“Sheer terror” is how the cast of Finding Temeraire describe their feelings about their upcoming performance.
Written by Half Moon Bay resident Stanley Makuwe and starring just two actors in the form Tawanda Manyimo and Sandra Zvenyika, the countdown is on. In less than two weeks, the play will be live on stage at The Basement theatre in downtown Auckland.
Finding Temeraire, says Stanley, is a story about a man who lives in small a mining town which has become somewhat of a ghost town. A woman from his past comes back to relive the memories and the child she had with him which he shunned and she killed. Stanley says it’s not so much a story of revenge, but of confronting her past.
Stanley says he was inspired to write the play after visiting his home town in Zimbabwe in 2015 and discovering what was formerly a bustling town, had faded into almost obscurity.
“It was almost painful to see how it’s almost dead.
“When we were growing up, it was a really beautiful place to be with so much happening there [and] I wanted to write a story about this mining town but to make it more exciting….I thought maybe come up with a character that represents the town.”
Stanley says the character was once the big boss in town and now is a no one — which “kind of represents the mining town”.
After writing the play, Stanley sent the script to Tawanda who he had worked with previously and known for years, who “loved it”.
Tawanda said he was drawn to the challenges of portraying the character.
“From a writing point of view, I really liked Stanley’s style — it’s different from a lot of stuff I see and also it’s Zimbabwean.
“But I was very interested in this character…he doesn’t really say much but I was very interested in his emotional journey and how do I as an actor portray such a character.”
Sandra joined the cast after Stanley tracked her down after reading a review of a play she was in — but it took a while for her to come around to the idea.
“For me, I read the script and thought this was too hard, I can’t do this. But for me, it was about identifying with the woman — being the agent of your own body and society deciding for you what you ought to do and what you ought not to do, what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable.
“I just remember feeling very angry the first time I read it through and thinking I don’t think I can carry this because it’s just too emotional and then I read it again and I started to think actually this could be fun. I knew it would be a challenge but that’s what attracted me to it…the fact I could identify with the issues this character faced.”
With just a handful of rehearsals left until opening night, the nerves are in full swing but as Sandra says: “We’ve got all the directions now, we know what we’re doing; it’s just a matter of doing it right”