This play is about Charles Meryon, a French artist who lived for two years in the French colony of Akaroa (c 1844 -45). His experience of life with the Māori people who also lived there left its mark on his work and his imagination in a profound and strongly dramatic way.
Later in his life when he struggled to make a living as an artist in Paris his experiences in Akaroa were idealised in his mind and he never forgot them. In fact, several of his most striking etchings of Parisian buildings include hallucinatory visions of the South Pacific.
Pasefika is a dramatic re-imagination of Meryon's struggle to survive as an artist in Paris of the 1860s (he was befriended by the poet Charles Baudelaire) and of his experiences in Akaroa. It's also about their relationships with two women in Paris, Jeanne Duval and Louise Niveau, and two women in Akaroa. It is not a straight period piece at all.
Winner Adam NZ Play Award 2010.