One More Schmooze

Playmarket Auckland: F5, 99 Queen Street, CBD.

The other week, I went to the changing of the guard at the Auckland Playmarket office: Stuart Hoar is moving on to less reading (of other people’s writing) and more writing (of his own) (which is as it should be), and will be replaced by Allison Horsley, formerly Court Theatre Literary Manager.

There was food and drink on hand, and there were a few more familiar faces than I expected — should be no surprise after being in this writing gig for so long, but still —and the hour I had set aside to pay my respects very quickly became almost two hours of catching up and talking with:

  • Jo Smith, recent Kingswood dramaturg, whose upcoming writing projects I look forward to;
  • Philippa Campbell, Auckland Theatre Company literary manager (and film and television producer);
  • Roy Ward, current freelance theatre director and, although I should let it go, will forever be the person who rejected my application to write for Shortland Street;
  • Murray Lynch, Playmarket big cheese;
  • Sam Brooks, dramatist, critic and man-about-town (I didn’t actually talk to him — but I waved as he flew by);
  • and the very lovely Roger and Dianne Hall — yes, that Mr Hall — and he was refreshingly to-the-point with our brief discussion on writing for theatre and developing audiences in competition with the small, small screen.

This has been quite a year for shoulder-rubbing and such: there was the 2016 Arts Market in Wellington*, and the SWANZ Awards and Big Screen Symposium in Auckland, not to mention a workshop here and there. It might explain why I’m a little frazzled.

There’s going to be more of it in 2017 and, somehow, I’m rather looking forward to it.

 

* I don’t know why I didn’t blog about this. But it was nice to be in my hometoon.

Share

STILL LIFE WITH CHICKENS: a clinic

The script, post-workshop.
The script, post-workshop.

Last weekend, thanks to the administrations of the indefatigable Salesi Le’ota at PlaymarketStill Life With Chickens enjoyed a workshop directed by Andrew Foster, dramaturged by the redoubtable Stuart Hoar, and with the collective acting prowess of Iaheto Ah Hi, Jess Robinson and Louise Tu’u.

Where the last Kingswood workshop generated the words offensiveadolescentpuerile and crass to describe the play, this latest workshop elicited symbolismsurrealist and existentialist.

Believe me, I’m as surprised as you are.

Share

KINGSWOOD: post-reading


By SicbirdOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39196356

After a two-day workshop under the direction of Katie Wolfe and Ahi Karunaharan, with dramaturg Jo Smith providing overwatch, Kingswood was read by Jason Te Kare, Louise Tu’u, Joy Vaele, and Jason Wu on a warm Wednesday evening in Balmoral, Auckland.

The audience laughed in the right places, their applause was gratifying, and the Q-and-A that followed was enlightening for all present. Afterwards, it was nice to chat with individual audience members like: Auckland Theatre Company artistic director Colin McColl; Bright Star and Pasefika playwright and Playmarket respresentative Stuart Hoar; the indomitable Webmistresse (retired) and her husband; Luncheon and Officer 27 playwright Aroha Awarau; screenwriter Kathryn Burnett; and Titirangi Theatre stalwart and early supporter of the work Duncan Milne.

During the two-day workshop, these four words  were used to describe "Kingswood" — and upon hearing them I felt inordinately proud.
During the two-day workshop, these four words were used to describe “Kingswood” — and upon hearing them I felt inordinately proud.

Where to from here?

I have no idea.

Share

KINGSWOOD: Prelude

Last weekend, I nipped down to my oul’ hometoon and ran into this:

Photo1033

Cuba Street closed to traffic, its footpaths and road filthy with pedestrians, all of it sprinkled with light rain showers and a very family-friendly vibe: a street festival called Cuba Dupa. Nice. I walked past the crowded foodstalls with their mouthwatering aromas and found sanctuary in the cool and quiet Clark’s Cafe (where they still have cheesecake cup cakes, very nice indeedy).

Once fed, watered and rested,  I hop-skip-and-jumped over the unimaginatively named City to Sea Bridge to Circa Theatre where Kingswood won the 2015 Adam Award for Best Play by a Pasifika Playwright. I guess I’ll be revisiting that script sooner than planned.

While at the Adam Awards, I rubbed shoulders with:

  • Hone Kouka, co-winner of the 2015 Adam Award for Best New Zealand Play for Bless the Child, as well as winner of Best Play by a Maori Playwright;
  • runner-up Dean Parker with Polo (though I do prefer his initial title, Fear and Misery in the Third Term);
  • Michelanne Forster, winner of Best Play by a Woman Playwright for The Gift of Tongues;
  • author of the highly commended, SignificanceTom McCrory;
  • the always luminous Miria George;
  • the boundlessly talented Moana Ete;
  • Wellington man-about-town Jonathon Hendry;
  • the irrepressible KC Kelly;
  • David O’Donnell, fresh from directing Victor Rodger’s incendiary My Name is Gary Cooper in Hawaii;
  • and the Playmarket gang of Murray LynchStuart HoarSalesi Leota, and Claire O’Loughlin.

That’s me: an utterly shameless name-dropper.

Share

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.

Share