I’m dreaming hours down to minutes…”
In 1913 Annie enters the remote mountains of Kahurangi National Park to live a hidden life with her lover Henry Chaffey and stays there for 40 years. 40 years in exile, swallowed by the silence, enslaved by the fire.
This beautiful, touching true story is about Annie Chaffey’s love, loneliness, loss and laughter.
New Zealand musician Mark Manson has collaborated with Martine to provide a unique recorded soundscape for the production.
Nominated for Best Actress, Best Solo Performance, Best Script and winner of best Music/Sound at the Nelson Fringe Festival “…writer, director and performer, Martine Baanvinger of DramaLab is utterly compelling, humorous and breathtakingly honest as Annie.
Not only is this an interesting New Zealand story but it is told by an expert in an incredibly imaginative and touching way.”- Lisa Allen, Nelson Fringe Festival review
The year is 1913. The circumstances are those with which we can readily sympathise: violent treatment at the hands of a brutal husband. Annie is a woman of spirit. At a tavern, where she is not supposed to be, she meets a man who “smells of mountains, trees and freedom”. The attraction is mutual, and sufficiently strong for Annie to abandon not just her husband but three young sons. A high price to pay for any life subsequently lived.
Because she is fleeing a husband, her first few years with Henry are spent in hiding. They are always packing and moving, packing and moving. The deceptively simple set enhances this theme. She calls her eventual home, made of wood and corrugated iron, her “mountain palace”.
Henry is at the centre of Annie’s life, and our view of him is only through her eyes. These eyes may have been blinded by love at first sight, and they appear to remain happily blinded for her whole life, despite Henry’s ever-increasing absences. For he must be absent. He must head for the valley; he must seek gold and glory; he must carry back sugar, flour, candles and whisky.
An earthquake in 1929 introduces Annie to the loneliness induced by isolation: she becomes in her own words the Queen of Solitude. When Henry’s away, she talks to his shirt. “With Henry, I’m the best I can be,” she declares, surely a statement of devotion any man should treasure.
Martine Baanvinger is an actor/director/teacher/writer who trained at the Theatre Academy in Amsterdam in the1990's, where she took part in many professional theatre productions. Now living in New Zealand, she has trained with Lynne Bradley from Zen Zen Zo Theatre (physical theatre) in Brisbane over the last seven years.
Devising theatre is Martine's specialty and this, combined with her passion for bringing the stories of extraordinary women in local history to public awareness, has led to her latest solo performance.