Biography of My Skin


When Biography of My Skin started with Miranda Harcourt addressing us from a screen I was disappointed – I’d thought it was going to be a live production.

But that was a fleeting thought because I was immediately engrossed in what she was saying and within minutes she called out from the auditorium, strode on to the stage and started chatting to us in person.

It was an innovative start to a unique play which held me spellbound throughout.

Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, often thought-provoking, this is the story of a remarkable woman, her family, relationships and life, written by her husband Stuart McKenzie who also appears, first on screen then in person.

Quite how much dramatic licence has been applied to the stories and performance is difficult to tell, but that’s part of the play’s appeal.

It takes great skill from both scriptwriter and actors to tell a story which is both intensely intimate and personal yet also universal. Biography of My Skin did it superbly. Nearly 24 hours after seeing the play I am still thinking about it and pondering some of the questions it raised, among which is: “how can I be a good mother if I’m not a good daughter?

Men were in a minority in the audience but those I spoke to afterwards enjoyed it just as much as the women.

Biography of My Skin has been touring the country. Last night’s was its only appearance in the Oamaru Opera House.

The tour concludes with shows in Christchurch this Friday and Saturday. If I was going to be anywhere near the city, I’d put it on my not-to-be-missed list.

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. Name the five Play School toys.

2. Name the programme set in a North Island timber town which starred Dame Pat Evison.

3. Name the drama set in a fictional publishing firm the stars of which included Ilona Rogers and Miranda Harcourt.

4. Who used to say “by hokey” and what show did he compere?

5. Name three of the four people who shared an office in Gliding On.

Rob got two right 1/2 of #4 and 2/3 of 5 though I’ll give him a fraction for the Welsh one.

Adam gets a point for lateral thinking.

G got four right.

Gravedodger got 4 right plus 2/5 of #1 and a bonus for all that extra information.

PDM got four right and an on the right track for #1 – the opening of Play School went: Here’s a house, here’s a door, windows 1,2,3,4; knock, knock, turn the lock, Playschool! (Why can I remember something I haven’t heard for 20 years but not what I heard a few mintues ago?)

Teletext gets the electronic boquet with a clean sweep.

Ray got three right plus 3/5 of #1 and I’ll let him away with Raewyn  for #5 because although she didn’t share the office, she was in and out often enough to count, and a bonus for touring with exchange students.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break.

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