Late last year, I got asked to work up a little something that would probably open with —
BASED ON A TRUE STORY.
I hadn’t done a based-on-actual-events job before* but I accepted the gig because 1. it paid, and 2. how hard could it be?
The concept was simple enough: a mini-series based on an incident that had happened a decade earlier, was reported world-wide, and it had a gorgeous protagonist to boot. A tweak here and there, and maybe I could work in a car chase, maybe even some gun play. As I researched the heck out of it, a voice in my head screamed over and over, This shit is just writing itself!
It had to be the kind of show that I would consciously tune in to. Which meant there would be no in media res device in the first ep because I’ve had it up to here with —
A wham-bang opening scene, then --
TITLE: One week earlier.
— so much so that when the Lovely Wife and I were trying a new show recently, I said, “If this sequence ends with a title saying, ‘Six hours ear—’ FUUUCK!” that last word making her spill her tea and I had to go and make her a fresh cuppa.
… Where was I? Yes. So. Here I was playing in the biographical drama space and one of my first creative decisions meant I had no wham-bang sequence to lure the audience in with.
What to do?
The development journey was all down hill from there.
* One could argue that Goodbye My Feleni and We Are Many are earlier outings in historical drama but no: they each took an “Inspired by” approach to Samoa and Aotearoa New Zealand history.
Yes, it’s on again: Goodbye My Feleni will be playing at Home Cafe, Malifa, Samoa, Monday 20 – Friday 24 April 2015, 7:30pm each night. This production is directed by Fiona Collins and Gaea Asolelei To’alepai.
Tickets are free — they are available from the New Zealand High Commission, Beach Road, Apia or telephone +68 1 21 711.
The past few days’ burning question has been: Would I still write this post if I hadn’t been an award recipient? Close behind it has been this Schrodinger follow-up: Would I still be an award recipient if I hadn’t decided the day before to attend the event? (Employees and families of employees of the organisers are not allowed to answer the second question.)
So, yeah, wow. Last Thursday I went along to the SWANZ awards, cheering for the competition because that was the only way I could deal with the pressure… and Goodbye My Feleni won. And the night itself, viewed in the preceding fortnight with dread and anxiety, turned out to be a very pleasant evening indeed.
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:
A gentle heads-up that Goodbye My Feleni will have a rehearsed reading on Thursday 25 July 2013 at 6:30pm at Auckland Theatre Company, Mount Eden War Memorial Hall, Lower Ground Floor, 487 Dominion Road, Mount Eden, Auckland.