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