

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