Last weekend, Playmarket provided a one-day clinic for We Are Many, a newish play inspired by the Womens Mau Movement who continued passive resistance against the New Zealand occupation in 1930s Samoa.
The clinic was followed by a public reading where tears were shed — a good thing for a writer seeking audience emotional engagement, even at ‘just’ a reading — and feedback was gratefully received.
Honourable mentions: the final, ultimately disappointing, season of Game of Thrones; The Leftovers, whose first season was a cracker; and The Crown, seasons one to two binged in the month of December, leaving the phrase “thenk yew” as a verbal handgrenade in Fortress Mamea.
Ahi Arunaharan’s My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak, Q Theatre. Pic from 13thfloor.co.nz.
There’s a lot of ground to cover in this part, so let’s leave the pictures to do the talking.
In March, The Boy was in a frightful car accident and was hospitalised for a month.
After three months at home and regular physiotherapy, he returned to full-time work in July. He’s a little over people telling him how lucky he was. But oi was he lucky.
My father died in May.
The Reverend Moe Silipa Mamea (retired), 1926–2019.
He was 92 and he’d had an excellent innings (he loved his cricket). His natural athleticism may have skipped me entirely and gone straight to his grandson, but I’m grateful to have his patience, perseverance, and tact.
My father had some unfinished business and I volunteered to sort it out. In June, The Lovely Wife accompanied me to Samoa.
Mount Vaea from Togafu’afu’a — June 2019
The wife loved the heat and humidity — apparently we’ll be visiting each year henceforth — and the pace of life there is glacial. Nice if you live there, a little frustrating when you’ve only a few days to get stuff done. It was a welcome interlude, considering.
Half-way through the year, my dreams began to have a recurring theme involving some massive weight slowly crushing me.
‘Twas only The Kitten missing me.
Still Life With Chickens is in its second year of touring. This year it did a couple of stops in the North Island, did a circuit of the South Island — and in August, it had its Australian premiere.
The Lovely Wife on a ferry — Sydney Harbour, August 2019.
The Lovely Wife and I attended the premiere where we had a grand yarn with Martin Edmond and Mayu Kanamori, and we explored the Emerald City by tram, bus and ferry. Still Life is off to Shanghai later this month for its Chinese premiere.
Somehow, amidst all of the above, I persisted with my masters course.
* This teddy bear joined the Mamea Aiga in Christmas 2002 when The Boy, then aged six, announced his arrival: I got a teddy bear and his name’s Phil! The Lovely Wife and I exchanged looks and asked where the name Phil came from. It says so right here, The Boy said, turning over the sewn tag: “Polyester Fill”.
A quick jaunt to the Big Smoke and an opportune snap.
Yeah, hey ’19 and goodbye ’18.
Posting has been patchy alright but I thought the least I could do is warble a little while it’s a bit quiet.
I gave up the day job late last year. Maybe it’s my selective memory but that was a big relief and about time, too. I now have no excuse to not write.
Having a writing gig earlier in the year certainly ensured that I had a buffer between the end of the day job and… if not the next gig (because one should never presume), then some kind of writing opportunity.
Having said that, I do have another writing job lined up later this month. But after that…
That’s where my anxiety lies: I can plan all I like but there’s a will-it-put-chocolate-in-my-mouth aspect to it that is frankly terrifying.
The Writer with the family stationwagon, Wainuiomata, 1982. (Photo courtesy Marie Mamea-Crawford.)
I’m of two minds when it comes to this blog and publicity. Is this a good-news-only blog where I celebrate the joy and wonders of writing and production? Or is this a all’s-fair-in-love-and-war blog where, in addition to the celebrating, etc, above, I also lay out the failures and disappointments?
Whilst doing publicity for the Still Life With Chickens machine, I mentioned looking forward to the premiere of Kingswoodthis September at BATS Theatre in Wellington. It’s been in progress for two years, it had built up some momentum in the last couple of months, and my fellow creative principals and I were at various levels of quiet excitement (hey, we’re all Kiwi males so high-testosterone-I’M-PUMPED-type excitement was never going to happen).
Having put it out there on the æther, we’ve just had to cancel that premiere season.
Life happens. Life goes on. And there will always be other productions.
(The pedants among you are wondering why this post is titled ‘postponed’ but the post itself has the word ‘cancelled’. 1. I didn’t officially announce the season on the blog in the first place so, in the bigger scheme of D F Mamea things, as a project, its premiere is merely delayed. 2. This is my blog, so there.)
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.
Mrs Mamea with one of her brood, 2012. (Photo credit: Christina Mamea.)
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.