Left work early yesterday to head up to Otaki (and hour and a half drive if you’re making good time) before the traffic got crazy. The event? Strange Resting Places was playing in the local school hall.

This is a play about a Maori from the 28th Battalion encountering an Italian man during the imminent bombing of the Cassino abbey during WW2. If you’re not familiar with the history, the New Zealand division was given the opportunity to try to take the town of Cassino, Italy in early 1944. Our main man at the time was one General Freyberg, and as part of the assault he had a 1400 year old Abbey pounded into dust by the biggest air bombardment of the Second World War…

Strange Resting Places not only tells the story of the bombardment well, it tells it excellently, with humour, song, three languages, and grace. The actors, Paolo Rotondo, Rob Mokaraka and Maaka Pohatu are superb, and the characters at times so convincing you’ll find yourself shocked to realise what you’re watching.

The play has been touring for fair while now, and I think is in Palmerston North next? If you’re with a couple of hours drive I strongly suggest you attend. Missing this is downright foolish.

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