Real, Raw and Revealing [by Sharu Delilkan]
It was like dejavu arriving at The Mangere Arts Centre, from Avondale, only to be thrust back into the thick of my own neighbourhood.
Set in Avondale, Birds incorporates the suburb’s iconic sites -- Avondale Community Centre, Hollywood Cinema, Rosebank Road and Riversdale Reserve. These brilliantly selected audio-visuals, laced with witticism and whimsy, help create an effective fourth dimension.
Brave, insightful, poignant, real, raw and revealing are adjectives that come to mind when describing the new work Birds.
And as the playwright and director Dianna Fuemana says it was clearly her “ode to teenage-hood and their mums”.
I’ve seen a number of Samoan plays at The Mangere Arts Centre recently so it was refreshing to get a Niuean perspective. The fast-paced urban story distinguishes itself as it’s told through the eyes of a young Niuean boy, coming of age.
Pacific Stories, Pacific People [by Sharu Delilkan]
I have to admit that I’ve not been privileged enough to have see the previous two incarnations of Samoan playwright Leilani Unasa’s critically acclaimed play His Mother’s Son.
Originally from Mangere, Unasa bringing His Mother’s Son to the Mangere Arts Centre could not have been more appropriate.
The story is a tale of the toils, trials and tribulations of a Samoan way of life coming to Niu Sila, and the resulting effect of a displaced culture. This is a familiar theme. But considering that the play was written eight years ago, the writing not only excels but it appears really fresh and relevant. The humorous political references have obviously been updated while the play has morphed from a four to two actors, with both actors playing multiple characters.
It’s not often that the director’s vision is realised. In this case Chris Molloy’s aim was to “move you, entertain and provoke discussion or make you think about your loved ones”. And move, entertain and provoke it definitely did.