GOODBYE MY FELENI: toe sau

It’s back, this time as part of the 2014 Going West Books and Writers Festival.

Goodbye My Feleni, 2014

Tickets are on sale now from Eventfinder.

The 2014 season is 28–31 August 2014 at the Playhouse Theatre, Glen Eden.

Returning for their second — and for some, third — tour of duty are:

  • Amelia Reid-Meredith, director;
  • Shadon Meredith, Lance Corporal Simi Bishop;
  • Ruby Reihana-Wilson, operator;
  • and Jenni Heka, producer.

Freshies for the 2014 season are:

  • Shimpal Lelisi, Sergeant Ete Masani;
  • Pua Magasiva, Private Tama Apara;
  • Dominic Ona Ariki, Private Sione Make;
  • Jane Hakaraia, lighting design;
  • Posenai Mavaega & Tania Muagututi’a, sound design;
  • and Venus Stephens, costume design.

Onwards ho!

(Translation of “toe sau” — Samoan for “come again” or “return”.)

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GOODBYE MY FELENI: Play Reading

Last month, Auckland Theatre Company‘s Literary Manager, Philippa Campbell, invited the Goodbye My Feleni crew to join ATC’s 2013 Making Scenes programme. We accepted, of course.  What this means is we get a two-day workshop with a public reading on Thursday 25 July 2013, 6:30pm at ATC, Mount Eden War Memorial Hall, Lower Ground Floor, 487 Dominion Road, Mount Eden.

Shadon & Amelia will be directing, Jenni is producing, and yours truly will be on hand to eat the actors’ morning and afternoon teas.  Speaking of which (cue shameless name-dropping), assisting us with this stage of Goodbye My Feleni‘s development are:

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GOODBYE MY FELENI: Interlude

Okay, so The Goddess and I snuck down to the capital for some time-in with cafes and restaurants and a wee bit of shopping, and Goodbye My Feleni was awarded the 2013 Adam Award for Best New Pasifika Play.

Which meant that I missed a day-long rehearsal which I should have been apprehensive about missing. But you know what? At the preceding rehearsal, the directors and actors generously granted my wishes of workshopping all remaining scenes and providing some audio for a teaser which I knocked together below. And I’ve finally come to understand the method to the directors’ ah, method.

Which is a typically long-winded way of saying that whilst I was tucking into a ribeye steak (rare) and/or churros for breakfast, I spared nary a thought for pre-production because it’s in good hands. Seriously.

So yeah. The awards. I shared space with fellow winners Paul Buckley, Renae Maihi, Philip Braithwaite and Hannah McKie. Big ups to Playmarket for the event – effervescent director Murray Lynch, the sartorially elegant Salesi Le’ota, and ever imperturbable Stuart Hoar. And a wonderful chat was had with Circa manager Linda Wilson who let slip that Circa Theatre – just like the Basement Theatre – has a risk-share model for incoming productions; something to bring up with Producer Jenni when the season is over.

Our final week of rehearsals commenced tonight. In my absence, lines have been cut, props have been introduced that are not in the script, and concepts have been introduced to me that I have difficulty visualising – but you know what? They all seem to work.

As always, the level of achievement I get in this collaboration is not what I expected.

It’s exceeded.

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GOODBYE MY FELENI: Rehearsal Week -3

130325_GMF_AS-LJB-SCB-rifle-drills

You think you’ve got plenty of time, you actually do have plenty of time, and then the production crosses the rubicon and you realise that opening night is less than three weeks away – that’s less than the total number of digits on your body, which means that  it’s not far away at all.

Yes: panic and hysteria are never far away from this writer.

Yes: this writer has full confidence in the team his producer has thrown together – haven’t you been reading his rehearsal reports?  He thinks they’re just awesome.

130326_GMF_ARM-SCB-AS-LJB-en-garde

So you’re wondering what the hell my problem is.  I’ve attended most of the rehearsals so far, catching the odd word like provocation and motivation here and there, and the directors and actors haven’t been referring all that much to the script.  Y’know, the 95-pages I slaved over, foregoing countless hours of Call of Duty and Left 4 Dead, a belated catch up with The Sopranos and Deadwood.

I think the real reason for my anxiety is that I’m experiencing in real-time and -life the once vicarious thrill and frisson of being in the middle of something bigger, something of which I can only discern a small part – not unlike the jollies I get with each rewatching of The Wire or laboriously rereading of my Alan Moore collection.

Yeah, that feeling.

130327_GMF-TP-SCB-AS-LJB-inspection

It’s a little scary.  But it’s exciting.  And the esprit de corps of the team is positively cuddly.

Bring on the final fortnight.

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GOODBYE MY FELENI: Order of Battle

The "Goodbye My Feleni" cast (left to right): Taofia Pelesasa, Samson Chan-Boon,Leki Jackson Bourke, Andy Sani
The “Goodbye My Feleni” cast (left to right): Taofia Pelesasa, Samson Chan-Boon, Leki Jackson Bourke, Andy Sani

We don’t have stocktakes or inspection days at Fortress Mamea where the menagerie present themselves front and centre with clean nails and shiny coats.

We do have a standing order of battle: our Forward Operating Base (FOB) Pi*, The Dog, The Goldfish, and The Chickens. I like to keep The Amphibian, The Kaimanawa Pony (Goddess permitting) and The Kitten** in reserve.

The Goodbye My Feleni production also has its order of battle:

Rehearsals commence next week.  I’ve gone cold turkey on Left 4 Dead II in order to finish the last draft of the script.  And our faithful and loyal avatar, Chocolate Stigmata, has gotten itself a twitter account.

At Goodbye My Feleni HQ this phase of operation is not called ‘getting one’s ducks in a row’ – Jenni insists that we  call it getting ready to stomp on your shit.

* Pi – Samoan for honeybee (pronounced ‘pee’), rather than the Greek letter and irrational number.
** Yes, an update on the expanded menagerie will follow, complete with pictures for your desktop, laptop and phone wallpapers.

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GOODBYE MY FELENI: Rehearsal Week -5

We have a Choir Mistress: Maureen Fepulea’i, a playwright to look out for.

Maureen schools Shadon, Andy, Samson and Leki

The Producer and Director have names, too: Jenni Heka and Chris Molloy, respectively – I salute you both. Their bios are here.

And the cast, of course. Shadon Meredith, who was one of the voice actors in O le Samaria. The young ‘n’ hungry Samson Chan-Boon. And Andy Sani and Leki Jackson Bourke, both hot off The Brave. Cast bios are here.

As for the rehearsals… what can I say? They’ve started. Four weeks to go.

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