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Birds bridges generations

Bianca Seinafo and Ali Foa’i. Image: The Digital Darkroom


Birds bridges generations

Following a sell-out season in Auckland, Birds is set to take flight to premiere in Wellington at the 2014 NZ Fringe Festival. An honest and fresh coming of age story, Birds celebrates the generations of Pacific Islanders living in NZ.

Written by award-winning playwright Dianna Fuemana, Birds stars Ali Foa’i (Falemalama, Aukalofa Monologues) and Bianca Seinafo (Number 2, Big Trouble). The pair plays a multitude of characters, seamlessly bringing this truly contemporary Pacific story to life.

An ode to teenagers and their mums, Birds is an urban tale told through the eyes of a young Niuean boy growing up in Auckland’s Avondale Hood-Lands.

Tommy likes hip-hop dancing, has a mad crush on the lead Kapa Haka girl at school and believes he can Kung Fu the biggest bully terrorizing the local Riversdale Park. But his mum, Moka has different plans for Tommy. Moka wants him to wake up on time for school, go to university and learn all things Niuean. Their two wills collide but both must compromise in order to fly. Birds shines a light on the bond between a solomother and her only child, living in a new place. Birds gives voice to Avondale’s hood and features iconic sites including Avondale Community Centre, Hollywood Cinema, Rosebank Road and Riversdale Reserve.

Actor and Fuemana’s nephew, Ali Foa’i says: “Not only do I identify with this story being Niuean, having grown up around Avondale, it feels like I’m back in the hood again."

Birds also marks Scotty Cotter’s (The Brave, Tu) directing debut in Wellington, having worked as an actor for over a decade. “When I read the script I could see so many of my mates in the play, I knew I had to direct it,” says Cotter.

Although Birds is based firmly within a Niuean perspective, its central themes of cultural detachment and family expectations are universal within the Pacific Island community residing in Aotearoa.

As poignant as it is hilarious, Birds promises to be an uplifting and memorable night at the theatre.

Sharu Loves Hats presents Birds plays at BATS Theatre, on the corner of Cuba and Dixon Streets, Mar 1-8, 6.30 pm. No show Mon (Mar 3). Book online or call (04) 802 4175. Tickets: $18 (Adults), $14 (Concession).

The play is another new and important piece of Pacific theatre that proclaims significance and relevance alongside a strong growing foundation of contemporary Pacific stories…simple staging, clear actions and great dramatic moments are hallmarks of good direction –

The fast-flowing script bubbles over Tommy’s tumultuous teenage years but writer Dianna Fuemana cleverly grounds the play in that key relationship of mother and son providing an emotional heart to this entertaining tale. –

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