© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2022

This show will have you Hysterical

Sam Weir
Hysterical Image2520
Official advertising picture for Hysterical. L to R: Olivia Hall and Carrie Rudzinski  Supplied by HWC photographer: Andi Crown

A two-women feminist poetry show will arrive in Christchurch later this week.

A popular feminist poetry duo will be returning to Christchurch later this week. The How We Survive Collective will be putting on Hysterical, a poetry show on feminist issues.

The Collective, Carrie Rudzinski and Olivia Hall guide their audience  through the history of the word hysterical and their personal experiences as women.

By this introduction, you might assume the show isn’t funny, but in fact the show is full of comedic value.

The comedic nature is something that surprised even Rudzinski and Hall themselves.

“The thing that’s most surprising about the show is that it’s genuinely very funny. The audience laughs a large portion of the show, and they actually laugh in poems we never expected them to laugh in,” Rudzinski said.

Rudzinski is an award-winning poet, published author and teaching artist, while Hall is a celebrated poet and performer with a Masters in Gender Studies.

The pair first met seven years ago at an open mic in Wellington. They instantly clicked and decided to do a one-off poetry show together, which quickly turned into the partnership they’re in today.

Rudzinski was born in America, but moved to New Zealand seven years ago when she and her partner fell in love with the country. Hall is a born and raised Kiwi, but lived in New York and London for four years. She returned to New Zealand a few months ago.

Hysterical aims to challenge the stereotypes society imposes on women. Hall hopes that if the audience takes away anything from their performance it is that showing emotion is nothing to be ashamed of and fundamental to the connections we have.

The show and its content works to challenge not only societal constructs but how the audience sees poetry itself. People when they think of poetry most often think of the purely written word or if they think of the spoken word, they think of someone standing there in angst and rebellion.

Hysterical is performative like its older sister How We Survive, both shows use the stage and props to tell a story. The show differs from its predecessor by taking a more structured approach. Hall and Rudzinski built the poems around the theme of the show.

Both How We Survive and Hysterical are published books that can be purchased from the pair's website.

Hall and Rudzinski also have Spotify accounts under their names where they post their work together and as individuals. Their most recent Spotify co-lab is ‘They will never own us’ in 2020.

The show will be at Little Andromeda Theatre from Thursday 12 May until Saturday 14 May at 7pm each evening.

Good news for budding poets: if you’d like the chance to learn from Hall and Rudzinski they will be holding a writer’s workshop from 5-7pm on Sunday evening.

Buy tickets to Hysterical

Buy tickets to HWC Workshop

How We Survive- website