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This show has been slaying audiences wherever it goes. It's both fierce and tender, not surprising when it's based on a series of poems by Tusiata Avia (written, incidentally, in Dunedin). Wild Dogs Under My Skirt began life as a one-woman poetry show at the 2002 Dunedin Fringe Festival before touring the world. It was then that Avia’s cousin, playwright Victor Rodger, reworked it into the explosive six-woman theatre performance we see today. “"There's nothing quite like it out there," says Rodger. "I love that it features six, strong Pacific women who stand boldly and unapologetically in their sensuality."
The poems draw on two different cultures – Avia is of Samoan descent – and look at the often-uneasy clashes between Pacific Island life, and life in New Zealand. The poems cover every aspect of life – from corned-beef and cannibalism, cultural clashes, village gossip, Apia night clubs, sexual encounters and the heartbreak of domestic violence.
The poems are full of delicacy and raw honesty, using passion and humour to tell their stories of young Pasifika women. Cast member Joanna Mika Toloa says people should come to the show to “see through the lens of strong Pasifika woman, to hear the voices that are never heard, and to experience a new feeling and atmosphere that the wild dogs bring to the stage with force!”
Wild Dogs Under My Skirt has been playing at theatres across New Zealand as well as a season off-Broadway in New York, garnering rave reviews wherever it goes. Festival Director Charlie Unwin was completely enthralled when he first saw it in Auckland, and it was one of the first shows he confirmed for the Dunedin Arts Festival. "I love this show. It's like a series of short stories – every one different – that takes the audience on a 75 minute rollercoaster. Don't miss it."
Radio NZ recently turned Wild Dogs into a radio play, which is available online until 28 March.
See below for a preview for Wild Dogs: