"My mum was pretty epic."
About to throw herself into her next theatre role, Bronwyn Turei is reflecting on her Gisborne childhood – "we were pretty rip, sh*t and bust kind of kids" – parenting and combining raising kids with a career.
No, the Go Girls star doesn't have any Big Announcements to make but her latest role has her reflecting on those subjects. Alongside Renee Lyons and former Shortland Street lead Amelia Reid-Meredith, Turei is one of the three stars of the comedy play Rants in the Dark.
It's based on the Emily Writes' blog-turned-best-selling-book, Rants in the Dark: From One Tired Mama to Another and opens at the Bruce Mason Centre this week for just three days. Writes has gained a reputation for talking about the "mess of contradictions" that parenthood brings with her work described as a "biting antidote to judgmental supermarket-tutterers and plane-smirkers everywhere".
Turei has been with the show since it previewed at a women's theatre festival last year followed by a month-long premiere season at Wellington's Circa Theatre.
Speak to her about the play and she breaks into a warm and spontaneous smile, saying working on the production is special because it's a wonderful and group orientated project led by people who care about Writes' views on parenting and live the fact that you don't have to sacrifice career for family or vice versa.
Lyons, who stars on the TV show 800 Words and is mother to toddler twins, plays Emily; Turei portrays her husband – simply known as "the husband" – and Reid-Meredith is their oldest son, Eddie. Director Lyndee-Jane Rutherford and producer Bevin Linkhorn wanted an all-women cast.
"They figure it's just like any other character and, to be honest, I have so much fun playing both genders and I've done it quite often throughout my career," says Turei.
"It's a wonderful challenge but essentially you're just telling the same human stories. I just 'get my man on' and also, I've got the seal of approval from not only Emily and her husband but also his mother and aunt. They both came to see the development season and complimented me on how closely I had nailed the role!
"I am surrounded by all these amazing people who have children and still have their acting or writing careers," she says.
"I think there's a myth around the whole idea that you have to choose one or the other but also just seeing how these incredible women just get on with it all. There are parts of the story which has definitely given me pause for thought… some of the birthing stuff… I've got a really high pain threshold but when they all start talking about and compare stories, I sort of go 'okay, alright'."
What: Rants in the Dark
Where & when: Bruce Mason Centre, Thursday - Saturday