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A Kiwi Classic: No.2

Contributor:
Mark Tregoweth
Mark Tregoweth

No. 2 (2006), 1 hr 31 minutes, PG

After years of winning audiences over on the stage, Toa Fraser’s one woman play No. 2 makes the leap to the big screen effortlessly.

On the stage the cast of colourful characters in No.2 found fame when they were brought to life by Kiwi actor, Madeline Sammi. With a simple turn and minimal props Sammi jumped the generation gap portraying characters aged from the young to the elderly.

From the stage to movie theatres, No.2’s cast is no longer limited to one, this time replaced with a large ensemble of local actors and international stars.

A simple story about a colourful family matriarch who plots to pull her feuding family together, No 2 could be set anywhere in the world, but luckily the flavour is distinctly New Zealand, with Auckland’s Mt Roskill  providing the location for the endearing tale.

The film begins when an elderly Fijian woman, Nana Maria, reminisces about her youth in Fiji. Looking back at happy times, sunny days and warm family memories, she decides to organise a get together for herself and her family.

In the middle of the night she enlists the help of two of her grand children for a family celebration where she will name her successor.

With some of her children feuding, other members of her family caught up with their own lives and grand children wanting to bring their partners to a strictly family only occasion, the stress of the occasion begins to take its toll on the increasingly frail matriarch.

Bit by bit family are gathered and a traditional party is organised with kava, music, a pig on a spit and entertainment from extended family from the local community.

In the title role of Nana Maria, veteran American actress Ruby Dee nails the part, frail at times and fiery at others.

As the girlfriend of one of Nana Maria’s grandsons, Danish actress Tuva Novotny sizzles as the eye candy of the piece.

Author Toa Fraser makes his directorial debut with No. 2, doing what many may have thought impossible, transforming a one woman play into an inspiring ensemble.

 

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