Dou­ble act for mother and daugh­ter

Central Leader - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

A mother and daugh­ter are team­ing up to tell the tale of their fam­ily his­tory.

Fif­teen-year-old Reid Eli­saia will star in Fale­malama – a play writ­ten and di­rected by her mother Dianna Fue­m­ana.

It’s the first time the pair have worked to­gether pro­fes­sion­ally.

Dianna says she had al­ready recog­nised her daugh­ter’s tal­ent and when the ac­tor orig­i­nally cast for the role pulled out, Reid was the ob­vi­ous choice.

“I saw the con­fi­dence in her in terms of her per­for­mance abil­ity and her abil­ity to cope with stress.”

Fale­malama, mean­ing House of Lights, which opens at the Mau The­atre in Hen­der­son on Fri­day, tells the story of Dianna’s mother and her jour­ney from Pago Pago in Amer­i­can Samoa, through Niue to New Zealand.

She says al­though some re­search went into the writ­ing, she re­called a lot of the sto­ries her par­ents had told her. “It’s some­thing I’ve al­ways had in jour­nals and di­aries – it was just a mat­ter of bring­ing it to­gether.”

The play is Dianna’s fifth and al­though it will make its Auck­land de­but in March, it has al­ready been per­formed in Min­neapo­lis and at the 10th South Pa­cific Arts Fes­ti­val in Pago Pago last July.

Reid, who stud­ies drama at West­ern Springs Col­lege, made her pro­fes­sional act­ing de­but at the fes­ti­val in Pago Pago.

The young ac­tress, who will also make her on-screen de­but in a tele­vi­sion se­ries this year, says play­ing the same char­ac­ter as a 10-year-old right through to a 63-yearold has been a chal­lenge.

“It takes heaps of think­ing to find the char­ac­ter within your­self. It takes a bit of time, read­ing the story over and over again.”

She says play­ing her grand­mother has also been an in­ter­est­ing way to delve into her own fam­ily his­tory.

“When I read the play I was re­ally shocked and sur­prised and cu­ri­ous to know more about it.”

And de­spite liv­ing and re­hears­ing full­time to­gether, Reid says work­ing with her mum has been fine.

She says she would love to make act­ing a full­time ca­reer.

“Hope­fully I’ll do a good per­for­mance and peo­ple will recog­nise me.”

“It’s a great launch­ing pad for her and her de­ci­sion to be part of the per­form­ing arts,” says Dianna.

Fale­malama runs from Fri­day un­til March 10.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Tag team: Dianna Fue­m­ana and daugh­ter Reid Eli­saia are bring­ing their fam­ily his­tory to the stage.

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