A tale of family, community, loss and love and the things that make life worth living, Still Life With Chickens, by D.F. Mamea, is a one-woman tour-de-force performed by a superb comic actress.
Played by Goretti Chadwick (Games of Bros, Pani and Pani, To Kill A Mockingbird), Mama strikes up a grudging friendship with the rogue chicken, relaying to it her struggles with her old man, her palagi daughter-in-law, her immigrant neighbours and the grandchildren she rarely sees. Chadwick brings her consummate skills to the role, along with her renowned clownish sense of humour, and shares the stage with just a chicken, specially designed for the production by Arts Laureate John Parker (Red Speedo, The Good Soul of Szechuan, Chicago).
“Mama is based on the writer’s mother, yet she is relatable to so many Pacific Mamas we know and love. A passionate strong Samoan matriarch bringing up her family in a modern world. She would think nothing of reaching for the spade if a chicken dared to dig up her vege garden,” Chadwick says.
Playwright and Wellingtonian D.F.Mamea has worked on film, television, radio and theatre projects in genres ranging from sci-fi to soap, comedy to horror and documentary to drama. His play Goodbye My Feleni was produced throughout New Zealand in 2013. Still Life With Chickens won the Adam NZ Play Award (2017) and the Playmarket Best Play by a Pasifika Playwright (2017).
Prior to the Wellington season, the show will play at both Māngere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku and ASB Cube at ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland, before heading to Centrepoint Theatre, Palmerston North in April.