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Kiwi-based play with all-Samoan female cast to make history in New York theatre

It's a New Zealand-based play getting rave reviews - and it's about to make history in the US.

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It’s believed Wild Dogs is the first Samoan female ensemble to perform at the Soho. Source: 1 NEWS

A chance viewing of the all-female cast on stage in New Zealand has led to several Pasifika performers getting the chance of a lifetime in New York's famous Soho theatre district.

Wild Dogs Under My Skirt, which boasts a Samoan writer, director and actors, was performed at a Performing Arts Network of New Zealand arts market earlier this year, where it was seen by a New York director.

“It means so much. I believe that we are the first Samoan women ensemble to perform in New York in the Soho Theatre,” actress Joanna Atoa Toloa, who plays Wild Dogs’ Alofa, said.

“Over the course of the season, we found out that he wanted to pick us up and take us to New York and we were just like, ‘Oh my god, this is happening?'”

Wild Dogs weaves accounts of motherhood, shame, abuse, tragedy and laughter.

“I think the response will be really good 'cause it is quite confrontational in parts and unapologetic,” Stacey Leilua, who plays Tusiata, said. 

Director Anapela Polata'ivao said there are “some really dark issues” covered in the monologues, including molestation, laced with humour.

“There's some tragic stories, definitely,” Ms Polata'ivao said.

The stories also explore what it means to be Samoan, and of being a Samoan woman.

“A lot of the themes throughout the play are very universal,” Ms Toloa said.

“It's definitely a work that does speak to everybody, and I think everybody can watch it and identify with at least one aspect of it, which is nice,” Ms Leilua added.