Sāmoan / German / Filipinx / Chinese / Spanish Theatre Artist and Playwright based in Los Angeles, California
Postcards Unlocked #7
I’m a theatre artist/playwright born and raised in Hawaiʻi, but now based in Los Angeles, California. I grew up in a very special district called Waiʻanae on the island of Oahu, specifically Lualualei, where Maui’s birth story takes place based on Hawaiian mythology. It’s also the birthplace of my aloha for ʻāina (land) and community.
My art is based on uncomfortable conversations amongst Pacific Islanders—the experiences of sexuality, religion, migration, family values and expectations, [dis]connection between homeland the diaspora, and indigenous people’s rights. I started as a playwright 5 years ago under Victor Rodger’s mentorship and went on to get my MFA in Playwriting at the University of Hawaiʻi. My intention is to use theatre as a tool to heal our collective traumas as well as build capacity for other Pacific people in performing arts. It’s much more difficult to find Pacific Island identified theatre artists or content in America, which means there’s a lot of room to grow and expand in various ways. Recently, I went to Wellington as a featured playwright for Breaking Ground Festival hosted by Tawata Productions then unexpectedly traveled to Christchurch to collaborate with DJ Linda T last June. It’s a beautiful thing—the Pacific worldwide web!
Since moving to Los Angeles, I’ve been connecting and collaborating with A Stage Of Our Own and Download Movement both run by Filipinx creatives whose work is at the intersection of art, activism, and activation. My creative roots are also in traditional Asian theatre forms of China and Japan, which influences the way I see and create, so these future collaborations will see a fusion of dramatic forms based on rituals, performances, and storytelling of the Philippines and Samoa. Also on the horizon, I’ll be co-producing an Oceanic Arts symposium and performance event intended as a gathering and celebration of arts and artists of Oceania.
Telling our stories are so important, but even more important is how we tell them. I’m not so much of an essentialist. I believe our stories need to be told in our own way, with each of our experiences at the forefront of how it’s shaped.