8-15 Jason’s Going to be a Star! (Or maybe just a two-bit bully)

Behind the scenes of a bus crash.

 Love Patrol is a soap opera produced by Wan SmolBag. It was started to try to open up conversations about HIV/AIDS and STIs. It did pretty well and was granted a few more seasons. Now, it is a venue to talk about all sorts of nastiness. The most recent topics have ranged from domestic violence to police corruption to corrupt foreign investment and mafia involvement in politics. It airs all across the Pacific and is the basis for the sex ed curriculum in Fiji. Most recently, it got a slot on Australian TV.

Taking notes.  The director is on the far right.

A few months ago, my boss asked me and another volunteer at lunch if we knew any white men who would like to be in Love Patrol. He went on to say that the parts that needed filling were the sleazy investor and the mafia hitman. (As a side note, there are no positive roles for white people in the show. I don’t not like this, I think it is just a different kind of racism and a poor portrayal of people who are doing good things. Especially given that the writer and producer are white people and the organization runs on the backs of a small number of volunteers along side the large number of skilled local staff. I digress.)

I suggested Jason. I figured he’d get a kick out of being a mafioso. He went in for the audition. The director cut him off before his scene was finished. He got the part. According to my inside sources (I gossip with the crew all the time) Jason’s audition was great and they knew he’d get that part from the beginning.

The Good Take (on try #4)

So, now Jason is playing a Russian mafioso on a soap opera. He doesn’t have too many lines, but he’s not exactly silent, either. Much like his stint with the Comedia del’Arte troop at Fest, he spends a lot of time lurking in the background looking evil and not a lot of time speaking. Also like the Comedia del’Arte show, his character is a big jerk. Directors keep seeing a bully in him.

His first shoot was Sunday night. I hung out on set with him and my work colleagues and took a few pictures. It was fun. He only had one shot to do on Sunday, so we finished “early” at 10:30 pm. I expect future shoots to run a lot later. The crew hasn’t been finished before 1:30 am in the last three weeks.

Just to give you a hint of the drama…dead body!

So, Jason has a new hobby (bullying people) and a new career (soap opera villains). I have a new source of entertainment (teasing Jason about the above.) Vanuatu continues to provide us with opportunities we would never have in the US. Which is pretty neat.

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