Ev­ery­day life a stage in­spi­ra­tion

Rotorua Weekender - - Arts Corner -

■ How long have you been a play­wright and ac­tress for?

I’ve al­ways en­joyed mak­ing up and telling sto­ries. I told a lot of tall tales as a kid, which of­ten got me in trou­ble. Then I fig­ured out how to use my pow­ers for good through drama classes in high school, get­ting in much less trou­ble, so I stuck with it.

I stud­ied the­atre at univer­sity in Te Whanganui-a-tara, and formed a the­atre com­pany with some friends I grad­u­ated with in 2009.

Our com­pany is called full. stop. the­atre and is still based down there.

I’ve worked as a free­lance ac­tor and writer since, and worked as a ju­nior aca­demic at Univer­sity of Welling­ton and Te Whare Wa¯ nanga o Waikato. I’m cur­rently fin­ish­ing my Cre­ative Prac­tice PHD on writ­ing the­atre for the three na­tional lan­guages of Aotearoa — New Zealand Sign Lan­guage, Te Reo

Ma¯ ori and NZ English. Full. stop. the­atre just staged our big­gest pro­duc­tion this year, Mod­ern Girls in Bed — a play about Aotearoa women from his­tory who took to bed for var­i­ous rea­sons (I played Kather­ine Mans­field). It was at Circa The­atre in Te Whanganui-atara.

■ What in­spires you with writ­ing and act­ing?

Ev­ery­day life. Peo­ple are very strange and so are the sto­ries we all tell our­selves to get by. David Sedaris has great sim­ple writ­ing ad­vice — be alive and be observant. It’s good ad­vice for ac­tors too.

I also like learn­ing from other art forms to see how sto­ries are told in lan­guages I’m not flu­ent in, like mu­sic, kapa haka or paint­ing. I have long given up hop­ing to be cool or pat­ted on the back for writ­ing and act­ing.

I try to tell each story one truth­ful word at a time and ac­cept that I will make mis­takes. Let­ting go of per­fec­tion­ism in­spires me to fin­ish what­ever project I’m work­ing on and just put it out into the world.

■ What do you en­joy about act­ing and writ­ing?

I love all the con­ver­sa­tions around a work that hap­pens. I en­joy col­lab­o­rat­ing in writ­ing and per­for­mance, weav­ing to­gether mul­ti­ple sto­ries to make one big story, which you all pol­ish to­gether. I love get­ting to meet peo­ple af­ter a show and im­me­di­ately get to talk­ing about real heavy stuff be­cause you just made them feel some­thing with your story. Be­ing con­nected by story cre­ates com­mu­nity.

I also love to see and make both process and struc­ture. See­ing how other ac­tors ap­proach re­hearsal, per­for­mance tech­niques and char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment through work­ing next to them has been my best ed­u­ca­tion.

As a writer I love re­search­ing and let­ting ideas soak into my sub­con­scious be­fore find­ing a pur­pose­ful struc­ture for the story to live in.

I also just straight-up love show­ing off in a con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment, mak­ing peo­ple laugh and em­pathise.

■ What do you have com­ing up/ what will you be up to in fu­ture? Over the sum­mer I will be artist in res­i­dence at The Arts Vil­lage, as part of their Open Stu­dios Project. I’ll be run­ning some free act­ing and de­vis­ing work­shops over sum­mer, which you can sign up for on The Arts Vil­lage’s web­site. While I’m in res­i­dence, I’m writ­ing a new play which I plan to pro­duce and stage later in the year.

Af­ter that, I’m start­ing next year as a drama teacher at Lakes Per­form­ing Arts Com­pany, teach­ing weekly classes for any­one aged six to 106. We have an open day on Satur­day Jan­uary 19, where you can come to a class at LPAC for gold coin koha, and de­cide if you want to come reg­u­larly.

My part­ner Cameron Reid and I are also launch­ing an in­de­pen­dent record store, Ko¯pe¯a Ro­torua. We will have a pop-up store on Eruera St in Fe­bru­ary 2019, launch­ing an on­line store soon and will be at the Night Mar­kets reg­u­larly from then. We sell Aotearoa mu­sic on vinyl, cas­sette and CDS. This coun­try, and es­pe­cially this city, has so much in­cred­i­ble tal­ent, so let’s sup­port Aotearoa mu­sic and artists! Mauri ora!

Photo / Stephen A’court

Lo­cal play­wright and ac­tress Alex Lodge.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.