STILL LIFE WITH CHICKENS: 2017 Adam Award winner

Mother hen and chicks, October 2012.

A play inspired by my mother’s adventures with poultry, and described at a workshop as surrealist and existentialist, has won the 2017 Adam New Zealand Play Award. I’m rather chuffed, thank you very much.

I’m in Melbourne at the moment so 2016 Adam winner Maraea Rakuraku very kindly accepted the award on my behalf, with something I prepared earlier:

Still Life With Chickens was going to be a co-writing venture with my Lovely Wife. She came up with the title and the concept, and I suspect she envisioned a situation where she would roam the study reeling off dialogue and scenes while I sat dutifully at the keyboard and typed everything in.

Because I love my wife dearly and I value our marriage, I worked on the play in secret for two years, and presented the script to her — crediting her appropriately, of course — as a fait accompli.

I acknowledge my fellow longlistees, in particular Maraea Rakuraku for kindly accepting this award on my behalf.

Thanks to Creative New Zealand for its support in getting the first draft to the finish line.

Thanks to Playmarket: Murray, Salesi, Kirsty, Allison — and before Allison, Stuart Hoar — for their tireless work in developing, supporting and hustling for New Zealand playwrights.

Thank you to the Adam aiga for these awards.

And thank you to my Lovely Wife who believes in me more than I do.



Une poule.
Une poule.

Sharp-eyed (and long-suffering) readers of this blog may have put lua and two together to know that I’m working on a new play called Still Life With Chickens. It’s about an elderly Samoan woman who reluctantly adopts a barnevelder chicken and learns that there’s more to her sunset years than waiting for death.

I don’t usually announce projects in development but since Creative New Zealand has kindly provided a grant (and I’m a week behind on feeding this blog), I thought, What’s the harm in putting pressure on myself by announcing a work-in-progress that I’ll probably be asked about ad nauseum?


Pots on the Boil

Okay, it’s been all fine and dandy to be as opinionated as Ianthe of Timaru about various media, but what about what I do?

Good question.

  • Five is in the excellent hands of Amit – sliced, diced and packaged for a premiere. I should stop counting that as a pot on the boil now.
  • Earlier in the year I finally finished a first draft of a semi-biographical feature script. The producer/director I did it for is currently having a whack at the next draft. It’s been interesting to work through the inevitable tension in the creative process where the producer/director wants authenticity while I’m trying to argue for dramatic impact.
  • My long awaited 2007 spec script has really only had its outline tweaked – it even had a one-page pitch done – but I haven’t started writing it yet. I’d like to blame the non-start on some of the following projects – but I’d be lying.
  • I was asked to write a low budget thriller a while back. After duly speccing an outline, I mentioned the word “contract” and scared the producer away. Ah well. Still, there’s something about the outline that’s really hooked me: I approached the project from an oblique angle to try and be ‘fresh’ as well as make it interesting to write. I’ve made it my 2007 spec* – and, yes, I’ll give the producer first dibs on it when it’s finished.
  • I met with another producer recently about some development work on an half-hour series. I did some work for him last year that was great fun – not only did I get paid, I was writing cool shit. I’ll give with some details.
  • The T.V. concept got cleaned up and sent out… and has so far flatlined. Oh well. At least it’s a good reminder to not pin so much hope on just one project. I can’t help it, but.
  • The T.V. speccing got me going a bit – well, it was avoiding work on one of the above scripts – so I’ve got a couple of ideas to inflict on interested parties. I’m well aware of the odds against but at the very least I’ll be making some noise.

So that’s… wow. Seven. It sounds so… productive.

I think I might make this – like my sometimes-monthly Point & Click fillers posts – a sometimes-quarterly update on what’s cookin’. Because I know you’re just busting to read it here first – and I know your need because I’m psychotic canny.


*    And what will this mean for my other ‘long-awaited’ 2007 spec? Good question.