The lead up to the opening has been more public than I expected. The write-ups and mentions continued in the Herald, the Listener (hardcopy only), and Tagata Pasifika have been nice to read and watch.
On opening night I was accompanied by The Lovely Wife, The Girl and The Boy, and I was very, very happy to have my family with me. The opening night audience liked the show — that’s always grafifying. The early reviews in BroadwayWorld and Concrete Playground are positive.
For some reason this doesn’t feel real. Maybe it’ll hit me at some point — soon, hopefully, maybe — that I’ve achieved something tangible, something to be inordinately proud of. Instead I’ve been looking over my shoulder, waiting to be awoken from some impossibly good dream.
The play opens this Thursday. I don’t know where the time has fled. Meantime:
- designer John Parker was interviewed on Radio New Zealand about his love of puppetry;
- there are these pieces at Stuff and Mindfood;
- a very nice mention by Renee Liang at The Big Idea;
- and the programme for your taste-whetting.
(Please forgive the avian puns. I hope you understand.)
In the meantime, please can someone suggest why this pic —
— keeps making me flash on this:
Your answers and suggestions welcome in the comments.
I looked at the calendar and saw with some shock that the first performance is less than a fortnight away.
Less than a fortnight.
Until I can figure what else to blog about, here’s some chicken in a bucket for you:
Rehearsals are continuing apace in Auckland while life goes on in Northland. An unexpected perk on this production is the rehearsal reports I’m sent at the end of each work day: a one-pager of what happened, what’s needed, and any observations.
Yesterday’s report got me cackling and yahoo-ing in the Fortress Mamea environs:
And it made me flash on this:
Rehearsals for Still Life With Chickens kicked off this week with an Auckland Theatre Company welcome followed by a reading, then a read-through.
I got to meet and thank set, puppet and costume designer John Parker. I caught up with director Fasitua Amosa and actor Goretti Chadwick, as well as met the masterfully coiffured Chicken puppeteer Haanz Fa’avae Jackson and the very quiet, very calm technical stage manager Andrew Furness. Also well-met were those whose names are unlikely to appear in the brochure but whose work is just as vital as those on and around the stage: Eliza, Natasha, Nicola, Emma, Jan, Jade, Nicole, Siobhan and Miryam.
I realised with a shock that opening night is only four weeks away. It feels perilously close.
Going by how I had to blink back tears through a couple of mere read-throughs, as far as I’m concerned, the show is in good hands.
The inhabitants of Fortress Mamea have at least two pairs of farm boots each: one for the front door, the other for the back door. Surrounded as we are by
muck and mud paddocks and woodland, it’s much more efficient — especially when it’s something urgent — to have a pair of boots at each exit, ready to take us places.
Lately, my front door pair have been feeling a bit damp. I thought it was just the morning dew and what-not — but no:
The heel has disintegrated somehow. Time for some resoling or a new pair for the front door.
Ideally, I would segue to something writing-related, like how to know when it’s time for a tool to be replaced or upgraded. The thing is… none of my writing tools need replacing or upgrading.
I’m a month into 2018 and I’ve got projects on my slate.
I’ve no excuse to not write.
I’m as shocked as you are: I haven’t done a best-of of live theatre since 2012 — and even then I lumped it in with the screen stuff.
Highlights from 2017:
- Riverside Kings by Natano Keni and Sarita So — Wellington talent to keep an eye out for;
- Kororāreka: The Ballad of Maggie Flynn by Red Leap Theatre — dance theatre usually leaves me a little bewildered — but Kororāreka was exhilarating and captivating;
- Amadeus by Peter Shaffer, Auckland Theatre Company — a big show, a rock ‘n’ roll story, and awesome, extravagant theatre.
Enjoyed on the big screen:
- Rogue One
- O le Tulafale (The Orator)
- Nocturnal Animals
- The Lobster
- Get Out
- The Big Sick
- Blade Runner 2049
- Lucky Logan
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Honourable mentions: the hilarious and disgusting Girls Trip; David Michôd and Brad Pitt‘s slow burning War Machine; the chemistry between Samuel L Jackson and Ryan Reynolds in The Hitman’s Bodyguard; and the excellent I, Tonya Harding.
Binged on the small screen:
- American Crime Story: People vs OJ Simpson
- Legion S01
- The Knick S01–02
- The Expanse S02
- Better Call Saul S03
- The Handmaid’s Tale S01
- The Americans S05
- Stranger Things S01
- The Punisher S01
Honourable mentions, including those moved here to give new titles a shot: Emily Watson and Ben Chaplin in Apple Tree Yard; the fitfully funny Brooklyn Nine-Nine S01; creator and showrunner Noah Hawley shows how it’s done in Fargo S03; and, of course, Game of Thrones S07.
Favourite poster of the year? Without a doubt:
My reading output (input?) this year was better than last year. But it
coulda should’ve been much better. Standouts from the reading diary:
- Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver — I maybe should’ve read this
when the Lovely Wife suggested itbefore agreeing to follow my wife to rural Northland;
- Ratatouille (2007 draft) by Brad Bird;
- Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses 007–029 by David Lapham — I thought this sprawling small crime epic was consigned to the unfinished classics section of comic history until I tripped over this at the local library;
- Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl;
- Lazarus X+66 001–005 by Greg Rucka, Eric Trautmann, Steve Lieber and Michael Lark — a very welcome salve while the main Lazarus series is on hold;
- Atlanta S01E01 by Donald Glover;
- Te Puhi by Cian Elyse White — a beguiling slice of New Zild history about our first Māori Miss New Zealand;
- The Pissy Tits Gang by Rosie Howells;
- The Walking Dead 162–174, including Here’s Negan!, by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn — the Negan character arc in the Walking Dead comic is a masterclass in humanity, patience and compassion.