From the programme notes:
Fakaalofa lahi atu
Malo e lelei
Ni sa bula
You’ve paid your hard-earned money, you’ve got mere minutes before the lights go out and you’re squinting at this programme in the dim light, wondering if things’ll start on time, hoping that the next hour or so of Pasifika theatre will be memorable for the right reasons, and trying to get comfortable in your seat.
You and me both.
Goodbye My Feleni is the product of collaboration: I wrote a script, a couple of young directors took hold of its spirit, four actors signed up for duty, and our producer kept us all trained, fed and watered – just like a military unit where every person has their place – yet each one is essential, culminating in a work that is greater than the sum of its parts.
It has been a true and rare pleasure to work with: the boys – Taofia, Samson, Andy and Leki – whose youth and energy have been equal parts inspiring and exhausting; directors Shadon & Amelia who generously showed me just how much more than just the printed word can be wrung out of a script; the multiple-hat-wearing Ruby whose unflappability and design aesthetics are a gift to a tired crew; and producer Jenni who brought together everyone and everything into a tight fighting unit, and furnished us with an environment where everyone was safe and supported. Thanks also to Chris Molloy who directed this play when it was just one act long: you set the pace, man.
Goodbye My Feleni came about because the last thing I expected to hear on a CD of the 28th (Maori) Battalion’s songs were the voices of five Pasifika soldiers singing Samoan songs of love, fear, home and country. This play is for those who came before us, who chose this country to call home, and are part of the fabric of Aotearoa.
Thank you for coming this evening – don’t worry you can study this programme at your leisure later, I expect the show will open on time, and I hope that the show will engage you in such a way that you won’t even notice your seat.
Thank you for supporting New Zealand theatre. Tell your friends and family. And, maybe, we’ll meet again.
Manuia le po.