SoHo Playhouse has teamed up with New Zealand theatre movement F.C.C. to present a six-week run of Wild Dogs Under My Skirt by Samoan poet Tusiata Avia. Originally staged as a solo spoken word piece, and later developed into an ensemble show, the play explores Pacific Island life through the universal themes of love, sexuality, oppression, abuse, segregation, and pride.
Developed with Victor Rodger, Wild Dogs Under My Skirt will run at SoHo Playhouse April 16–May 24. Director Anapela Polata'ivao leads an all-female cast of Pacific Island (Pasifika) actors including Petmal Lam, Vaimaila Urale Baker, Ilaisaane Green, and more to be announced.
Avia launched Wild Dogs Under My Skirt in 2002 as a spoken word piece at New Zealand's Dunedin Fringe Festival. She went on to perform the work around the world before developing it into an ensemble theatrical piece with her playwright cousin, Rodger.
"I was named after my great-aunt Tusiata. The word in Samoan means 'artist,' so it's a very fortunate name," says playwright Avia. "But writing was the dream I couldn't aspire to, because girls 'like me'—i.e. brown girls from Aranui—didn't become writers...
"It took me till my ’30s to gather a sense of entitlement that allowed me to come back to New Zealand, take a couple of writing courses and start performing some of my own poetry. I wrote Wild Dogs Under My Skirt and performed that show all over the world. Now, the play continues to be performed all over by an ensemble of six extraordinary Pacific women artists."
Wild Dogs Under My Skirt features a scenic design by Jane Hakaraia and Tyler Vaeau; lighting design by Rachel Marlow; choreography by Mario Faumui; and percussion by Leki Jackson-Bourke.