Anzac myths examined

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Pilgrimage . . . The experience of thousands of New Zealanders, who make the pilgrimage to Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli peninsula each year is closely examined in Dave Armstrong's new play Anzac Eve. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Young New Zealanders’ deep-rooted desire to make a pilgrimage to Gallipoli on Anzac Day is put under the microscope in Dave Armstrong’s new play, Anzac Eve

“I have observed the incredible interest that New Zealanders have in the commemoration of World War 1,” Armstrong said.

“But at the same time, I wonder if we too easily buy into convenient myths about Gallipoli and the ‘Anzac spirit’.”

Armstrong became fascinated by New Zealanders’ experiences of Anzac Cove while working on Te Papa’s blockbuster Gallipoli exhibition and the Gallipoli section of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage’s Nga Tapuwae app.

“As I researched the campaign, I began to think about the myths we hang on to around Gallipoli – particularly its place in our sense of nationhood,” Armstrong said.

Looking through the eyes of a group of 20-somethings – two New Zealanders and two Australians – Anzac Eveexamines the ethos of Gallipoli as part of the big OE, and asks if we have really learned from our history.

“I also wanted to look at an alternative narrative around Gallipoli and Anzac Day, and I felt it was time to ask some uncomfortable questions,” Armstrong said.

Actors Barnaby Olson (Ben), Hayden Frost (Phil), Ruby Hansen (Maia), and Trae Te Wiki (Lizzie), national pride, look back 100 years and try to relate that history to today’s world. All the while, they are looking for romance and a great OE experience.

Anzac Eve is touring New Zealand this month and there will be one Dunedin performance of Anzac Eve, on Thursday, April 27, from 8pm at Allen Hall Theatre, University of Otago.

The play is also touring to Oamaru, Invercargill, Alexandra, Tokanui, Lumsden, Waikawa, Winton, Te Anau and Riverton.