[Much to Munch On]
The term ‘fala muncher’, as described in the show’s promotion, is a derogatory term which refers to the act of a female of Pacific descent partaking in the licking and eating of another woman’s fala. The term also suggests a play on the word ‘fulla’ or ‘fella’, which loosely opens a discussion on homosexuality versus the lack of lesbian normality within the Pacific community.
The production consists of five young and emerging Pasefika actresses, all PIPA alumni. The artists challenge social norms by telling their real-life stories of walking in the worlds of both the Pacific and LGBTQIA+ communities. It is a feast of monologue, acting, dance and poetry.
The story challenges religion – a strong part of who we are as Pasefika people. In one of the combined acts, Saloma Misipati and Jordana Ahmah tell us their story of acceptance in the eyes of God. The story takes a turn as it has an impact on their relationship. In the end they learn to accept each other, even if their church may not.
Lyncia Muller’s piece explores the difficulty of being closeted while having strict and traditional Tongan parents. Muller shows us a snippet of living in both worlds: the places she feels free, and the times that she hides her true self. She proves to be an amazing dancer: she explores interpretative dance moves which contrast the closeted emotion at home, and the freedom when she is away from her parents. The dance is however cut short; the overall piece could have benefited from extending the choreography sequence.
Cassandra de la Croix and Vaiari Ivirangi prove to be great poets and storytellers. Their self-devised pieces individually inform us about how they had steered away from their true selves as they tried to conform in society as heterosexual women.
Although there is a lack of direction and overall structural narrative in the story, I leave the show knowing that we need to have more conversations in the Pacific community about everyone, (especially women) who are coming to terms with their sexual preferences and identity.
Fala Muncher plays at The Basement until 17 Feb as part of Auckland Pride.