The plan for the first rehearsal was for Jack the Military Consultant to put the actors – Samson Chan-Boon, Leki Jackson Bourke and Andy Sani – through their paces on how to move and drill like enlisted men while co-director Shadon Meredith observed, and I recorded the rehearsal for posterity. Sickness delayed Jack’s attendance so we had three boys ready to rehearse but nothing to do. Anyone with experience with actors (or children) knows that idleness inevitably leads to mischief. A new plan was needed.
Last year’s production had squeaked by with a short running time and dredged-up memories of these:
Yes, the annual independence day schools’ march past in Samoa. I hereby acknowledge the brothers at Chanel College and the teachers at Samoa College for basic drill instructions that I have somehow retained a quarter-century later. These were dusted off and reapplied to the boys. Then – thank you, fond memories of Stripes and a rifle drill manual – some basic rifle drills were practised. And then – thank you, Youtube – a couple of bayonet drills were practised.
And you know what? Sure the details may be a bit sketchy but keep in mind it’s only the first rehearsal – and what quickly became apparent on the floor was that there’s something about three guys moving, marching and drilling in sync that immediately conveys soldiering, camaraderie and discipline. Exactly what the play needs.
Onwards to the next rehearsal.