60 seconds with the Golden Weather ensemble
Thu Sep 15 2011 | BY ATC
Our cast - Tim Carlsen, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Elliot Christensen- Yule, Byron Coll, Dena Kennedy, Sophie Roberts, Nic Sampson, Fern Sutherland & Matariki Whatarau - talk about the ensemble approach to THE END OF THE GOLDEN WEATHER.
What does being part of an ensemble mean to you?
FERN: Making it about the work, rather than your own
insecurities, issues, thoughts, feelings or deep seated fears.
Being able to throw out ideas without being offended or taking it
KEISHA: It's about everybody contributing.
BYRON: Every offer is legitimate.
SOPHIE: It's energizing to be part of a big group of
people on stage, when so often it's just you and one or two others.
You've got lots of support to lean on. There are lots of different
textures and colours with so many people in the room.
TIM: For me it's like a sports team...We're all going
out there and in our different ways aiming for the same thing. One
minute we've got the ball; the next minute we're on defense or
attack and supporting the other person.
Do you each have a favourite character in the piece?
EVERYONE: I like Uncle Jim!
SOPHIE: Uncle Jim is this character that Byron plays.
He has about two lines, but he's amazing.
KEISHA: He absolutely steals the entire show.
ELLIOT: Miss Effie's great too.
MATARIKI: She a pearl. I'm enjoying playing her, and
wondering how she will grow over the season.
BYRON: I like the speeches from the narrator, because
the language is so beautiful it just tastes good to say it.
ELLIOT: I like the image of the twenty Davids versus
FERN: Everything surrounding Christmas is really
beautiful, too - because you just get it. You know that
KEISHA: Yeah, there's great spirit to the Christmas
section. I play a ball in the Christmas stocking, and I think
that's the character I want to perfect the most. We all had to
choose a toy, so I thought 'I want to be really interesting, I'll
be a ball'. Actually, I'm really terrible at being a ball! My limbs
are all in the way, and I can't get my head in the right
Is the story of the beach at Christmas familiar and evocative
to all of you?
EVERYONE: Yeah, pretty much.
BYRON: I think that even if you didn't grow up at the
beach at Christmas you'd still have that sense of being at the
beach and summer.
FERN: It is every beach, not just Takapuna: the
pohutukawa trees and the sand - everything about it feels familiar
to me, and I grew up in New Plymouth.
What did you already know about Bruce Mason or the play before
you started work on this production?
BYRON: I knew absolutely nothing!
ELLIOT: I knew there was a theatre named after Bruce
MATARIKI: I knew there was a writer's award that a
couple of my friends have won, which was named in his honour.
NIC: I'd seen the play when I was eight, performed by
Peter Vere-Jones. I barely remember it, but I remember the
SOPHIE: I knew a little. Byron might've forgotten, but
we did do it at drama school! Also, I grew up around the corner
from Takapuna. I think everyone in the area is aware of the play;
it's performed every Christmas at the beach.
So what have you found out about Mason on this project?
BYRON: One thing that intrigued me about Bruce Mason
was that he performed THE END OF THE GOLDEN WEATHER over a thousand
times. Also, there were other plays that he only took a week to
write and learn to perform.
ELLIOT: FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, I think it
was...Downstage were running out of money, so they had a meeting on
Monday and said 'we need another play, and it needs to be cheap'.
So he wrote it from Monday to Thursday, learnt it from Friday to
Sunday, and performed it the following Monday.
What has been the most interesting thing you've found out about
the 1930s in your research on the period?
KEISHA: I found it interesting that the structure and
system of education was very much the same then as it is now:
education was free, and secular, and compulsory - though the
atmosphere in classrooms was completely different, of course.
ELLIOT: I liked the stuff Nic found out about the
NIC: One of the police officers' jobs was to clear
orange peel off the road. To avoid hilarious slippages... Also, a
police officer on the beat had to walk at a steady pace of two and
half miles per hour around his beat, so if anyone wanted the police
all they had to do was stand in one spot long enough.
FERN: And a policeman could only use his whistle in
extreme situations, and using the whistle was so serious it had to
Any last words?
ELLIOT: If you get the chance to perform this play at
school, be Uncle Jim!