Interview with LiSA Allan

Q. What is your name?

A. Lisa Jayne Allan (I'm married to Dan. My last name used to be Norriss)

Q. Do you have a nickname?

A. Hazie-  my nickname was given to me by my grandparents, no one has any idea how it came about though!


Q. Tell us a little bit about your family history...

A. I was born in Nelson hospital in 1980. I was brought up in a little farming village called Wakefield. My maternal grandparents lived in the house reserved for the resident policeman and we lived right next door. My parents were raised close by, on the West Coast and in Murchison. My paternal Granny was born in India, to her British parents. I don't know much about my Granny's husband, he died when my Dad was 14, but I know he was a Kiwi and worked on the roads and ran a farm. 

Q. What training/ experiences led you to this performance?

A. After training with the Hagley Theatre Company in Christchurch I was part of a theatre troupe called the Loopen Experiment (with Dan). We did a lot of original, experimental work, including a Butoh-inspired (Japanese dance/theatre form) piece where we painted ourselves white, wore loin cloths and placed ourselves in the gun emplacements up at Godley Heads. We went on to do some formal training in this form with Zen Zen Zo, a Brisbane-based physical theatre company a few years later and also took up the training gems- Anne Bogart's Viewpoints and Tadashi Suzuki's Method of Actor Training. These forms heavily influenced our work from there on in.

Q. This play is about a mountain, do you have a connection to mountains?

A. Once, while up in the Himalayan station of Dharamasala (where the Dalai Lama lives), I was walking down the main dirt street of McLeod Ganj when I heard someone calling my name. I turned around and it was a man called Tom who I'd gone to high school with! It was so random, to go to the other side of the world and to bump into someone you know (and for him to recognise you, from behind, a hundred metres away!). I wonder now if that encounter was the inspiration for the naming of 'Tom' in the play you're going to see!


Q. This is a 'play for voices,' what does voice mean to you?

A. Voice is powerful. We detect so much through tone, much more than we do through the words that are carried by it. Voice can soothe, it can cause fear, it can excite, it can injure, it can express, it can repress, it can heal. What an incredible tool that we have at our disposal as performers and as humans. Here's to using it wisely!


Q. What are your thoughts on the current state of the world?

A. I think that everyone is doing their best to get by, to cope with whatever life throws their way. We don't know what other people are carrying or why they act the way they do. Being compassionate and responding with kindness is surely the way to mend this world of ours and by having clear boundaries and calling out things that cause hurt to others.

Q. Do you have any comments on the play itself?

A. He he! I wrote this play and I hope it speaks to you in some way. The idea came for it when I was passing through New Plymouth and saw Mount Taranaki for the first time. The title of the play came to me as I looked up at the maunga. I gathered together stories about mountains and water from some generous beings in the community and took them as inspiration for the writing of the piece. What you will see is the combined effort of around 50 people and I hope that it gives voice to some of what they expressed when we all came together.  

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