Home Theatre REVIEW: The Savage Coloniser Present (Auckland Arts Pageant)

REVIEW: The Savage Coloniser Present (Auckland Arts Pageant)

REVIEW: The Savage Coloniser Present (Auckland Arts Pageant)


AAF 2023 The Savage Coloniser. Pictures: Raymond Sagapolutele

Poetry and theatre lovers alike have been eagerly awaiting Tusiata Avia’s The Savage Coloniser Present to grace the stage. The Savage Coloniser E book is the second ebook of poetry by Avia to be reworked into an ensemble stage play because the award successful Wild Canines Below My Skirt. Each reveals have been produced by Victor Rodger (F.C.C) and directed by Anapela Polata’ivao. Most of the forged stay from Wild Canines, and are joined by Mario Faumui and the younger Iuni-Katalaina Polata’ivao-Saute in her performing debut. 

I used to be fortunate to catch the present on closing night time. I milled into the Rangatira efficiency house at Q theatre with a different viewers spanning the cultural communities of Auckland – a welcoming sight. Because the final two empty seats in the home disappear, the lights go down and a stage enveloped in atmospheric haze takes focus. A clear web is stretched throughout the scene, which turns into a display for projected photographs. Chairs with sheaths strapped to them await the ensemble, and are lit an earthy pink – evoking representations of blood, earth, and braveness. A projected white body demarcates the scene, honing the viewers’s consciousness to contemplate fastidiously what they see. 

The present begins in pre-colonial instances in a religious realm. From there emerge the voices of Samoan ladies, with phrases of resistance, and reclamation. Anapela Polata’ivao’s course and artistry brings one other dimension to Avia’s poetry because the phrases come off the web page. Each member of the ensemble provides a flawless efficiency. Joanna Mika-Toloa foreshadows how I, as a brown lady, felt by the tip of the present, with a surprising efficiency of Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good’. As you would possibly count on, judging from the title, the present is confrontational and unapologetic in its method to the results of colonisation.

‘The Metropolis Fathers’, is a more recent poem which doesn’t seem within the ebook, however is a pertinent addition to the present. The poem is a focus within the historical past of racism in New Zealand and the way that racism continues to be upheld as we speak – on this case within the type of statues within the colonial metropolis of Christchurch through which Avia was born and raised. The figures represented by these distinguished statues are additionally leaders of land grabs and a Minister of Native Affairs who ordered the invasion of Parihaka. This was additionally a time when Māori have been assimilated into, but in addition segregated from Pākehā society. The Christchurch bloodbath is then positioned within the timeline, bringing the previous and current collectively within the bleakest of how. Historical past underpins the journey of the present and examples of white supremacist considering, as we speak and previously, are weaved all through, subverted, and spat again out on the racists. 

The poetry is beneficiant and gives insights, usually opening a door into the author’s private realm, although it’s nonetheless a spot that displays ourselves again to us. The transitions and choreography by Tupua Tifagua dips into these realms and are a visible deal with; blue oceanic colored materials tugs a performer backwards and forwards, dusky maidens are positioned on stage like collectible figurines after which fawn over shiny sequined material in a highlight. The sheaths strapped to the chairs reveal glinting machetes early on within the play, and bolsters this sense that wounds will probably be opened and truths will spill like blood.

It got here to my consideration earlier than the present that the contents of the poem ‘250th anniversary of James Cook dinner’s arrival in New Zealand’ brought on a stir amongst some politicians like ACT celebration chief David Seymour who took a literal studying of the poem and claimed it’d incite violence. Should you so select, you’ll be able to look into the main points of the incident. And despite the fact that I don’t assume a lot time or consideration must be spent on this situation, I nonetheless really feel that some dialogue ought to happen as a result of it’s a mirrored image of the issues we nonetheless face in our day after day lives. No, brown ladies driving round in SUVs and beating up individuals isn’t a factor. It can by no means be a factor. And perhaps if examined extra intently, one might see what truly fuels hate crimes, and why it’s not a poem, or a play, and gained’t ever be racially disgruntled brown ladies cruising round in an enormous automobile. Not less than the humour within the poem was apparent in efficiency because it acquired laughs from the viewers on the punchlines. 

The Savage Coloniser Present is sincere, disruptive, and empowering as we’re taken on a journey, by means of a panorama, and several other views. Painful and buried racism in our historical past is dug up, displayed, and pulled aside. The consequences of colonisation are delivered to the fore and set alongside our dysfunctional current in order that we might draw strains between them. The reward for an unapologetic method to the topic is catharsis for the viewers, or unprecedented perception. Anybody who resides on this nation is bound to see part of themselves within the present. 

The Savage Coloniser Present performs Rangatira, Q Theatre 9–12 March, 2023 as a part of Auckland Arts Pageant



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