Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

27/10/2015 - 31/10/2015

Production Details

Live singing from a live choir, with Live percussion of pake and fala (mat), AFAKASI is a mash of physical theatre, spoken word, siva Samoa, and contemporary movement all intricately woven together to display the churning internal struggle of Leilani Etuale. 

You are taken on a journey with Leilani as she battles to find equilibrium of her dual identities. 

Based on the life story of Antonia Stehlin, AFAKASI is her simplistic yet emotionally driven struggle, shown through the eyes of Leilani Etuale as she tries to amalgamate and come to peace with her two conflicting halves. 

Written by Antonia Stehlin and performed by herself and Katie Burson; accompanied by singers and musicians from the HENDERSON CCSNZ YOUTH.

Doors open 6.50pm and they will close at 7pm. So if you’re late they won’t let you in.

  • Adult: $18 
    Concession: $15 
    Cheap Wednesday: $13

Henderson Choir EFSNS – Savili Itamua, Siatuolo Alexandra Mareko, Gloria Leinati Nepo, Hope Stehlin-Mareko, Elijah Tuuga-Stevenson, Christopher Tuuga-Stevenson, To'ali'i Peteru 

Percussionists –Andrew Lalofau Tagaloa and Neville Niulesa – from Stehlin’s church, HENDERSON EFSNS (Christian Church of Samoa in New Zealand).

Theatre , Performance installation , Pasifika contemporary dance , Dance-theatre ,

40 mins

Polished execution of profound and intricate material

Review by Hannah Stannard 28th Oct 2015

This is a must see, profound new work, that bares the bones of an old, confronting past. It is hard to give a name to something or someone with two clearly different and conflicting realities. However, AFAKASI manages to capture in one name, and one show, what is ‘white and Palagi’ together with what is ‘brown and Samoan’.

From the eyes of Leilani Etuale, the AFAKASI story is conveyed through the powerful performances of Antonia Stehlin and Katie Burson. The conflicting, yet boldly humorous Samoan and Palagi sides of Leilani are executed with impressive choreography, innovative movement sequences, original poems, and powerful voices driven from the heart. Upon arrival, the audience is invited into the embracing presence of gospel songs from the musicians of Henderson CCSNZ Youth. Traditional mats, hats, dress, and percussive instruments transform the theatre into a local fale or church. As the show kicks off, two performers come into sight lying intertwined; one sobbing. These tears become real and understood, as our immediate questions about the confronting opening are answered scene by scene.

Stehlin and Burson first convey the story of Leilani’s parents: their meeting in Samoa, marriage, eventual shift to Auckland, and proceeding difficulties. The conflict is passed down to the inner depths of their daughter, and the two performers weave a clever narrative, each shifting to become a different side of Leilani. Each side speaks and moves with a different perspective. Tension is mounted to the extreme as they leap and fly in fits of rage at each other until finally one side is silenced and repressed. A moving and powerful choice to halt what is too difficult to deal with is disputed by calls of ‘forgiveness’ in Samoan and English from the on-looking musicians. Bearing the burden of a difficult past, the choice to carry it, to ‘stand strong’, and to ‘keep faith in God’ is made in a later powerful still image.

This is a polished execution of intricate contemporary and traditional dance material by two talented physical theatre professionals. Through this piece, writer and performer Antonia Stehlin tells not only the issues our generation are faced to confront and resolve, but does so to the depths of her knowledge by bravely sharing her own personal journey of faith and self-discovery.


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