Black Faggot – A JawkwardLOL Play Review

Starring: Iaheto Ah Hi and Taofia Pelesasa
Source: Multinesia Productions

Multinesia Produtions in association with THE EDGE presents Black Faggot, a play written by Victor Rodger, directed by Roy Ward and produced by Karin Williams and enjoyed by anyone smart enough to grab a ticket. Starring talented actors, Iaheto Ah Hi and Taofia Pelesasa, as a torrent of memorable characters from an ‘undercover brother’ to a proud Samoan mother and gruff Samoan father to a ‘famous as’ fa’afafine, the LOLs will most definitely not be silent at the Herald Theatre in Aotea Square until after Black Faggot’s stint ends on the 8th of March.

Rodger’s play about what it means to be young, poly and gay; as told through a multitude of flash sketches is, unsurprisingly, riddled with sexual references, simulated sexual acts and potty mouthed characters. The sharp writing packs a punch both emotionally and comically, Black Faggot is never short on the wit, managing to illicit a cackle every other minute and in the next instance managing to evoke stirring moments of acute poignancy. Poignant enough to drag an emotion from even the coldest dead heart of this black soul. We’re lucky to see the play before it heads off to international festivals, picking up many much-deserved awards along the way. Ward’s direction sees a very simple production without sets, props, costumes, music or effects- just two great actors, excellent lighting, and perfect timing.

Taofia Pelesasa and Iaheto Ah Hi do a stunning job of portraying each character with the right amount of high energy and exaggeration, Iaheto’s explicit (though fully-clothed) scenes are an excellent combination of over the top sounds and absurd facial expressions. He did warn us he’d throw in some ‘extra innapropriate moaning’ for the heck of it. Much appreciated!

Taofia’s ability to hush an audience with an expression is realised with each monologue as Christian, a young Samoan praying to God to make him straight. Starts off initially as a light-hearted request but each time he comes back to ‘pray the gay away’ you feel the hopelessness building. Christian’s last monologue is perhaps the most affecting moment of the night as he pleads with an unanswering God about why he didn’t make him straight if it was what God wanted. When Christian informs God of his weariness with his situation, of being tired of his dad looking at him like he wishes Christian wasn’t his son, the way Taofia’s voice stalls like he’s barely holding it together is an exquisite show of skill.

The play doesn’t shy away from confrontation at all, from confrontational gay characters to outright gestures of homophobic prejudices and immature namecalling right alongside brilliant lines. These all work together to offer an insightful commentary on how the paradigms of homosexuality and the pacific are shifting but not without continued effort. With the largest Polynesian city in the world, Auckland New Zealand, as the backdrop you’re treated to an array of characters and stories all transitioning into each other seamlessly. Woven so well, and sometimes without even a breath in between, the monologues, scenes and ridiculously hilarious sketches seem to form a rich Pacific tapestry of lives and experiences of not only gay Polys but of those around them.

Seriously, go see ‘Black Faggot’ at Herald Theatre, Aotea Square. Last two shows this Saturday, 8 March.

Tickets $20-$25 | TICKETMASTER.CO.NZ or 09 970 9700.

Honourable [Mildy Spoilery] Mentions:

– The Samoan father trying to get to his poker site via his history and coming across “big black cocks”. And his son’s cover up story about a school assignment about “…minority chickens”.

– I swear the Samoan mum reaction of jumping directly to ‘ARE YOU IN TROUBLE’ is just so ‘Samoan Mum’. Also very Samoan in general, *gasp* ‘is she a Tongan?!’

– “He smiled and I was like DAMN HE’S A TONGAN!”

– Let’s make calling something ‘straight’ as an insult a thing. OMG THAT’S SO STRAIGHT! Stop being so straight, haha YOU’RE SO STRAIGHT!

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