The Te Awamutu Light Operatic Society have concluded auditions for their latest musical.
Tell Me a Story tells the tale of a grandmother and grandchild who celebrate the joys of reading together. It is the work of a Te Awamutu mother-daughter duo, Fiona and Rowan Miller.
The musical uses books to explore different themes and geographical locations. Fiona described one scene where the grandchild asks about Europe on an atlas, and the company sings “I Love Paris” as they explore it.
“It all ties into the theme of books and reading and how good books are and what you can learn from them,” Fiona said.
Africa is explored while featuring the classic song, Hakuna matata, as well as Thailand, which is accompanied by a candle dance.
The works of Mark Twain and Dr Suess are present, as well as an Agatha Christie inspired murder mystery.
Works from New Zealand are celebrated too, such as the Wellerman song and a classic waiata.
Although it is the fifth show written by Fiona, Tell Me A Story is the first show the pair have written together.
“At three in the morning you’d come up with an idea and write it down, then the next day you’d ring up and say I’ve had this idea,” Rowan said.
Rowan said she isn’t afraid to sing, but her strengths are stage management and the more technical aspects of stage work. While Fiona’s strength is the music, singing and teaching people the songs.
The pair both come from a literacy background, which gives an explanation for the show’s theme. Fiona was previously a reading teacher and Rowan currently works at the Hamilton Library as a heritage researcher.
They are both avid readers. Rowan said she loves cosy mysteries, while Fiona is fond of historical fiction, genres which are both present in their musical.
Rowan said it was nice to see people from outside of Te Awamutu, who have never had anything to do with their theatre before, audition for the show.
“It’s what community theatre is about, coming and having a go,” Rowan said.
“Because it is all voluntary, if it isn’t fun, then there is no point in doing it, and in this Covid world, we all need a bit of fun,” Fiona said.
The writing of the show was completed a year ago, but faced delays due to Covid. The show now is expected to debut in June at the Woolshed Theatre.