Real Fake White Dirt – at Bats for the Fringe



A critically-acclaimed, beautifully poetic and savagely satirical exploration of white New Zealand’s dislocated past and last-post-colonial present. Performed by award-winning spoken-word performer Jess Holly Bates, Real Fake White Dirt is a funny, fresh and incisive avalanche of Pakeha anxiety and aspiration. ‘Fantastic’ – Broadway Baby, Edinburgh Fringe *


24 February, 2015 Bats Theatre

While much of the poetry (script is available in book form) whizzed by me, by the end of the show I had made the observation that the ‘dirt’ at the centre of Ms Bates props appeared black, not white. Also, while I don’t know what to make of that, a question arose in my mind as to whether compost can be turned into real dirt, or whether it can only be fake dirt.

After all, the dirt that is made from the bottom up where the earth’s crust meets the soil is indigeneous in the most profound sense. The dirt made at the top from compost will always be different in some way, whether it be black dirt or white dirt. So while compost dirt will never be indigeneous in that profound sense, can it be useful? Can it be real for the people who live there?

Richard Keller,  25 Feb.


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