Gavin Hosnell (left), and AJ Southey are two of the star performers in ‘Dear Hannah’. PHOTO/LUCIA ZANMONTI
Jessica Buckham is constantly in a state of nerves and stress while in the director’s chair, but that hasn’t stopped her putting together an impactful portrayal of New Zealand’s involvement in the Vietnam War.
The Year 13 Kuranui College student has written and directed ‘Dear Hannah’ — the school production for 2017 — and along with a talented cast, she has succeeded in creating an emotional showcase of what it would have been like for some people when New Zealand troops were sent to fight in the war.
The tale is told effectively through a post mortem letter, and follows a group of friends planning a protest against New Zealand’s involvement.
Fellow students AJ Southey, Amber Spicer and Gavin Hosnell each bring their own unique talents to their performances, while Keziah Stonnell and Tommy Laybourn are equally impressive.
A supporting cast of all ages shows the school’s depth of talent in the performing arts sector.
For Jessica, the production has been a long time in the making.
“I knew I was going to be writing a script for production for years, but I only started writing it a couple of weeks before auditions,” she said.
“I tried a few ideas and they didn’t work, so I sat down and the characters sort of wrote the story.”
Jessica said the relationships between characters were always in her mind, and she was keen to portray the theme of standing up against inequality and things that were wrong in society.
The Vietnam War had provided the perfect vessel for that, she said.
The set is simple but effective, and it is the performances of the main cast that draw you into a world about 50 years in the past.
It stars students from both the junior and senior schools, and is a show by the youth, for the youth.
“Our productions are always greatly contributed to by the students,” Jessica said.
“I’m really lucky with the amount of talent we have at the school.”
The production will be performed for three nights, and Jessica said she was excited, but also nervous, about seeing her script brought to life on the stage.
“I’m nervous all the time — I’m constantly in a state of nerves and stress, but it’s really exciting.”
- ‘Dear Hannah’ will be performed from August 24-26, with each show starting at 7pm in the Kuranui College auditorium. Tickets are $5.