01 October 2012

Manawa: Playwright's Notes and Audience Responses

Writer/performer/producer Jamie McCaskill tells drama on the waterfront about his history with Circa, and discusses his experiences with staging the first work through his new company, Tikapa Productions.

Kia Ora
Nga Puke ki Hauraki ka tarehu
E mihi ana ki te whenua
E tangi ana ki te tangata
E nga mana, e nga iwi, e nga uri o Hauraki,
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa.

Jamie McCaskill
I first graced the stage at Circa Theatre in 2003 in When Sun And Moon Collide by Briar Grace Smith, directed by Keryn Palmer. I remember being in awe of the place and of the theatre practitioners moving around the building, intent on creating the best show possible. Since that time I have been involved at Circa as an actor, a writer, a set builder, an audience member and I’ve even played gigs in the foyer for opening and closing night celebrations with my band Smokey Feel.

My current role at Circa is another thing altogether as I come under the “Producer” banner, and I couldn’t think of a better environment to be in to try my hand at producing.

Tikapa Productions is a company formed by Kali Kopae and myself so we can have ownership on what stories we would like to tell.  Through our combined experience we have found a niche of storytelling, which we would like to explore and develop. Meeting our sponsors, Poutama, was an invaluable experience and I know our team had a fantastic evening with them talking about the show and also getting to know what happens behind the scenes of the Te Awe Maori Business Networks. I would like to extend a huge thank you to Carolyn Henwood for making that partnership happen. Staging Manawa has been both nerve wracking and exciting as we have pulled together a team of absolute professionals who have challenged us to put together a production of a very high standard. Working with high calibre designers such as Jennifer Lal and Brian King reminds us that we shouldn’t aim for anything less.

Kali Kopae
The feedback and reviews we have received about Manawa have been amazing, and as a writer I will continue to develop this piece, aided by the direction of Regan Taylor and my talented cast, to give it a long and healthy life.

Ma te wa
Jamie McCaskill

Audience responses on opening night:

“Fabulous, absolutely fabulous. I love the last line.” 

“Just incredible, really powerful but also funny” 

"The funniness of the characters and how I could relate to them freaked me out in a buzzy way” 

"I really enjoyed the performers. I laughed heartily. I really loved the scenes in Samoan." 

"It was beautiful and moving, it was beautiful to hear Samoan spoken on stage and pretty profound." 

Natano  Keni
Manawa is on in Circa Two until 13 October. To book, please call the Circa Box Office on 801-7992 or go online www.circa.co.nz.

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