Vanilla Miraka is Hayley Sproull’s take on being a quarter Māori, with white skin and no clue what is happening on the marae. Avid readers of my blog (I fantasise that such beings exist) will remember Hayley from Miss Fletcher Sings The Blues. She’s also part of A Slightly Isolated Dog, who we saw putting on their version of Jekyll & Hyde in April this year, and who will be performing Don Juan in November.
Her show is a mixture of song, acting, comedy and serious moments. She gives us some of her history of self-discovery, and how she explored her Māori ancestry by the obvious method of travelling to India. Along the way, she demonstrated her skill with poi, and told us the story of her grandmother's funeral. Not many comedy moments at a funeral, you might have thought...wrong. The final scenes played out are about how she wore her traditional cloak to her graduation ceremony, and how that felt to her.
It's clearly a very personal story, and at the end of it I felt we knew more about the unresolved conflicts of identity that make being a New Zealander not quite as simple as being from most other countries. Whilst a lot of it, particularly in the second half, was quite serious, there were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments as well. I liked this show, and look forward to seeing more from Hayley in the future.