Speaking of nerves, the extended Mamea aiga attended the opening night: our Stern but Loving Parents, Awesome Sister and her girls, and Staunch Bro and his family. They said they enjoyed the show and I can’t ask for more than that. The Lovely Wife was not called on to take one for her husband so it was quite the lovefest and very validating for this writer.
It’s all “Still Life”-this and “Still Life”-that, some of you are carping. I can’t help it. It’s a big thing for me.
It’s a week out from the show’s Wellington premiere and my anxiety has increased considerably.
Why the nerves, you may ask, when 1). box office returns must be pretty good, and 2). touring is the fun part of being a playwright. Yeah. Well. I’m taking my mother to the premiere next Wednesday and I’m experiencing a very familiar feeling like I’ve done something very bad and I’m going to have to own up to it.
It’ll be fine, my siblings have been telling me, our mother’s gonna loooove it. But I recognise the tone in their voices: the kind of tone where they know I’ve done something wrong, too, and I’m going to have to take my lumps, and boy are they glad they’re not me.
I shall hold onto a couple of thoughts over the coming week: how Simon Wilson describes the play best as a hymn to [my] mother; and how The Lovely Wife will be on my arm at the premiere where, if necessary, I can use her as a shield.
I’ve been laggardly with this blog: Still Life With Chickens has already had three performances at Centrepoint Theatre in Palmerston North.
The Centrepoint season runs until this Sunday 15 April, after which it continues southward — whereupon the Greater Mamea Aiga will see it.
I’m feeling a little trepidatious about that development.
Even though I’ve more pressing matters, I’ve been unable to stop refreshing the ticketing page for Still Life With Chickens:
Between testing Fortress Mamea’s acoustics with maniacal laughs, the almost daily reports had this wee nugget:
‘Nugget’! Oh, this is so much fun.
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.