Play favours The Brave [by Sharu Delilkan]
Massive Company’s latest production The Brave marks a number of firsts for the cast’s oldest actor, Jonny Moffatt.
The show is a milestone in the 30-year-old’s acting career as he will not only be debuting with Massive Company but also at Q and the Mangere Arts Centre.
Moffatt says “Although I have never worked with the company before I could sense the collective energy when I stepped into the rehearsal room on the first day. It immediately felt like we were on the same page.
The Brave also marks Massive Company turning 21. In keeping with the spirit of Massive’s devised theatre style, the show is created from true confessions – baby teeth to mortgages – where eight men front up on a bare stage ready to risk it all, stripping away every facade.
The Brave’s cast members include Todd Emerson (My Wedding & Other Secrets), Beulah Koale (Havoc in the Garden), Scott Cotter (TV3’s Brown Bruthaz) and Dominic Ona-Ariki (Shortland Street) as well as newcomers to the stage Andy Sani, Leki Jackson Bourke and Neil Amituanai.
The ‘sense of play’ or as director and Massive Company founder Sam Scott refers to as ‘le jeu’ – the French word for game – is an element of the process that Moffatt has really relished.
And although he admits that giving it his all during the devising process has been draining, he says he has enjoyed the fact that the level of ‘le jeu’ has allowed them to talk openly about serious and personal things.
“I have also been extremely inspired about how open and generous everyone has been on the rehearsal floor. And even though a lot of what we are presenting is our personal stories, I have never once felt isolated or out on my own. It also keeps you from getting too precious – which has been brilliant,” he says.
However he admits that the level of openness and honesty required for this work has been a challenge.
“We are essentially acting as ourselves – there is no hiding behind characters or a script, which makes the whole process a lot more raw and edgy,” he says.
But being older doesn’t always mean wiser, according to Moffatt. “I may be the oldest cast member but at times I feel that the rest of them are teaching me a lot more than I am imparting to them,” says the modest Moffatt.
And with age comes its own set of challenges, such as keeping up with the fitness level of his younger counterparts. “I’m basically falling to bits as the oldest member of the group. But there’s a great sense of satisfaction when I manage to keep up with the rest of the cast.”
Not coming from a dance background Moffatt says working with co-director Carla Martell, who is also a choreographer, has been enlightening. “I particularly like the fact that Carla says our movement doesn’t have to be beautiful or perfect. She says those imperfections make our movements more alive, honest and ultimately interesting,” he says.
In short, working with Massive Company has been a joy for Moffatt. “It has reaffirmed some things that I have been using in my acting practice. But above all it has reminded me how much I enjoy play. It’s been refreshing to breathe that air again.”
The Brave plays at Q Theatre from 17 – 22 April and then at Mangere Arts Centre, 24 – 29 April. See more info at Massive Company
TICKET DEAL: Massive have a sweet 2 for 1 ticket deal if you book before 5pm this Friday 13. Head to Q to book! PROMO CODE: 21years