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March 16, 2009 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

The Rodwell Monologues

Fi: so you want to publish our G chat?

Uth: maybe clean it up a bit. Rodwell is worth a discussion rather than review.

Fi: good plan. if it looks shit, we can just write a ‘proper review’ instead

Uth: you weren’t a huge fan right? I loved it.

Fi: I really wanted to like it but I didn’t.

Uth: Why? Apart from Chelsie not really fitting, I had no real issues.

Fi: I think I liked that Chelsie didn’t fit although I was looking at her for most of it.

Fi: me too.

Uth: I still have really vivid memories of Sally doing them at the book launch. And she just existed so totally within the characters that other people doing them feels like… Capgras delusion. where you think a loved one has been replaced by a exact lookalike something is different but its hard to tell what though, actually, in this cast it was pretty obvious.

Uth: *case.

Fi: Interesting… I never saw Sally do the monologues, but the whole piece was so much a homage to her. I liked that. It was very Sally, but somehow I thought they could have brought more out of it. I guess the overall feeling for me, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it felt very personal for the actors like I was watching them make something for Sally and for themselves, but I think to audience members who didn’t know her or know her well, there wasn’t much that you would get out of it

Uth: very true knowing Sally really biased me towards liking it

Fi: and that’s OK because you just needed to have the right audience there and I think that the majority of the audience were people it was made for. how well did you know her?

Uth: We met a few times Got to know her quite well when her daughter directed Wellington High Shakespeare and when me and my dad did a few Rubber Banana bits at Happy when it was in Newtown and called The Space. we weren’t best friends or anything but we were on chatting terms. I went to her funeral.

Fi: She directed me in Sheilah Winn in 2005

Uth: What play?

Fi: Julius Caesar.

Uth: Fun. Stabby.

Fi: I thought she was awesome. My main criticism of the piece was that the direction just felt very uninspired

Uth: the piece seemed to want to show her work to a wider audience but didn’t really know how

Fi: they wanted to play these characters and almost… bring Sally back to the stage. so they did that, in top quality characterisations but it wasn’t Sally. but they didn’t DO ANYTHING with the play the piece as a whole was lacking. nothing joined it together

Uth: mmm

Fi: there was soooooo much potential in having a ‘chorus’ on stage and they started to use it and that stuff was good but they could have done so much more

Uth: I thought when they used the chorus it got a little overwrought

Fi: I didn’t like some of the chorus stuff either- but I felt it was starting to go somewhere

Uth: They should have done Charity Cartwright’s Family Disunion just get one really good actor—your pick of the people on stage—and do the whole thing you can’t celebrate Sally and her writing at the same time. you can celebrate Sally through her writing by letting it be the way it should be. does that make sense?

Uth: instead of cutting it up and playing games which verged a little on lazy postmodernism

Fi: yeah that’s kind of the conclusion I drew too – lazy postmodernism

Fi: it felt a little outdated to me

Uth: At the end of the day, I thought it was a really fitting, fun tribute to a great person.

Fi: it was like watching really good people, who know everything you ‘should’ do halfheartedly doing it

Uth: I got that much more from Wolf’s Lair to be honest. But, I’m biased.

Fi: but it didn’t make it

Uth: But, you can’t say you didn’t have fun.

Fi: back to my chorus point—what it felt like was a women’s group, or even in this case a group of Sally’s acquaintances who got together to share stories with each other and they sat around and listened, and some were much more absorbed in their own stories while the others were going on. i think this could have potentially been really cool but that they didn’t engage with one another enough to really bring about its full potential for much of the time the ‘chorus’ on stage looked like they didn’t know what they were doing they were just waiting to tell their monologue

Uth: I didn’t get that at all.

Fi: and the support of the entire group could have brought so much more

Uth: I thought they were fully engaged.

Fi: and furthered what I thought was the main point of the piece- a homage to Sally. anyway—I have to go

Uth: do we want it to be this? the review? We’ve pretty much covered everything. We could add a bit to it later. I’ll clean it up now and email it you. Cool?

Fi: that’d be sweet even if you want you could cut and paste it a bit so that the points are all together.

Uth: I’ll do that a bit but I like the conversational thing.

Fi: yea conversational is good.

Written by Sally Rodwell
Directed by Carmel McGlone, Lyne Pringle and Michelle ScullionWith Carmel McGlone, Lyne Pringle, Michelle Scullion, Chelsie Preston Crayford, Kilda Nortcott and Vanessa Stacey At BATS Theatre, 28 February–7 March 2009
Part of the 2009 Wellington Fringe Festival


About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

Comments (1)

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  1. Ruby Brunton says:

    Hi guys,
    Thank you for printing your comments about the monologues. Not being in Wellington right now of course meant I missed the show and it’s so nice to hear people’s responses. Of course seeing Sally perform them herself was an entirely different experience, one that cannot be recreated. Still, I am so happy that people are interested in and continuing to perform her work, and it sounds like this group did a wonderful job. I am looking forward to reading your review!

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