Unpacking the dramas that energise a class of budding young actors, The Rehearsal mounts an enticing inquisition of performance, identity and moral anxiety with resonance far beyond its hothouse setting.
Starring James Rolleston, Alice Englert, Ella Edward, Kieran Charnock, Michelle Nyand and Marlon Williams, the film carries a potent extra-textual charge: there’s enough talent in this fictional drama school to constitute a real-world new wave. Kerry Fox plays the key role as a formidable drama coach.
Like the novel, the film (co-scripted with Emily Perkins) is as attentive to the misleading effect youthful nerve can have on the ‘mature’ as it is to the crises the teachers so blithely incite in the taught. It’s also its own sharp, original thing, a film by Alison Maclean, alive with ambiguity and cinematic verve.
The full NZIFF programme will be available on the streets from Tuesday 21 June for Auckland, Friday 24 June for Wellington, Tuesday 5 July for Christchurch and Tuesday 12 July for Dunedin.