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Pacific Theatre Royalty Challenge Cultural Sensibilities

Pacific Theatre Royalty Challenge Cultural Sensibilities in an Outrageously Funny And Irreverant Pitch Black Comedy

FCC presents the premiere of

Stars of the Pacific performing arts scene – Dave Fane, Victor Rodger, Vela Manusaute, Anapela Polata'ivao and Goretti Chadwick join the incredible creative team that will deliver the premiere of UMA LAVA to the Circa stage in Wellington, from 23 November to 7 December.

Three strangers – an academic, a right-wing politician, and a minister with a penchant for spoken word poetry – walk into a room. It’s hate at first sight. But this isn’t just any room they’ve walked into as they’re about to find out when they try to leave... UMA LAVA is an outrageous, irreverent comedy of terrors where no sacred cow is left unslaughtered.

Challenging the preconceptions of what a good Pacific tale should entail UMA LAVA smashes down the walls of respectability and sees its stellar cast play to humour that is bawdy, lively and completely unacceptable. Award winning playwright Victor Rodger (Club Paradiso, At the Wake, Sons, My Name is Gary Cooper, Black Faggot) is well known for his passion in pushing boundaries in Pacific writing, “A lot of Pacific theatre is heart warming and moving. But Uma Lava isn’t going to warm anybody’s heart: instead, it’s a brutually and savagely funny comedy featuring three Samoan characters who, on the surface, are all community minded, but who are, underneath it all, incredibly self-serving,” says Rodger.

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His playful vision has drawn the support of the crème of the Pacific arts scene. Director Dave Fane (Outrageous Fortune, The Naked Samoans, Sione’s Wedding) is thrilled to take on the challenge of directing this piece “The comedy in this play is infectious. It’s very Pacific in the way that all of the characters are hugely expressive and are single-mindedly determined to win an argument. It’s fun, naughty and wild,” says Fane.

Award winning performers Anapela Polata'ivao and Goretti Chadwick reunite on the stage after eight years of carving out impressive careers in the performing arts. Rodger has always admired the work of both actresses who were in his 2007 play MY NAME IS GARY COOPER. UMA LAVA was written specifically for both of them.

Most recently Anapela has been awarded for both her directing of and acting in Tusiata Avia’s Wild Dogs Under My Skirt which, following an extensive nationwide tour, will play off Broadway in January at the Soho Playhouse – the same theatre where recent Emmy winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge performed her farewell stage version of her hit show Fleabag. Anapela was recently named the recipient of the Contemporary Pacific Artist Award at Creative New Zealand's Pacific Arts Awards and has won numerous awards in theatre including a New Generation Arts Laureate Award, alongside an impressive career in film and television.

Goretti Chadwick (My Name is Gary Cooper, Mean Mums, Vermillion) last year won Best Performance at the Wellington Theatre Awards for her performance in Still Life with Chickens, a solo show that she has toured throughout New Zealand and internationally since 2018. After the Wellington season of UMA LAVA, Goretti will fly directly to China to perform it there.

Joining this powerhouse team is Mario Faumui – a graduate of the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts (PIPA) where his tutors included both Anapela and Goretti. This will be the first time he has acted with both of them professionally. Since graduating from PIPA, Mario has drawn acclaim as the creator of the fa'afafine creative ensemble Fine Fatale who will next year tour to Hawaii. As an actor he performed in Wellington earlier this year in Victor Rodger's Club Paradiso opposite Robbie Magasiva.

Award winning Palangi Wellington actor, Paul McLaughlin (Kings of the Gym, How to Murder your Wife) bravely joins the Samoan aiga to add his comic presence to the shenanigans.

Vela Manusaute rounds out the creative team as co-director. This is the third Victor Rodger play that Vela has directed after co-directing GIRL ON A CORNER (2015) with his partner, Anapela Polata’ivao and CLUB PARADISO (2015, 2019) starring Robbie Magasiva.

FCC (FLOW, CREATE, CONNECT) was created by Victor Rodger in 2015. Since then its productions have included CLUB PARADISO starring Robbie Magasiva, WILD DOGS UNDER MY SKIRT (Best Director Auckland Theatre Awards 2016; Best Production and Best Actress, Wellington Theatre Awards 2018), THE MOUNTAINTOP starring David Fane and Nicole Whippy (Best Actress Auckland Theatre Awards 2017), and AT THE WAKE featuring the legendary Lisa Harrow.

UMA LAVA: An academic, a right-wing politician and a minister walk into a room… what could possibly go wrong!

UMA LAVA plays
Circa Theatre 2, 23 Nov – 7 Dec
Tues – Sat 7.30pm; Sun 4.30pm
Tickets: $25 – $52 from circa.co.nz


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