This much I know: Rima Te Wiata

By Sarah Daniell

Rima Te Wiata.
Rima Te Wiata.

There is a truism in acting that can also be applied to life: we conceal and reveal ourselves.

Working with children, as in Hunt For the Wilder-people, has taught me that children are uncluttered. They treat the craft of acting as a fresh experience and are more often in wonderment than fear.

I tend to wait for children to ask for advice rather than dish it out, or for questions to arise naturally as a result of companionship. Children in the arts receive quite a lot of advice already, as do many young actors; from all directions. It can be overwhelming for them. It is ideal when the questions naturally arise. So far I haven't given any advice to a young actor who has not chosen to heed it, which makes me feel quite clucky, in a granny way.

The human spirit can meet surprise challenges better with forewarning. Earthquakes, for example. I would not have thought I was the type of person who would be calm in earthquakes, yet I feel quite centred, so I can help other people control their fear. In the actual quakes in Christchurch I was fine. Post-quakes, after several thousand of them, I got very tired because I kept going to bed in clothes and boots, with a little kete of things next to the bed that I might need like water, an apple, a passport, some money, a torch.

For me, exhilaration is a good laugh of about 30 seconds; a proper good laugh that engages your tummy muscles and hurts a bit and then comes back again when you think about what you laughed at the first time. This is usually more effective with the feeling of exhilaration, especially if there are two or more people involved. I don't think exhilaration is required all the time. I know somebody who died base-jumping - he was addicted to the exhilaration, the risk of it.

Women need to write more plays and films for women and men. Men are often expected to write these roles.

My emotional default setting is to try to see the humorous side.

Rima Te Wiata is in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, at Q Theatre from July 21-August 20.

- Canvas

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