3 Min Read

One Pivotal Night: Takatāpui

Daley Rangi sits behind a small desk with their tools in front of them, a vocal processor, microphone, and loop pedal (as well as some decorative plants gifted to them before the show). As the only person on this otherwise bare stage, Daley is alone with nowhere to hide.

Making quick use of the loop pedal and their voice alone, we’re plunged into an impressive and stirring soundscape. Without revealing the fun quirks Daley has built into this show, we’re almost immediately introduced to their style and sense of humour. Daley has the utmost calm and confident presence about them as they begin to tell us about one pivotal night in their life. Characters are built through animated poetry and are audibly distinguished with different vocal pitches and some Cher-esque vocoder controlled through Daley’s audio processor. 

Daley Rangi in Takatāpui. Photography by Sophie Minissale.

As we venture with Daley through the night we are introduced to their internal and external demons, from the demeaning voice in the mirror to the many threatening bigots they encounter. We learn more about these prejudiced people through songs that reveal the issues which haunt them, leading to hateful intolerance to hide their insecurities.

This night is a constant battle for Daley as they’re continuously judged, threatened, ridiculed, and eventually attacked by others for simply existing. Daley’s experiences over this one night are not unfamiliar or unique, they’re the frightening reality Queer People and People of Colour live through and experience.

Daley Rangi in Takatāpui. Photography by Sophie Minissale.

If I tried to explain all of the themes and issues which emerge within this show, you might question how they could all be spoken about effectively within 55-minutes. These issues such as toxic masculinity and trauma (to name just two) are often discussed in isolation, but Daley has not only put them in context but also shown how they intersect. The raw honesty Daley demonstrates in telling this story, shows the human at the centre of these topics which is often missed in discussion.

Not only has Daley masterfully presented these themes but has done so in a format that mixes mediums of performance to create a multi-layered story. Daley has complete control of the stage, making it full of people or empty at their whim. Their words exercised my mind, creating vivid pictures of the places and people they were describing, aided by the ever-present soundscape.

Takatāpui is an incredibly refined and well-executed piece of theatre. Daley shows multiple artistic abilities with ease, and I’m sure they have many more under their belt. This was my first dive into the world of Daley Rangi and I certainly hope it won’t be my last.

Takatāpui is on now until the 12th of Feb at The Blue Room Theatre.