Acting family’s touching tribute to aviation leader Robyn Reid

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Shadon Meredith and Amelia Reid-Meredith with their son Arlo.

For acting couple Shadon Meredith and Amelia Reid-Meredith their new play is an intensely personal journey.

In part it’s a tribute to former Shortland Street actor Reid-Meredith’s late mother Robyn Reid, who died of cancer this year.

Reid-Meredith left her role as Shortland Street favourite Bella Durville last year, returning to Nelson to care for her mother, an aviation safety leader and prominent Nelson businesswoman.

Shadon and Amelia family moved back to Nelson last October to help care for Robyn who had cancer.

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Shadon and Amelia family moved back to Nelson last October to help care for Robyn who had cancer.

In part the play is also a message to the couple’s two-year-old son Arlo, and it’s wrapped up in Shadon Meredith’s life journey from his Pacific heritage and upbringing to his coming of age, and his own family.

The result is Meredith’s one-man play Waiting that he will perform this weekend under his partner’s direction.

Meredith said the piece explored the “human condition of waiting”. It aimed to examine what motivated people to move forward or stay still.

The worlds only flying Avro Anson Mk1 owned by Bill and Robyn Reid of Wakefield leads a fly past at the funeral of Robyn ...

MARTIN DE RUYTER

The worlds only flying Avro Anson Mk1 owned by Bill and Robyn Reid of Wakefield leads a fly past at the funeral of Robyn Reid at Annesbrook Church in May this year. Robyn Reid’s casket was flown from the funeral in a Reid Helicopters helicopter flown by her son Toby Reid.

The show takes place in a lounge, where Meredith uses poetry and other, sometimes cryptic messages, to tell his journey. It includes meeting Amelia and her mother. 

Robyn Reid was a former chairwoman of both the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce and the Nelson Regional Economic Development Agency, as well as her aviation roles.

Meredith said he had been really close with Robyn and he had fond memories of writing the play with her help.

“I had my mother-in-law with me and she was basically dramaturging from her bed so she was actually helping me write parts of the story.

“So she was actually a really good critic of my work.”

The play made its debut at this year’s Nelson Fringe Festival, where it won five awards.

Meredith and Amelia were able to bring the awards home to show Robyn before she died. 

He said the intimate play spoke to all ages.

“The way I play is really technical so I don’t get too emotionally involved in it, but the content I reckon will hopefully touch somebody.”

Meredith said they were looking at developing the play to take it to bigger centres next year. 

Ghost Light Theatre director Laura Irish said while it had been a trying time for the family, “they’ve created something really beautiful about the path of life and death”.

“We think a lot of Nelsonians will be interested in the story, not only because of its connection to Robyn, who was well loved in the business community, but also because of the back story of two young locals making something special in the wake of a tragic family circumstance.”

Waiting, at Ghost Light Theatre on Friday and Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 1pm. Tickets via ghostlight.nz.

 


 – Stuff

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